The South Wins---What Next

Joined
Jun 27, 2017
I know we've all been in or seen discussions of how the South could have won the war. If Lee had done this, or Bragg or any number of other possibilities. Let us just say that for instance Lee wins Gettysburg and the European powers finally intervene and force a negotiated peace. What would happen next?

It would seem to me that there are 4 possibilities
1--A Strong North and a Strong South
2--A Strong North and a Weak South
3--A Weak North and a Strong South and finally
4--A Weak North and A Weak South.

#1 would seem to be unlikely but is certainly in the realm of possibility. If the South regains control of New Orleans and thereby the Mississippi River, it might be possible to use the revenues from midwestern exports to help its shoddy finances until cotton exports can begin making up the difference. England and/or France might even considering bolstering the South to keep the North from becoming too strong.
The North on the other hand would benefit from continued immigration from Europe. They could easily expand their manufacturing base. Expanding the Erie Canal plus continued rail expansion cold help minimize the lack of free transport through New Orleans.

#2 on the other hand I believe to be the most likely scenario. If the South does not get exclusive control over the mouth of the Mississippi its finances could easily come crashing down within weeks of the guns ceasing to fire. The potential revenue from renewed cotton exports could easily be replaced as in fact in the real world it really was by not only cotton from Egypt and India but cotton that England would prefer to buy anyway because they could control it. On top of this is the simple fact that most parts of the Confederacy had little in common with other parts of the Confederacy. Texas had nothing in common with Virginia or Georgia or even Louisiana. East and West Tennessee were worlds apart
The North could still benefit for the reasons cited in #1.

#3 at first glance would seem to so unlikely, but.... It is entirely possible that had there not been the slavery element in secession the Confederacy might well have been the actual seceding states but everything west of the Alleghanies. Everyone tends to forget that the burning issue for the first half century of the US was NOT slavery but the National Bank. It was high tariffs that the North wanted to make its factories more profitable at the expense of rural farm people who wanted to buy cheap imports. So if the South wins and especially if it wins and keeps the Mississippi would it not make sense for the mid-west states to decide "me too". Having spent so much blood would they seek to salvage something by seceding themselves and making a deal with the South for access to the seas. The South would have been all too happy to see a North permanently hamstrung and never again being able to even think of forcing the reunion of the former states.
Of course this being so its easy to see how you get a Strong South.

#4 next to the second possibility this is the next most likely. The South with its finances in utter disorder barely keeps its head above water. It staggers on possibly even facing secession from itself as Texas goes its on way, maybe taking Oklahoma and maybe even Arkansas as well. In just a few decades Mr. Boll Weavil makes his appearance and accelerates the already declining fortunes of cotton with competition form Egypt and India. I can even visualize mass emancipations as slave holders can no longer afford to keep them. <edited by moderator>
The North facing a 2nd breakaway by the mid-west never completes the westward expansion. Given it separation California either creates a new state from Seattle to San Diego or is reabsorbed by Mexico. Alaska stays Russian. Who knows who winds up with Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico. Spain never loses the Phillipines.

There is one constant in all scenarios. <edited by moderator>
Let me say that I turn 70 in August. I was born in the deep south (Augusta Ga). I grew up worshipping Lee and Jackson and Stuart and hating Yankees, Grant, Lincoln and Sherman. Even today reading about the CW, I still cringe when I read about Jackson getting shot, Lee ordering Pickets Charge or Bragg/Hood doing their best to destroy the Army of Tennessee. But as a mature adult I can only thank God that he did not allow the Confederacy to succeed. The alternative is a hell no same man could contemplate with ending it all.
 
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major bill

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Aug 25, 2012
I would predict outcome #2 or #4. My issue with #1 or #3 in that a strong South relays on two assumptions; a booming cotton market and the ability to continue to expand slavery. Neither of which can be assured. A strong navy would be helpful if the South wanted to use the Mediterranean and South America to create a slave labor empire. There is no guarantee that the South had the ability to conquer these areas nor the cost to convert the millions of free blacks in those area into slaves at a cost the South was willing to pay. Cotton, like all agricultural produces, is impacted by swings in the market. The easiest way to expand slave territory is to conquer the territories belonging to the United States. How successful the Confederacy in invading and conquering US territories is open to discussion.

