Discussion The Confederacy's Fatal Mistake.

wausaubob

Colonel
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Denver, CO
The world textile market was in a condition of over supply. The British textile industry was going to slow down from the peak reached after the end of the Crimean war, regardless of the blockade. But the British ran a strong surplus with the US on investment income and manufactured goods. With all that currency they were earning they could buy a lot of wheat. Once the shipments began, volume led to cost reductions and the British took full advantage of the strength of their currency.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
@Rhea Cole I think you summed it up nicely. As expected certain elements will show up to defend against anything the perceived as a knock on some notion of southern honor but your explanation fits the facts of the matter. The success of one rebel pirate commerce raider or the attempt to knock someone largely regarded as one of the best political minds in history not withstanding.
I looked into the financial effects of the blockade, something that it had never occurred to me to research. The 1860 vs 1861 trade balance with the U.K. included a 50% decrease in exports from Liverpool. What astonished me was that the exchanges of bullion were mirror images. In 1861, it was $55,000,000 to England vs $80,000,000 received by the Union. The CSA attacks on the trade with England were less than pinpricks. Lincoln's order to blockade Southern ports was an unintended act of genius. Who knew?
 

GwilymT

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Location
Pittsburgh
In messaging mistakes, announcing the approval of privateering, in April 1861, but the Confederates on the same side as pirates, and against the merchant governments of western Europe. This was joined with decrees of debt confiscation, which must have provoked Boston banks to laugh at their New York competitors. It was not the way for Confederates to win influence in NY. The British too, must have laughed at the Yankees, as the shoe was now on the other foot and the Yankees got to fit in the role formerly occupied by the British.
I am sure the Confederates needed the railroad engines and cars, but taking equipment from the Kentucky and Maryland railroads was a very short sighted approach to politics. The bill came due in 1863 when the US railroad industry played a very significant role in rationalizing the US logistical effort. It took time, but when the RR industry had the engines and the cars, and pre-fab units came pouring out of Pittsburgh, the Confederacy found themselves up against a third branch of the military. They were fighting the US army, the US navy, and the US railroad industry and all of its vendors.
No serious person has ever accused CSA leadership or fire eaters as being forward looking. These men were imagining a future where a slave based plantation economy as they had would exist in perpetuity. They were so enthralled with this fantasy that they ignored the outside world and once it became apparent that they could no longer ignore the outside world or progress they did what any petulant child would do, they threw a temper tantrum.

They weren’t just fighting the US Army, Navy, and railroads- they were fighting against human progress socially, politically, economically and technologically. The fact that so many are still enthralled with these men and see them as heroes does not speak well for our future as a country. The world is changing- we can embrace it and lead the charge or we can act like the dolts who doomed the CSA and fight against the inevitable.
 
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uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Direct Trading with Europe. Cutting the middle man, the Yankees Out, was forward looking. Building their own Manufacturers and eliminating Trade with the North. Eliminating the Protective Tariff. Was forward looking.

Problem with all that the Yankee had a 2 1/2 advantage of White Men. Enough property less and economical disadvantaged poor that they could pay a Army to sacrifice themselves for their Aristocratic Class. The 1850s immigration of European Poor stopped wage growth. The financial crisis of 1857 hurt the North far worse than the South. The artisans were being replaced by piece meal work and created Wage Slavery.

The blockade proves the point. The North didn’t want the South direct trading with Europe. The North wanted that Trade and fought for it. Blockade didn’t hurt England. It did Cotton produced cloth, however the production of War related items made up for those losses.

Simply put, the Yankee went to War to protect its Economy. And to give its surplus of poor immigrants a Free of Blacks west and a Job. First signup of the 75K call were of the unemployed. Federal Government got them for the price of their prior lost wage.

The Republican Party was a Sectional Political Party to protect the North’s Economy. The Civil War was An Extension of that.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Direct Trading with Europe. Cutting the middle man, the Yankees Out, was forward looking. Building their own Manufacturers and eliminating Trade with the North. Eliminating the Protective Tariff. Was forward looking.

Problem with all that the Yankee had a 2 1/2 advantage of White Men. Enough property less and economical disadvantaged poor that they could pay a Army to sacrifice themselves for their Aristocratic Class. The 1850s immigration of European Poor stopped wage growth. The financial crisis of 1857 hurt the North far worse than the South. The artisans were being replaced by piece meal work and created Wage Slavery.

