Daniel has a bachelor's level in history from CSUF. While love all facets of history, there’s always those one-of-a-kind moments in history.

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Union victory was not inevitable

The Lost cause tradition is a renowned myth of the American Civil war that believes the the southern was never ever able to victory the war. However, the is typically accepted among contemporary historians that the South had actually a very good chance in ~ winning, particularly at the start of the war, due to plenty of advantages. This article will examine exactly how the physiological, geographic, and also leadership advantages of the South showed to have a very decisive role in the war. There to be nothing inevitable around the phibìc winning the war, the Confederacy's many advantages proved that the American Civil battle would be a long, bloody war that the Union would have to fight significantly hard to win.

The mental Advantage

The South had actually exponential benefits going right into the war, many of i beg your pardon became apparent in the first couple of campaigns. The first and many well seen benefit at the start of the battle was the psychological advantage; the Southerner's house was being invaded and they essential to defend themselves, their families, and their means of life. A Confederate soldier was asked why the is fighting against the Union soldiers and also simply replied, "because they space down here". The southern saw the war as an act of north aggression and also a war of independence, and also their fight versus the Union was essential to defend their homes from the invading North. It seems as the Confederacy continued to get momentum with each victory as they an ext or less conquered the battlefield and came reasonably close to marching on Washington. Even after Gettysburg, which many point out as the turning point in the war (but is the topic of historic debate), moral among Southern troops remained high before it gradually dwindled with each new Union victory. However for the an initial years of the war the southern seemed virtually unstoppable and also their confidence was proven with plenty of victories.


The Confederates had actually the attitude that their cause in the battle was right, and also that the war was one of northern Aggression. This sentiment can still be seen and also felt this particular day in some of the southern states.


The Shenandoah Valley, circled in red, showed to be a really effective organic defense as numerous Union troops were compelled into the deadly funnel wherein they met their demise from strong fortified Confederate positions throughout the valley.

The geographical Advantage

The second advantage the Confederacy had versus the Union to be the location of the South. The see of the southern states not only detailed natural defenses but likewise an economic advantage. Mountains, swamps, and also rivers identified the geography of the southern states, which proved easily defensible and also gave the phibìc great challenge in advancing throughout the terrain. Also, the south was an agricultural culture due come the climate and also fertile lands. Cash plants such as tobacco and cotton prospered in the southerly plantations and also with cotton in together high demand due come the industry world and the cultivation textile industries, the crop ended up being a money tree for southerly society. Noodle was also used as a diplomatic device as at this time about two-thirds the the world's cotton come from the American South. The Confederacy would actually use this diplomatic benefit in do the efforts to gain the assistance of the British, which subsequently would acquire the assistance of the French. However, the blockade the Union applied on southern ports follow me with constant Union pressure resulted in the two nations to hesitate your allegiance till the North won multiple campaigns and also basically secured a Union win in 1865 at which suggest the two nations saw no suggest in obtaining involved. Had they known the Confederacy and also joined the battle on your behalf, the unified States may be an extremely different today.


The Shenandoah sink was a prime instance of the location of the American southern as the valley was surrounded by substantial ridges and detailed a solid natural defense for the Confederacy.

The management Advantage

Lastly, the South had actually the advantage of solid leadership. Plenty of Southern political and also military leaders to be graduates of the military academy in ~ West Point, and veterans of wars such as the Mexican-American War. If the Union struggled because that the first couple of years that the battle to find strong leaders that would struggle the enemy and avoid politics involvement, Jefferson Davis verified to it is in a really efficient leader in national politics while Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson to be bringing good military victories come the Confederacy without hesitation or political aspirations. On the other hand Union leaders together as general McClellan, exhibited poor tactical decisions and also were much more interested in politics and their future careers fairly than fighting the battle they were in. Until the Lincoln could figure out just how to kinds 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 merely encounter win after victory all while your soldiers and also leaders room gaining valuable combat experience. Although the Confederacy had a strong core of leader at the start of the war, management would prove to be problematic in the later on years. The main problem occurred between Davis' and Lee's belief on just how to win the war. Davis promoted for win by no losing, i m sorry entailed the Confederacy defending the south until the phibìc had exhausted their will to fight and worked out for peace. On the other hand, Lee promoted for win by victory, or losing by not winning, which meant that success was just attainable by totally defeating the Union and also capturing Washington. Lee would certainly be can not to accomplish this kind of victory as his accident in the battle proved destructive as the southern did not have actually the manpower to replace their casualties.


