Counterpoint Independence is a two edged sword.

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
If the Confederates had somehow achieved independence, the US would also have been independent of the Confederacy. The ratio of paid labor states to slave labor states would have been at least 20:4, after the admission of West Virginia. Slavery would have been abolished in the US. The fugitive slave act would have been repealed, and the boundary fortified. Both sides would have spent money on modern arms and warships, and the US had the larger economy.
Beyond that issues become speculative. But the British most likely would have supplied the shipping services and the manufactured goods the Confederate states needed, at a price. Initially the prices may have been good, but the British were not engaged in trade for charitable purposes. Once they made the Confederacy dependent on British goods, the British would have charged what they wanted.
The French most likely would have become the financiers of the Confederacy, again at a price. If those trends progressed very far, the states that made up the northern tier of the possible Confederacy would have seen independence as a benefit only to a few.
Meanwhile, the US would have been influenced by immigration from the German states, and the rise of German nationalism.
Its hard to see how the Confederacy and the US would have avoided the nationalist trends that led to repeated war in Europe.
As the US continues to be independent of the Confederacy, it is free to subsidize western railroads, modernize its currency system, and copy the British by adopting an income tax.
Its hard to see how the Confederacy would keep up.
If the Confederacy is independent, the US is free to develop as fast as it can. I speculate that the two nations would never have made it past twenty years of hostile co-existence before finding some excuse to start the shooting again.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
If the Confederates had somehow achieved independence, the US would also have been independent of the Confederacy. The ratio of paid labor states to slave labor states would have been at least 20:4, after the admission of West Virginia. Slavery would have been abolished in the US. The fugitive slave act would have been repealed, and the boundary fortified. Both sides would have spent money on modern arms and warships, and the US had the larger economy.
JDB De Bow, in his southern periodical De Bow's Review, wrote that an independent south wouldn't have to pay for a national defense. He said the British and French navies would protect them because of dependence on southern cotton. Probably not the best plan for a national defense.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
JDB De Bow, in his southern periodical De Bow's Review, wrote that an independent south wouldn't have to pay for a national defense. He said the British and French navies would protect them because of dependence on southern cotton. Probably not the best plan for a national defense.
Not sure why, other nations and areas of the world have largely relied on the US to protect them the last 70-80 years.....and for the most part it has worked out for them. The British and French were the world powers during that period.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
JDB De Bow, in his southern periodical De Bow's Review, wrote that an independent south wouldn't have to pay for a national defense. He said the British and French navies would protect them because of dependence on southern cotton. Probably not the best plan for a national defense.
I think the British would have been OK with that, for awhile. But wouldn't they want cotton sources from within the empire? Wouldn't they want cotton that they could think was produced by free farmers? The British would have extracted every dollar they could from a potential Confederacy. Once the British had extinguished the competitors in the Confederate market, they would have behaved like a cartel. As for French, ask the Vietnamese about the kindness of French imperialism.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
By the turn of the century, 1900, there weren't a lot of independent countries. There were the empires of Russia, France, Belgium and Britain. The Canadians were semi-independent, and then there was the US. The Confederates thought they were aggrieved by the Yankees. If they ever gained independence, they would have experienced exploitation on a whole different scale. A few big land owners might have done OK. But working class whites would have gravitated towards jobs, schools and churches. The enslaved population would have become even more restless.
 

Cycom

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Location
Los Angeles, California
If the Confederates had somehow achieved independence, the US would also have been independent of the Confederacy. The ratio of paid labor states to slave labor states would have been at least 20:4, after the admission of West Virginia. Slavery would have been abolished in the US. The fugitive slave act would have been repealed, and the boundary fortified. Both sides would have spent money on modern arms and warships, and the US had the larger economy.
Beyond that issues become speculative. But the British most likely would have supplied the shipping services and the manufactured goods the Confederate states needed, at a price. Initially the prices may have been good, but the British were not engaged in trade for charitable purposes. Once they made the Confederacy dependent on British goods, the British would have charged what they wanted.
The French most likely would have become the financiers of the Confederacy, again at a price. If those trends progressed very far, the states that made up the northern tier of the possible Confederacy would have seen independence as a benefit only to a few.
Meanwhile, the US would have been influenced by immigration from the German states, and the rise of German nationalism.
Its hard to see how the Confederacy and the US would have avoided the nationalist trends that led to repeated war in Europe.
As the US continues to be independent of the Confederacy, it is free to subsidize western railroads, modernize its currency system, and copy the British by adopting an income tax.
Its hard to see how the Confederacy would keep up.
If the Confederacy is independent, the US is free to develop as fast as it can. I speculate that the two nations would never have made it past twenty years of hostile co-existence before finding some excuse to start the shooting again.
Interesting thoughts. I think much of this, while unable to be proven, at least falls into the realm of possibility or likelihood.

