Why The North Won The Civil War

Why The North Won The Civil War The Confederate South, which is known for its deep military history, proved to be no competition for an industrially sound and hastily growing north in this Civil War. The North that was industrially strong and armed to the teeth found much of their victories quite easily obtainable. Strategy, moral, leadership, and economy are just a few factors that contributed to the Unions dominance over the confederate succeeded states. The Union won the civil war by economic fortitude and industrial dominance not just by the power of their military. The Civil War was over before it began.

“There was probably never any chance of the South winning without European recognition and military aid” (Zebrowski 222). The union showed its advantages from the beginning. In population the North had an advantage of almost five to two. This advantage appears even greater if the slaves (which were more than one-third of the Southern people) are counted as somewhat less than the same number of freemen (Current 21). Raw materials were mostly congregated in the North. Much of the railroads were traced across the northern habitants: twice as much track and a better system of integrated lines (Brinkley 383).

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The South fell short with these advantages and just could not keep up. The strategies of these two feuding regions widely varied. Grand strategy was involved in the southern approach to the war. This was the fact that the confederacy didnt have to win in order to win; it was enough if she held the field long enough to weary the North with the war. The North in order to win, had to conquer the South (Commager 15).

The North completed the with help from Lincolns Union policy. Lincoln wanted to preserve the Union and he would let nothing get in his way of doing this. Acts of force and violence to support secession were insurrectionary, he said, and the government would “hold, occupy, and possess” federal property in the seceded states (Brinkley 382). Over 2 million men served in the Union military forces during the Civil War. In 1861 at the beginning of the war the union army consisted of 16,000 troops.

Lincoln called for the increase in 23,000 soldiers in the regular army, but the bulk of the fighting, he knew, would have to be done by th! e state militias (Brinkley 385). The South had a whole different approach to the War. It did not follow the Norths offensive motion, the South took more of a defensive approach. Edwin C. Bearss feels, “If the South were to win, it had to win a short war by striking swiftly-in modern parlance, by an offensive blitzkrieg strategy (Zebrowski 225). Behind the Confederate President Davis command the Confederacy sat in a defensive stance, waiting for a northern attack.

The main goal of the Confederacy was to protect its homeland. President Davis made one crucial mistake, he failed to create an effective central command system. After General Robert E. Lee left Daviss side to command forces on the battle field; President Davis for the next two years planned war strategy alone (Brinkley 397). The leadership of these two different regions was very diverse.

Lincoln who had almost no military experience except one brief service in a state militia , was on a whole a very successful military commander. He realized that numbers and resources were on his side, also he knew how to exploit the Norths military advantages (Brinkley 396). In 1864, Lincoln made Ulysses S. Grant general in chief of all the Union armies. Grant was not a strategic or tactical general; he simply believed in using the Norths great advantage in troops and material resources to overwhelm the South. He was not afraid to absorb massive casualties as long as he was inflicting similar or greater casualties on his opponents. Confederacys President Davis, who unlike Lincoln was a trained professional solider. Davis was not as impressive of a leader as Lincoln.

He could not overcome the substantial disadvantages that faced the South and lead his Confederate states to victory. Psychological feelings differed greatly through the United States at this time. Many southerners knew it was certain death if they were to go to war with the North. For example, the editor of the Lynchburg Virginian wrote: “if our relations with the North are ever severed, -and how soon they may be none can know; God forbid it long!- we should, in all the South, not be able to clothe ourselves; we could not fill our firesides, plough our fields, nor mow our meadows; in fact we should be reduced to a state more abject than we are willing to at even prospectively. And yet, all of these things staring us in the face, we shut our eyes and go in blindfold” (Current 22).

Most southerners thought that if they could just wear the Union down they could win. This goal was not very fulfilling, the North had to many resources to be worn down by the South. The North knew that they needed to be an offensive threat. Many people wanted to show their dominance over a less fortunate region like the South. Others didnt want to go to war or show force against a part of their own nation.

Lincolns aim was to “preserve the union” and that he did, by showing force at times and not at others. The most important factor that led to Northern victory was economic supremacy. The North could just totally over power the South, economically. Due to the industrial revolution the North had a well developed industry system. By 1862, the North could produce all its own war materials (Brinkley 383). These materials were shipped on the Northern railroad.

The North had a very effective system of tracks. They had twice as much track and a better integrated system of lines (Brinkley 383). The Northern government funded the war by levying taxes, issuing paper currency, and borrowing. Congress levied taxes on almost all goods and services. In 1861, Congress levied the first income tax to support the war funding.

A uniform paper currency was issued. Much like todays currency, this currency was not backed by gold or silver but by the good faith and credit of the government. The largest source for funding the Civil War was by issuing loans. The treasury persuaded ordinary ! citizens to buy over $400 million worth of bonds (Brinkley 385). The Northern industry helped to overpower the South. The Industrial Revolution did not take shape in the South by this time.

The South depended highly on the harvesting of their cash crop cotton as capitol for the nation. The South made a critical mistake with this cash crop. During the midst of the war, the Davis government deliberately did all in its power to make this crop useless. They reduced their planting, burning some of the bales they had on hand, and discouraged shipments abroad (Current 25). They also sold much of this harvested crop to the North for any profit they could obtain.

The South found it very difficult to fund this expensive war. The Confederacy tried not to tax the people directly but to requisition funds from the individual states. Many times these states were unwilling to tax their citizens and pay their shares, when they did pay it was with bonds and dubious notes. The Confederacy had to fund the war by paper currency. By 1864, the confederacy issued $1.5 billion in paper currency. Unlike t! he union, the confederacy had no uniform currency system, the banks, cities, states, national government all issued their own.

Needless to say, this produced mass confusion and chaos. The result was an enormous inflation of 9,000 percent increase in prices (Brinkley 392). The South was forced to be in a second rate position economically compared to the North. The Civil War was a grueling time for both the Union and the Confederacy. The victor was easily detected from the beginning. The North with its overpowering economy profited from the war.

The need for war materials supplied many citizens with jobs. Also, the need for a better system of the railroads help boast the nations economy. The South on the other hand depleted almost every resource available. With basically no industries to produce war materials, they were forced to purchase goods. The South had no way of getting the capitol that they lost purchasing the goods back. This shows a lot of moral on the Southerners part to enter a war that they had no chance of winning.


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