Discussion Could the South Have Won the War? By Terry L. Jones 3/16/2015

Cavalier

First Sergeant
Joined
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The only way for the South to win, in my opinion, was for the population of the North to loose the will to carry on the struggle.

John
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Ok
Ok
My main point was that if South Africa with a smaller white population then the American South could industrialize so could the American South. We can't really get to much into modern politics but an industrilised Confederate Nation was not out of the question.
Leftyhunter

I never claimed the American south could not industrialize. I believe in 1860 the south was not remotely ready for independence. It was a periphery region that was 70 years behind the core countries that embraced the Industrial Revolution. It wasn't out of the question, but it still had an Old World status in the New World, which it would have taken a long time to become a truly independent core nation. And this barring no interference outside the southeast.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
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Yes, but I think it is arguable that independence was all that the CSA wanted out of the war. They certainly wanted Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri, although we will never know how hard they would have been willing to fight for them. The also wanted New Mexico and Southern California. They also wanted to expand in the Caribbean (Cuba especially) and it is reasonable to expact that the CSA would have come to blows with USA over Caribbean expansion at some point.

Both USA and CSA were militarist and expansionist. Any sort of long-term peaceful coexistence seems far fetched.

The CSA didn't have the wherewithal to obtain independence. If the US didn't invade them some other country would have, preferably the old colonists, causing neo-Colonialism. It happened plenty of times in history. The Civil War itself taught us that the south could not be independent, their entire economy crashed in 2 years. That's not the attributes of a core country with autonomy. It was a periphery region with high hopes to be a core country some day.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
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The only way for the South to win, in my opinion, was for the population of the North to loose the will to carry on the struggle.

John

The only way the south could have won was an inspired act of God, which we know never happened.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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I never claimed the American south could not industrialize. I believe in 1860 the south was not remotely ready for independence. It was a periphery region that was 70 years behind the core countries that embraced the Industrial Revolution. It wasn't out of the question, but it still had an Old World status in the New World, which it would have taken a long time to become a truly independent core nation. And this barring no interference outside the southeast.
The South could rapidly industrilize but it would take a lot of foreign assistance to do so. There are modern examples of that.
If a negotiated settlement could of been reached perhaps the CSA could of been a viable nation . Of course we can't know that. All we know from history is massive industriluzation can occur very quickly in less then twenty years.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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The CSA didn't have the wherewithal to obtain independence. If the US didn't invade them some other country would have, preferably the old colonists, causing neo-Colonialism. It happened plenty of times in history. The Civil War itself taught us that the south could not be independent, their entire economy crashed in 2 years. That's not the attributes of a core country with autonomy. It was a periphery region with high hopes to be a core country some day.
We can't know if a foreign nation would of successfully invaded or even would try to invade an independent Confederate nation. As a general rule sucessfull secessionist movements require foreign assistance as did the Colonial Rebels. Of course foreign nations only intervene in civil wars if they have a compelling reason . The Confederacy never could make a compleing argument to other nations to intervene in it's behalf but not from lack of trying.
Leftyhunter
 

lurid

First Sergeant
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We can't know if a foreign nation would of successfully invaded or even would try to invade an independent Confederate nation. As a general rule sucessfull secessionist movements require foreign assistance as did the Colonial Rebels. Of course foreign nations only intervene in civil wars if they have a compelling reason . The Confederacy never could make a compleing argument to other nations to intervene in it's behalf but not from lack of trying.
Leftyhunter

Precisely, and that's why I been saying it was not ready to be a "core" nation, but a "periphery" one. There are some people who believe the south could have been an independent nation but the rest of the world did no think it was ready. I agree..
 

leftyhunter

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Precisely, and that's why I been saying it was not ready to be a "core" nation, but a "periphery" one. There are some people who believe the south could have been an independent nation but the rest of the world did no think it was ready. I agree..
Perhaps. I would argue the rest of the world was not adverse to having an independent Confederate nation and the Confederacy had no problems purchasing weapons on a cash and carry basis with some exceptions such has the Laird Ram Affair. The problem for the Confederacy was no nation was going to go to war to insure an independent Confederate nation as was France and Spain on behalf of the Colonial Rebels. Of course France and Spain had compleing reasons to assist the Colonial Rebels.
Leftyhunter
 

Viper21

Brigadier General
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The CSA didn't have the wherewithal to obtain independence.
This sentence, I can agree with. The odds were long, & it's always easier with hindsight but, seems the odds of an overall military victory were slim at best. Their best hope for Independence was a political victory in my view.

If the US didn't invade them some other country would have, preferably the old colonists, causing neo-Colonialism. It happened plenty of times in history.
Perhaps. Although, it would've depended on the time table to determine if an Independent CSA could've repelled another invasion, especially a significant one. Immediately following the war..? Doubtful. Years later..? Odds get better. Decades later..? Again, much better odds. We'll never know but, interesting to ponder.

