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"How the Confederacy Almost Won the American Civil War" Topic


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1,129 hits since 20 Apr 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2018 12:48 p.m. PST

"Early in the American Civil War, the Confederacy almost won. It was not the complete victory the Union eventually achieved. Rather than conquering their opponents, the Confederates hoped to force them to the negotiating table, where the division of the states could be accomplished. In those terms, it could be argued the Confederates were close to their goals.

How did they achieve such a remarkable success?…."
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Amicalement
Armand

Choctaw20 Apr 2018 1:00 p.m. PST

I can see this turning into a 65 post free-for-all.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2018 1:08 p.m. PST

Agreed.

Tacitus20 Apr 2018 2:06 p.m. PST

If their goals were independence and the retention of slavery, then they were nowhere close to their goals. Post 4 of 65.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2018 2:11 p.m. PST

Post #5 of 65 I will abstain graciously.

Bill N20 Apr 2018 2:47 p.m. PST

Historical outcomes are not preordained. The Confederacy could have won the war. I can even see circumstances under which the Confederacy could have won it in 1861. I do not believe though the Confederacy got that close to winning in 1861. Probably between #6 and 10.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2018 5:30 p.m. PST

Post #7 of 65?

The more I look at it, the more it seems to me the Confederacy's military chances vanished almost before the serious fighting with the loss of the border states. Had Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri joined, there was a military chance. Without them, the only hope was that northern morale would break.

Charlie 12 Inactive Member20 Apr 2018 6:29 p.m. PST

Only 65? That's optimistic…

Could the South have won? Certainly (as Bill N pointed out, historical outcomes are never preordained). But is it as easy as the article implies? Not even close. 1861 was their best chance and that would've needed EVERYTHING (military, political, diplomatic) to fall their way. By 1862, that door was slammed shut.

And yes, expect a free-for-all with the obligatory DHs…

vicmagpa120 Apr 2018 8:35 p.m. PST

i think the death of Jackson was the death of confederacy. look who replaced him. one timid, one sick generals,

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2018 10:42 p.m. PST

"It is a question that will be debated for as long as the war is remembered" (quote from the article).

The article doesn't seem very contentious to me but I don't have any emotional attachment to the war. I will write that history can turn up some unlikely examples of the underdog winning: Finland & the USSR?

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Apr 2018 4:00 a.m. PST

The article is a bit simplistic. And the section on "The Southern Military Tradition" has been largely debunked by modern historians. The North had far more military schools than the South and one statistic which is often flouted, the larger number of West Point cadets, per capita sent by the South was due to the fact that many Southern cadets were academically unprepared and flunked out. Their spots were taken by new Southerners and yet the guy who flunked out was kept in the records as 'attending West Point'.

But could the South have won? Sure, it was a contest of will as much as of raw strength, and in the end the North had the will to stick it out and the South did not.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2018 11:09 a.m. PST

(smile)

Amicalement
Armand

Trajanus22 Apr 2018 1:27 p.m. PST

The article is a bit simplistic

Yeah, in the same way the Mississippi is a bit of a river! : o)

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2018 11:33 a.m. PST

Agreed very simplistic. The CSA did not stand a chance.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2018 11:07 a.m. PST

Well… imho with England and France from their side… they would have a chance….

Amicalement
Armand

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Apr 2018 11:21 a.m. PST

Without Foreign help the South probably could not have won a conventional struggle. But they could have won an extended guerilla-style war. If they had refused to quite there was no way the North could have kept control of an area as vast as the South. Eventually they would have given up and gone home. We've seen that happen again and again elsewhere in the world. Fortunately for everyone, the South had no stomach for such a thing.

catavar26 Apr 2018 12:14 p.m. PST

I've heard that argument before but am not convinced it would have worked. Look at Sherman's march from Atlanta. That type of treatment throughout the south would have quickly tempered any support partisans may have gotten from the local population in my opinion (but hey, you never know…).

huevans01126 Apr 2018 2:44 p.m. PST

Without Foreign help the South probably could not have won a conventional struggle. But they could have won an extended guerilla-style war. If they had refused to quite there was no way the North could have kept control of an area as vast as the South. Eventually they would have given up and gone home. We've seen that happen again and again elsewhere in the world. Fortunately for everyone, the South had no stomach for such a thing.

Unless you see the Civil War as a logical economic choice. If it is cheaper and less disruptive to fight a war of secession than to give up the capital invested in your slaves, you fight the war.

It's hard to argue that years of hard-bitten, destructive guerilla war would be less costly and painful than simply giving up the invested property in your slaves and "liberating" them while later cutting a political deal with the North to allow you to keep those ex slaves subjugated by using Jim Crow.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Apr 2018 5:59 p.m. PST

I don't think anyone in the South was thinking in 'logical economic' terms. They weren't just fighting for valuable property, they were fighting to preserve what they saw as the proper social order (whites on top, blacks on the bottom). That's why the non-slave owners joined in so readily even though it did not benefit them economically.

wpilon27 Apr 2018 6:41 a.m. PST

But they could have won an extended guerilla-style war. If they had refused to quite there was no way the North could have kept control of an area as vast as the South.

If the South had launched a large scale guerrilla war, the U.S. government could have just armed and deputized all the freedmen. Problem solved.

donlowry27 Apr 2018 10:00 a.m. PST

Guerilla war would have destroyed what they were fighting for as surely as military defeat did.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Apr 2018 10:12 a.m. PST

So you are saying that the South could have won, but was not willing to pay the necessary price. I agree.

thomalley27 Apr 2018 3:41 p.m. PST

Unless you see the Civil War as a logical economic choice. If it is cheaper and less disruptive to fight a war of secession than to give up the capital invested in your slaves, you fight the war.

One of the problems is no will ever know how the issue might have been handled if they had stayed. Lincoln was not for immediate emancipation. But that's the problem, you are choosing between two courses of action, not between two outcomes. Another example, if the French and British could have predicted WWII, they would have quickly sent divisions into the Rhineland in 1935, but they were afraid that would set off the a war.

EJNashIII02 May 2018 7:02 p.m. PST

The south had no hope once the North decided to fight. The odds just were not on their side. It just took a few years for all sides to see the obvious. 10 to 1 in industrial capacity, 3.5 to 1 in GNP, nearly 5 to 1 in the white population, more than 2 to 1 in railroad mileage, etc. However, the most telling was steam engine production. The south was unable to manufacture a single steam engine in 4 years. The north during the same period produced over 2,000.

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