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Civil War: Advantages and Disadvantages for North and South

Civil War: Advantages and Disadvantages for North and South

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Civil War: Advantages and Disadvantages for North and South

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  1. Civil War:Advantages and Disadvantages for North and South

  2. IB HL Essay Question • 2006 • Assess the relative strengths of the North and the South at the beginning of the United States Civil War in 1861. • 2007 • Why, in spite of the advantages of the North over the South, did the Civil War in the United States last so long?

  3. Advantages of South • 1. Could fight a defensive war – North would have to invade, win, and force the South back into the Union. South just had to tie / draw, not win, to remain an independent Confederacy - same advantage the US had over the British in the Revolutionary War • 2. War was fought primarily on Southern soil; South had knowledge of local terrain and the advantage of local support…food, hiding places, shelter...

  4. 3. The South was almost unanimously unified behind the cause / enthusiastic (at least at first) - preservation of their way of life and their economic system. Fighting for something concrete, tangible, something easy to understand - to be independent, to be left alone: they had no aggressive designs on the North • (Include all those reasons as to why the South was virtually unanimously united behind the pro-slave position, even though only 25% owned slaves, and only .5% owned more than 100 slaves • Fear of reprisals • Siege Mentality • Competition for jobs

  5. Ties of Kinship • Social Mobility / Ownership • Force of Race • Legal / Constitutional • Slave Power / “Slaveocracy” / “slaveocrats”?

  6. 4. The South had the best commanders, Robert E Lee was a great strategist and motivator. (Lincoln had offered him command of the North’s armies but he turned it down when his own state of Virginia seceded). Stonewall Jackson too was a great strategist / tactician, a master of speed and deception, and inspired his men by his own bravery on the battlefield

  7. 5. Southern soldiers were mostly from rural backgrounds and so were experienced with guns and horse-riding: they generally tended to be better soldiers (their high pitched “rebel-yell” struck terror). • 6. South adapted, fought a smart campaign, in the early years - seized federal weapons, ran Union blockades, developed their own ironworks…to provide sufficient weaponry • 7. Supported by the Five Civilized Tribes of the Indian Territory: Cherokee (split; and most of Plains Indians supported Union), Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Seminoles: supplied troops to Confederacy…. Another distraction to Union

  8. 8. Use of commerce-raiders build in Britain (manned by Britons; neutral?); the Alabama destroyed 64 Union ships; in all commerce-raiders destroyed more than 250 Yankee ships, severely crippling the American merchant marine (later, in 1872, Britain settled the Alabama Claims for $15.5 m, after arbitration) • (The Laird Rams, two iron clad Confederate war ships, equipped with larger guns than the commerce raiders, became an issue, but the British govt. stopped sale of these to the Confederacy – a big blow to their hopes of breaking the blockade)

  9. Disadvantages of South • 1. Shortage of supplies - after initial supplies captured from the North ran out: weapons, shoes, uniforms, blankets. Lack of supplies became critical when the North enforced a blockade on the South. By 1863 South was very low on supplies and morale began to collapse.

  10. 2. Poor transportation system: South did not have a very extensive system of roads and railroads; had only 10,000 miles of the country's 30,000 - irony was that South had opposed the “American System” which would have left it with a more advanced transportation system. • Even the 10,000 mile statistic is misleading, does not tell the true story of the South’s railroad inferiority. There were big gaps between key points in the South, which required supplies to make detours over long distances or be carried between rail lines by wagon. Tracks were of different measurements. There were few trunk lines. Most lines ran West to East to bring Cotton to the ports. As the war continued, the Confederate railroad system steadily deteriorated, and by the last year and a half of the struggle it had almost collapsed.

  11. 3. The South had a much smaller population than North - only 11 states with a total population of 9m of which just under 4m were slaves and thus not involved - so could draw from the resources of only 5m….no immigration to bolster numbers • The army was manned by Volunteers at first, like the Union armies, but by the beginning of 1862 the Confederacy was threatened by a manpower crisis and the government was forced to introduce conscription which declared that all able bodied white men between the ages of 18 and 35 had to serve for 3 yrs.

  12. Well off people could buyexemption for $10,000 or get exemption if they owned more than 20 slaves, leading to the claim that “ it was a rich man's war but a poor man's fight” • Conscription worked in 1862 - 1863 but by 1864 there was again a critical manpower shortage. • In a desperate move, Congress lowered the age limit for drafted men to 17 and raised it to 50, reaching out it was said “towards the cradle and the grave”. But the measure produced few new recruits in a nation now suffering from intense war weariness and becoming certain that defeat was inevitable.

  13. In 1864- 1865 there were 100,000 desertions. In a frantic final attempt to raise men, Congress in 1865 authorized the drafting of 300,000 slaves. The war ended before this incongruous experiment could be attempted. • Basically the South suffered from a shortage of men / manpower

  14. 4. The South had serious financial problems: earnings of Cotton planters declined due to blockade: customs duties were also cut off by the blockade: the South raised $400m in bonds, but this was not enough. Taxes were increased and an additional 10% levy on farm produce - but the states rights southerners were reluctant to accept taxation by a central authority and in most cases refused to pay – only 1% of total income was raised this way. • Confederacy had to rely on printing paper currency - printed $1b dollars in paper currency, which caused runaway inflation….(overall rate of inflation in South was 9,000 % - only 80% in North)

  15. Also the Confederacy did not establish a uniform currency system: thus states issued their own notes - this caused confusion and a depreciation of the value of Confederate money and contributed to further inflation. • Loans expected from abroad never materialized. • Basically the South suffered from a major shortage of money • “The Economy was the greatest Southern weakness..”

  16. 5. Cotton was not as important (King) as South thought it was. The South thought that England would support it, to protect the supply of Cotton, but English textile manufacturers had built up a sizeable surplus (, so the British were not inclined to intervene for this reason). • When the surplus ran out, the British were supplied from new sources such as India and Egypt. • Yet the British textile industry was not unaffected by loss of Southern Cotton; 500,000 workers became unemployed as a result of factories closing down due to the shortage of Cotton: But these workers still did not support running the blockade or fighting with the Confederacy

  17. The English ruling class may have wanted to support the Confederacy, but the English working classes would not contemplate such action, thanks to Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin • They were also, later, influenced by Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which turned the war into a moral crusade. • 6. Lack of Diplomatic efforts / Incompetent Diplomacy No overseas / foreign help, from Britain or France, except unofficial help from British shipbuilders (Commerce Raiders) : the South was over confident that it would get foreign support because “Cotton was King” and so did not make a great enough effort to appeal for financial and military support from abroad.

  18. 7. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, was: “flawed and blinkered both as man and as statesman, with huge weaknesses of judgment and capacity.” (Johnson) “He lacked imagination, compounded by ignorance.” He did not provide effective, inspirational leadership, spending most of his time on routine items / details, on legal and constitutional matters which were irrelevant to the task of ensuring the survival of a new nation. • He was short-tempered, and dictatorial, constantly quarrelling with the Confederate Congress, vetoing 38 of their Bills (they re-passed 37 of these)…threatened with impeachment…he was imperious, “inclined to defy rather than lead public opinion”

  19. He was bitter and bore grievances. His military and cabinet appointments were former comrades or friends who were mostly incompetent. • He chose the wrong strategy – tried to defend every inch of the border and coastline, spreading Confederate troops too thin, rather than concentrating his forces in fewer areas. He employed about one third of his troops in non-combative defense duties when his commanders were clamoring desperately for more men

  20. 8. The South’s political system left it weak: it adopted a loose confederate system - like the former Articles of Confederation - with strong states and a weak federal government. States put their own interests first: each state raised its own forces, often decided on when and where to use them, sometimes refusing to fight under commanders from other states, or serve outside their own borders: some states seemed ready to quickly secede from the Confederacy (Georgia) if they did not get their way… Irony - states rights, which the South had promoted over a long period of time, damaged the Confederacy’s chances of winning

  21. Focus on state control also caused problems with supplies, finance, as well as manpower. Often it was “every state for itself.” The South was “a martyr to its own ideology of states rights.” • 9. Internal Conflict and Jealousies: Virginia / Virginians disliked the “less polished, more vulgar, extreme Southern Carolinians,” who began to dominate the Congress. They despised Davis. To appease Virginia the capital was moved from Montgomery to Richmond…..thereafter described as “a snake-pit of bitter social and political feuds.”

  22. Advantages of North 1. Superior Economy - produced its own food and was the nation’s industrial center. Greater resources when the country started to mobilize for war. Produced almost all of its own war materials after 1862. The Northern economy expanded during the war, while the South’s shrank. During the war years the North-South ratio was 10: 1 in factory production 15: 1 in iron 38: 1 in coal 32: 1 in firearm production 412: 1 in wheat production 2: 1 in corn production 14: 1 in textiles 25: 1 in ship tonnage 2.4: 1 in railroad mileage 3: 1 in farm acreage 1.8: 1 in draft animals 1.5: 1 in livestock

  23. Huge expansion in industry in North during war: demand, new machines (sewing machine), protective tariffs – produced new millionaire class…speculators and graft…sold shoddy goods to army (aged and blind horses, uniforms with shoddy wool, shoes with cardboard soles) • The only commodity the South was ahead in was cotton - 24: 1, but this advantage was negated by previous overproduction and by stockpiling by the North (as with Britain) of Southern cotton as the war approached

  24. 2. Access to finance; – excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol: • income tax was introduced for the first time, 3% on incomes above $800. later increased to 5% on incomes between $600 and $5000 and 10% on incomes above $5000: • Tariffs were increased by between 5-10% through the Morrill Tariff Act of 1861 (from the low Tariff of 1857 – 20%). • $2.6b raised through selling bonds, marketed through the private house of Jay Cooke and Company: • Increases of $450m in paper money / greenbacks (but inadequately supported by gold, so value fluctuated depending on nation’s credit and fortunes of war)

  25. 3. The National Bank Act, 1863, recreated a national banking system, and regulated banks / currency. Banks had to have a minimum amount of capital, and had to invest one third of that capital in govt. bonds and securities. Eliminated the chaos and uncertainty in the country's banking system. The resulting economic stability and direction contributed to the war effort (first attempt to unifying banking since Jackson “killed” the BUS in 1836)...system functioned until Federal Reserve Act of 1913 • Before, legislation concerning Tariffs, Banking, was defeated by the South – now they were not there to veto

  26. 4. Superior transportation system - 20,000 + mile network of railroads. Also more and better means of inland water transportation (steamboats and barges) more surfaced roads, more wagons.

