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 Posted: Sun Oct 18th, 2009 12:37 pm
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Mark
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You have a great question that professional historians are still very much debating.  There is a large school of thought that believes the Confederacy crumbled under internal pressures brought on by a weak central government as you have described.  Governors Zebulon Vance (North Carolina) and Joseph Brown (Georgia) were the two worst thorns in Jefferson Davis's side.  I am not sure I subscribe to these view myself.  I think that the internal fissures really only became apparent once external pressure (the Union Army) began winning victories.  However, the clearest explanation of the internal pressure thesis is contained in "Why the South Lost the Civil War" by Beringer, Hattaway, Jones and Still.  They have an entire chapter discussing the inherant incompatability of strong states rights and fighting an external war.  If you would like a shorter explanation (which points out the problems with the internal pressures thesis), check out James McPherson's essay, "Why did the Confederacy Lose," contained in "Drawn with the Sword."  Hope that helps!

-Mark

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