Factors Leading to the North's Victory in the Union War of 1861-1865
It is possible to recognize the Union War of 1861 to 1865 as a result of the election of President Abraham Lincoln. This is because the Republican Party president had embodied an anti-slavery stance at the center of his campaign that had led to a division in the states of the nation, with many declaring secession from the United States. This provided an avenue where the Northerners composed of states that required slavery to be ended while it appeared to favor the Southerners. As such, the union war took place as an avenue because, while the south, the Confederacy, was struggling for liberty, the north decided to restore the union. This all ended in 1865 with the north winning the war. It is the purpose of this paper to offer an analysis of the factors that led to the north celebrating Union Victory. To this end, the paper will discuss the cultural and economic conditions of the states, Confederacy inability to strategically defend itself, enlistment of population to the army, civilian occupation and industrial resources, and failure by the south to mobilize the civilian opinion.
Cultural and Economic Context of the North and South
To begin with, the cultural and economic context of the north and south differed in a manner that led to the cry for separation and independence among the union and confederate states. This is evidenced by not only the difference in daily activities that each side considered the backbone of their economy but also their adaptability to new ways of life. While the north concentrated more on industrialization due to unfavorable climate while enjoying numerous resources that allowed for industrial growth, the south continued to concentrate on agriculture. As (Civil War Trust) indicates, the core focus of the north to adapt to economic change led to the growth of cities, developed transportation systems, and increased dependency on educational systems. This allowed for the population to engage in professional careers such as medicine, engineering, and business that had an end result of creating a more financially stable government in the north. This, when considered to the south, differed greatly given that few citizens in the states considered leaving the profitable agricultural plantations for educational based professions. As an end result, the south lagged behind in terms of their economic strength, industrial development, and transportation networking. As an end result, the north were already favoured to win the war given that its industrial prowess and transportation network allowed for it to not only ensure that the war materials could be efficiently produced, but also ensure that its developed transportation system that included highways, canals, and railroads could be used to resupply its military forces (African American Registry).
The South's Inability to Defend Itself Strategically
The second reason that favored the north in the war was the south's inability to continually defend its territory. (McPherson) indicates that the war only required for the south to strategically and continually defend its territory and thus force the north towards encountering a price that was too high. However, this did not occur due to the fact that the north was more financially stable as discussed above. As such, while the Confederates considered their strategy to be enough to win the war, they failed to do so in consideration of the resources that the union had at their disposal. To this end, the north depicted an ability to use its industrial might and civilian knowledge as resources that could continually bombard the south despite the economic effect that this had on its finances. As (nps.gov) indicates, the union had at its disposal $234 million in bank deposits and coined money while the confederacy had $74 million. This indicates that the south lost the war due to its inability to consider its defense strategy in light of the resources of those raging war against it and as such lost the advantage of fighting in its home terrain.
Higher Population of the Union
The third reason was the ability of the Union to call to arms a higher population than the south. (Hattaway and Jones) indicate that the union's population was two and a half times of the population and as such, the north relatively had a 25% greater battle strength than the south. This is reliant on the fact that the union population was 18.5 million while that of the confederacy stood at 5.5 million and 3.5 million for the free and enslaved population respectively (nps.gov). As such, the Union was able to enlist 2,672,341 soldiers from its white, African American, and native American troops which surpassed the estimated 750,000 to 1,227, 890 enlisted confederate soldiers. With such strengths in the number of those serving in the army, the north had a great advantage in the war.
Occupation of the Citizenry and Industrial Resources
Fourth, the North exhibited an advantage in light of the occupation of its citizenry and its industrial resources. (Arrington) indicates that prior to the war, the industrialization of the south consisted of about 29% railroads and 13% financial institutions that were sustaining the agricultural market of the states. This differed greatly with the capabilities of the north were greatly advanced and thus favored the mobilization of its resources to the war. This included the efficiencies in production that the north had adopted and thus allowed for the easier production of weapons and their transportation. As such, as discussed above on the fact that the war was taken to the south by the union, the benefits of having a more industrialized manufacturing and transportation system favored the north immensely. This advantage saw the Union advance and destroy the industrialization efforts of the south especially in their transportation capabilities (Arrington).