The blockade proves the point. The North didn’t want the South direct trading with Europe. The North wanted that Trade and fought for it. Blockade didn’t hurt England. It did Cotton produced cloth, however the production of War related items made up for those losses.

Simply put, the Yankee went to War to protect its Economy. And to give its surplus of poor immigrants a Free of Blacks west and a Job. First signup of the 75K call were of the unemployed. Federal Government got them for the price of their prior lost wage.

The Republican Party was a Sectional Political Party to protect the North’s Economy. The Civil War was An Extension of that.
If the war did not affect British trade, why did exports from Liverpool drop by 50% 1860-61 & the bullion shipments to New York flip from a healthy surplus to an almost 2 to 1 deficit?
 
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GwilymT

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Location
Pittsburgh
Direct Trading with Europe. Cutting the middle man, the Yankees Out, was forward looking. Building their own Manufacturers and eliminating Trade with the North. Eliminating the Protective Tariff. Was forward looking.

Problem with all that the Yankee had a 2 1/2 advantage of White Men. Enough property less and economical disadvantaged poor that they could pay a Army to sacrifice themselves for their Aristocratic Class. The 1850s immigration of European Poor stopped wage growth. The financial crisis of 1857 hurt the North far worse than the South. The artisans were being replaced by piece meal work and created Wage Slavery.

The blockade proves the point. The North didn’t want the South direct trading with Europe. The North wanted that Trade and fought for it. Blockade didn’t hurt England. It did Cotton produced cloth, however the production of War related items made up for those losses.

Simply put, the Yankee went to War to protect its Economy. And to give its surplus of poor immigrants a Free of Blacks west and a Job. First signup of the 75K call were of the unemployed. Federal Government got them for the price of their prior lost wage.

The Republican Party was a Sectional Political Party to protect the North’s Economy. The Civil War was An Extension of that.
I don’t understand, was there something stopping southern US citizens from trading with Europe?
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I don’t understand, was there something stopping southern US citizens from trading with Europe?
Yes, they couldn't ship anything to Europe. There are only three deep water ports on the Atlantic coast south of the Chesapeake. Wilmington, Savannah & Charleston were it. The blockade only had to close those three ports to stifle trade with Europe. New Orleans was not a deep water port. The shallow waters of the Gulf Coast meant that smaller shallow draft vessels carried that trade. Small schooners & the like ducked in & out of Gulf rivers maintaining a trade principally with Cuba did not amount to much. The incoming cargos consisted of salt in many cases. Some people did manage to profit from trade while the war was on, one of them became the richest woman in America at that time.

After the Mississippi was opened one truly remarkable individual did manage to get her cotton shipped to England. Baron Rothschild held her profit in gold until the end of the war. Adaleshia Atkins is believed to be one of the women that Scarlet O'Hara was modeled after. She weedled General Polk & Admiral Porter to transport her cotton to New Orleans & I do not know who all else to get it shipped to England. You can visit her fully restored party mansion at the end of Music Row (16th AV South) in Nashville. It is worth a visit. Google her & enjoy... she married one of the most hideously evil men in history, the Bill Gates of the slave trade, when she was a very young woman.

A short article about Isaac Franklin, Adalisha's first husband, is 'The Forgotten Supervilian of Antebellum Tennessee" <narrativity.com>

They were once America's cruelest, richest slave traders. Why does no one know their names? Isaac Franklin & John Armfield committed atrocities they appeared to relish. <washingtonpost.com>

I am going to give you a heads up. If you have any residual Moonlight & Magnolia illusions about the true nature of slaveholding in antebellum America, you might not want to read these articles. Franklin & Armfield's HQ in Virginia is a National Park property. The complete business records including their code for rating the women they sexually assaulted is in the National Archive. After spending the day going over the records, a historian I am acquainted with would go back to his hotel room & immediately take a shower. He realized it was a psychological reaction to what he had read in the hyper clean archive building. Upon her reading a lecture I gave on the realities of slaveholding in Tennessee that included Franklin's activities, I asked my high school aged granddaughter if there was anything I she thought I should add or edit. After a thoughtful pause, she suggested that I hand out barf bags before I begin.
 
