Why Did the South Lose The Civil War?

Why did the South Lose The Civil War?


A frequently, and sometimes hotly, discussed subject; the outcome of the American Civil War has fascinated historians for generations. Some argue that the North's economic advantages proved too much for the South, others that Southern strategy was faulty, offensive when it should have been defensive, and vice-versa. Internal division in the South is often referred to, and complaints made against Davis' somewhat makeshift, inexperienced, government. Doubts are sometimes raised over the commitment of Southerners to a cause many of them were half-hearted about. Many historians have argued that the South lost the will to fight long before defeat was ...

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However, while a recital of the war's events and key points may explain how the South lost the Civil War, it fails to explain why they lost. Why did the Southern war effort fail at three key stages? While valid, McPherson's explanation seems little more than a more complex restatement of the question he attempts to answer.

The North's superiority in manpower and resources must not be omitted in any answer to this question. Lincoln had at his disposal a population of 22,000,000, compared with a Southern population of 9,000,000, which included 3,500,000 slaves whom they dared not arm. This provided a far larger base from which to draw troops, although it has been suggested that Southerners were keener to join up than their Union counterparts. Furthermore, in terms of resources, the Union advantage was huge: New York alone produced manufactures of a value four times greater that the total Southern output; the North had a virtual monopoly on heavy industries; coal, iron, ...

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difficult blockading. Secondly, most of the US Army's best leaders were Southerners, so, at the start at least, the Confederacy had superior leadership in battle. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, military historians reckon that attacking in this period required thrice the manpower that defending did, virtually wiping out the North's demographic advantages. It would seem, therefore, that although the North's superior resources undoubtedly helped, this alone does not fully account for the Southern defeat.

Another view is that the South lost through bad conduct of the war. These criticisms fall into two main categories, military and political. Richard Current, identifies four ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 5/31/2012 01:49:11 AM
Submitted By: claudia
Category: American History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2073
Pages: 8

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