Daniel has actually a bachelor's level in background from CSUF. While love all facets of history, there’s constantly those special moments in history.

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Union success was not unpreventable

The Lost cause tradition is a well-known myth of the American Civil war that believes that the south was never ever able to win the war. However, it is frequently accepted among contemporary historians that the South had actually a very an excellent chance in ~ winning, especially at the start of the war, early to plenty of advantages. This article will examine how the physiological, geographic, and also leadership benefits of the South confirmed to have a really decisive role in the war. There was nothing inevitable about the north winning the war, the Confederacy's many advantages proved that the American Civil war would be a long, bloody war that the Union would need to fight exponentially hard to win.

The emotional Advantage

The South had actually exponential benefits going into the war, many of i beg your pardon became apparent in the first couple of campaigns. The an initial and most well seen advantage at the start of the war was the psychological advantage; the Southerner's residence was being invaded and also they needed to safeguard themselves, their families, and their way of life. A Confederate soldier was asked why that is fighting versus the Union soldiers and also simply replied, "because they are down here". The south saw the battle as an act of north aggression and a war of independence, and their fight versus the Union was important to defend their dwellings from the invading North. It appears as the Confederacy continued to obtain momentum with each win as they an ext or less overcame the battlefield and came relatively close to marching on Washington. Even after Gettysburg, i m sorry many cite as the turning point in the battle (but is the object of historic debate), moral among Southern troops continued to be high prior to it slowly dwindled through each new Union victory. Yet for the an initial years that the war the southern seemed almost unstoppable and their confidence was proven with many victories.


The Confederates had actually the perspective that their cause in the war was right, and that the war was one of north Aggression. This sentiment can still it is in seen and also felt this day in some of the southern states.


The Shenandoah Valley, circled in red, showed to be a very effective herbal defense as many Union troops were compelled into the fatal funnel wherein they met their demise from solid fortified Confederate positions throughout the valley.

The geographic Advantage

The second advantage the Confederacy had versus the Union was the location of the South. The landscape of the southern claims not only provided natural defenses but additionally an financial advantage. Mountains, swamps, and also rivers defined the location of the southerly states, i m sorry proved easily defensible and gave the north great challenge in advancing throughout the terrain. Also, the southern was an agricultural society due come the climate and also fertile lands. Cash plants such as tobacco and also cotton grew in the southern plantations and with noodle in together high demand due come the industry world and the growing textile industries, the crop became a money tree for southerly society. Noodle was also used as a diplomatic tool as at this time around two-thirds of the world's cotton come from the American South. The Confederacy would actually use this diplomatic benefit in trying to acquire the support of the British, which in turn would gain the support of the French. However, the blockade the Union enforced on southern ports follow me with continuous Union pressure led to the two nations to hesitate their allegiance till the North winner multiple campaigns and basically secured a Union win in 1865 in ~ which suggest the two countries saw no suggest in gaining involved. Had actually they well-known the Confederacy and joined the war on your behalf, the joined States might be really different today.


The Shenandoah sink was a prime instance of the geography of the American southern as the sink was surrounding by vast ridges and noted a solid natural defense for the Confederacy.

The leadership Advantage

Lastly, the South had the benefit of strong leadership. Countless Southern political and also military leaders were graduates the the military academy in ~ West Point, and also veterans of wars such together the Mexican-American War. When the Union struggled because that the first few years that the battle to find solid leaders who would struggle the enemy and also avoid politics involvement, Jefferson Davis confirmed to be a really efficient leader in politics while Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson to be bringing an excellent military victories come the Confederacy without hesitation or political aspirations. Meanwhile Union leaders together as basic McClellan, exhibited poor tactical decisions and were an ext interested in politics and their future careers fairly than fighting the battle they were in. Till the Lincoln could figure out just how to species the generalship of his Union army, Ulysses S. Approve being his conserving grace in transforming the Union army roughly in 1864, the Confederate military would simply encounter victory after win all while your soldiers and leaders are gaining an important combat experience. Although the Confederacy had a strong core of leader at the beginning of the war, leadership would prove to be problematic in the later years. The main problem emerged between Davis' and Lee's belief on just how to win the war. Davis promoted for success by no losing, i beg your pardon entailed the Confederacy defending the south until the north had tired their will to hit and settled for peace. Top top the other hand, Lee promoted for victory by victory, or losing by not winning, which expected that win was only attainable by fully defeating the Union and also capturing Washington. Lee would certainly be can not to achieve this type of win as his accident in the battle proved damaging as the south did not have actually the manpower to change their casualties.