The only thing that I would say needs clarification is the idea of Confederate dependence on foreign manufactured goods. If they would depend on this, then the British would also depend on Southern cotton…at least for a time. Lucrative trade might have also pushed the CSA to heavily invest in infrastructure and modernization so that they could “keep up.”
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Interesting thoughts. I think much of this, while unable to be proven, at least falls into the realm of possibility or likelihood.

The only thing that I would say needs clarification is the idea of Confederate dependence on foreign manufactured goods. If they would depend on this, then the British would also depend on Southern cotton…at least for a time. Lucrative trade might have also pushed the CSA to heavily invest in infrastructure and modernization so that they could “keep up.”
Also @wausaubob ,
The two countries with the closest history to the American South are Brazil and South Africa. Both nations had a history of slavery and white supremacy similar to the American South. Both nations did industrialize although a bit later then the US but industrialize they did and both nations even became major arms exporters although later then the US.
Both nations did have soldiers of color but there were some issues along those lines.
Leftyhunter
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Also @wausaubob ,
The two countries with the closest history to the American South are Brazil and South Africa. Both nations had a history of slavery and white supremacy similar to the American South. Both nations did industrialize although a bit later then the US but industrialize they did and both nations even became major arms exporters although later then the US.
Both nations did have soldiers of color but there were some issues along those lines.
Leftyhunter
That's true, but South Africa was on the tip of a continent full of undeveloped nations, and Brazil was the dominant nation in South America. The Confederacy faced a different situation. Neither South Africa or Brazil maintained slavery in opposition to world opinion.
The Confederacy faced a problem more like that of France or Poland. Their neighbor was mostly likely to be a powerful and aggressively expansionist state, with a sense of grievance.
Lincoln made certain early, that the Confederacy was locked out of the west. He made certain of his party's campaign platform early in the war.
Cotton was a very valuable advantage for the Confederacy. The world had a long way to go to equal the US south in growing, packing and freighting cotton, before it was going to catch up with the Confederacy. The problem was that as per capita incomes increased in the US and western Europe, consumption of cotton goods was not going to grow as fast as during the period in which manufactured cloth replaced homespun fabric. The white cotton boom was going to pause, especially if Texas muscled into the market.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The US would have abolished slavery and after that had mostly good relations with Great Britain. The Confederacy would have attempted to preserve slavery, and it would have existed as a pariah nation. Grant stated the same in his memoirs. He wrote that after he had toured the world and had a survey of world, especially British opinion, on the potential Confederacy.
The US would have benefited greatly from international immigration, the Confederacy would have experienced very little immigration, and the British had ended the movement of involuntary immigrants. The growth path for the two nations, would have been very different.
The Russians, the Ottomans, and the Italians were all trying to catch up to Great Britain and France, and they mainly fell short. The US, Japan and the newly unified Germany were able to make the transition to industrialization, but the enjoyed advantages not able to the Confederacy. They also were not holding 40% of their population in involuntary servitude.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Interesting thoughts. I think much of this, while unable to be proven, at least falls into the realm of possibility or likelihood.

The only thing that I would say needs clarification is the idea of Confederate dependence on foreign manufactured goods. If they would depend on this, then the British would also depend on Southern cotton…at least for a time. Lucrative trade might have also pushed the CSA to heavily invest in infrastructure and modernization so that they could “keep up.”
Also @wausaubob ,
The two countries with the closest history to the American South are Brazil and South Africa. Both nations had a history of slavery and white supremacy similar to the American South. Both nations did industrialize although a bit later then the US but industrialize they did and both nations even became major arms exporters although later then the US.
Both nations did have soldiers of color but there were some issues along those lines.
That's true, but South Africa was on the tip of a continent full of undeveloped nations, and Brazil was the dominant nation in South America. The Confederacy faced a different situation. Neither South Africa or Brazil maintained slavery in opposition to world opinion.
The Confederacy faced a problem more like that of France or Poland. Their neighbor was mostly likely to be a powerful and aggressively expansionist state, with a sense of grievance.
Lincoln made certain early, that the Confederacy was locked out of the west. He made certain of his party's campaign platform early in the war.
Cotton was a very valuable advantage for the Confederacy. The world had a long way to go to equal the US south in growing, packing and freighting cotton, before it was going to catch up with the Confederacy. The problem was that as per capita incomes increased in the US and western Europe, consumption of cotton goods was not going to grow as fast as during the period in which manufactured cloth replaced homespun fabric. The white cotton boom was going to pause, especially if Texas muscled into the market.
Yes and no. The British forced the Africanners to give up slavery over a prolonged time period it they just used cheap labor instead or guest workers from Portugese Africa. Brazil transitioned by the 1880s from slavery to poverty wages for unskilled workers so not a huge leap forward. My point is that both Brazil and South Africa did industrialize but they did so much later then the US but catch up to a large degree they did.
My main point is a independent Confedrate nation could also industrialize although maybe slower then the US but with foreign investment and foreiegn assistance as in the case of Brazil and South Africa it certainly could do so. Obvious the UK and France did diversity their cotton imports from their respective colonies in India and Senegal plus quasi independent Egypt eventually an independent Confedrate economy would be forced to diversify.
Leftyhunter
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Also @wausaubob ,
The two countries with the closest history to the American South are Brazil and South Africa. Both nations had a history of slavery and white supremacy similar to the American South. Both nations did industrialize although a bit later then the US but industrialize they did and both nations even became major arms exporters although later then the US.
Both nations did have soldiers of color but there were some issues along those lines.

