Why Did the South Lose the Civil War

Why did the South Lose the Civil War? Beginning as a battle of army versus army, the war became a conflict of society against society. In this kind of war, the ability to mobilize economic resources, the effectiveness of political leadership, and a society’s willingness to keep up the fight despite setbacks, are as crucial to the outcome as success or failure on the battlefields. Unfortunately for the Southern planters, by the spring of 1865, the South was exhausted, and on April 9, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the war.
Economically, the war was a benefit for the North and a disaster for the South. The North began the war with several advantages. The North held a distinct lead in nearly every resource needed for warfare. Not only was the population deficit of the South compared to the North, roughly around 13 million, but the statistics for factories, goods produced, railroad tracks, textiles, and firearms all succeeded the south by more than half. As a result, the union army became the best-supplied and fed army while southern armies suffered shortages of food, and clothing.
Shortly after the start of the war, Lincoln would further suffocate the south economically by implementing the Anaconda Plan, a naval blockade. Industrially the South couldn’t keep up in output but also and in manpower. By the end of the war, the South had, more or less, plenty of weaponry still, but it just didn’t have enough men to use the guns. Let alone enough men to defend the perimeter around the confederacy to protect its territory.

Another key aspect that the North held over the South was the determination of Abraham Lincoln to win, and the incredible staying power of the people of the North, who stuck by Lincoln and stuck by the war in spite of the first two years of almost unrelenting defeat. A problem of the South was that it lacked the moral center that the North had in this conflict, the idea of Union, was important. One of the South’s objectives’s for creating their own government, was to give states more power than the central government. This was ironic, because a strong central government was what the South needed, but what Abraham Lincoln had in the North.
Abraham Lincoln also offered a better explanation to his own people of what they were fighting for. He displayed this leadership through his progressive steps towards emancipation, one early example being the contrabands of war. The army and congress determined that they would not return escaped slaves who went to Union lines and classified them as contraband. They used many as laborers to support Union efforts and soon began to pay them wages. This would seem exceedingly important as the war turned into one against slavery.
Despite the lack of economic and political power, the South was also at a loss of collective will. Certainly the course of the war, the military events, had a lot to do with the loss of will. The Southerners hoped that they would win spectacular victories on Northern soil, and that they would be able to exhaust the will of the Northern people, and they failed to do so. The battle of Gettysburg with the largest number of casualties is often described as the war’s turning point. The Union defeated attacks lead by Confederate General Robert E. Lee, ending Lee’s invasion of the North.
With regard to military turning points, the outcome of the war also became inevitable in November 1864 with the reelection of Lincoln and the utter determination to see the things through, and the finding of leader U. S. Grant, the man to provide the leadership that the North needed. As long as Lincoln was determined to prosecute the war and as long as the North was behind him, inevitably superior manpower and resources would win it out. With more men, more money, more industrial power, and a strong unity for the will to win, the Northern Union crushed the Southern planter aristocracy and it never regained its political power again.

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