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GwilymT

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Location
Pittsburgh
Yes, they couldn't ship anything to Europe. There are only three deep water ports on the Atlantic coast south of the Chesapeake. Wilmington, Savannah & Charleston were it. The blockade only had to close those three ports to stifle trade with Europe. New Orleans was not a deep water port. The shallow waters of the Gulf Coast meant that smaller shallow draft vessels carried that trade. Small schooners & the like ducked in & out of Gulf rivers maintaining a trade principally with Cuba did not amount to much. The incoming cargos consisted of salt in many cases. Some people did manage to profit from trade while the war was on, one of them became the richest woman in America at that time.

After the Mississippi was opened one truly remarkable individual did manage to get her cotton shipped to England. Baron Rothschild held her profit in gold until the end of the war. Ataleshia Atkins is believed to be one of the women that Scarlet O'Hara was modeled after. She weedled General Polk & Admiral Porter to transport her cotton to New Orleans & I do not know who all else to get it shipped to England. You can visit her fully restored party mansion at the end of Music Row (16th AV South) in Nashville. It is worth a visit. Google her & enjoy... she married one of the most hideously evil men in history, the Bill Gates of the slave trade, when she was a very young woman.
I apologize, I meant prior to secession. The comment I was responding to made reference to “cutting out the Yankee middleman” as an example of forward thinking among the secessionists. I was wondering if there were some law I wasn’t aware of that forbid antebellum southerners from engaging in trade.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I apologize, I meant prior to secession. The comment I was responding to made reference to “cutting out the Yankee middleman” as an example of forward thinking among the secessionists. I was wondering if there were some law I wasn’t aware of that forbid antebellum southerners from engaging in trade.
No problem, most of the 100 richest men in America lived in the secessionist states. The continual attempt at portraying them as victims of Yankee robber barons doesn't really wash in the 21st Century. About $10-15,000,000 worth of cotton was shipped to G.B. annually.
 
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leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
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Location
los angeles ca
The Confederacy's Fatal Mistake
March is the month that Lincoln was inaugurated for the first time. It is also the month that marks the manifestation of the Confederacy's fatal mistake. The South Carolina hot heads had tried on the secession thing on Andrew Jackson... he threatened to start hanging traitors as he crossed the border & keep at it until his horse stepped into salt water. Not even the South Carolina hot heads were out to lunch enough to not take Jackson at his word. President James Buchanan, on the other hand, was the perfect victim of their bully boy tactics. Look at it from their perspective, Buchanan was an empty suit & Lincoln was just a country lawyer from Illinois. It was a perfect opportunity.

Step one was to shower media outlets with lies about what an extremist Lincoln was. Then, having created the straw man, they went on to create a myth of victimhood. Lincoln's going to free your slaves! Lincoln wants our daughters are going to date black boys! The god given right of white men to hold black human beings as property is going to be taken away by Lincoln! I will not quote the extreme & obscene characterizations of Lincoln that filled the pages of Southern newspapers. Having created a ten foot tall ape like bug-a-boo, South Carolina & many other states used that straw man as their excuse for seceding. After all, what had they to fear from a country bumpkin lawyer who had never held office for more than a single term years ago.

Who can argue with their logic? The poor man was going to be sworn in with secession an accomplished fact. The Yankees couldn't fight & surely would not rally to a goof like Lincoln's call to arms. Everybody knew that the slaves were loyal, loved their masters & in any case were constitutionally incapable of independent thought or action. During the brief time it would take for superior Southern manhood to dispatch the Yankee shopkeepers, the loyal slaves would gladly hold down the fort at home. Neighbors who did not own slaves would be honor bound to fight to the last ditch to protect the property rights of their more fortunate neighbors. Everybody knew all this to be true.

On the face of it in March 1861, who would bet on Lincoln being able to cope with the fire hot drive for secession? There was absolutely nothing in his background to indicate that he was anything but a run of the mill Western deal making politician. The exhalation amongst the South Carolina hot heads & secessionists was one long hosanna to the highest. Their time had come at last & this ape like bumpkin was not going to get in their way. Of course, we know differently.

