Gettysburg was the turning point in the American Civil War. Back in the day's before animation. More importantly Gettysburg was the climatic clash between the two major American cultures of their time: the North and the South. A climax of a conflict between two cultures with such vastly different ideals that they could not coexist in "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
When looking at the causes of the Civil War, and eventually the Battle of Gettysburg, one must understand the differences between these two cultures. The Confederacy had an agricultural economy producing tobacco, corn, and cotton, with many huge plantations owned by a few very rich white men. These owners lived off of the labor of sharecroppers and slaves, charging high royalties for the use of their land. Similarly the Confederate Army consisted of a group of white males, fighting for their independence form federal dictates.
On the other hand the Union economy was one of manufacturing. Although there was still inequality, the minorities in the North were better off than those in the south on an average basis. The northern politicians wanted tariffs, and a large army while the southern plantation owners wanted the exact opposite. Like Northern society the Union army was one of many races and types of people. The Union army was far from one of equality, but it was better than the South.
Because of these differences, the Civil War was actually two different wars. The South was fighting against a government that they considered to be unfair. They believed that Washington was overtaxing them, with tariffs and property taxes making their lifestyles even more expensive than they already were. On the other hand the North was fighting this war for two reasons, first to keep the Nation unified, and second to abolish slavery. Abraham Lincoln, the commander and chief of the Union forces, along with many other Northerners believed that Slavery was not only fundamentally wrong, but it was a great humiliation to America. One can see that with these differences a conflict would be inevitable, but not many had predicted that a full-blown war would break out. One did and after three bloody and costly years for both sides we come to the date of July 1, 1863.
The stage was set for an immense struggle at Gettysburg after the May 1863 Battle of Chancellors Ville, when General Robert E. Lee made the historic decision to divide his already out manned and outgunned Army of Northern Virginia. This apparent violation of basic strategic principles was undertook at great risk, and only for the reason that a great payoff was possible. By creating 3 corps from his 75,000 men, Lee made it possible to accomplish more tasks in the same amount of time. The three commanders were, in theory, to be supported by the strategic reconnasaince of Jeb Stuart's cavalry-a role in which he failed dismally (and fatally) in the days and weeks leading up to Gettysburg. ...