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Why the Confederacy Wasn't Ready for War

Uploaded by aol on Aug 24, 2001

The political, economic, and military strength of the Union was much greater than that of the Confederacy. However, the war did last four years. The Confederacy proved itself resilient on many occasions. Throughout the war the tide constantly shifted, and with that, so did the political, economic, and military strength of either side. Although each side had its share of military successes, in the end, the superior Northern economy, centralized government and overwhelming manpower would eventually lead to victory. In mid 1863, both the Union and the Confederacy could have won the war, although the Confederacy lacked the industry or manpower to wage a long war with the Union.

The Union was far more industrialized than the South. The North possessed 80% of total U.S. industry (McPherson, 24). In addition, most Confederate industry was located in the Upper South, particularly in Virginia. The Confederacy lost a great deal of potential industry and manpower when West Virginia, Kentucky, Delaware, and Maryland joined the Union instead of the Confederacy. The loss of these states to the Union was as much a testament to shrewd northern politics (Maryland), as it was to opposition within the states (West Virginia). Confederate industry, especially with the loss of these states, was unable to compete with the Union.

The South also lacked the factories, and other facilities (ironworks etc.) to create cannons, rifles as well as other weapons (Ibid, 24). At the beginning of the war, the Confederacy only had one ironworks located in Richmond. This was in stark comparison to the northern industrial juggernaut. The North had begun to industrialize in the early part of the century, this in relation to a primarily agricultural South. In 1860, 84% of Southerners worked in agriculture compared with only 40% of Northerners (Ibid, 24). The North also invested three times as much per capita in manufacturing by this same time. In 1860 only 25% of all railroads passed through the South (Ibid, 24). The South lacked the necessary industrial and transportation infrastructure to wage an effective war.

In addition to the South’s lack of industry, most capital was invested in slaves and land; both of these are non-liquid. The South’s lack of a large supply of liquid capital made it difficult for Southerners to buy munitions for the war effort. As a result of the South’s lack of liquid capital, the North enjoyed a decided advantage.

The Confederacy was also unable to...

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Uploaded by:   aol

Date:   08/24/2001

Category:   Civil War

Length:   8 pages (1,887 words)

Views:   1755

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