We have now come to the beginning of one of America's bloodiest of all wars – Our American Civil War. The war did not just appear out of thin air but certain events gradually led up to the internal conflict.
I believe there were specific milestones established within the past several decades which extremely contributed to the Civil War. Most historians will attribute the Civil War to the decades of division which culmination in a series of confrontations based upon the moral and legal ethics of slavery. Following the years after the Louisiana Purchase our Congress was tasked to establish guidelines for the expansion of slavery into any new territories on the western side of the country. With the influx of Missouri's application for statehood (pro-slavery) we see a new spark of debts opening up. It was not so much the moral issues posed by the institute of slavery but I contended it was more of a power struggle. Missouri's entry as a slave state would give the slave state faction in congress a greater majority than the north had.
With the development of the Missouri Compromise the state was permitted entry as a slave state while in an effort to balance the congress, Maine was admitted as a free state. A line was created through the western territories at the 36â ° 30 parallel which essentially divided the north and south as those states that were free and those that were slave supporting. In my opinion, it would take a clueless legislature to think that an imaginary line could create a successful agreement between the two factions. To me this was purely adding fuel to the fire and extremely forcing the hands of the northern and southern states to wage an inevitable war to seek a permanent resolution.
Nat Turner was a slave and it seems that Mr. Turner had interpreted two solar eclipses as his formal instructions from God to initiate his rebellion. This rebellion spread through several plantations in Virginia instigating the slaves to do battle in the name of freedom. It seems that Turner's eclipses failed to reveal to him that he and seventy of his cohorts would be executed for their actions and the deaths of sixty white people would take place. It took the deployment of the Virginia militia to suppress the rebellion. In an effort to prevent future actions by the slaves the Virginia lawmakers reduced the few civil rights which the slaves had at the time. Education was banned for slaves and the right to assemble was limited.
Next we encounter the Compromise of 1850 where slavery was preceded within any of the expanded territories. It also provided support for the Fugitive Slave Act. This agreement again only temporarily postpones the hostilities between the North and South as it also failed to address the prime issues. In fact, it tended to reinvented, the disparity which was dividing the nation more and more.
At the same time we see Harriet Beecher Stowe's fictional account of slave life being disturbed in both the north and the south. Uncle Tom's Cabin created a vast amount of controversy as many readers from the north viewed the novel with horror as they saw slavery for the first time while the southerners protested that the book was spreading untrue statements. Here we go folks with another bit of trivia, Uncle Tom's Cabin was considered the second best selling book at the time, second in sales to only the Bible.
As an all out Civil War was being held at bay by a bare thread, the Dred Scott vs. Sanford decision enters the scene. Here we encounter the unusual situation where a slave is suing for his freedom in a court of law. The case ever made its way to the Supreme Court Our American Civil War can be concluded that it was unfortunately the results of events from the two previous decades prior to the first shot being fired at Fort Sumter.
There has been an assortment of fictional novels relating an alternate history where the south had won the war instead of losing it. Such novels include several by Harry Turtledove such as "The Guns of the South" and "How Few Remain". In the novel The Guns of the South, Turtledove provides us with an alternate ending to the American Civil War. The tale begins with a group of time-travelers who supply Robert E. Lee's military with modern day AK-47s which extremely lead to Southern victory.
In 1864 we find the Confederacy losing against the superior forces of the Union. The tale relates that men speaking with strange accents approach Lee at his headquarters in Northern Virginia and show him a demonstration of a rifle which is far superior to anything at that time. They offer to supply the Confederate soldiers with these AK-47 rifles. The team extremely confides in Lee and reveals that they are from the year 2014. They claim that white supremacy has failed to end in their modern era. They explain to Lee how the blacks in the future outnumber the whites. Lee is told that Abraham Lincoln becomes a tyrant during his second term and passes laws to ensure the blacks will become the dominant faction in the country. With the stranger's weapons in hand, the Army of Ulysses S. Grant is forced out of Virginia and the Confederates even manage to capture Washington, DC thus ending the Civil War. The book was interesting however; I was totally disappointed in the ending. But it is not my intent to ruin the book for others enjoyment but you may wish to read it.
In contrast, I do not feel that a victory on the side of the Confederate Armies would have lasted. Had the Confederacy gained its independence it would have initiated a successful series of events where other states would begin squabbling about something minor and decide to quite the union as well. Sort of a monkey see monkey do type of procedure. Such thoughts bring about a myriad of possible changes to not only America's history but world history as well. This is really the ultimate what if scenario for Civil War fans. Being a fan myself, I have often asked this very question. More than likely the issue of slavery would have historically died out as a result of the world opinion similar to the way it did in South Africa years ago.
There were many opportunities presented during the war for this turn of events to have taken place. The northern soldiers were severely discouraged many times. Had Lee not been so hasty during the battle of Gettysburg he might have placed a wedge between Lincolns and his reelection campaign. If this were to take place it is likely that McClellan may very well have given up and sued for peace.
