Author Topic: Could the South have won?  (Read 19560 times)

Offline Walter Josh

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Re: Could the South have won?
« Reply #90 on: July 01, 2013, 09:56:33 AM »
mdgiles,
As for, what would Britain gain?
1.)  a natural ally in the South.
2.)  defeat of a rising power (same reason they went to war in 1914).
3.)  revenge for Yorktown and New Orleans.
Britain's Navy was key. She could put 250,000 troops in Canada very
quickly and blockade all the eastern seaports simultaneously. The vital
ingredient for the North was generalship not numbers, and as the early
days of the war demonstrated, hardly a strong point for the North. As for
slavery, it was a political issue in Britain and hardly an issue of passion
for working class labor.   

Offline mdgiles

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Re: Could the South have won?
« Reply #91 on: July 01, 2013, 03:34:53 PM »
mdgiles,
As for, what would Britain gain?
1.)  a natural ally in the South.
2.)  defeat of a rising power (same reason they went to war in 1914).
3.)  revenge for Yorktown and New Orleans.
Britain's Navy was key. She could put 250,000 troops in Canada very
quickly and blockade all the eastern seaports simultaneously. The vital
ingredient for the North was generalship not numbers, and as the early
days of the war demonstrated, hardly a strong point for the North. As for
slavery, it was a political issue in Britain and hardly an issue of passion
for working class labor.
1.) The North was a far better ally, than the South.
2.)The US had been a semi ally of Britain, on a number of occasions. The Monroe Doctrine and the anti slavery patrols, to name just two.
3.)As I noted, relationships between the US and Great Britain had long been on a good terms. After all, what more natural ally than the US - who had no ambitions on the Continent, nor any imperial ambitions - unlike France and Russia - and also had a similar form of government. Besides Britain entering might have had the effect of driving the two sides together.
Britain didn't have 250,000 troops. It had always been the policy of Great Britain to have a small professional army. Even in there overseas colonies such as India, they used mercenary troops. They could have stripped their empire of troops and mercenaries - and then watched it snapped up by her rivals. The Union army reached 600,000 by early 1862, and it would get larger. Actually Britain had settled their own slavery issue, by abolition in 1833. After that point Britain often went to war to stamp out slavery, in Borneo for example.
"LIBERALS: their willful ignorance is rivaled only by their catastrophic stupidity"!

Offline Walter Josh

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Re: Could the South have won?
« Reply #92 on: July 01, 2013, 06:18:02 PM »
mdgiles; continuing our mutually enlightening discussion.
As for your last #2 point , " The USA had been a semi ally of Britain."
Hopes and wishes. As Von Bismarck observed. "Great nations have
interests, not allies."
Your assertion that Britain did not have at least 250,000 regulars
in 1860 is arrant nonsense. In fact, she had some 400,000 dispersed
throughout her Empire. Her critical advantage was the Royal Navy.
Case in point. In 1914, within 6 weeks of declaring war, Britain landed
325,000 regulars in France.
The notion that a force of some 600,000 Northerners, led by assorted
Union buffoonery; while confronted by British Canada and the South;
would be victorious, is the triumph of fantasy over reality.
Lincoln, to his great credit and wisdom, understood this grave threat
to the Union. As such, his Emancipation Proclamation was a master
stroke of political genius.
 

Offline mdgiles

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Re: Could the South have won?
« Reply #93 on: July 02, 2013, 10:59:52 AM »
mdgiles; continuing our mutually enlightening discussion.
As for your last #2 point , " The USA had been a semi ally of Britain."
Hopes and wishes. As Von Bismarck observed. "Great nations have
interests, not allies."
And the interests of Great Britain were far more in line with those of the North, than Those of the South. Besides cotton, and a much smaller market, what exactly did the South have to offer. And if the didn't like being part of the US, why exactly would they have enjoyed being an economic colony of Great Britain?
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Your assertion that Britain did not have at least 250,000 regulars
in 1860 is arrant nonsense. In fact, she had some 400,000 dispersed
"Essentially, the British had an army of 220,000 regulars, 120,000 militiamen and raised about 250,000 volunteers in the early 1860's. The regular army at home was stable at about 100,000 men, India took about 60-70,000 men (plus 150,000 Indian regulars and about 70-80,000 irregulars), the Med about 20,000 and Canada/ North America about 20,000, with the remaining 10-20,000 mostly split between a division in South Africa and a division in New Zealand (the Army Corps that fought in China in the early 1860's was drawn from the British-Indian Army).
The only other colonial force of note is the fairly large Canadian Militia, which kept ca 67,000 trained and equipped men. Other colonies had militias but they were generally small (although NZ and Victoria had mobilised theirs for NZ) throughout her Empire."
http://www.geocities.com/littlegreenmen.geo/misc.htm
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Her critical advantage was the Royal Navy.
And what exactly was going to happen to the rest of Britain colonies, as the fleet sailed off to fight the North?
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Case in point. In 1914, within 6 weeks of declaring war, Britain landed
325,000 regulars in France.
And the British had steadily built up their forces as they were fighting all over the world. But in 1860, most of their fighting was in India and that was done by the Indian Army.
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The notion that a force of some 600,000 Northerners, led by assorted
Union buffoonery; while confronted by British Canada and the South;
would be victorious, is the triumph of fantasy over reality.
Are you by any chance British, because you suffer from a malady common to people that don't understand anything about the American Civil War. I call it Lee fascination. For some reason beating a few incompetents in Northern Virginia, was supposed to offset the fact that the Confederacy was pretty much losing everywhere else. The battle in the Western theater was one ongoing disaster for the Confederacy.
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Lincoln, to his great credit and wisdom, understood this grave threat
to the Union. As such, his Emancipation Proclamation was a master
stroke of political genius.
It made the Southern position plan and untenable. By supporting the South, you were supporting continued slavery. The emancipation also had the asset of clarifying the position of slaves who had fled their masters, in those areas not yet under Union occupation.

