Why The South Lost The Civil War

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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Why did the South lose the civil War? The popular response to the question is usually that the North overwhelmed the South with its great numbers and resources. The Union possessed more than twice the population of the Confederacy, and an even greater disadvantage in military population, for the South included four million slaves, excluded from direct military participation on the Confederate side. But though numbers were certainly important, many Confederates agreed that numbers or resources did not provide the margin to win. To General Beauregard, (fighting for the South) and many others, the Confederates did not owe defeat to numbers but to faulty strategy and the poor leadership of Jefferson Davis. But the ultimate cause of Confederate defeat was a loss of the will to fight. Though both sides suffered from this, it was far worse for the South because they were fighting for a lost cause.

Lincoln can easily be named the hero of the war, he in many aspects won the war for the North. Losing was not an option to Lincoln, at any point in the war he could have given up, but chose not too. The smartest and most strategic thing Lincoln did was the Emancipation Proclamation. By freeing all the slaves he made it difficult for the Confederates to feel entirely at ease with their assertion that they were fighting for liberty. The Southerners were being completely hypocritical by asking for their liberty when they themselves were holding millions of peoples as slaves, and when people who had doubts about slavery pondered that, it made them uneasy about them trying to isolate themselves in a world in which the great powers of Europe, now joined by the United States, sought to terminate slavery. Many southerners felt guilt over the institution or...

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