The Confederacy entered the battle with strong leaders that were so reliable it seemed that castle would victory the war till 1863, and even after ~ Gettysburg there to be still the opportunity of a southern victory.


In conclusion, the South had many benefits which verified that northern victory would be extremely difficult. The geography gave the Confederacy natural defenses the hampered Union movement, while cotton offered the South good economic and diplomatic leverage. Overall, the Southern attitude of defending their means of life and also their residences from the "Northern invaders" confirmed that there was nothing inevitable around Northern win in the American civil War. These benefits would prove devastating against the Union together they tried, there is no much beforehand success, to reclaim the unified States and would cost the country plenty of lives by creating a number of casualties that surpasses that of any type of war the United says has dealt with to date.

Questions & Answers

Question: What economic benefits did the North have over the southern in hold together States' history?

Answer: The Union had the strength of industry and also made a lot from textiles, but the South's enslavement drove the farming economy of the South as well as providing noodle for the North's textiles. However, even with the lose of their key supply of cotton for textiles, the Union's power of industry enabled them to keep the economy relatively stable and keep production going. Usually the North's economy was secure enough and also industrially solid enough to outproduce the dying southerly economy.


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

I'd say they all were, together was displayed in the Confederacy's initial win streak of fight after battle. The South seemed to have actually all their advantages at the appropriate time when the battle started, which take it the Union a few years to overcome once the Union forged the end their own advantages. Also, these were every in the start of the war due to the fact that towards the end of the war the South's ethical was dropping together their casualties ongoing to climb without males replacing those lost on the battlefield, the Union marched into and began damaging some that the geographic benefits (the "scorched earth" policy), and the South's leaders were being defeated, notably Stonewall Jackson when he was eliminated by his own men on accident.

bob top top June 06, 2018:

Which to be an benefit for the southern at the start of the polite War?

CJ Kelly indigenous the PNW on might 29, 2016:

Great hub. I always thought it to be the mindset of the Confederate soldier (both officer & grunt). That's the just thing that really sustained them after ~ 1863. It's impressive they lasted as lengthy as they did. The Union overcame enormous geography early on in the War. They took Vicksburg, new Orleans and controlled the Mississippi through 1863.

Really good job. Common everywhere.

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Daniel White (author) on might 28, 2016:

While the phibìc did have actually a an extremely prosperous industrial society emerging, the South's cotton market was still invaluable due to the fact that it sustained not just the North's industry however the world's, particularly in the growing textile industry. Together for European countries supporting the Confederacy, slavery was no an issue. France had their understanding in the South due to the fact that of Napoleon III's attention in Mexico, and was also close to sending French troops to assistance the southern through Mexico. Also, the Haitian transformation still left bitterness feelings over the independence of slaves for the French. Britain's attention was economical, mainly with the textile and cotton sector which was fueled by the South's slaves, and also even quiet supported slavery until 1862 when the African slave Trade treaty Act suppressed the Atlantic servant Trade for good. Many thanks for your comments and insight!

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

Very amazing Hub about the benefits the Confederacy had throughout the polite War. I think the psychological and also geographical benefits of defending your house ground to be the most key. That is true noodle was a very strong commodity because that them yet the North's overall industrial wealth complex far outweighed the noodle industry. The is true that part in Europe might have assumed the idea of sustaining the south to be a sound one, yet in the finish they could not support a society that to be supporting slavery as way of life. Great job, Daniel.