Free «Drawn from the Sword» Essay Sample

To start with, in the book ‘Drawn from the sword’ McPherson provides a sequence of essays which explain the controversial concerns of the civil war. This book elaborates the incident in the Northern victory and gives the reasons as to why the south lost whereas the north won. However, the book also explores the origin of the war as well as the person who fought for the slaves’ freedom. Was it the slaves themselves or Abraham Lincoln?

In connection to this, McPherson provides an excellent description of the leaders who are believed to have participated in this civil war. Nonetheless, these men included Abraham Lincoln, Robert Lee and Ulysses Grant. In this context, the book describes Ulysses as a man full of valor and fortitude. Actually, these are the characteristics which identified him in any battle field. On the other hand, Robert Lee is described as a bright general and a real man full of influence. At this point, Abraham Lincoln is brought out as the chief principal and speaker whose influence is still felt in the contemporary world. Actually, the book upholds the fact that Abraham Lincoln is an outstanding champion of constructive liberalism (McPherson 183).



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To a large extent, McPherson admits that Lincoln presidency election endangered the southern culture. The book goes ahead to explain the fears of the southern people. Following Lincoln’s election the south concluded that they can no longer control the general government. This is because they knew Lincoln stand on slavery and unity (McPherson 198). However, due to this fear of their way of life coming to an end the southerners pulled out of the union. To be specific, McPherson basically takes a synoptic look of the crucial civil wars and the lessons learned from them. In this book, he outlines the development of the idea` total war’ connecting both civilians and soldiers in the same level during the border-state revolutionary operations which preceded the major war.

In the same line of thought, McPherson also tackles the evolution of the civil war from a conflict which was intended for the federals with the view of restoring the ancient union into a republican war. However, McPherson claims that the war was meant to please the development of trade democracy upon an agrarian empire. While tackling this change, he looks at the differences between the south and the north coming into a conclusion that the similarities between the two outweigh the difference. Nonetheless, he elaborates the major difference which was industrial capitalism which had begun to take root in the north (McPherson 22).

Conversely, McPherson explains clearly that industrial capitalism was a nightmare to the southerners. In his last easy ‘what is the matter with history’ McPherson tries to contact the three main addressees to whom he thought all the readers of history are under. At this point, he addresses the history professionals and he criticizes the present field of history. In fact, he claims that the experts in history have let go the narrative history and have opted for shallow academic writings which only advances other fields of study (McPherson 236).

Needless to say, I have really learned a lot of things in this book about Abraham Lincoln. However, many historians have been sharply critical about Abraham Lincoln in the first phase of the civil war due to his slowness in reacting to the issue of slavery. But after learning the great political and military weight on Lincoln I surely had to accept and appreciate the skillfulness of this man in handling such diverse issues in history. In the unfolding of events, I dearly admire Lincoln’s wisdom in the whole period of the civil war. This is because if he could have taken the advice of the many radicals he could have as well damaged his coalition, the war and watched the slavery he hated most to continue in the next generation (Smith etal 45).

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Apart from this, I also learned that the fight for democracy was an encouragement to many nations especially to Britain which wanted to develop their voting rights. Supposedly, it is the example set by Americans that encouraged Britain to carry out the reform bill of 1867 which resulted to democracy (Park 265). AS matter of fact, slavery abolition in American fired up campaigns against the same in the western Hemisphere which finally succeeded two decades afterward.

Critically, McPherson idea of slavery being the centre of everything may not be true. This is because there are other contributing factors which led to the civil war which included expansion, party politics, sectionalism, abolition as well as modernization and economics. Nevertheless, McPherson also personalized the development of the war by bringing out the idea that the war could not be predestined. I disagree with this notion because the fact that Lincoln was a freedom fighter for the slaves could definitely give the people a clue on what can happen next after his elections. In this context, the rise of Lincoln in the political arena raised the hope for the slaves to be free one day (McPherson 61).

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Above this, the different ways of lives that existed between the south and the north could have also contributed to the civil war. Actually, the south was dominated by farmers and its population was not growing swiftly like the north. Therefore, the desire to control the central government brought tension between the two areas as the population of the north made it difficult for the south to rule. Apart from this, McPherson is also biased to the north in his essays and he seems to care less about the south. So to speak, in almost all his essays he upholds the north and gives all the reasons as to why the victory of the north was advantageous as compared to that of the south.

Following this, McPherson maximizes on the weaknesses of the south where he could not see anything positive apart from the negative part of slavery. In the same line of thought, McPherson dwells so much on the slavery issue of the south and decides to overlook its productivity in the agricultural sector (Smith etal 45). Nonetheless, this idea was not fair because even though slavery is not found in the north, it still had its own challenges.

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However, Macpherson’s own intellectual ideas concerning the civil war and disagreements in the history field are brought out well in each assay of “Drawn by the sword”. Additionally, he has discussed the war in all sides in a very understandable way giving out his profound opinions at the end. Apart from this, the book is of great help to the reader who has an idea of the war and takes pleasure in intellectual handling of different topics and war headings that are above mere stories.

Above and beyond, the book ‘Drawn from the sword’ explores the origin of the war as well as the person who fought for the slaves’ freedom. However, McPherson goes ahead to elaborate on the men who were believed to have made history during the civil war. Among them was Abraham Lincoln who fought to the end for the slaves freedom and his influence is still felt up to date. Apart from this, the book has really taught me a lot about Lincoln and his success in history. Despite the fact that, Mcpherson’s book is really good, readable and easy to understand the author’s ideas were a bit biased. In essence, he demonized the south so much to extend that nothing seemed to be good in it.


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