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 Posted: Fri Jun 17th, 2011 12:30 am
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Texas Defender
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Joined: Sat Jan 27th, 2007
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Mark-

  You asked the question of pender: "Do you think that the Confederacy could have won its independence?" Now that he has given his response, I wish to give you my view.

  I believe that the answer is: "Yes." I believe that they had a viable chance when the war began. If they had made some different decisions, and if some circumstances beyond their control had gone differently, they might have been successful.

  I don't know which, if any, : "Lost Cause" theory you might ascribe it to, but as I have stated previously on this forum, I believe that the situation was still in doubt until November of 1864, three years and nine months after the establishment of the CSA in February of 1861.

  Since organized warfare began, wars have only been fought when both sides believed that they could somehow prevail.  In the case of the Confederacy, they recognized the fact that they were the weaker side when it came to population, almost all categories of military equipment, and other types of resources.

  Southerners often compared their situation to that of the colonists in the Revolutionary War. They referred to their struggle as: "The War for Southern Independence," or "The Second American Revolution." They recognized that they could not win a total military victory against the north, just as the colonists could not win a total war against the British Empire. But in both cases, they had a chance to gain their independence by employing the classic weaker side strategy. That strategy was to continue the struggle and exact such a cost in blood and treasure that the stronger side would come to the conclusion that it was not worth the cost to continue the battle.

  The problem for the weaker side has always been to sustain its military forces in the face of a better equipped enemy. This was often done by employing irregular warfare, and avoiding decisive battles. In most cases where the weaker side eventually prevailed, it had to continue the struggle for a number of years. But the weaker side could not achieve its goals as long as the stronger side was willing to pay any price to persevere in the conflict.

  The Confederacy sought to make the northern people pay such a severe price that they would abandon the struggle. I would maintain that if the US president had been a less determined individual than Mr. Lincoln, the southerners would have achieved their independence. In my view, the matter was settled after General Sherman made his March, because it resulted in the re-election of Mr. Lincoln. By re-electing Mr. Lincoln, the northern people signaled their willingness to pay whatever price in blood and treasure that was necessary to achieve a complete military victory. At that point, the Confederacy was doomed to run out of the resources that it needed to continue the struggle.

 

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