The American Civil War was a result of the northern and southern having completely different views on states being able to rule themselves. The election of Abraham Lincoln led many southern states to secede from the Union. The South was strongly opposed to Lincoln and his policies. “Lincoln won not a single electoral vote in the South, and his Republican Party had vowed to prevent the extension of slavery.” 1 South Carolina was the first states to secede from the Union and gradually more and more southern states followed. Jefferson Davis emerged as the President of the Confederacy while Lincoln was President of the Union. As war broke out between the North and South, there were some key reasons why the North was able to defeat the South. The first reason was not all Southerners were willing to fight. The fact the southern state believed in their own popular sovereignty resulted them ignoring some of the first drafts in the South. “Because the Confederate constitution vested sovereignty in the individual states, the government in Richmond could not compel military service.” 2 The North was able able to fill their ranks much more quickly. One of the reasons the North was able to fill their ranks quicker was because they used incentives. 3 An example of this was the use of the Militia Act of 1862 which signed up nearly a million men through cash bounties. 4 Another reason the North was able to fill their ranks was because they recruited African American soldiers. “The (Emancipation) proclamation invited former slaves to serve in the Union army...” 5 This allowed the Union to fill the ranks they had lost from casualties. 6 The second reason that the North was able to win was the fact that they had “capable and determined generals.” 7 Lincoln finally found the general that he needed to command his troops in Ulysses S. Grant. Lincoln had the numbers in order to win and now he had the general to command them. Grant commanded his troops in such a strategy where he would have the tactical advantage in sheer numbers. As “Grant advanced toward Richmond, hoping to force Lee to fight in the open fields, where the Union’s superior manpower and artillery would prevail.” 8 With the fall of the Confederate capital in Richmond, Lee was on the run and finally surrendered at Appomattox Court House in Virginia on April 9, 1865. The South’s own ideals of self government greatly hindered the Confederate Congress ability to build an effective army, while on the other hand the North was very effective in filling their ranks. The North had the advantage in the size of its army, but ultimately the effectiveness of the generals that commanded the Union soldiers led them to victory over the Confederacy.
1. Henretta, James A. and David Brody. America: A Concise History, Volume I: To 1877. 4th ed., Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010, 407. 2. Ibid., 418.
3. Ibid., 418.
4. Ibid., 418.
5. Ibid., 427.
6. Ibid., 427.
7. Ibid., 426.
8. Ibid., 428.
New!Re: Why the North Won the Civil War
Kathleen Davis (Aug 7, 2012 4:39 PM) - Read by: 4Reply
What impact did the industrialization have on the ability of the two sides to fight the war? New!Re: Why the North Won the Civil War
Joseph Dummerth (Aug 9, 2012 3:15 PM) - Read by: 4Reply
Industrialization had a huge impact on the outcome of the Civil War. The North embraced the Industrial Revolution while the South stuck to their traditions. This gave the North a distinct advantage over the South. The North had much more resources than the South. The North had "nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population, two-thirds of the railroad mileage, and almost 90 percent of the industrial output..." 1 Although the North had a superior output as far as resources, the South still had the ability to produce resources itself. Through the Richmond armory and shrewdly acquiring rifles from Britain, the South was able to provide all its soldiers with a...