English Civil War Versus Aftermath Of The American Civil War
Compare the aftermath of the English Civil War with the aftermath of the American Civil War. What can we learn about the long-term impact of civil wars from this?
In 1646, the English Civil War ended, and during the following 40 years, Britain went through three stages, including the Interregnum, the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution. Similarly, after American Civil War ended in 1865, the slavery was abolished but black people were still struggling to fight for their rights. In this essay, we will compare the aftermaths of two civil wars in terms of their political systems, the use of violence and their involving classes, and then analyze how these civil wars influence the Industrial Revolution and the Civil Right Movement. In the following paragraphs, firstly, we will talk about their similarities in changing the political systems and the limitations, then, the differences in using violence and involving classes. Finally, we will talk about the impact.
In terms of the political system, both English and American Civil War changed the political system to balance the rights and maintain the social stability. After the civil war, Britain established a constitutional monarchy and transferred a large part of power from the king to the parliament. Therefore, the class conflict between the parliament and the royalists was lessened. And America abolished the slavery to reconcile the conflict centering on the slavery between the Confederacy and the Union sides. Thus, they have both alleviated social contradictions to some extent and maintained national unity.
However, they both have certain limitations in a way, though they have made changes in system. For the English Civil War, Britain chose to retain its monarch rather than abolish it as planned, and according to Dr Brooks of the University of New Hampshire, it “went back to its older patterns and habits of governance while awaiting word from England” (2016), which indicated the weakness and compromise of the bourgeoisie. So, the revolution is not complete. While for the American Civil War, according to Dr Hassler and Dr Weber, professors of Pennsylvania State University, “in many ways, the hardest part was yet to come” (2019). One of the limitations is that the President Lincoln only abolished the slavery in the rebellious southern states without endowing black people with the same rights as white people, and the racial segregation is the best proof of that.
In terms of the casualties of the war, the aftermath of the English Civil War is much milder than that of American Civil War. Britain’s Glorious Revolution is regarded as a bloodless revolution and a nonviolent coup. According to Dr Brooks, “Several Tory leaders joined forces with Whig leaders and decided to invite William of Orange to England” and “they were met with virtually no resistance” (2016). On the contrary, the aftermath of the American Civil War, especially the White Backlash, caused many incidents of violence. According to the Dr Hassler and Dr Weber, “In the Philadelphia area, there were 213 incidents of violence against black people in the first half of 1855 alone. Black people had to deal with vandalism including burning crosses, lighting explosives and countless threatening phone calls” (2019). In this way, Civil War is far less violent than the American Civil War.
In addition, the English Civil War and the American Civil War address the interests of different objects and the scope of them is also different. The English Civil War focused on the strife of the upper classes and reached a balance of power and compromise between the parliamentarians and the royalists. And it finally established the constitutional monarchy to weaken the power of the king and strengthen the power of parliament. So, the scope of it was confined to the upper class. However, the American Civil War has resolved the differences between the Confederate army of slave owners in the south and the Union army in the north and its scope of warfare is in a community level. And it dealt with the abolition of black slavery and finally emancipated the slaves.
The aftermaths of both civil wars laid a solid foundation for the afterward development in these two countries, such as the African-American Civil Right Movement and the Industrial Revolution. The American Civil War mainly focused on the relationship between white people and black people. Although the slavery was abolished, it didn’t change much of people’s idea and black people were still in a low social status. For example, in later 1950s, the racial segregation limited black people’s rights to enjoy the same treatment as white people. According to Melvin I. Urofsky, all of black people had to wait in a separate waiting room, and sit in a separate car in a train, and even the water coolers are separated for ‘colored people’ (2019). Since black people have long been subjected to racial discrimination, with Segregation at its utmost, black peopel started to fight for their rights, which later became the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Similarly, after the Glorious Revolution, The bourgeoisie and the New Aristocracy overthrew the rule of James II, and the country was governed together by William III and Mary II. Since then, the constitutional monarchy has gradually been established, and the power of bourgeoisie was growing. According to Dr William Pettigrew of Corpus Christi College of Oxford University, these two factors provided political and economic conditions for the development of the industrial revolution, making Britain the most powerful country in 18th and 19th century (2009).
In conclusion, these two civil wars share some similarities but also differ from each other. Both of them solved some political problems but still had limitations. The English Civil War didn’t abolish the monarch while after the American Civil War, black people didn’t share the same rights with white people. Despite this, the English Civil War didn’t use as much violence as the American one and they aimed at different classes, with the English Civil War focusing on the parliamentarians and the royalists while the American one on the Confederate and the Union armies. Both civil wars have a long-term impact on the later social development such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Industrial Revolution.
- Brooks, R.B. (2016) How Did the Glorious Revolution in England Affect the Colonies. Available at: https://historyofmassachusetts.org/how-did-glorious-revolution-affect-colonies/ (Accessed: 24 November 2019)
- Hassler, W.W. and Weber, J.L. (2019) American Civil War: the United States History. Available at: https://www.britannica.com/event/American-Civil-War (Accessed: 1 December 2019)
- Pettigrew, W. (2009) The Glorious Revolution and the Industrial Revolution: How Constitutional Change is Key to Economic Growth. Available at: https://www.ehs.org.uk/press/the-glorious-revolution-and-the-industrial-revolution-how-constitutional-change-is-key-to-economic-growth (Accessed: 23 November 2019)
- Urofsky, I. M. (2019) Jim Crow Law. Available at: https://www.britannica.com/event/Jim-Crow-law (Accessed: 1 December 2019)