The Confederacy entered the war with strong leaders that were so efficient it appeared that lock would success the war till 1863, and even after ~ Gettysburg there was still the possibility of a southerly victory.


In conclusion, the South had actually many advantages which proved that northern victory would be immensely difficult. The geography gave the Confederacy organic defenses that hampered Union movement, when cotton offered the South good economic and diplomatic leverage. Overall, the Southern perspective of defending their way of life and also their dwellings from the "Northern invaders" proved that there to be nothing inevitable around Northern victory in the American civil War. These benefits would prove devastating versus the Union together they tried, without much beforehand success, to reclaim the united States and would expense the country numerous lives by developing a number of casualties the surpasses that of any war the United claims has battled to date.

Questions & Answers

Question: What economic advantages did the North have actually over the south in hold together States' history?

Answer: The Union had actually the strength of industry and also made a lot indigenous textiles, however the South's enslavement drove the farming economy of the South and also providing noodle for the North's textiles. However, also with the lose of their key supply of cotton for textiles, the Union's power of industry permitted them to keep the economy fairly stable and keep manufacturing going. Usually the North's economic situation was stable enough and industrially solid enough to outproduce the dying southerly economy.


Daniel White (author) top top June 08, 2018:

I'd say they every were, as was presented in the Confederacy's initial to win streak of fight after battle. The South appeared to have actually all their benefits at the ideal time once the battle started, which took the Union a few years to overcome as soon as the Union forged out their very own advantages. Also, this were every in the beginning of the war because towards the end of the battle the South's ethical was dropping as their casualties ongoing to rise without guys replacing those shed on the battlefield, the Union marched into and also began damaging some of the geographic advantages (the "scorched earth" policy), and the South's leaders to be being defeated, especially Stonewall Jackson as soon as he was eliminated by his own men on accident.

bob top top June 06, 2018:

Which to be an advantage for the southern at the start of the civil War?

CJ Kelly indigenous the PNW on might 29, 2016:

Great hub. I always thought it was the attitude of the Confederate soldier (both officer & grunt). That's the only thing the really sustained them ~ 1863. It's exceptional they it is long as long as they did. The Union overcame substantial geography beforehand in the War. They took Vicksburg, brand-new Orleans and also controlled the Mississippi through 1863.

Really an excellent job. Shared everywhere.

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Daniel White (author) on might 28, 2016:

While the phibìc did have actually a really prosperous industrial culture emerging, the South's cotton sector was tho invaluable due to the fact that it fueled not only the North's industry however the world's, specifically in the farming textile industry. As for European countries supporting the Confederacy, enslavement was no an issue. France had actually their understand in the South due to the fact that of Napoleon III's interest in Mexico, and was also close to sending out French troops to assistance the southern through Mexico. Also, the Haitian change still left bitter feelings end the independence of servants for the French. Britain's attention was economical, mostly with the textile and also cotton industry which was sustained by the South's slaves, and even quiet supported enslavement until 1862 when the African slave Trade contract Act suppressed the Atlantic servant Trade for good. Many thanks for her comments and also insight!

Howard Schneider indigenous Parsippany, brand-new Jersey on might 27, 2016:

Very amazing Hub concerning the advantages the Confederacy had throughout the polite War. I think the psychological and geographical advantages of defending your residence ground to be the many key. The is true noodle was a very strong commodity for them yet the North's overall industrial wealth facility far outweighed the cotton industry. That is true that some in Europe could have believed the idea of supporting the southern to it is in a sound one, but in the finish they could not support a society that to be supporting enslavement as way of life. Great job, Daniel.