The American Civil War : The Most Significant Turning Point?

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In considering the development of the USA in the years 1815-1917, how far can the union victory in the civil war be seen as the most significant turning point?
The Union Victory in the American civil war is widely considered to be a turning point and could be seen as the catalyst in American History. Led by Abraham Lincoln, some may say it was the start of a new era. Time had gone by since the America gained its independence. The emancipation of slavery happened because of the Unions victory but it had very little practical impact. It wasn’t until at least a couple of decades later until they were treated as equal citizens and even then they were still seen as second-class citizens. “Early in the 19th century America was achieving birth-rates never before equalled in history”. [1]This, coupled with Western Migration helped to sustain the growth shown as the USA experienced momentous change geographically, socially and politically as it became one of the world’s main players. The frontier was truly a land of romance, but it also helped shape the distinctive civilisation of the United States, America 's unique characteristics stemmed form no single source; the European heritage, the continuing impact of ideas from abroad, the mingling of peoples, the spread of the industrial revolution and the growth of class consciousness all contributed.[2] American historian Shelby Foote noted 'Before the war it was said 'the United States are. ' Grammatically it was spoken that way and
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