The South may have done very well as a thriving agricultural nation. The wounds resulting from the war would have historically healed and trade between the north and the south would have ever begun. The initial years would have been extremely rough for the south as no nation could survive on agriculture alone. Manufacturing and retail would certainly be an added benefit to secure success. I also feel that the south would have been ripe for foreign countries to attack. At the beginning of the war the entire South had seceding and open declaration of war against the central government in power. These states were well armed and had heavy bankrolls compliments of Britain. If you take a tour of West Point and visit an area called Trophy Point you will notice a row of cannons dating back to the Civil War. Inscriptions stamped on the barrels of each cannon state, "Made in Birmingham" or "Made in Manchester." These were British built cannons captured from the Confederate Army. It would seem likely that if the south had won, nations such as Britain would once again attempt to obtain land in North America. We could sit here impeccably and discuss the merits of what "might have been" even in either case the years would not be kind to the south. In direct response to the question I believe they may have made it but it would have been extremely difficult and dangerous at best.
Wars are very strange creations. They frequently start as a result of one thing and end due to another. Wars in our history books have often been fosted for far more than what may initially appear on the surface. Since it is difficult to actively recruit people to fight for the causes of the ruling elite leaders, the parties to the war need to devise an acceptable cover story to get the conflict going.
From our nations very beginning the north and the south followed the beat of different drums. The northern climate and the soil conditions preferred much smaller farms as opposed to huge plantations. Industry was slowly becoming common place in the north due to the abundance of raw materials and the creation of large population areas which provided the manpower. The first half of the 1800s showed a drastic decrease in farm labor as it had become more profitable for young men to peruse careers in industry rather than take over the family farm. The small farms of the north saw no need for slavery as most were owned and small enough to operate by the family unit itself. More of the northern populations were involved in business, education or medicine. Most engineers were more likely to be from the north rather than the south. In contrast, the south had no large factory structure but relied upon the plantation as their central feature. The soil in the south was ideal for large farm complexes and the weather was warm and proved fruitful for planting. Crops such as tobacco or cotton flourished in the southern conditions. With the success of their agricultural endeavors there were very few southern citizens who saw a need for industrial development. By 1860, the South's slavery issues were tied closely to the areas economy.
The Civil War has painted a horrible but real portrait within the imagination of all Americans. We must salute the gallantry and heroism of those brave men on both sides who forgave for what they deemed the good life. It is sad that so much carnage and destruction was left in its wake. Far too often conversations tend to focus upon the specific battles which occurred in the war and not on the prime reasons for it taking place. The two prime arguments have been listed as disagreement over slavery and that of states' rights verses federal rule. With that said, I believe the issues were more intense than just slavery. The 1860 election prior to the Civil War split the Democratic Party dividing the north portion from that of the south. This split was a result of concern over the federal government guaranteeing that slavery would not prevail in any of the new states. This save the Republicans the opportunity to seize the power of the nation. Even though the Democrats had caused this split and temporary achieved the election of Lincoln, they were upset at the possible exit.
The claim that our Civil War was foolishly mostly to free the slaves in the south is not entirely true. This was a war that was not so much between the various states but rather between economic factions of the country. The plantation slave owners were defeated at the hands of the factory industrial slaves. No one wins in war and while most Southerners may harbor feelings of guilt we find the Northerners feeling that they did the nation a huge favor whereas we discover the truth to be the war was a mutual slaughter which wasted 630,000 American lives. The end of slavery rejected in the destruction of the old agrarian south at the hands of the growing industrial complex from the north. It was essentially a battle to see who would rule America.
The economic foundation involved the economy of the south was slavery since was was scarce. Since the southern plantation owners could not cost effectively hire people to labor on their plants slavery was the economic alternative. We can argue that the northought to end this brutal practice although one must actually ask why the north wished to end slavery. Was it strictly from a moral obligation to their fellow men or sometimes there was an economic justification for the North's actions? Did all the non-slave owning southern men suddenly became soldiers to defend slavery or was it based upon the accepted propaganda being distributed? Since the balance of the countries economic power was beginning to shift from the south to the north as a result of industrialization it is possible that slavery was a doomed concept as it was. This leaves us with the notion that the whole concept of the Civil War was about commerce. It seemed like the anti-slave supporters were becoming an annoyance to President Lincoln so he decided to act. Since the north could not compete with the southern trading among foreign nations a system of tariffs were put into play. Once the tariffs were in affect the northern manufacturers began to flourish and our industrial nation was finally launched. Tariffs were the best method of ending slavery but if pushed to far could result in civil disobedience.
The Southern states were formally agricultural while the states further north were in the initial stages of industrialization. The South did not desire any part of the industrialization process for the lifestyle in the south was directly in contrast to the large cities with their industrial workers. So we can clearly see that it was a case of the northern industrial barons swallowing the southern plantation owners as each had their own conditions to tend with however the issue of slavery actually bit into both cultures.