Daniel has actually a bachelor's degree in history from CSUF. While loving all aspects of history, there’s always those unique moments in history.

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Union success was not unavoidable

The Lost cause tradition is a renowned myth that the American Civil battle that believes that the south was never ever able to success the war. However, that is generally accepted among contemporary historians the the South had actually a very an excellent chance in ~ winning, especially at the beginning of the war, due to numerous advantages. This article will examine just how the physiological, geographic, and also leadership advantages of the South confirmed to have actually 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 it is in a long, bloody war that the Union would have to fight significantly hard come win.

The psychological Advantage

The South had actually exponential advantages going right into the war, many of i m sorry became apparent in the first few campaigns. The an initial and most well seen advantage at the start of the battle was the psychological advantage; the Southerner's house was gift invaded and also they needed to protect themselves, their families, and their method of life. A Confederate soldier was asked why that is fighting versus the Union soldiers and simply replied, "because they are 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 homes from the invading North. It appears as the Confederacy continued to acquire momentum through each success as they an ext or less overcame the battlefield and came fairly close to marching ~ above Washington. Even after Gettysburg, which many mention as the turning point in the battle (but is the topic of historic debate), moral among Southern troops remained high before it progressively dwindled through each brand-new Union victory. However for the very first years of the war the south seemed nearly unstoppable and also their confidence was proven with plenty of victories.


The Confederates had actually the attitude that their reason in the war was right, and that the battle was one of north Aggression. This sentiment can still be seen and felt today in some of the southern states.


The Shenandoah Valley, circled in red, showed to it is in a really effective natural defense as plenty of Union troops were forced into the deadly funnel whereby they met their demise from solid fortified Confederate location 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 claims not only detailed natural defenses but likewise an economic advantage. Mountains, swamps, and also rivers identified the geography of the southerly states, i beg your pardon proved easily defensible and gave the north great an obstacle in advancing across the terrain. Also, the southern was an agricultural society due to the climate and fertile lands. Cash plants such together tobacco and also cotton thrived in the southern plantations and also with cotton in together high demand due come the industry world and also the cultivation textile industries, the crop came to be a money tree for southerly society. Cotton was additionally used as a diplomatic device as in ~ this time about two-thirds that the world's cotton came from the American South. The Confederacy would actually usage this diplomatic benefit in do the efforts to acquire the support of the British, which in turn would obtain the assistance of the French. However, the blockade the Union implemented on southern ports along with continuous Union pressure caused the two countries to hesitate their allegiance until the North won multiple campaigns and basically secured a Union win in 1865 in ~ which suggest the two countries saw no point in acquiring involved. Had actually they well-known the Confederacy and joined the battle on your behalf, the unified States may be an extremely different today.


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

The management Advantage

Lastly, the South had actually the advantage of solid leadership. Numerous Southern political and military leaders to be graduates of the military academy at West Point, and also veterans of wars such as the Mexican-American War. While the Union struggled because that the first few years the the war to find strong leaders that would fight the enemy and also avoid politics involvement, Jefferson Davis confirmed to be a really efficient leader in politics while Robert E. Lee and also "Stonewall" Jackson were bringing an excellent military victories to the Confederacy without apprehension or political aspirations. At the same time Union leaders together as basic McClellan, exhibited negative tactical decisions and were an ext interested in politics and also their future careers rather than fighting the war they to be in. Till the Lincoln could figure out just how to kinds the generalship that his Union army, Ulysses S. Give being his conserving grace in transforming the Union army about in 1864, the Confederate military would merely encounter success after victory all while their soldiers and also leaders are gaining beneficial combat experience. Return the Confederacy had actually a strong core of leaders at the start of the war, management would prove come be problematic in the later on years. The main problem arisen between Davis' and Lee's belief on exactly how to victory the war. Davis supported for victory by no losing, i m sorry entailed the Confederacy defending the southern until the north had tired their will certainly to fight and resolved for peace. ~ above the various other hand, Lee supported for win by victory, or shedding by not winning, which expected that success was only attainable by completely defeating the Union and also capturing Washington. Lee would certainly be can not to accomplish this kind of win as his casualty in the battle proved devastating as the south did not have the manpower to replace their casualties.


The Confederacy gotten in the war with strong leaders who were so reliable it seemed that lock would victory the war until 1863, and even after Gettysburg there was still the opportunity of a southerly victory.


In conclusion, the South had many advantages which verified that northern victory would be extremely difficult. The geography gave the Confederacy herbal defenses that hampered Union movement, while cotton gave the South good economic and also diplomatic leverage. Overall, the Southern perspective of defending their way of life and their houses from the "Northern invaders" showed that there to be nothing inevitable around Northern win in the American civil War. These advantages would prove devastating against the Union as they tried, there is no much early on success, to reclaim the unified States and also would price the country numerous lives by developing a variety of casualties that surpasses the of any type of war the United states has dealt with to date.

Questions & Answers

Question: What economic benefits did the North have over the south in unites States' history?

Answer: The Union had the strength of industry and made a lot from textiles, but the South's slavery drove the agricultural economy that the South and providing noodle for the North's textiles. However, even with the loss of their key supply of cotton for textiles, the Union's power of industry enabled them to save the economy fairly stable and also keep manufacturing going. Usually the North's economic situation was secure enough and also industrially strong enough to outproduce the dying southern economy.


Daniel White (author) on June 08, 2018:

I'd speak they all were, as was presented in the Confederacy's initial win streak of battle after battle. The South appeared to have actually all their advantages at the appropriate time when the battle started, which took the Union a few years come overcome when the Union forged the end their own advantages. Also, these were all in the beginning of the war since towards the end of the battle the South's moral was dropping as their casualties continued to rise without men replacing those lost on the battlefield, the Union marched into and began destroying some of the geographic benefits (the "scorched earth" policy), and the South's leaders to be being defeated, especially Stonewall Jackson as soon as he was killed by his own men on accident.

bob on June 06, 2018:

Which was an advantage for the southern at the begin of the civil War?

CJ Kelly indigenous the PNW on may 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 exceptional they lasted as long as lock did. The Union overcame substantial geography at an early stage in the War. They took Vicksburg, new Orleans and also controlled the Mississippi by 1863.

Really great job. Shared everywhere.

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Daniel White (author) on may 28, 2016:

While the north did have a an extremely prosperous industrial culture emerging, the South's cotton market was tho invaluable due to the fact that it sustained not just the North's industry but the world's, specifically in the cultivation textile industry. As for European countries supporting the Confederacy, slavery was not an issue. France had their understand in the South because of Napoleon III's interest in Mexico, and was also close to sending out French troops to support the south through Mexico. Also, the Haitian transformation still left bitter feelings end the self-reliance of servants for the French. Britain's interest was economical, greatly with the textile and cotton sector which was fueled by the South's slaves, and even quiet supported enslavement until 1862 once the African slave Trade treaty Act suppressed the Atlantic servant Trade because that good. Thanks for your comments and also insight!

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

Very amazing Hub concerning the advantages the Confederacy had throughout the polite War. I believe the psychological and geographical benefits of defending your house ground to be the most key. That is true noodle was a very solid commodity because that them but the North's as whole industrial wealth complicated far outweighed the noodle industry. It is true that part in Europe can have thought the idea of sustaining the south to it is in a sound one, but in the end they might not assistance a culture that was supporting slavery as method of life. Fantastic job, Daniel.