What if the South would won the Civil War?

Armed conflicts in the history of humanity from the ancient times to the 20th Century.
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RF
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by RF » Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:40 pm

Bgile wrote:
The above beliefs are why I don't think the Southern "Nation" would attempt to expand. They wouldn't be able to agree on what to do, and would lack a strong central govt to formulate a common policy. The only thing holding them together was a common interest in preventing central control from Washington in what they considered to be their own affairs.

If Texas tried to grab part of Mexico or Florida wanted Cuba, Virginia wouldn't see any good reason to send their boys there to fight so another state could grab more land. It would be like France and Italy trying to grab Spain. Who would it belong to?
This is an issue of pragmatism over ideals. All political leaders have to compromise, even if they don't want to admit it. Hitler was the best example of this, with the political deals he did in order to become Fuhrer, and then with the non-aggression pact with Stalin.
The South would find a leader, and with very similar economic and political interests a strong, charismatic figurehead could pull the South along. And there would be a strong Confederate national identity born of the Civil War struggle, which would continue against a resentful and vengeful north. It is the external threat that provides the best chance of survival for the South. And that means expansion.....or die. Survival is the most powerful motive of all.
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by lwd » Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:40 pm

RF wrote:The future of a victorious Confederacy and how it influences WW1 and the expansion of Japan is very largely going to be determined, as I have already said, by the circumstances in which the conflict is won. This is iteslf difficult to evaluate because there is little scope for a Confederate victory without substantially changing the parameters of the Civil War itself, ....
Not sure if this counts as the above or not but say Lincon contracts pneumonia and dies shortly after the South declares independence and before hostilities start. At this point Maryland is almsot sure to join the confederacy and there may be enough of a peace party to prevent hostilities from actually occuring. It's still not clear what the final result is here. I could see several of the CSA states later breaking off from the CSA and either rejoing the Union or going independent themselves. Or the CSA could try expanding into Mexico and Central Amarica. Whether or not they can hold it is another matter. Slavery will probably die out over the next half century or so in any case but that's not to say that a situation of anything like equality will arrise. There also could be frictions that would result in a conflict between the USA and the CSA at some later point. Really hare to predict what North America would look like even in 1900 under this sort of scenario.

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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by lwd » Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:47 pm

RF wrote: ... The South would find a leader, and with very similar economic and political interests a strong, charismatic figurehead could pull the South along. And there would be a strong Confederate national identity born of the Civil War struggle, which would continue against a resentful and vengeful north. It is the external threat that provides the best chance of survival for the South. And that means expansion.....or die. Survival is the most powerful motive of all.
I'm not at all sure this would hold. Certainly there was some considerable conflict within the South in this regards. They were after all fighting for "state's rights" and the primacy of the state over the national government. Davis had a hard time from what I recall even getting a reasonable national budget to fight the war. And some states held back troops from national control until quite late in the war. I seem to recall that the CSA constitution allowed only a single 6 year term for president as well. I certainly don't see the momentum for a strong national government in the South.

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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by RF » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:09 am

lwd wrote: Not sure if this counts as the above or not but say Lincon contracts pneumonia and dies shortly after the South declares independence and before hostilities start. At this point Maryland is almsot sure to join the confederacy and there may be enough of a peace party to prevent hostilities from actually occuring. It's still not clear what the final result is here. I could see several of the CSA states later breaking off from the CSA and either rejoing the Union or going independent themselves. Or the CSA could try expanding into Mexico and Central Amarica. Whether or not they can hold it is another matter. Slavery will probably die out over the next half century or so in any case but that's not to say that a situation of anything like equality will arrise. There also could be frictions that would result in a conflict between the USA and the CSA at some later point. Really hare to predict what North America would look like even in 1900 under this sort of scenario.
The point here seems to be either no conflict or a contained conflict so no Civil War takes place. Here there is no ''nation building'' that a long drawn out and costly war would create, so no Confederacy collective identity or cause is sustained. As you say some of the CSA states, particulary I would think Texas, would go completely independent, as Texas, when it originally broke away from Mexico was an independent republic before it joined the Union.
Without its main reason for existing, fighting a war for the right to secede, the CSA would not last very long before all its remaining states rejion the Union, particulary if the states rejoining had the right to decide issues such as slavery for themselves.

