Daniel has a bachelor's level in background from CSUF. While loving all aspects of history, there’s constantly those one-of-a-kind moments in history.

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Union victory was not inevitable

The Lost cause tradition is a well-known myth of the American Civil battle that believes the the south was never able to win the war. However, the is frequently accepted among modern-day historians the the South had a very good chance in ~ winning, specifically at the start of the war, early out to many advantages. This article will examine just how the physiological, geographic, and leadership benefits of the South verified to have actually a an extremely decisive roll in the war. There to be nothing inevitable around the phibìc winning the war, the Confederacy's many benefits proved that the American Civil battle would be a long, bloody battle that the Union would need to fight significantly hard come win.

The psychological Advantage

The South had actually exponential advantages going into the war, most of i beg your pardon became noticeable in the first few campaigns. The an initial and many well seen benefit at the start of the war was the psychological advantage; the Southerner's residence was gift invaded and also they required to safeguard themselves, your families, and also their means of life. A Confederate soldier was asked why that is fighting versus the Union soldiers and also simply replied, "because they space down here". The southern saw the war as an act of northern aggression and a battle of independence, and also their fight against the Union was essential to protect their residences from the invading North. It appears as the Confederacy continued to get momentum with each success as they much more or less overcame the battlefield and also came fairly close to marching ~ above Washington. Also after Gettysburg, i m sorry many mention as the turning point in the battle (but is the topic of historical debate), moral among Southern troops continued to be high prior to it gradually dwindled with each brand-new Union victory. However for the very first years the the war the south seemed virtually unstoppable and also their confidence to be proven with numerous victories.


The Confederates had the mindset that their reason in the war was right, and also that the battle was one of northern Aggression. This sentiment have the right to still it is in seen and also felt now in several of the southern states.


The Shenandoah Valley, circled in red, verified to be a an extremely effective organic defense as numerous Union troops were required into the deadly funnel wherein they met their demise from solid fortified Confederate positions throughout the valley.

The geographic Advantage

The 2nd advantage the Confederacy had versus the Union was the geography of the South. The landscape of the southern says not only noted natural defenses but additionally an financial advantage. Mountains, swamps, and rivers identified the geography of the southern states, which proved easily defensible and gave the phibìc great difficulty in advancing throughout the terrain. Also, the southern was one agricultural society due come the climate and also fertile lands. Cash plants such as tobacco and also cotton flourished in the southern plantations and also with noodle in such high demand due to the industrializing world and the cultivation textile industries, the crop came to be a money tree for southern society. Cotton was also used together a diplomatic tool as at this time about two-thirds the the world's cotton came from the American South. The Confederacy would actually usage this diplomatic benefit in trying to gain the assistance of the British, which in turn would get the support of the French. However, the blockade the Union imposed on southern ports follow me with continuous Union pressure caused the two nations to hesitate their allegiance until the North winner multiple campaigns and also basically secured a Union success in 1865 at which suggest the two countries saw no allude in getting involved. Had actually they recognized the Confederacy and also joined the war on your behalf, the joined States might be very different today.


The Shenandoah valley was a prime example of the geography of the American southern as the valley was surrounded by substantial ridges and detailed a strong natural defense for the Confederacy.

The leadership Advantage

Lastly, the South had the advantage of strong leadership. Countless Southern political and military leaders were graduates the the military academy at West Point, as well as veterans of wars such as the Mexican-American War. When the Union struggled for the first couple of years of the war to find strong leaders that would struggle the enemy and avoid political involvement, Jefferson Davis showed to it is in a very efficient leader in politics while Robert E. Lee and also "Stonewall" Jackson were bringing an excellent military victories come the Confederacy without apprehension or politics aspirations. At the same time Union leaders such as basic McClellan, exhibited negative tactical decisions and were an ext interested in politics and their future careers rather than fighting the battle they were in. Until the Lincoln could figure out exactly how to arrange the generalship of his Union army, Ulysses S. Provide being his conserving grace in turning the Union army about in 1864, the Confederate army would simply encounter success after success all while your soldiers and leaders room gaining beneficial combat experience. Although the Confederacy had actually a strong core of leader at the beginning of the war, leadership would prove come be problem in the later years. The key problem arisen between Davis' and Lee's ideological background on just how to win the war. Davis promoted for win by no losing, i m sorry entailed the Confederacy defending the southern until the phibìc had exhausted their will certainly to struggle and settled for peace. On the various other hand, Lee advocated for success by victory, or losing by no winning, which supposed that win was only attainable by fully defeating the Union and capturing Washington. Lee would be can not to achieve this sort of win as his accident in the battle proved damaging as the southern did not have actually the manpower to replace their casualties.


