Free Characterization Of The American Civil War: Carl Von Clausewitz Vs. Baron De Jomini Argumentative Essay Sample
The American Civil War is one of the most important events in American history as it contributed significantly into what the United States of America is at present – a bastion of freedom and liberty throughout the world. It is therefore a major topic in diverse studies which aim to study its nature. Two popular figures that are commonly encountered in such studies are Baron de Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz. Both of these personalities provide interesting insights into the role of military theory in the American civil war. Jomini, for example, theorize that war – which is what the American Civil War is – is a great drama participated upon by military geniuses and heroes. Clausewitz, on the other hand, proposes that the American Civil War is a political war in the sense that all wars are continuations of politics wherein there is an admixture of organized violence to which this essay will agree with.
American Civil War and Political Motivation
The first point to support Clausewitz’s argument is that the American Civil War was politically motivated. This means that the beginning of the civil war was political in nature. The first evidence for this point is that there was a political as well as ideological division in the United States that was becoming more pronounced as the civil war becomes more eminent. This division is brought about by the issue of slavery; one faction upholds slavery while another faction wants it abolished. Both factions deride their stands from the constitution. If we take Clausewitz’s theory that a war is continuation of a political rivalry or warfare then the American Civil War is indeed such as it started from a political division. The second evidence is that political leaders are extensively involved all throughout the American Civil War, even up to its end when there were reorganizations in the political system and in the constitution after it ended. The extensive involvement of politicians all throughout and after the civil war debunks Jomini’s perspective of war that it is purely a drama of heroes and military men. In fact the warring factions are not all military men but rather ordinary people or citizens plus the politicians. From start to finish, the American Civil War is political in nature.
Organized Violence during the American Civil War
The second point that supports Clausewitz’s argument is that the American Civil War is marked by organized violence perpetrated by both warring political factions. In other words, the diverse violence committed during the civil war was not random or unorganized. One of the evidences for this point is that there were military personnel and politicians involved. In fact other nations got involved in it as well. Note that in Clausewitz’s theory, organized violence is considered an evidence of political maneuvering and not purely military. In order to make such maneuvers there must be divisions among territories. In the American Civil War, these territories constituted the divided states and each state had its own local political governance. The idea is that politicians must have been actively involved in the civil war so that an entire state could be considered either an anti or pro slavery –which are political ideologies. In other words, the organized violence was not simply done by people who want to overpower each other as how would Jomini would describe wars in his essays, but also political ideologies that want to dominate over the other. The second evidence is that there was an initial to balance the power in congress by dividing territories. This division in territories then helped perpetuate organized violence. Accordingly, during the 19t century, states at the upper or northern part of the Mason-Dixon Line, which is the border that divides Pennsylvania and Maryland have made political and legislative efforts to outlaw slave labor. This political maneuver by the said states created a tension among political leaders so there was an effort by the federal government to temper such tension by creating another territory, which is the state of Missouri through the Missouri Compromise of 1820. A similar compromise transpired during the later years of the 1940s called the Compromise of 1850 wherein there was a compromise between the warring political factions to divide the newly acquired territories through the Mexican-American War. All these compromises tended to temper and balance the power between the “free states” and the “slave states” at Congress. During the height of the civil war such political division was manifested in territorial division, division in the military power, division among ordinary people (both free and slaves), and in the perpetuation of organized violence.
In conclusion, it can be concluded that the American Civil War can be best characterized through Clausewitz’s theory over Jomini’s theory. The reason for such conclusion is that the American Civil War was extensively indulged upon by political leaders, was brought about by differences in political ideologies, and has bring about political changes after it has ended. In other words, the American Civil War was indeed a political warfare as it were not merely the military leaders who make the important ware decision but the political leaders, which is contrary to Jomini’s theory.
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