I would say that by 1900 the CSA would have been subsumed back completely into the Union. So twentieth century history would not be any different.
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by RF » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:24 am

lwd wrote:
RF wrote: ... The South would find a leader, and with very similar economic and political interests a strong, charismatic figurehead could pull the South along. And there would be a strong Confederate national identity born of the Civil War struggle, which would continue against a resentful and vengeful north. It is the external threat that provides the best chance of survival for the South. And that means expansion.....or die. Survival is the most powerful motive of all.
I'm not at all sure this would hold. Certainly there was some considerable conflict within the South in this regards. They were after all fighting for "state's rights" and the primacy of the state over the national government. Davis had a hard time from what I recall even getting a reasonable national budget to fight the war. And some states held back troops from national control until quite late in the war. I seem to recall that the CSA constitution allowed only a single 6 year term for president as well. I certainly don't see the momentum for a strong national government in the South.
The main motivation for the CSA has to be survival, and one of the reasons for the Confederacy failing was the lack of urgency in prosecuting a national war as you relate.
Winning a long and costly war is a ''nationbuilding'' function as I said in my previous post. With the war won the CSA has to win the peace, in the face of a hostile and resentful northern neighbour. I would imagine that if the CSA was able to pull itself together to win such a Civil War then after it, as in the Revolutionary War, there would be a conference or gathering to thrash out the future of the Confederacy along the lines of the conferences of the mid 1780's when the newly established USA had to thrash out a constitution and come to terms with King George III and the British territories in Canada.
From this I think effective leaders would emerge, particulary with the next generation. A six year presidential term does allow a leader to act boldly as in the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and both the Adams to pursue agressive policies of expansion that would be needed - south-westward against Mexico, southward against Spain and possibly France, and, most importantly, to race the North to the Pacific. Such a policy would involve annexation of much of northern Mexico, including the Baja California. Such policies would require a very strong navy, as the North would also have strong naval forces.
In time an identity of ideology - small government, free trade and big business - could be the driving force for reapproachment between North and South. I could imagine a charismatic president such as Theodore Roosevelt bringing North and South back together, gradually, into one bigger USA than we have now. This could be particulary so if the CSA held Panama as a bargaining counter.
In that way the USA would have been far more powerful and dominant in the twentieth century.
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by RF » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:45 am

Another issue that needs to be raised in conjunction with my two posts above is that since 1865 there hasn't been any instance of any single state or group of states wanting to secede from the Union. If it were to happen, how would the rest of the Union respond?

The South at the end of the Civil War, was enforced back into the Union after occupation ceased. No specific southern identity ensued beyond reminisences centered around the Confederate flag. Until the appearance of civil rights legislation there was no significant demand for states rights in the South. The first instance of this emerging was the 1948 presidential campaign of Strom Thurmond, who stood on a ''States Rights'' ticket but was only on the ballot in the southern states, carrying four of them. But these issues raised by Thurmond, and George Wallace after him. basically served to enhance their political careers rather than reincarnate the idea of southern independence. Thurmond joined the Republican Party and largely was the catelyst for the ''southern strategy'' of Nixon that was later used by Reagan and Bush. George Wallace, having failed to deadlock the 1968 presidential election and throw it to the House of Representatives in order to bargain a ''better deal for the south'' rejoined the Democratic Party and in his 1972 presidential primary campaign he won in Michigan and Maryland, polling heavily also in Wisconsin, Indiana, West Virginia and even in Oregon and New Mexico. In this way the South found its politics welded into that of the North. This pattern was then completed by Jimmy Carter who referred to the ''new South'' in his successful 1976 Presidential election campaign, and finally by Reagan winning in 1980 and 1984, essentially by being seen in the South as 'their man.''

