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Civil War in American history [...] why the North won the Civil War, considering how the North and South developed during the 19th century, how the political, economic, and cultural development of the nation placed the North at an advantage and the South at a disadvantage, and finally, how the North ultimately prevailed over the South militarily. The North prevailed in the Civil War for a variety of reasons, from economic to industrial. The South simply did not have the resources the North enjoyed, and they were at a disadvantage from the start of the war. The end was inevitable, but the South resisted much longer than most people had believed, thus dragging the war on and accumulating the losses.
The North won the Civil War not because of wily generals and greater manpower, although that helped. The North won the Civil War for a wide variety of reasons, and they all entailed superiority over the South. The South simply did not have the economic, natural, or political resources to endure through a lengthy conflict, and so, their foundation gave way and they collapsed. Their side fought just as bravely as the North, but in the end, it was the infrastructure that could not support their endeavor.
Throughout the nineteenth century, the North and South developed at different rates. The South was mainly an agrarian society that subsisted on slave labor. There was a great disparity between the wealthy planters and the poor sharecroppers who subsisted on little, but staunchly supported the Southern lifestyle and right to own slaves. This existed throughout the South, from the tobacco plantations of the Upper South to the mainly cotton plantations of the Deep South. These crops were highly profitable, but unfortunately, the South did not evolve as much as the North, and they remained primarily agrarian while the North evolved with the Industrial Revolution, and built factories, mills, and plants by the dozens. Thus, the population shifted to the cities of the North, where the jobs were, and shifted away from many agrarian endeavors. The South was profitable in peace, but in war they had little to fall back on in the way of supplies and necessities, for they had no factories to supply them. In addition, the North effectively blockaded the Southern port cities, keeping necessary supplies out of the area. An army, no matter how motivated, cannot fight for long on empty stomachs, empty rifles, and without clothing or shelter. As a Michigan soldier said of his time in Virginia, "Everybody lives away off the road & seems to have done all that they ever expect to except going through the mere formula of living. The idea of anything new or business like strikes one as exceedingly out of place, a great innovation on customs immemorially established'" (Woodworth 21). From the beginning, the South was at a disadvantage in this area, and without these needed factories, mills, and plants, their cotton sat rotting on the docks, their main source of income was gone, and their people were without food and basic necessities.
Culturally, the largest discrepancy between the North and the South was slavery. In the North, it was outlawed, and in the South, it was deemed a necessity for the labor intensive crops of cotton and tobacco. As one historian notes, "The seeds of the Civil War lay in the institution of slavery, which had already existed in America for over a century at the time the United States gained its independence" (Woodworth 3). Clearly, slavery was a pervasive issue between the North and the South, and neither side wanted to budge on their views. The Southern view of slaves could be summed up in this comment by a southern slave owner: "The Negro is not like white people, and unless you know him as we of the South do you cannot understand him or know what is best for him and how he feels about these things'" (Woodworth 22). The slavery issue came to a head when Lincoln was elected President, and the Southern states began to secede in the wake of the Republican platform that slavery should not extend to any new territories annexed by the Union. Historian…[continue]
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