We can speculate how successful using slave labor in an industrial and other labor situations is again an area we can discuss. A whole new thread could be started discussing long term use of slave labor in manufacturing. If slave based labor in manufacturing could compete with free labor manufacturing in 1920s to 1930s would be fun to discuss, but does have a great deal of gray areas.

No one can predict how Europe would react to a slave labor based Confederacy. By the late 1900s to mid 1900s, Europe might have issues with a slave labor Confederacy.
 

steve59p

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Oct 21, 2016
I know we've all been in or seen discussions of how the South could have won the war. If Lee had done this, or Bragg or any number of other possibilities. Let us just say that for instance Lee wins Gettysburg and the European powers finally intervene and force a negotiated peace. What would happen next?

It would seem to me that there are 4 possibilities
1--A Strong North and a Strong South
2--A Strong North and a Weak South
3--A Weak North and a Strong South and finally
4--A Weak North and A Weak South.

#1 would seem to be unlikely but is certainly in the realm of possibility. If the South regains control of New Orleans and thereby the Mississippi River, it might be possible to use the revenues from midwestern exports to help its shoddy finances until cotton exports can begin making up the difference. England and/or France might even considering bolstering the South to keep the North from becoming too strong.
The North on the other hand would benefit from continued immigration from Europe. They could easily expand their manufacturing base. Expanding the Erie Canal plus continued rail expansion cold help minimize the lack of free transport through New Orleans.

#2 on the other hand I believe to be the most likely scenario. If the South does not get exclusive control over the mouth of the Mississippi its finances could easily come crashing down within weeks of the guns ceasing to fire. The potential revenue from renewed cotton exports could easily be replaced as in fact in the real world it really was by not only cotton from Egypt and India but cotton that England would prefer to buy anyway because they could control it. On top of this is the simple fact that most parts of the Confederacy had little in common with other parts of the Confederacy. Texas had nothing in common with Virginia or Georgia or even Louisiana. East and West Tennessee were worlds apart
The North could still benefit for the reasons cited in #1.

#3 at first glance would seem to so unlikely, but.... It is entirely possible that had there not been the slavery element in secession the Confederacy might well have been the actual seceding states but everything west of the Alleghanies. Everyone tends to forget that the burning issue for the first half century of the US was NOT slavery but the National Bank. It was high tariffs that the North wanted to make its factories more profitable at the expense of rural farm people who wanted to buy cheap imports. So if the South wins and especially if it wins and keeps the Mississippi would it not make sense for the mid-west states to decide "me too". Having spent so much blood would they seek to salvage something by seceding themselves and making a deal with the South for access to the seas. The South would have been all too happy to see a North permanently hamstrung and never again being able to even think of forcing the reunion of the former states.
Of course this being so its easy to see how you get a Strong South.

#4 next to the second possibility this is the next most likely. The South with its finances in utter disorder barely keeps its head above water. It staggers on possibly even facing secession from itself as Texas goes its on way, maybe taking Oklahoma and maybe even Arkansas as well. In just a few decades Mr. Boll Weavil makes his appearance and accelerates the already declining fortunes of cotton with competition form Egypt and India. I can even visualize mass emancipations as slave holders can no longer afford to keep them. <edited by moderator>
The North facing a 2nd breakaway by the mid-west never completes the westward expansion. Given it separation California either creates a new state from Seattle to San Diego or is reabsorbed by Mexico. Alaska stays Russian. Who knows who winds up with Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico. Spain never loses the Phillipines.

There is one constant in all scenarios. <edited by moderator>
Let me say that I turn 70 in August. I was born in the deep south (Augusta Ga). I grew up worshipping Lee and Jackson and Stuart and hating Yankees, Grant, Lincoln and Sherman. Even today reading about the CW, I still cringe when I read about Jackson getting shot, Lee ordering Pickets Charge or Bragg/Hood doing their best to destroy the Army of Tennessee. But as a mature adult I can only thank God that he did not allow the Confederacy to succeed. The alternative is a hell no same man could contemplate with ending it all.

th'anchoriticsybarite

Some interesting ideas here. All four options are possible but by this stage I can't really see a strong south as it has lost too much of the border areas, plus New Orleans which would detract from its unity and potential future strength. It can still make a lot of money from cotton for a while yet but risks becoming too dependent on that single source. Revenue from traffic on the Mississippi would be a useful addition but would cause deep resentment in the north and free traffic along it is likely to be a condition for any return of the New Orleans region to the south.