Today there is no mood for cessation. Only in Alaska and Hawaii are there any independence movements, and there is no sign of mass support for them. So if for example, Sarah Palin were to stand in Alaska in 2012 as a candidate for the Alaskan Party, on a platform of Alaska seceeding from the US and joining Canada, if she were to carry the state would any of the other 49 states take any notice? Would the President notice, and if he did would he care? I think the answer would be ''no'' and nothing would happen. The economic pressure to remain within the Union, a superpower, would be too great. That is another reason why a CSA would have subsumed back into the USA.
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by Bgile » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:20 pm

Oregon and California were states on the Union side during the Civil War, so it's a bit hard for me to imagine the CSA in a "race to the Pacific". The CSA had no navy of any significance and it's economy was mostly based on agriculture. It's a bit hard for me to imagine it becoming an international power.

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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by lwd » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:33 pm

Well even up to the War of 1812 the US didn't have a very strong navy. The big thing likely would have been the lack of cohesiveness that the Confederate constitution imposed. I can see various crisis where for instance Texas goes to war with Mexico and the rest of the CSA is not interested or possibly Mississippi and Alabama are already involved with trying to take over Cuba While Tennesee and Virginia are trying to maintain good relations with the USA...

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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by RF » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:43 am

Bgile wrote:Oregon and California were states on the Union side during the Civil War, so it's a bit hard for me to imagine the CSA in a "race to the Pacific". The CSA had no navy of any significance and it's economy was mostly based on agriculture. It's a bit hard for me to imagine it becoming an international power.
Depends on the peace terms at the end of the Civil War - I would imagine that much of the western territory would have been annexed. Incidently the Baja California I referred to is actually in Mexico.

The CSA did have some heavy industry in Virginia and Alabama, which provided enough cannonballs and guns to keep the war going for four years. And I would imagine that on a CSA victory that West Virginia would have been taken back into the state it broke away from.
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by RF » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:47 am

lwd wrote:Well even up to the War of 1812 the US didn't have a very strong navy. The big thing likely would have been the lack of cohesiveness that the Confederate constitution imposed. I can see various crisis where for instance Texas goes to war with Mexico and the rest of the CSA is not interested or possibly Mississippi and Alabama are already involved with trying to take over Cuba While Tennesee and Virginia are trying to maintain good relations with the USA...
As I said in a previous post, if a national leadership develops in order for the CSA to survive the lack of cohesion and naval strength would be addressed - remember that such strength and cohesion would be required for a Confederate victory in the first place - you are judging it from the reasons why the CSA lost the Civil War.
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by Bgile » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:54 pm

RF wrote:
Bgile wrote:Oregon and California were states on the Union side during the Civil War, so it's a bit hard for me to imagine the CSA in a "race to the Pacific". The CSA had no navy of any significance and it's economy was mostly based on agriculture. It's a bit hard for me to imagine it becoming an international power.
Depends on the peace terms at the end of the Civil War - I would imagine that much of the western territory would have been annexed. Incidently the Baja California I referred to is actually in Mexico.

The CSA did have some heavy industry in Virginia and Alabama, which provided enough cannonballs and guns to keep the war going for four years. And I would imagine that on a CSA victory that West Virginia would have been taken back into the state it broke away from.
Well, if you are going to do that you could break up the Union completely and assume the dissolution of the United states and their incorporation into the Confederacy. You can imagine anything you like, since this is all hypothetical.

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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Post by RF » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:52 pm

Exactly. Any consideration of what would happen to the United States as a whole on a Confederate victory has to be hypothetical because it didn't happen, and the strategic possibilities from such a victory are potentially so wide reaching.

The key point here, as I have said previously, is that Confederate victory after the shooting started was virtually impossible without changing the parameters of the Civil War itself.

If as you suggest we assume the dissolution of the federal United States and the wholesale incorporation of the North into the Confederacy, then the North effectively becomes part of the South - and its industrial power base. Ultimately the only difference between this model and what actually happened would be that Richmond, Virginia is the capital city instead of Washington DC, presumably the District of Columbia becomes a state in its own right. The industrial might of the North on that basis making the difference between CSA and USA one of accronyms. The issue of slavery would of course be decided by states, in time all would eventually abolish it.

Whatever the result of the Civil War I think that all of the states of the United States would ultimately combine back into one nation, dictated by economic factors.
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