They had made a fatal strategic mistake of the first order. Even before he assumed power, Lincoln was writing letters & gathering his supporters. A mob of men surrounded Lincoln who were absolutely convinced that they could do a better job than Lincoln any day & only sought to make him their puppet. Generals with delusions of grandeur like MacClellan treated him with sneering disrespect. How & from where Lincoln gathered the intellectual & moral strength to reign them all in is unknowable. From what inner wellspring he gathered the spirit to grow exponentially as a Commander & Chief is unknowable.

The one thing that is knowable is that the secessionists made a profound, fatal strategic mistake when they underestimated Lincoln. The one thing they though they knew for sure turned out to be the one thing that guaranteed they would fail... history is an amazing thing, don't you know?
The Confedracy was simply to stupid to be a nation. Forty percent of the Confedracy is composed of people of color and the vast majority are enslaved. Major Dunsmore of the British Army clearly proved that by giving escaped slaves freedom and and giving their families food and shelter the freed slaves can and did become very good soldiers easily as good as Southern whites. During the War of 1812 the British Marines had " Colonial Marines" as noted by Francis Scott Key in the original lines of the National Anthem. Knowing full well that if a civil war occurred that their slaves would be only to happy to bayonet them if given a half a chance the Secessionists somehow deluded themselves that their slaves didn't want to kill them despite two wars and various slave revolts.
Leftyhunter
None of the secession documents (what we're always told to read) call Lincoln a Bumpkin. The primary objection to Lincoln was that he represented only one part of the country and was elected purely along sectional lines. Even so...

Country Bumpkin Lincoln and the Blockade...

James Lorimer, Studies National and International, 42-43:

...the blockade, it seems, was a mistake; I do not mean a mistake of policy, but a mistake of ignorance and want of thought. "When the war broke out," says Mr. Thaddeus Stevens, the venerable President of the Chamber of Representatives, "my opinion was that it ought to be treated as a simple rebellion, and that all those who took part in it ought to be considered as traitors against the Government of the United States. It was thus that Congress understood it; and I supposed that Mr. Lincoln and his Cabinet understood it in the same way. After the termination of the first session of Congress which took place under Mr. Lincoln's presidency, and very shortly after my return home, I read, to my great surprise, a proclamation, declaring the blockade of the rebel ports. It was a gross mistake, and an absurdity. If the rebel states were still part of the Union, and only in revolt against the Government, we were establishing a blockade against ourselves; we were blockading the ports of the United States. I immediately attributed the affair to the incomprehensible policy of Mr. Seward, and set off for Washington to see the President, Lincoln, and speak to him on the subject. I explained to him my view of the matter. I said to him that the blockade annihilated the position originally taken up by the Government with reference to the rebel States; that the ports, in place of being blockaded, ought to have been shut; and that all that was requisite was to have armed a sufficient number of the vessels of the coastguard to prevent contraband. I explained to him that by the mere fact of the blockade we recognised in the rebel States the character of independent belligerents, and that we should henceforth be forced to conduct the war not as if we were extinguishing a revolt, but with all the formalities of international law.

"' You are quite right,' Mr. Lincoln said, after hearing me out, 'I see the distinction now. But I knew nothing about international law, and I thought we were quite en regle [in order].'

"' As an advocate, Mr. Lincoln,' I said to him, 'I should have expected the difficulty at once to present itself to your mind.'

"' The reason, don't you see,' replied Mr. Lincoln, 'is this. I was a pretty fair advocate in one of our Western Courts; but we have very little international law down there. I thought Seward had been up to all that sort of thing, so I let him have his way. It's done now, and we can't help it. We must make the best we can of it.'

"In that Mr. Lincoln was right. The mistake was made, and the rebel States from that time were an independent belligerent, —I don't say, mind you, an independent nation,—but certainly an independent belligerent, whom it was necessary to treat according to the rules of international law."
A tempest in a tea cup. Either way the Union Navy was going to conduct a blockade and said blockade was respected by other navies. It made no d
The world textile market was in a condition of over supply. The British textile industry was going to slow down from the peak reached after the end of the Crimean war, regardless of the blockade. But the British ran a strong surplus with the US on investment income and manufactured goods. With all that currency they were earning they could buy a lot of wheat. Once the shipments began, volume led to cost reductions and the British took full advantage of the strength of their currency.
Actually no because of the Lansch
The world textile market was in a condition of over supply. The British textile industry was going to slow down from the peak reached after the end of the Crimean war, regardless of the blockade. But the British ran a strong surplus with the US on investment income and manufactured goods. With all that currency they were earning they could buy a lot of wheat. Once the shipments began, volume led to cost reductions and the British took full advantage of the strength of their currency.
Actually the Union naval blockade hit British textile mills and there workers hard. There was mass unemployment and the British Goverment actually created something similar to the the goverment work projects during the Great Depression. Eventually by 1864 cotton from British India , Egypt and elsewhere plus from Union occupied areas eased the plight of the British textile worker's.
Leftyhunter
 

