Why the South did lost the Civil war

The question above is interesting as the south have enormous advantages against the North, starting with a wide and communicable land mass stretching from east to west comprising of 750,000 square miles of land overflowing with natural resources. Ned Harrison in his article, Why the South Lost the Civil War pointed out that, the South controlled the seacoast, which serves as a perfect source of food, as well as dozens of harbors, bays, coves and inlet, and riverbanks suitable for escaping union line of defense.[1] They even had dedicated and devoted people that firmly believed in the uprightness of their cause.The South was also equipped with tremendous motivations from their own ancestors who fought the mightiest power in the world during their time, the British. With all the necessary ingredients to muster a strong force, and loyal force willing to fight until the last breath of their lives, there is no reason to believe they could not won the war. The South also boasts of the superior training of their military Generals as well as the familiarity of most Southerners with horses and firearms, though both the Northern Union and the Southern Confederacy expect a quick victory in view of their own perceive advantages over the other.

Why the South lost the civil war, can be traced in the popular view among historians that the confederacy, ‘has lack-of- will.’ However, many also of the adherents of this lack of will thesis admired the confederates skillful handling of the war strategy that has made the men stick to the battlefield. On the one hand, considering the many factors that contributed to the winning and losing of war, there was indeed little chance for the South to win the war.

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In the short summary of his book, Charles Wesley, author of the book The Collapse of Confederacy enumerated the many factors that had contributed to the defeat of the Southern Confederacy. Following are some of the causes of the Confederate’s defeat as cited by Wesley:  the overwhelming numbers in Northern armies, the shortage of food in the South, the confederate loss of personnel in the army, the lack of war materials, poor fiscal management, the Union economic blockade, and the inferior confederate leadership.[2]Aside from these given causes, Wesley emphasized that what had worked silently, yet effectively contributed to the defeat of the South was the disintegrating internal factors[3] notably the deterioration of morale of the men in the field. An internet article entitled The Civil War pointed out that the breakdown of the institution of slavery during the war devastated the Southern economy causing enormous problems for the south logistically and work force to do their jobs in the farms and factories, as white men enlist themselves for war.

[4] David Trail in his article Teaching with Documents: Letters, Telegraphs, and Photographs Illustrating Factors that Affected the Civil War noted that the south had to worry contend the looming rebellion of their slave population as they posed threat to desert and provide assistance to the North.[5] The North, being aware of this internal conflict in the South, exploited the situation by promoting the Emancipation proclamation that will end slavery in the United States. Trail asserts that the defeat of the South was due to their failure to their failure to address important strategic measures that could have given them victories.[6]These measures includes control of the Mississippi river to allow easy movements of goods, preventing any attempt to cut off supplies coming international traders, to make more military advances north ward, and to produce sufficient goods and war materials needed. Because of the South’s failure to check on those measures, they were not able to sustain their war. Trail cited that, the South was able to fight on its landscape and it could win the war simply by sustaining their position even after the end of hostilities later.[7] Obviously, the confederate was also affected by the slow face of industrialization in the South as they lack sufficient industries that could be use in producing more logistic supplies needed to sustain their needs.

On the other hand, in contras with the South’s limited war machinery industries, the North had not only an overwhelming advantage in personnel; they also had sufficient industries that can be converted in the production of needed military equipment and supplies.Among other things that further did blow for the defeat of the South was the heroic initiative and judgment of hotheaded naval officer named Captain Charles Wilkes. An internet article entitled Europe and American Civil War pointed out that the Southern States attempted to seek European intervention to gain recognition and assistance from European powers. The article stated that the South designated two distinguished Southerners, James Mason and John Slidell as commissioners being the representatives of the Southern confederacy abroad, particularly in England and France respectively.[8] These distinguished Southerners were almost successful in their mission, but on the way back home, the article stated that they were captured by Captain Charles Wilkes in the high seas aboard British mail steamer Trent.[9] However, the incident almost brought an instant war with England as it drew uproar in England, which demanded the United States to release the prisoners and an apology.

The United States complied and avoided the war that could have greatly benefited the South, as the Union will face a separate war. The incident reveals two important things that could have changed the American history. One is, had the Southern dispatches were not checked by Wilkes, the South might have been able to established relations with two of the Greatest European powers that can strengthen their position against the North, and two, had Lincoln refused to comply with the British demands, the situation could have been unimaginable.The American civil war that was fought in the context of slavery has long been over and may have been erased already in the memory of most Americans, yet it is evident that the American civil war had taught important lesson that had helped them achieved what they become today. Indeed, the economic growth of the United States had already took off before the civil war, but with United States under one leadership, one economy, one people, the growth was truly unprecedented. The slavery that once represents the ugly face of human society has gone, although it took gradual transition before it was finally wiped out. Nevertheless, its last impact on the American society is the racial discrimination that is still practiced in of the United States.

However, with increasing popularity that America is the melting pot of cultures of the world, the discrimination issue is on the verge of elimination. The United States has become a hegemonic nation because of their solid unity as a people.

Author: Daryl Harrison


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