Essay Example: Primary Source Analysis of Sherman's Letter to the Mayor of Atlanta

Published: 2022-11-02
Essay Example: Primary Source Analysis of Sherman's Letter to the Mayor of Atlanta
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  American Civil War
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 490 words
5 min read

This letter was written by Mr. W.T Sherman and its intended audience primarily was James Calhoun, Ralson and Wells who represented the local administration of Atlanta and also by extension meant for the people of Atlanta. The document was created on September 12th, 1864 as denoted in the beginning head of the letter showing the address of the sender who also starts the letter by acknowledging it as being a reply of a previous letter written to him on the 11th further illustrating when it was written.

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This letter was written during the American civil war which pitted the National Government against the confederacy of states located in the south of America and was a war that stemmed from slavery and its abolition by the federal government. The slaves were people of African roots who mainly worked in plantations and homes in the southern states. People from the south were in favor of maintaining the practice as it entailed cheap labor but the federal government which was located in the north wanted the practice ended (Sherman, 1865). The south had also in prior years been usurping the role and institutions of the National Government which were located in the south.

The main idea of the document was to pass the message that the National Government was going to fight using any means necessary in order to achieve peace in the south and reassert its authority as well as that of the union. The purpose of the document was to give the reason why he wouldn't revoke the order he had given asking people to leave because even if he was to be sympathetic about their plight, the situation did not necessitate such empathy since there was a need to go after the rebel armies wherever they may be and thus he did not appear as being biased towards the people of Atlanta. The historical significance of this document was that the writer expounded in it what were the general view of those in the north and the government of the United States at that time (Sherman, 1865). This document relates to the issues we deal with in society today by the fact that the author talks about the need for peace, adherence to the rule of law and his convictions about why the government needs to re-assert its authority which are important issues in today's society where people still break the law and commit serious crimes which may be construed as not respecting authority and the government of the day.


Sherman, W. T. (1865). General Sherman's Official Account of His Great March Through Georgia and the Carolinas: From His Departure from Chattanooga to the Surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston and the Confederate Forces Under His Command. To which is Added, General Sherman's Evidence Before the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War; the Animadversions of Secretary Stanton and General Halleck: with a Defence of His Proceedings, Etc. Bunce & Huntington.

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