by Andy Mateja

While I do not agree with many these points, some noted authors believe the Civil War was actually between two forms of American society. While slavery was the most significant factor, most of the combatants who fought in the Civil War did not believe they were fighting for or against it, as most who fought for the South did not even own slaves. Many of Northerners were not influenced by this “peculiar institution” and did not even care about slavery.

Some authors erroneously believed the South could never have won unless England would help the Confederacy just as France did for the “Colonies” during the Revolutionary War, but England of course would have had naval maritime merchant business severely damaged by Northern privateers.  The Southern States also believed their Cotton Embargo would be far more effective in bringing assistance from overseas which, for numerous reasons, they never received.

Many believed the North was too strong to be defeated by a band of “a belligerent hastily formed Southern government” and were positive the Emancipation Proclamation was effective in keeping recognized world powers out of the war so as to be spared of being accused of defending the abhorrent institution of slavery….which was already on the decline with Russia freeing serfs in their country in 1861.  Some others believed that if the South won and gained their independence from the United States, other states would have followed suit and the destiny of the U. S. would have been completely transformed and resembled more like Europe than a unified nation.

Several of these same authors also believe Jefferson Davis was the best Southern President for the Confederacy with even Robt E Lee and could not imagine anyone who could have done better. On this point I do not agree as evidenced by the political and command decisions made by him and the negative after effects.

Another belief is that if the South would have just freed the slaves at the beginning of the war, it would have had a positive impact on their results but was hardly possible, as most did not even own slaves, and believed they were fighting for “states rights” , not to preserve Slavery.

But most of the authors agree on the point that the Blockade was a decisive factor. But few agree that it was THE decisive factor. While over time the blockade DID deprive many Southerners of their basic essentials, few would argue that if the South had followed up their victory at First Bull Run, the blockade would have been meaningless………….

It is also believed that it was major blunder for the Confederate forces not to defeat Gen Ulysses Grant at Vicksburg as Gen Robt E Lee would not leave Virginia to take command in Mississippi. Lee’s advance into Pennsylvania was sort of a diversion away from what was going on in Vicksburg. It didn’t have the desired results for a multitude of reasons as well.

Finally, there is no question that Abraham Lincoln was truly a political genius and a master of rhetoric. A chief executive with less resolve and unquestionable foresight would never have pulled the nation through its most compelling crisis and  most desperate hour of need.

Could the South have won the Civil War???  What do YOU think …….????

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