The Civil War itself taught us that the south could not be independent, their entire economy crashed in 2 years. That's not the attributes of a core country with autonomy.
I wonder how the US economy would've fared in 1865 had the CSA marched all the way to Boston, destroying property, & crippling commercial capabilities along the way..? The crippling of the CSA economy directly correlated to military destruction, & occupation of the Union. That is to say, the resulting economic crash was not the circumstance of poor economics, but of defeat.

It was a periphery region with high hopes to be a core country some day.
Reads as condescending to me. Perhaps I'm wrong. Plenty of people prefer rural environments. I imagine there were many who didn't view Industrialization as a 100% positive. Plenty of folks even today don't, & they limit their exposure to modern conveniences, or technologies. I can't imagine there weren't folks back then who felt the same way. I don't view them as secondary, or believe they should be marginalized. Just my 2 cents.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
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This sentence, I can agree with. The odds were long, & it's always easier with hindsight but, seems the odds of an overall military victory were slim at best. Their best hope for Independence was a political victory in my view.

Perhaps. Although, it would've depended on the time table to determine if an Independent CSA could've repelled another invasion, especially a significant one. Immediately following the war..? Doubtful. Years later..? Odds get better. Decades later..? Again, much better odds. We'll never know but, interesting to ponder.


I wonder how the US economy would've fared in 1865 had the CSA marched all the way to Boston, destroying property, & crippling commercial capabilities along the way..? The crippling of the CSA economy directly correlated to military destruction, & occupation of the Union. That is to say, the resulting economic crash was not the circumstance of poor economics, but of defeat.


Reads as condescending to me. Perhaps I'm wrong. Plenty of people prefer rural environments. I imagine there were many who didn't view Industrialization as a 100% positive. Plenty of folks even today don't, & they limit their exposure to modern conveniences, or technologies. I can't imagine there weren't folks back then who felt the same way. I don't view them as secondary, or believe they should be marginalized. Just my 2 cents.

My theory has been that the south was best kept in the Union for National Security reasons. Breaking off from the Union would have made the continental U.S. borders vulnerable. This correlates with the Monroe Doctrine philosophy that the southern part of the Americas would be vulnerable to neo-Colonialism. Keep in mind the Europeans colonized the Americas first like they did Africa, and both resisted but Africa eventually could not buffet neo-Colonialism whereas the U.S did. If the south gained its independence the country would have been split making the U.S. weaker to buffet foreign intervention in the Americas. If the south left the Monroe Doctrine would have been merely a federal document existing in a vacuum.

I'm quite sure the U.S. economy would have fared much better than the Confederate economy did if the shoe was on the other foot. The U.S. economy consisted of 90% of the America's GDP, whereas the south's economy was merely 7-8% of the GDP. Cotton exports which was the south's money maker consisted of only 5% of the U.S. GDP.

cotton gdp.png


Well, the south's economy crashed before it was militarily defeated, so that point is moot. It just didn't have the economy to buffet a war like a core country could. All the south's money was mostly all non-liquid, wrapped up in land and slaves. They just could not convert it to any monetary value to sustain its military effort.

Well, how could a rural nation be independent in a world that was rapidly industrializing? I'm sure they could have pulled it off if they were on some remote island, but not while they were part of the continental U.S.A. That would have been virtually impossible.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
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Perhaps. I would argue the rest of the world was not adverse to having an independent Confederate nation and the Confederacy had no problems purchasing weapons on a cash and carry basis with some exceptions such has the Laird Ram Affair. The problem for the Confederacy was no nation was going to go to war to insure an independent Confederate nation as was France and Spain on behalf of the Colonial Rebels. Of course France and Spain had compleing reasons to assist the Colonial Rebels.
Leftyhunter

I'm not saying the rest of the world was adverse either, I'm saying none it ever materialized. The probabilities favor my position.
 

Viper21

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My theory has been that the south was best kept in the Union for National Security reasons. Breaking off from the Union would have made the continental U.S. borders vulnerable. This correlates with the Monroe Doctrine philosophy that the southern part of the Americas would be vulnerable to neo-Colonialism. Keep in mind the Europeans colonized the Americas first like they did Africa, and both resisted but Africa eventually could not buffet neo-Colonialism whereas the U.S did. If the south gained its independence the country would have been split making the U.S. weaker to buffet foreign intervention in the Americas. If the south left the Monroe Doctrine would have been merely a federal document existing in a vacuum.
I agree that two separate nations would've made both more vulnerable to foreign invaders. Although again, we'll never know. I assume that when thinking about that possibility, surely they would've had to cooperate with each other some. Even more so as the wounds of war healed.
I'm quite sure the U.S. economy would have fared much better than the Confederate economy did if the shoe was on the other foot. The U.S. economy consisted of 90% of the America's GDP, whereas the south's economy was merely 7-8% of the GDP. Cotton exports which was the south's money maker consisted of only 5% of the U.S. GDP.

