In the last chapter of Inhuman Bondage, Davis discusses the Civil War and the process of emancipation. Throughout the chapter, he talks in detail about the social and political battles during the war, and the feelings and emotions of each side as the war continued. Although I already knew that the American Civil War was the bloodiest American war to date, I did not fully realize the extent of this statement. Davis brings up the question, “Why was it that a democratic nation that prided itself on rational moderation, peace, common sense, expediency, and compromise became the scene of the world’s first “modern” war, pursued by the North until its armies achieved unconditional victory, totally crushing the South?” (page 300). Both sides of the war lost so many men, with the number of casualties over 600,000. Disease contributed heavily to these numbers, as they were overcrowded and had poor sanitation. Execution of prisoners of war was a surprising contributor to the death toll. I did not realized that both sides killed prisoners of war, like at Fort Pillow when the Confederate government massacred all of the black Union soldiers. Events like this show the deep-seated hatred on both sides of the war, and how either side was willing to take the next step in order to win.
Davis further discusses this idea of doing anything to win when he addresses how both sides expanded government power during the war. Both sides installed a draft to increase their army’s numbers, and the Union also started issuing bonds, printed more money, and started taxing income.
We see the Civil War today as the war that freed the slaves, an almost necessary evil that killed hundreds of thousands but ended the system of slavery. Davis highlights how this war devastated the country through the hundreds of thousands of deaths and the devastation of the land and plantations in the South. Although we will never know if slavery would have or could have ended without a war, the American Civil War still stands to be the bloodiest event in American history. The last few sentences of this chapter and book wrap up the Civil War by reminding us that the Civil War is our past, and that sometimes if takes a struggle to have greater equality and justice in the world.