The Advantages And Disadvantages Of The North And South In The American Civil War

1594 words - 6 pages

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”1 These words, spoken by Abraham Lincoln, foreshadowed the war that became the bloodiest in all of the United State's history. The Civil War was a brutal conflict between the North and South; brother against brother. With slavery as the root cause, Southern states had seceded from the Union and were fighting for their independence. They became the Confederate States of America (CSA) and were a force to be reckoned with. The Union, however, put up a fierce struggle to preserve the country. If the Civil War was to be a war of attrition, the North had the upper hand because of its large population, industrialization, raw materials, railroad mileage, and navy. But if the war was short lived, the South had the strong advantages of knowledge of the land with a friendly population, superior commanders, an adaptable lifestyle, and a passion for “The Cause”. It took four years (1861-1865) before the Civil War was resolved. The first two years proved to be successful for the CSA, but as the war dragged on and after the battle of Gettysburg, the tide turned in favor of the North. Ultimately, the seceded states were reunited with the Union and are part of the United States as we know it today.
In the year of 1861 the North had approximately 22 million people. The South, in comparison, had a population of nine million people, three and a half million of which were blacks. While numbers may not always be a deciding factor in war, it certainly did affect the outcome of the Civil War. The Union's large population allowed it to have a big army while still maintaining an adequate amount of workers at home to provide supplies for the country and army. When the men in the South left to fight there was hardly anyone to replace them in their work.2 Militarywise, the North held a one-and-a-half to one advantage.3 This would prove to be especially useful when, as morbid as it may sound, soldiers seemed to run out because of large casualties. Gettysburg's consequences are an excellent example. The casualties were absolutely staggering- the Union lost 23,000 soldiers and the CSA 28,000. At this point in the war the South was running out of soldiers. This, however, did not prove to be much of a problem for the North, who had a larger pool from which to recruit soldiers. As one can see, the larger population of the Union proved to be an asset in the Civil War.
An army of soldiers requires an enormous amount of supplies, so one would therefore need to have the means to thereby create those supplies. The North was well industrialized by the time of the Civil War, whereas the South was still highly dependent on slave labor, which hindered their ability to industrialize.4 When it came to producing weapons, uniforms, shoes, preserved food, tools for more effective farming to feed soldiers, the telegraph, and other necessities, the Union was way in the lead. They could not only create these products, but they could produce...

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