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The depictions of African Americans during the Civil War and Reconstruction Eras are incredibly important in order to understand how white northerners and southerners saw these individuals who the Civil War was largely being fought over. In in the years following the war and even today many people argue a plethora of other reasons such as states’ rights and tariffs are to blame for the bloodiest battle in American history. However, it is undeniable that the condition of African Americans being either enslaved or free was the most hotly contested issue of them all. It is significant not only because it helps place white northerners and southerners opinions in this war fought over slaves but also because it sheds light on how African Americans would be treated in the years following the year. Certainly, it was the anti slavery position of some Northerners (and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation) that allowed for abolition. However, this was the beginning of a long battle for which freedmen would fight for their civil liberties. Through Tourgee’s explanation of the viewpoints of both northerners and southerners historians get a more comprehensive understanding of the Civil War.  For example, he dispels notions that all northerners and all southerners had analogous beliefs about African Americans. This is an important lesson because it helps historians understand how though the Civil War was fought between the North and South, it cannot be demarcated that easily. There were endless numbers of differing factions: Quakers hoping for peace, Southerners fighting for their right to own slaves, Northerners who wanted the Confederacy to rejoin or fugitive slaves fighting in the Union cause for freedom and these groups all had their own opinion regarding the war and slavery.