I can't see much scope for the south to expand slavery overseas by new conquests as its too likely not only to face considerable local opposition but also from Britain, which is definitely opposed to slavery being expanded and the union, which is also likely to be and also possibly looking for a reason to clash with the south and weaken it or at least avoid it getting stronger.

Also given there has been two years of war and a lot of lives lost will the bulk of the population be arguing for more economic and political power? This is common after long periods of conflict and while the officers were largely from the plantocracy and wealthy the bulk of the dying was done by the ordinary white southerner. This would be unlikely I suspect to challenge slavery as I fear the poorer whites would be unhappy with the idea of a lot of freed blacks but would probably be to undermine the dominance of the plantocracy that controlled so much of the society and economy.


In terms of a weak north I think its highly likely under this scenario, and longer term its difficult to see under any southern victory scenario. Doubt there would be much interest in others areas for defecting from the union or will by Washington to allow it. Plus if a mid-west area did successfully leave would it actually get a better deal on tariffs on traffic along the Mississippi given that means the south using revenue.

What is possible is prolonged internal differences resulting from the war. That the north has 'lost' against a markedly weaker opponent, both in terms of population and even more economic power will probably lead to a search for explanations, which is likely in many cases to mean scapegoats. You are likely to have soon arguing the war should have been continued to a final victory, while others arguing that it should never have been made. Fingers will be pointed possibly at internal political or demographic groups. IIRC there has been mention of some mistrust of both Irish and German migrants and some might seek to blame them, especially the former if the New York draft riots still occur and are possibly even worse given news of a defeat at Gettysburg and the perhaps a decision to extend conscription further as a result. If one factor in the conflict was the European powers ending the war by political or economic pressure or say recognising the south and forcing the end of the blockade then there could be hostility towards British [including of course at this point Irish] and Canadian migrants.

Basically internal conflict - talking more of discontent and possibly low level violence rather than a new war between factions here - could cause disruption, migrant flight and possibly discourage others to come and also reduced access to foreign investment. Also with war debts and no access to cotton revenue there will be an argument for more taxes elsewhere or drastic cuts in what limited government sprending there is. I would think the former is more likely as with the south now independent and a revanchist element no doubt in parts of the north the US is likely to have a markedly high military spending than it did OTL especially if it tries to maintain a significant navy.

I doubt this would be a lasting problem for the US however unless things go very badly wrong for them. Their still likely to become a super power in the 20thC done to the regions they control although with more interests in events in N America and depending on whatever happens to the south overseas possessions like Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska and the Philippines are probably less likely but some of those or others may still occur.

Steve
 

steve59p

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Oct 21, 2016
Weak North and weak South


Defintely weaker than OTL but, unless it really fouled things up the north still has potential super-power status simply because of the size and nature of the land it controls. For similar reasons the south could be a great power at least but has some social problem to overcome with the virtually aristocratic power the large plantation owners seemed to hold in some areas and also the existance of an large black population, both as slaves and in terms of what happens if/when at some point their freed as it difficult to see within the next few decades at the least them being accepted as citizens by the bulk of the south.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
I would predict outcome #2 or #4. My issue with #1 or #3 in that a strong South relays on two assumptions; a booming cotton market and the ability to continue to expand slavery. Neither of which can be assured. A strong navy would be helpful if the South wanted to use the Mediterranean and South America to create a slave labor empire. There is no guarantee that the South had the ability to conquer these areas nor the cost to convert the millions of free blacks in those area into slaves at a cost the South was willing to pay. Cotton, like all agricultural produces, is impacted by swings in the market. The easiest way to expand slave territory is to conquer the territories belonging to the United States. How successful the Confederacy in invading and conquering US territories is open to discussion.

