What advantages did the North have over the South in the US Civil War?What advantages did the North have over the South in the US Civil War?

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martinjmurphy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At first, it looked as though the Union had all the advantages and this would be a short war. First, the Union had the large population, people to fight in the war and work in the factories to make war materials.  The North also had the industrial base, the factories to make these war materials.  The Union also was wealthier than the Confederacy and could finance the war.  The Union had an established army and government, but the Confederacy would have to build their army and government from scratch.  Finally, the Union had a navy which they used to blockade the southern coast. But the Confederacy had advantages, too.  The Confederacy would be fighting a defensive war, which is much easier than having to invade and conquer a territory, something the Union would have to do. Because the Union would have to invade the south, their supply lines would be much longer, and the Confederate army’s supply lines would be much shorter.  Because they would be fighting on their own land, they could take advantage militarily of their knowledge of the land.  They would be defending their homeland which would give them a strong incentive to fight.  They would also be fighting among friendly people. Finally, some of the best military leaders, such as Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, chose to fight on the side of the Confederacy.  It took Lincoln almost three years to find a competent commander in Ulysses S. Grant.  It was because of these Confederate advantages that the war took so long for the Union to win.

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The North had many advantages over the South in the Civil War. One advantage was that the North had more resources than the South. The North had more people, more minerals, more factories, more miles of railroad tracks, and more ships than the South had. These advantages helped the Union army when they were fighting the Confederate army. The North had more supplies because they had more minerals which could be used to make the products they needed. The North also had more factories where the products were made. The North also was able to ship these products quicker because they had more miles of railroad tracks. The North had also had a larger army because there were more people in the North than in the South. The North also had a superior navy.

The North had a tremendous advantage in leadership with Abraham Lincoln as President. President Lincoln was a skilled leader who was able to analyze events accurately and make wise decisions. President Lincoln knew he couldn’t make slavery the main issue at the start of the Civil War. He risked losing some of the border states if he did this. However, by 1863, he realized the North was much more committed to ending slavery. This allowed him to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which made the issue of ending slavery a moral issue for the North.

askteacherz eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The North held immense advantages over South in the Civil War with the exception of leadership until Ulysses S.Grant took control of the Army of the Potomac. The advantages were: an immense population advantage which means far more troops; control over the industry which allows for manufacturing of weapons and goods to be used for war; an economy that is functioning with banks (the South had poor economy and would secure loans to finance the war from, believe it or not, the Northern bankers); railroad millage was very prominent in the North allowing for faster troop movement/s; a navy (the South's navy was almost non-existent until the creation of an ironclad that was utilized only once); and lastly a government that was established. All of these advantages point toward one conclusion at the start of the war; the US should win quickly and overwhelmingly, however that does not happen because most these advantages get turned upside down and made into disadvantages by the superior leadership of the South; Robert E. Lee and strong military traditions that exited in the Confederacy.
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The north had better weapons. They were not only more technologically advanced, but the weapons were of better quality. They were only at a disadvantage deeper into the south, where the supply lines were shorter for them. However the north was better equipped, and had strong strategic leaders.