Well, the south's economy crashed before it was militarily defeated, so that point is moot. It just didn't have the economy to buffet a war like a core country could. All the south's money was mostly all non-liquid, wrapped up in land and slaves. They just could not convert it to any monetary value to sustain its military effort.
The South's ability to profit was severely restricted, well before they were militarily defeated. Blockade ? Rail lines, means of production, etc... all were reduced. A financial stranglehold was inflicted early on. It was part of the US's military strategy, & an effective one.

Well, how could a rural nation be independent in a world that was rapidly industrializing? I'm sure they could have pulled it off if they were on some remote island, but not while they were part of the continental U.S.A. That would have been virtually impossible.
Hard to say. I think a case could be made in either direction. All depends on the definitions. Although, there is no doubt industrialization would've come in earnest, there are still rural communities today that thrive. We need rural communities as much as we need industrial centers. Ask any farmer, or anyone that likes to eat :biggrin:
 

lurid

First Sergeant
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Which they almost had. Lincoln was worried about losing; "Copperheads, "Peace -Platform Democrats, Draft Riots. The North was tired of the war

I think you're disproportionally leaving out a comparison that would give us the more accurate probabilities. The north was annoyed but not remotely exhausted. The south was annoyed and exhausted. All the difference in the world.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
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I agree that two separate nations would've made both more vulnerable to foreign invaders. Although again, we'll never know. I assume that when thinking about that possibility, surely they would've had to cooperate with each other some. Even more so as the wounds of war healed.

The South's ability to profit was severely restricted, well before they were militarily defeated. Blockade ? Rail lines, means of production, etc... all were reduced. A financial stranglehold was inflicted early on. It was part of the US's military strategy, & an effective one.


Hard to say. I think a case could be made in either direction. All depends on the definitions. Although, there is no doubt industrialization would've come in earnest, there are still rural communities today that thrive. We need rural communities as much as we need industrial centers. Ask any farmer, or anyone that likes to eat :biggrin:

This is my point, the south could not stop an outside force from crashing their economy. I severely doubt the Confederates would have lasted long tearing up the north. Gettysburg is the only evidence we have that shows that the Confederates would have not done well fighting in the north. One battle cost Lee 1/3 of his army. The "probabilities" that the south would have been folded real early in the north are greater than the probabilities the south could have crashed the north's economy.
 

leftyhunter

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Which they almost had. Lincoln was worried about losing; "Copperheads, "Peace -Platform Democrats, Draft Riots. The North was tired of the war
As was the South. Bread riots vs draft riots, massive desertion and guerrilla warfare, massive amounts of slaves running away, Southern whites fleeing to the North. So internal dissatisfaction went both ways. We know 104k white men from the eleven Southern states enlisted in the Union Army vs a comparitvely small amount of Northern white men enlisted in the Confederate Army.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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I'm not saying the rest of the world was adverse either, I'm saying none it ever materialized. The probabilities favor my position.
Especially because sugar,rice and cotton can be grown elsewhere. Indeed the ACW was a divine gift for cotton growers in the Indian Subcontinent and Egypt.
Sugar of course could easily be obtained from the British Carribean Island's and plenty of rice from British India.
Leftyhunter
 

Viper21

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This is my point, the south could not stop an outside force from crashing their economy. I severely doubt the Confederates would have lasted long tearing up the north. Gettysburg is the only evidence we have that shows that the Confederates would have not done well fighting in the north. One battle cost Lee 1/3 of his army. The "probabilities" that the south would have been folded real early in the north are greater than the probabilities the south could have crashed the north's economy.
I agree that the Confederates were better suited to a defensive position. I've stated elsewhere that I believe the foray into Gettysburg was more of a desire for political victory, than military.

When I mentioned the causes of the Southern economies crash, I was stating it was a result of military action, not ineptness on the part of the CSA. I believe it's plausible the CSA could've survived, if a peaceful secession had happened.
 

leftyhunter

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los angeles ca
I agree that the Confederates were better suited to a defensive position. I've stated elsewhere that I believe the foray into Gettysburg was more of a desire for political victory, than military.

When I mentioned the causes of the Southern economies crash, I was stating it was a result of military action, not ineptness on the part of the CSA. I believe it's plausible the CSA could've survived, if a peaceful secession had happened.
It's very difficult to find an example of a conventional war won on the defensive. I agree if the Confederacy was able to peacefully succeed from the Union it could have been a viable nation.
Leftyhunter
 

lurid

First Sergeant
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I agree that the Confederates were better suited to a defensive position. I've stated elsewhere that I believe the foray into Gettysburg was more of a desire for political victory, than military.

When I mentioned the causes of the Southern economies crash, I was stating it was a result of military action, not ineptness on the part of the CSA. I believe it's plausible the CSA could've survived, if a peaceful secession had happened.

I never said it was due to ineptness nor did I allude to it. I said that it didn't have the economy stoutness to buffet wars nor to be a core country, and I believe that is probable. I'm not being condescending, but if we all strive to be legit historians we have to come up with the most "probabilities" to be accurate as possible. Believing something is plausible doesn't mean it is probable.
 
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