To me the single greatest tragedy of the war was the simple fact it was so unnecessary. If someone had hypnotised the entire Congress and got them to legislate all states being opened to slavery. So what? The only place where slavery was viable economically was in the deep South. West of the Gulf region of Texas how would you employ them? As cowboys? You put a slave on a horse and what you get is a free man with a free horse. Buying a slave to work your wheat or corn farm would bankrupt you the first day. The only other alternative is working in industries and there is no way working class whites would have stood for that.

Again without a shot being fired at the very latest as soon as the Boll Weavil spreads across the South the noise you hear is the death knell of slavery. Its even possible that sombody in England realizes the opportunity of replacing 2nd rate slave cotton with higher grade Egyptian/Indian varieties bring even more money to England and bankrupting the South in the process.



We can speculate how successful using slave labor in an industrial and other labor situations is again an area we can discuss. A whole new thread could be started discussing long term use of slave labor in manufacturing. If slave based labor in manufacturing could compete with free labor manufacturing in 1920s to 1930s would be fun to discuss, but does have a great deal of gray areas.

No one can predict how Europe would react to a slave labor based Confederacy. By the late 1900s to mid 1900s, Europe might have issues with a slave labor Confederacy.
 

leftyhunter

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I would predict outcome #2 or #4. My issue with #1 or #3 in that a strong South relays on two assumptions; a booming cotton market and the ability to continue to expand slavery. Neither of which can be assured. A strong navy would be helpful if the South wanted to use the Mediterranean and South America to create a slave labor empire. There is no guarantee that the South had the ability to conquer these areas nor the cost to convert the millions of free blacks in those area into slaves at a cost the South was willing to pay. Cotton, like all agricultural produces, is impacted by swings in the market. The easiest way to expand slave territory is to conquer the territories belonging to the United States. How successful the Confederacy in invading and conquering US territories is open to discussion.

We can speculate how successful using slave labor in an industrial and other labor situations is again an area we can discuss. A whole new thread could be started discussing long term use of slave labor in manufacturing. If slave based labor in manufacturing could compete with free labor manufacturing in 1920s to 1930s would be fun to discuss, but does have a great deal of gray areas.

No one can predict how Europe would react to a slave labor based Confederacy. By the late 1900s to mid 1900s, Europe might have issues with a slave labor Confederacy.
We don't have to speculate how well slave labor actually performs in an industrial economy and the answer is not good see Germany WWII.
Leftyhunter
 

major bill

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We don't have to speculate how well slave labor actually performs in an industrial economy and the answer is not good see Germany WWII.
Leftyhunter

Because I have a business degree I had to take several economics classes. In these classed I studied the Roman and Greek economic systems, the development of the British economic system to include the role the empire payed in it. I studied the far right economic system of Edited. Germany compare the economic system of Soviet Union Communist at the start of World War Two. We studied the early United States economic system and the current US mixed economic system and compared it to the democratic socialist economic systems of parts of Europe.

However, we did not study the operation of a slave labor system in a Twentieth Century Western Nation. So I am not certain what people with a Master's Degree or a higher Degree in economics would say about a Twentieth Century or Twenty First Century slave labor based economic system in a Western type nation.
 
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leftyhunter

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Because I have a business degree I had to take several economics classes. In these classed I studied the Roman and Greek economic systems, the development of the British economic system to include the role the empire payed in it. I studied the far right economic system of Nazi Germany compare the economic system of Soviet Union Communist at the start of World War Two. We studied the early United States economic system and the current US mixed economic system and compared it to the democratic socialist economic systems of parts of Europe.

