Why did the Confederacy Last so Long?

1067 Words5 Pages
Thousands of papers and research projects have been written to answer the question: “Why did the Union prevail over the Confederacy in the American Civil War?” In essence, this question and its subsequent answers have become a near-cliché to most American historians. The North possessed a white population twice the size of that of the South. Three quarters of the United States’ industry lay in the North; the Confederacy did not possess a navy, etc. etc. A different, and much less approached question is: why did the South last so long when the scales were near-ludicrously tipped towards the North? In this paper I will answer that question. While the North did possess the materials and manpower to be assured victory, the Confederacy retained three very distinct advantages that from 1861 to 1864 the Union struggled to circumvent: a vastly superior officer corps, a defensive standpoint, and most importantly a vast superiority in enthusiasm for the war. Southern social society was based off that of English nobility, which placed great importance for, among other things, military service. In contrast, Northern society evolved around the Calvinist religious ideals of industriousness, and placed great importance on the gathering of wealth. As a result, the great majority of the United States Army’s officer corps was Southern aristocrats and a large number of the common soldiers were Southern as well. These soldiers and officers near unanimously left the US Army to create and lead the core of the Confederate armies. Among the officers that defected to the South was Robert E. Lee, who would be one of the greatest reasons for Confederate longevity in the proceeding four years. Repeatedly throughout the early stages of the war, vastly outnumbered but highly organized Confederate armies turned circles around the much larger and largely poor-led Union forces. A fine
Open Document