• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To What Extent can it be Argued that the North was Better Prepared to Fight and Win the Civil War in 1861?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To What Extent can it be Argued that the North was Better Prepared to Fight and Win the Civil War in 1861? At the outbreak of Civil War in 1861 the North had a greater industrial capacity, a larger army and a government infrastructure already in place. The South on the other hand had very little industrial capacity, a much smaller army and navy, and had to build a government from scratch. The North appeared to be much better prepared to fight and win the Civil War. The South did still have several advantages however; not least the fact that they did not need to beat the Union, just outlast it. The North easily had the odds in its favour at the outset of war; including greater manpower and more resources. However resources on their own do not win wars, they need efficient management; and most historians believe that the Northern government handled the war well. Lincoln was fortunate in the fact that he took over a 'going' concern. Unlike the Southern government, most of the infrastructure of government in the North was already in place. This meant that politically the North were better prepared to fight the war. Generally opposition to Lincoln was responsible, disciplined and for the most part loyal. ...read more.

Middle

Another advantage the North had was that the people in the eleven Confederate states were not all committed to the Confederate cause, and in many of these states pockets of Unionism existed. However bigger armies do sometimes lose wars, and in many respects the South was better prepared to fight and win the war than the North in 1861. Southerners and most European observers believed the Confederacy would win, and if Northern morale had collapsed then the Union could have been defeated. The sheer size of the Confederacy- 750,000 square miles- was perhaps its greatest aspect. It would be difficult to conquer and blockade this amount of space, and even if the North did succeed in occupying Confederate territory they would find it difficult to hold down a resentful population and maintain their supply lines. The Confederacy could trade space for time and wear down the Northern will to fight. After all, the Confederacy did not have to invade the North, only defend the South. This is always an easier option in war. Some of the terrain found in the South also gave the Confederacy an advantage. These were the key Confederate advantages and made it a lot easier for the Confederacy to wage war, and made them more prepared to fight and succeed. ...read more.

Conclusion

However as the war went on it was clear Britain would stay neutral, and that the South would find it difficult to raise money for the war effort, as it could sell relatively little cotton due to the blockade. The North was better prepared to fight and win the civil war at its outbreak in 1861. It had much greater industrial capacity, much larger manpower and a government infrastructure already in place. It had a much larger railway system and a better equipped army and navy. It was not entirely better prepared than the South however, who still had many advantages over their bigger adversary. The South had a geographical advantage, with the huge scale of the Confederacy perhaps being their greatest asset, allowing them to trade space for time. They were also better prepared in the aspect of aims and strategy. They only had to defend and outlast the Union, not attack and beat it. The South also had a physiological advantage. Ultimately, given its smaller battalions, the South needed to have better leadership, greater financial and economic initiative and more unity than its stronger adversary if it was to fight and win the war. In due course the North was better prepared to fight and win the Civil War in 1861, but only to a certain extent. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. “Generals Win Battles, Resources Win Wars”. How Far Does Your Study of the Period ...

    as was Wellington during the entirety of the Napoleonic Wars. That Wellington was a skilled commander, who won his battles due to his own good merits, is beyond doubt. Whether he would have been able to do so if he faced the logistical nightmares of the revolutionary armies is questionable.

  2. To what extent was independence a gift from Britain.

    Instead, its significance lay in that the tax 'symbolised the power and intrusiveness of the Raj19'. President Roosevelt's talk of a 'prejudicial reaction on American public opinion' not only if India is not allowed to secede after the war, but also if Britain is unwilling to 'concede the right of

  1. Why did the South lose the Civil War?

    Beauregard remarked that the outcome could not be explained by 'mere material contraints'. Furthermore, the South had several clear advantages at the start of the war. Firstly, fighting on home ground was easier since supply lines were shorter, natives friendlier, and knowledge of the climate and terrain better.

  2. To what extent was the Civil War the main factor in the Bolshevik

    The "Greens" as they were called were a group of members from other political parties, such as the Social Revolutionaries (SRs), Mensheviks and Kadets who grew huge discontent after the October revolution. This then was compounded by Russia's withdrawal from the war and allegiances with Germany through the Brest -

  1. American Civil War (1861-1865).

    On June 13th, he defeated Union forces at Winchester, Virginia and continued north to Pennsylvania. General Hooker, who had been planning to attack Richmond, was instead forced to follow Lee and his troops. Hooker, never comfortable with his commander, General Halleck, resigned on June 28, and General George Meade replaced him as commander of the Army of the Potomac.

  2. The Prelude to the 1975 War and the Cairo Agreement.

    On the western axis, two divisions converged on Tyre and proceeded north along the coastal road toward Sidon, where they were to link up with an amphibious commando unit that had secured a beachhead north of the city. In the central sector, a third division veered diagonally across southern Lebanon,

  1. To what extent can the Southerners be held responsible for the outbreak of the ...

    However, Northerners were clearly demonstrating that trade, commerce, banking, shipping and manufacturing could be equally or more rewarding. Southern slave owners largely ignored these investment opportunities, leading to increasing sectional tensions, because earning maximum profits was not their primary motivation.

  2. 'Generals win battles, resources win wars.' How far does your study of the period ...

    inevitable because of the huge resources America controlled. If one takes a look at the major wars between 1792-1919 in chronological order, one can see how, with the odd exception, the use of resources in each of the wars became increasingly important, and the importance of generals in battles decreased.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work