However, we did not study the operation of a slave labor system in a Twentieth Century Western Nation. So I am not certain what people with a Master's Degree or a higher Degree in economics would say about a Twentieth or Twenty First slave labor based economic system in a Western type nation.
From what I studied slave labor did not work out very well in Germany during WWII. Any WWII historian should be able to point that out. To much sabatoge and slow sloppy work . It's just easier and better for a hypotheically independent Confederacy to just import cheap European immigrants for industrial labor which is exactly what former slave owning nations such has the US, Brazil and South Africa did all of which had slavery in the Nineteenth Century.
Leftyhunter
 
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major bill

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From what I studied slave labor did not work out very well in Germany during WWII. Any WWII historian should be able to point that out. To much sabatoge and slow sloppy work . It's just easier and better for a hypotheically independent Confederacy to just import cheap European immigrants for industrial labor which is exactly what former slave owning nations such has the US, Brazil and South Africa did all of which had slavery in the Non Century.
Leftyhunter

At some point in the 20th Century the number of slaves in an independent Confederacy will exceed the number of slaves need in agriculture. Manufacturing could absorb some of the excess slaves until perhaps the 1940s to 1950s. However, I am not sure if the extra slaves released by the mechanization of agriculture in the 1940s to 1950s would not exceed the need for slaves in manufacturing. This could well cause a crash in the value of slaves. I could not rule out the normal reaction of reduction in excess property, would not force slave owners to reduce their excess property by limiting reproduction or some form of euthanasia. I guess limiting reproduction and euthanasia could keep the slave population in line with the demand for slaves.
 

leftyhunter

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At some point in the 20th Century the number of slaves in an independent Confederacy will exceed the number of slaves need in agriculture. Manufacturing could absorb some of the excess slaves until perhaps the 1940s to 1950s. However, I am not sure if the extra slaves released by the mechanization of agriculture in the 1940s to 1950s would not exceed the need for slaves in manufacturing. This could well cause a crash in the value of slaves. I could not rule out the normal reaction of reduction in excess property, would not force slave owners to reduce their excess property by limiting reproduction or some form of euthanasia. I guess limiting reproduction and euthanasia could keep the slave population in line with the demand for slaves.
Well of course it's impossible to evaluate a hypothetical. We can evaluate three industrilised nations that used slave extensively in the Twentieth Century which would Edited. Germany,the Soviet Union and Communist China.
Nazi Germany did use industrial slave labor with significant problems in terms of slowdowns and sabatoge. The Soviets used slaves including Axis prisoners as slaves well into the 1950s but for manual not industrial labor and China used political prisoners for some industrial production not critical industrial production as far as I know I.e. Christmas lights for export vs key weapon's systems.
Slavery is still openly practised in some countries but they are not advanced industrial nations.
Leftyhunter
 
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Irishtom29

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.So I am not certain what people with a Master's Degree or a higher Degree in economics would say about a Twentieth Century or Twenty First Century slave labor based economic system in a Western type nation.

I suppose what they'd say would depend on their political leanings. Or who was paying them to say what. I've no doubt a lobbying group or think tank could find economists to defend 21st Century slavery in the United States.
 

19thOhio

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I don't have enough knowledge to enter into this conversation but I can introduce some of the reasoning of the men of the 19th as they pondered reenlisting in 1864 after serving for three years. They figured that if the Confederacy won, slavery would still exist in the south and in any new territories existing or conquered. A member, Sergeant Christian Lenker, reasoned in a memoir that "Mason and Dixon's line would become a double set of forts, between two nations perpetually hostile and burdened permanent standing armies. Our finances and credit would become ruined, and the North would be placed under a very heavy tax and burden, to pay for her won war and that of the South."

It seems to me that Christian Lenker would support possibility #4.
 

Pat Young

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Steady guerrilla warfare in the South as U.S. tacitly supports African American resistance fighters. Unsteady labor force in South as increasing numbers of escapees.

The U.S. confronted with possible breakaways in the West and Midwest as well as conflicts with Confederacy and Mexico over New Mexico and Arizona. Possible attempts by Confederacy to create slave colonies in Central America.
 

lurid

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I suppose what they'd say would depend on their political leanings. Or who was paying them to say what. I've no doubt a lobbying group or think tank could find economists to defend 21st Century slavery in the United States.

Economists either on the left or right have seen the paradigm of chattel slavery factors shift out of being economic productive to counterproductive, especially in the long term. Check out countries and areas who held onto slavery for extended period of time, they all have never fully recovered economically.

What has made America a superpower is its high education rates that birthed great inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs. All slavery did was keep people illiterate and ignorant, well at least the slavery in the U.S. south did.
 

lurid

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Steady guerrilla warfare in the South as U.S. tacitly supports African American resistance fighters. Unsteady labor force in South as increasing numbers of escapees.

