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Before and after18610412 amcivwarbegins

The 1861-1865 war between the states of the United States of America divides its history in much the same manner as it still divides its populace. It embodies the nature of the nation dating back to its roots. The most serious rift among the creators of the US constiution came down to slavery. For most of the history of the nation up to the war, the balance between free state and slave state defined its politics and character. The calibration events in this survey up to this time often appear as causes for the war in many text about this event. 

From one magnitude wider, the conflict represented a struggle between historical forces, agrarian versus industrial. The bid to save the slavery system was one that pitted human labor against machines. The agrarian side also harkens back to medieval forms of mercantilism. One key reason why the South lost comes from how its railroads served a limited purpose, getting goods to port for export. This came at a time when getting men and equipment to the battle front relied on railroads, the North's industrial capitalism lent itself to more convenient distribution. Its railroads reflected the diversity of of its capital system, every ready to adapt where ever economic opportunity showing promise. The North's took rail network stretched to whereever it needed to. In contrast, the South had to try to expand its network during war.

This separation from the past played out more acutely over the next 60 years. The US Civil War marked the beginning of post-modern industrial conflict. Beyond railroads, the war saw the first battle between steam propelled, ironclad vessels specially built for naval combat. It also the marked the beginning of sailed commercial vessels. From this time forward, both commercial and naval ship development turned to self propulsion and metal construction. This disruption connected continental interiors to global maritime commerce. This transition occurred immediately after the war, with the help of the Suez Canal and US Transcontinental railroad, respectively completed 1868 and 1869.

Obviously, such a turning point ranks as one of the most important events on the Calibration Event list.