Yes and no. The British forced the Africanners to give up slavery over a prolonged time period it they just used cheap labor instead or guest workers from Portugese Africa. Brazil transitioned by the 1880s from slavery to poverty wages for unskilled workers so not a huge leap forward. My point is that both Brazil and South Africa did industrialize but they did so much later then the US but catch up to a large degree they did.
My main point is a independent Confedrate nation could also industrialize although maybe slower then the US but with foreign investment and foreiegn assistance as in the case of Brazil and South Africa it certainly could do so. Obvious the UK and France did diversity their cotton imports from their respective colonies in India and Senegal plus quasi independent Egypt eventually an independent Confedrate economy would be forced to diversify.
Leftyhunter
Possibly. However the potential Confederacy was right next to the United States, and it did not have the option of importing guest workers. Their workforce was growing at a much slower rate than the that of the United States. If the US tolerated the growth and military threat posed by the Confederacy, they can struggle on. I don't think of the 19th century US nationalists as a bunch of nice guys. In Europe Russia, Prussia/Germany and France engaged in repeated wars until Germany was wrecked. I don't think the US vs the Confederacy would be different from that. Brazil and South Africa did not face that kind of threat. And as you note, both gave way to world opinion and British economic power and gave up slavery. If the Confederacy did the same thing, then its going to be hard to see how the so called independence is anything more than a power grab by an elite that could not hold power in the US.
Unless the Confederacy defeated the US by invading it, I think a much more militarized and nationalist party would arise in the US, and the renewed war would not be fought in the way the US Civil War was fought in 1861-1862. The later years of the actual war probably better foreshadow the extreme violence that would have been unleashed in a second war.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
The Confederacy would have developed its economy and slavery would have expired by 1870 replaced by a low wage economy. The military would have been rebuilt on the European model due to the threat from the USA.
 

NetoWann

Cadet
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Location
Central Texas
The Northern industrial economy was wholly integrated with the Southern agricultural economy, you have to look at it holistically to understand the impact secession would have had on the Northern economy. The South, producing most of the exports of the nation, consequently brought in the most foreign currency and as such absolved the nation of potential debt. During the war, US debt skyrocketed, not entirely due to but in large part because the US could not export cotton, and thanks to postwar cotton relief, the North could actually begin to lessen this debt.

I think the US was comparable to export led industrializer nations such as the four major East Asian economies of the 1970s, and that without this, industry in the Midwest would wane and an Upper Southern-Urban industrial belt would supplant it by the 20th century.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The southern areas were an export/import economy, but the US economy as a whole was much more dependent on the central corn/pork economy centered on Cincinnati and moving to Chicago, and the wheat/dairy industry supplying the growing population of the east coast cities. Faster railroads, the ice industry, both harvested and factory produced ice, and refrigerated cars, and the flexibility of winter wheat, made the northern agricultural economy readily expandable.
Both northern farm sectors, were very attractive to European immigrants. The immigrants were going to come to north, with their youth, their skills and their start up money, regardless of anything the southern areas or the potential Confederacy did. It was only a matter of time before a militarized and nationalistic party arose in the US.
By 1855 the railroad had crossed the isthmus of Panama and the Mississippi River. The locks were in place at Soo St. Marie. The north and the far west were poised for rapid growth. Kansas and Nebraska were made for telegraph wires and railroad tracks.
 

NetoWann

Cadet
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Location
Central Texas
None of this really grapples with the importance of exports for the financial sector which funded industrialization, and the system of credit the South was tied into that also widely funded the financial sector, though. The US would be running a wide trade imbalance and would be accruing large sums of debt, which may be very critically destructive in the 1870s with it's economic downturns.
 

mobile_96

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ill.
During the war, US debt skyrocketed, not entirely due to but in large part because the US could not export cotton
I think it was more the cost of the war which caused the debt to rise as it did. Of course, I can agree that no cotton going out did contribute, but it was only part.
 

NetoWann

Cadet
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Location
Central Texas
"America reported a merchandise trade deficit for every year except two during the first eleven years after the War. The accumulated deficit for that period totaled $750 million. Without cotton exports the deficit would have been nearly $3,600 million, which was more gold than the Treasury had available to settle the international payments shortage."
 
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