After the Battle of Fort Sumter made clear that there would be war between the North and South, support for both the Union and Confederacy rose. Two days after the surrender of the fort, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call-to-arms asking for 75,000 volunteers, a request that would rely on Northern states to organize and train their men. While most Americans had hoped to avert war, many abolitionists had come to view war as inevitable, and the news from Fort Sumter suggested a chance to rectify the country's original sin through the defeat of the South. Though abolitionists were a minority that was mostly confined to New England and often branded as radicals, they had long sought to end slavery and secure basic civil rights for blacks. One of the most famous abolitionists, the escaped slave Frederick Douglass, realized immediately what kind of opportunity the Civil War presented to all blacks, whether they were slaves or free: "Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letter, US, let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship."
©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors