Secession and Civil War Questions and Answers

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"The South had no chance in winning the Civil War." How would you back up this statement?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In order to make this case, what you have to do is to argue that the war was always going to be determined by industrial capacity and population.  In this view, the war was not about military technique or leadership but simply about who could produce more weapons and put more soldiers on battlefields.  I am not sure this argument is really true, but it can be made.

The North was vastly superior to the South in terms of population and industrial capacity.  Essentially all of the factories in the country were in the North.  The vast majority of the country’s railroads were in the North.  The North had a much larger population, particularly when you factor in the idea that many people in the South were slaves.

From this, you can argue that the South could not possibly have won the war.  The US Army was always going to be better armed and equipped.  It would be able to replace men who got killed and wounded much more easily than the South could.  These factors made Northern victory (in this point of view) inevitable.

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bmcgahee82 | Student

One argument you could make to provide evidence for the assertion that "The South had no chance in winning the Civil War" is to compare the total population of the Southern states that seceded from the Union versus the total population of the Northern states. The number of people residing in 23 states in the Union outnumber the 11 Confederate states more than 2:1. Since there are more people in the North than in the South, the Union has a stronger military force over their Confederate counterparts.

Another argument that would follow from the population is the comparison of the industrial conditions of both the North and South. Most of the factories were located in Northern states, which gave them quick access to weapons, ammunition, and railroads for transportation when needed. The South possessed great leadership and strong military tactics under generals such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, but lacked the necessary resources such as access to railroads to mobilize their troops and supplies. This gave the North a major advantage over the South.