The Confederacy gotten in the battle with strong leaders who were so efficient it appeared that castle would victory the war till 1863, and even after ~ Gettysburg there was still the possibility of a southern victory.


In conclusion, the South had many benefits which showed that northern victory would be extremely difficult. The geography offered the Confederacy natural defenses the hampered Union movement, when cotton provided the South an excellent economic and also diplomatic leverage. Overall, the Southern attitude of defending their method of life and their homes from the "Northern invaders" showed that there to be nothing inevitable about Northern success in the American civil War. These benefits would prove devastating against the Union together they tried, there is no much early on success, to restore the united States and also would price the country numerous lives by creating a number of casualties that surpasses that of any war the United claims has fought 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, but the South's slavery drove the agricultural economy of the South as well as providing noodle for the North's textiles. However, even with the ns of their main supply of cotton for textiles, the Union's strength of industry permitted them to keep the economy fairly stable and keep manufacturing going. Basically the North's economy was stable enough and also industrially strong enough to outproduce the dying southern economy.


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

I'd say they every were, together was shown in the Confederacy's initial winning streak of fight after battle. The South appeared to have actually all their advantages at the best time as soon as the war started, which took the Union a couple of years to overcome as soon as the Union forged the end their very own advantages. Also, this were all in the beginning of the war due to the fact that towards the end of the war the South's moral was dropping together their casualties continued to increase without males replacing those lost on the battlefield, the Union marched into and began ruining some the the geographic benefits (the "scorched earth" policy), and also the South's leaders were being defeated, notably Stonewall Jackson once he was killed by his own males on accident.

bob on June 06, 2018:

Which to be an advantage for the south at the start of the polite War?

CJ Kelly from the PNW on may 29, 2016:

Great hub. I always thought it to be the perspective of the Confederate soldier (both officer & grunt). That's the only thing that really continual them after 1863. It's remarkable they it is long as long as castle did. The Union overcame massive geography at an early stage in the War. They take it Vicksburg, new Orleans and controlled the Mississippi by 1863.

Really an excellent job. Mutual everywhere.

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Daniel White (author) on may 28, 2016:

While the north did have a very prosperous industrial culture emerging, the South's cotton market was still invaluable because it sustained not just the North's industry however the world's, specifically in the growing textile industry. Together for European countries supporting the Confederacy, enslavement was no an issue. France had actually their interests in the South due to the fact that of Napoleon III's attention in Mexico, and was even close to sending out French troops to assistance the south through Mexico. Also, the Haitian transformation still left bitterness feelings over the freedom of slaves for the French. Britain's interest was economical, mainly with the textile and also cotton market which was sustained by the South's slaves, and also even still supported slavery until 1862 once the African servant Trade contract Act suppressed the Atlantic slave Trade because that good. Thanks for her comments and also insight!

Howard Schneider native Parsippany, new Jersey on may 27, 2016:

Very exciting Hub concerning the benefits the Confederacy had during the civil War. I believe the psychological and geographical benefits of defending your residence ground to be the most key. It is true noodle was a very strong commodity because that them yet the North's overall industrial wealth complex far outweighed the cotton industry. That is true that part in Europe might have thought the idea of supporting the southern to it is in a sound one, yet in the finish they might not assistance a society that to be supporting slavery as way of life. Wonderful job, Daniel.