The U.S. confronted with possible breakaways in the West and Midwest as well as conflicts with Confederacy and Mexico over New Mexico and Arizona. Possible attempts by Confederacy to create slave colonies in Central America.

Exactly. I look at the Confederacy as a Kleptocracy, it would have needed walls to keep slaves in and walls to keep their enemies out. It never would have worked.
 
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lurid

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Because I have a business degree I had to take several economics classes. In these classed I studied the Roman and Greek economic systems, the development of the British economic system to include the role the empire payed in it. I studied the far right economic system of Nazi Germany compare the economic system of Soviet Union Communist at the start of World War Two. We studied the early United States economic system and the current US mixed economic system and compared it to the democratic socialist economic systems of parts of Europe.

However, we did not study the operation of a slave labor system in a Twentieth Century Western Nation. So I am not certain what people with a Master's Degree or a higher Degree in economics would say about a Twentieth Century or Twenty First Century slave labor based economic system in a Western type nation.

Well, you should have come up with the conclusion that the Roman's let slaves practice their trade if they had one, which helped expand their empire. The U.S. south was a Banana Republic that had one cash crop that required mass production, which kept people illiterate and from any potential of advancement and that's why it never would have survived.


Look at Brazil, Cuba and all other western societies that adhered to slavery. Not one of them is considered a fully developed country today.
 

leftyhunter

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Exactly. I look at the Confederacy as a Kleptocracy, it would have needed walls to keep slaves in and walls to keep their enemies out. It never would worked.
It really hard to say how an independent Confederate nation would fair. No Western nation had legal slavery post 1888 until briefly Edited. Germany. Most likely South Africa would be the basic model has South Africa ended slavery by the Nineteenth Century but had harsh Apartied for many decades . South Africa did industrialize and had an advanced military industry that exported quite a few arms.
Eventually the Confederacy most likely would have to lessen Apartied.
Leftyhunter
 
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lurid

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It really hard to say how an independent Confederate nation would fair. No Western nation had legal slavery post 1888 until briefly Nazi Germany. Most likely South Africa would be the basic model has South Africa ended slavery by the Nineteenth Century but had harsh Apartied for many decades . South Africa did industrialize and had an advanced military industry that exported quite a few arms.
Eventually the Confederacy most likely would have to lessen Apartied.
Leftyhunter

Well Lefty, I think it's rather a probability that they would have been in a Cold War with the north, which they never would have survived the competition. The north would have used containment policies that would have thrown a wrench into the south's program. What else could they have done? What country in Africa could give South Africa any competition in the world market? To my knowledge, SA pretty much didn't have much competition from any other African nation. Perhaps the Confederacy would have survived if it was isolated geographically, but never in the Continental U.S.A..
 

leftyhunter

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Well Lefty, I think it's rather a probability that they would have been in a Cold War with the north, which they never would have survived the competition. The north would have used containment policies that would have thrown a wrench into the south's program. What else could they have done? What country in Africa could give South Africa any competition in the world market? To my knowledge, SA pretty much didn't have much competition from any other African nation. Perhaps the Confederacy would have survived if it was isolated geographically, but never in the Continental U.S.A..
I never thought about a hypothetical cold war although certainly possible.
Lots of hypothetical questions.
1. If the Confederacy won independence what would be the state of it's military in terms of lost manpower and equipment?
2. How deep or extensive is an independent Confederate nation involved with other nations? That is does an independent Confederate nation have a formal military defense treaty with one or more countries? Are foreign troops or sailor's based in the Confederacy?
3. Does France maintain control of Mexico or are they driven off?
3a . If Mexico regains it's independence then would the Confederacy attack Mexico to expand slavery and if so does the US invoke the Monroe Doctrine?
4. Would the Confederacy try to do what slave owners who supported William Walker do and invade Nicaragua? If so would the US invoke the Monroe Doctrine? Would the UK aid Nicaragua?
5. Would the US turn a blind eye to groups inspired by John Brown to free the slaves via insurgency tactics?
No doubt other posters could pose more questions on a hypothetical independent Confederate nation.
Leftyhunter
 
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