  27. 5. The Federal army and navy became the Union army and Navy – just like the Federal Congress was the Union Congress - smooth transition. Through the navy the North controlled the seas and was able to blockade Southern ports (occasional trouble from Commerce Raiders, such as the Alabama, and the ironclad Merrimack) It was also able to exchange wheat and corn for arms and ammunition from European countries.

  28. 6. North had 23 states with a pop of 22 million, which was increasing every year by the arrival of immigrants. Just under 1m arrived during the Civil War years alone, 1861-1865. 400,000 of these enlisted in the Union armies, the rest worked in industry. 1.6m men served in the Union armies (total during war), including 180,000 African Americans (either free before war or freed during war). The North-South ratio in free males aged 18 to 60 was 4.4: 1. (yet had to introduce conscription in 1863) 7. Border States / Slave states: Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia – sources of industry, transportation (Ohio River) and contributed 300,000 troops to the Union

  29. 8. In Lincoln the North had a charismatic, decisive leader who did what was necessary to win the war. Regarded as a great war President / Commander in Chief. He was a keen strategist often showing greater insight than his generals. He maximized the North’s strength’s and resources. He took it upon himself to formulate policy, devised strategy, and even directed tactical movement Urged his generals to - keep up constant pressure on the whole defensive line of the Confederacy until a week spot could be found and a breakthrough could be made. - At an early date he realized that the main objective of his armies was the destruction of the Confederate armies and not the occupation of Southern territory.

  30. Acted swiftly / decisively, taking arbitrary powers, while Congress was not in session – it later approved of most of his measures: set aside Constitution or took on powers of Congress: - introduced a blockade - increased the size of the Army - suspended Habeas Corpus - supervised ballot in border states (colored ballots indicating party, somewhat illegal) - suspended newspapers and arrested editors on ground of obstructing war

  31. 9. King Wheat and King Corn helped enormously – due to bad harvests, British bought huge quantities of grain from the North: If they had broken the blockade to get Cotton, they would have provoked the North to war and lost the precious grain supplies • In a nutshell…the North enjoyed the prestige of a long-established government, financial stability, was fully recognized both at home and abroad….and Lincoln proved superior to the Davis..

  32. Disadvantages of North 1. Weak commanders compared to South: Gen Winfield Scott: unable to cope with the strategies needed for a large-scale war. George McClellan: always slow to advance, complained of lack of men, supplies, artillery. Replaced Scott. Proud and arrogant refused to follow orders. Could have destroyed main Confederate after Antietam if he had followed up his initial success. Replaced him with Gen Henry Halleck: also proved to be unable to implement Lincoln’s strategy.

  33. Lincoln was forced to form and direct military strategy by himself. He eventually found the North’s great general in Ulysses S. Grant (found good generals through trial and error). Grant could think of the war in overall terms and devise strategy for the war as a whole. Like Lincoln he favored a hard relentless pursuit of the enemy, not the old concept of war as chessboard maneuvers conducted in leisurely fashion. Lincoln trusted him and gave him a relatively free hand. However Grant always consulted him on major decisions. Meade and Sherman also proved to be capable generals.

  34. 2. Had to win the war outright, had to conquer the South and reduce it to subjugation, to obedience to federal law. A tie would not be sufficient. Had to take the offensive. The South had only to stave off defeat. 3. Fighting on enemy territory. Had to maintain long lines of communication, deal with hostile local population, and rely on the South's inadequate system of transportation.

  35. 4. North not fully united behind the war effort. The war was opposed by the Peace Democrats (as opposed to War Democrats) who wanted to end the fighting and hold a national convention to amend the Constitution in ways that wd satisfy the South. It was opposed by the Copperheads - extremist opponents (after poisonous snake) who actively opposed / obstructed the war and esp. the draft (Vallandigham).. Opposition to Draft from workers (esp. Irish Immigrants) – several riots, esp. in NY – anger with $300 exemption Deserters – total of 200,000 – inc. Bounty Boys / Jumpers

  36. 5. Having to be careful to appease the precarious • Border States (Slave states): Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia – sources of industry, Ohio River: would have seceded if North had fired the first shots: Lincoln used persuasion and martial law (Maryland, Missouri, West V): Lincoln had to insist that the war was to save the Union, not to end slavery – didn’t want to drive these states into Confederacy • Butternut Regions (southern Ohio, Indiana, Illinois: areas settled largely by Southerners who had carried their racial prejudices with them: area was a “hotbed of pro-Southern sentiment throughout the war.” Again, to ensure their loyalty Lincoln insisted that his paramount purpose in the war was to save the Union

  37. Casualties and Costs • 600,000 died in action or of disease • 1m killed or seriously wounded • $15 billion