Pete Longstreet

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Lincoln was a genius. He played the political role beautifully, and ran circles around men who were close to him without them knowing it. He would captivate people with his words. For example, the Gettysburg Address, after savage fighting in early July, Edward Everett spoke for 2 hours... yet know one even knows who he is. Lincoln spoke just 272 words that would echo throughout history. But his words are only a part of what makes him tick. Underneath that top hat and tall frame... he is a very dangerous man. Many say the Union won because of the blockade, and superiority in men and material... which all are factors. But the Southern politicians completely underestimated Lincoln's fight drive. They thought, like most politicians, he would bend and eventually break. But Lincoln would not give in, he never wavered, and removed men who weren't acting in accordance with what he wanted. Everything else aside... Lincoln was the Confederacy's greatest enemy.
 

19thGeorgia

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Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Confiscate cotton. It's a belligerent's right under the international laws of war to seize property of the enemy. The Confederacy also had the same right and used it.
edited - changed the word "power" to "right."
...and they needed that cotton. In the North, over 200,000 men and women were (or had been) employed in cotton mills and producing clothing from cotton. The 200k probably gave direct support to about one million and indirect economic benefit to millions more. War for cotton.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
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Location
Denver, CO
Very little southern US cotton reached the market in 1862 or 1863. The cotton was too valuable to spin and weave, as its price was soaring and it may sense to hold it for speculation.
 

19thGeorgia

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...and they needed that cotton. In the North, over 200,000 men and women were (or had been) employed in cotton mills and producing clothing from cotton. The 200k probably gave direct support to about one million and indirect economic benefit to millions more. War for cotton.

"Of course some industries did suffer. The most prominent of these was cotton manufacturing, before the war the largest manufacturing industry in the nation. With cotton supplies cut off from the South, manufacturing of cotton clothing declined. The factory hands in this most factory-dominated industry left the large mills and sought work in other industries, or joined the army, or, if they had originally left farms to work in the mills, simply returned home. Still, stockpiled cotton was available in 1861, and most mills operated about two-thirds of the time. By 1862 dwindling supplies cut work to anywhere from one-half to one-fourth. But as Northern armies pushed south, new supplies flowed again, and some factories kept going by shifting to wool products —an industry that prospered greatly, doubling its output during the war. And even though production of cotton goods fell, reduced supplies still meant profits for mill owners.34

"There were even better opportunities for profit in iron manufacturing. When war broke out England reduced its exports to the United States. Continued fluctuations in the price of gold kept British caution alive. This opened up markets for domestic producers. They expanded to meet these new markets, refurbishing old rolling mills and building new mills all over the country, especially in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Pig iron production accelerated in the war years, reaching levels that broke previous records. Between 1854 and 1859 production had increased by 14 percent. In the next five years production increased by 32 percent, and, operating on war momentum, the next five years saw an increase in output of 68 percent. In real terms pig iron production jumped from 841,000 tons in 1859 to 1,136,000 tons in 1864. Fueled in part by iron output increases, the production of coal jumped from 8,756,000 tons in 1861 to 12,349,000 in 1865.35"
Phillip Shaw Paludan, A People's Contest: The Union and Civil War, 1861-1865, pp. 145-146

"Moreover, the Confederate agents refused to combat the growing European dependence on Northern grain. From 1861 to 1863, the Northern states supplied almost half of British grain imports, compared to less than a quarter before the war. 'King Corn' became more important than 'King Cotton,' coinciding with the onslaught of superior Union mass and the hard war that dampened the Confederate war effort."
Caution and Cooperation - The American Civil War in British-American Relations, Phillip E. Meyers, pg. 197
 
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