As concerns the citizenry occupation, while the south had concentrated on farming, the north had developed an avenue where its populace could master different trades. This, in the end, created an avenue where the south could not only rely on its populace to develop technologies for the war front but also were fearful of the slave threat after the pronunciation of the Emancipation Proclamation. The above indicate that the southerner inability to adjust to changing times and developments were their downfall. In considering the aforementioned in light of the north, a great level of adaptability at different times seems to be at the core of not only the population but its leadership as well. This is evident in the ability of the government to shift priorities of its citizenry towards education and embracing the existence of different professions. As such, during the war, while the south had no known institutions that allowed for growth in fields such as engineering, the North excelled in putting the skills of its populace to its advantage. This is evidenced by the mastery levels of not only engineering infrastructure but also implements to be used in the infrastructure towards a perceived end. In this case, fighting the war in the confederate states. This was successfully implemented at the war front as exhibited by the union capability in naval fights that starved the south economically.
Failure to Mobilize Civilian Opinion
Lastly, failure by the south to mobilize the civilian opinion shifted the advantages to the Union. As (Beringer, Jones and Still) indicate, the failure of the confederate to consider the morale of its army led to the North winning the war. This is because the confederate leaders considered military success as an alternate response to the considerations that they were to give their armies in terms of boosting their spirits and morale. This strategy, however, resulted in the leadership losing focus on the very items that could have ensured that their armies remained strengthened in their will to win the war. For example, given that the greater population of the confederates consisted of families that followed Christian teachings, the leaders neglected that despite the states being at war, some of their population would have been suffering from guilt as concerns their involvement in slavery. In addition, the collapse of the confederates economic infrastructures especially in the transport sector led to financial collapse. This is because, in as much as the agricultural production continued successfully, the populace could not sell their produce since the leadership had averted all its resources to the war front. This thus created an environment where those at home suffered low morale and this was sure to shift to those in war since the Confederate leadership continued to pursue its own purpose without considering its citizenry needs (Beringer, Jones and Still)
The paper has discussed the different advantages that allowed the union to win the war against the confederate states. Given the fact that the war was primarily caused by the issue of freeing slaves, the different parties adopted different strategies towards attaining either independence or unionization. As such, the split that ensued between the Union and Confederates and eventually led to war already had a number of advantages for both parties. To this end, the paper has discussed the advantages that the union had in terms of cultural and economic conditions, Confederacy inability to strategically defend itself, enlistment of the population to the army, civilian occupation, and industrial resources, and failure by the south to mobilize the civilian opinion. It is this paper finding that the confederacy did not have to wage war but only needed to defend itself against the Union, which it failed to do given its inability to adjust its resources in a manner that responded to both the war front and home front issues. As such, the north eventually had a greater economy, enough resources to keep attacking the south, a larger army, different civilian occupations of its citizenry, greater and efficient industries than the south, and ability to limit the south from mobilizing its civilian opinion.
- African American Registry. The American Civil War, a Brief Summary. 2013. Web. 10 May 2017. <http:\/\/www.aaregistry.org\/historic_events\/view\/american-civil-war-brief-summary>.
- Arrington, Benjamin T. Industry and Economy during the Civil War. 2017. Web. 10 May 2017. <https:\/\/www.nps.gov\/resources\/story.htm%3Fid%3D251>.
- Beringer, Richard E., Archer Jones and William N. Still. Why the South Lost the Civil War. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1991. Book.
- Civil War Trust. Overview: North and South. 2017. Web. 9 May 2017. <https:\/\/www.civilwar.org\/learn\/articles\/north-and-south>.
- Hattaway, Herman and Archer Jones. How the North Won: A Military History of the Civil War. Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1991. Book.
- McPherson, James M. \"American Victory, American Defeat.\" Boritt, Gabor S. Why the Confederacy Lost. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 1993. Book.
- nps.gov. The Civil War: Fact. 2017. Web. 10 May 2017. <https:\/\/www.nps.gov\/civilwar\/facts.htm>.