One more thing about the "buffoonery" of those generals. The thing was their tactics hadn't caught up with the technology. The Generals in the Civil War, on both sides, had fought in the Mexican War, when the US was still using smoothbore muskets. The rifles of the Civil War era were infinitely more dangerous, and made Napoleonic tactics suicide. In dealing with the rifle, they were like the generals of WW1 dealing with machine guns and advanced artillery. Also modern industry had made the recovery ability of armies, much, much greater. Before the American Civil war it was not uncommon for good generals to destroy whole armies. During the Civil War that only happened three times - and it was the much maligned generalship of US Grant that accomplished that.
"LIBERALS: their willful ignorance is rivaled only by their catastrophic stupidity"!

Offline Walter Josh

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Re: Could the South have won?
« Reply #94 on: July 03, 2013, 11:01:02 AM »
mdgiles, fair points.
The essence of what I'm asserting is real simple:The USA was a 72 year old in 1860 and hardly a threat to
Great Britain either economically or militarily. To believe otherwise, is beyond fantasy.The South provided
the critical raw material that made Britain prosperous and powerful. As such, the South was her natural ally.
(It is true that the plantations of East Bengal would supplant Southern cotton but not until 1870).
In contrast, the North, being industrialized rather than agrarian, produced largely finished goods which made her a competitor of Britain rather than a supplier of the vital commodity that kept her mills humming.
Leaving aside your numbers game, Britain has access to whatever troop levels she needed, stone cold reality, as the Great War demonstrated.
You cannot seem to grasp the power that the Royal Navy gave Britain, which is why Mahan insisted the military priority for an emergent USA in 1900 must always be the Navy before the Army.
No, I'm not British (no such critter) nor English; I'm German born and no fan of any of the Generals of the Civil War on either side.
My comment about the Emancipation Proclamation is related to an earlier post about Rowan Helper's "Impending Crises". He correctly asserted that cotton retarded economic growth in the South as it was land, manpower and water intensive, drawing down costly resources to the detriment of industry. He also agreed w/Adam Smith that labor freely contracted in the marketplace was always more efficient than labor coerced through slavery. Hence he supported the abolition of slavery, for economic not moral reasons, as a means of breaking the stranglehold the Plantation Class held in the South.
Lincoln's Proclamation was a political master stroke, as it gave the North the moral high ground, preventing Great Britain, who had abolished slavery in 1833,  from aligning itself with the South. W/o Britain. the South could not win.
Great discussion. Well done.

 

Offline mdgiles

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Re: Could the South have won?
« Reply #95 on: July 03, 2013, 12:49:18 PM »
mdgiles, fair points.
The essence of what I'm asserting is real simple:The USA was a 72 year old in 1860 and hardly a threat to
Great Britain either economically or militarily. To believe otherwise, is beyond fantasy.The South provided
the critical raw material that made Britain prosperous and powerful. As such, the South was her natural ally.
The British could get their raw materials from almost anywhere. As you have noted they were in the process of building the worlds greatest empire. But the US had the makings of a pretty good ally, especially if the Europeans got boisterous, as they had a habit of doing. And of course even if they weren't officially allied, the English speaking Americans secured the Atlantic front for the British.
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(It is true that the plantations of East Bengal would supplant Southern cotton but not until 1870).
In contrast, the North, being industrialized rather than agrarian, produced largely finished goods which made her a competitor of Britain rather than a supplier of the vital commodity that kept her mills humming.
Why should the British care? America was in the process of settling a continent - which was where all their produce was going to go. In addition, Britain had a captive empire to trade with, which more than offset any gain the would have gotten from recognizing the South. Relations with the US were generally good, why were the British going to exchange that for another enemy?
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Leaving aside your numbers game, Britain has access to whatever troop levels she needed, stone cold reality, as the Great War demonstrated.
Actually she didn't as she had to strip much of the empire to raise troops for the Sudan battles and the Boer War. When WW1 started she first used volunteers, and eventually ended up going to conscription. Even then she needed the French to provide the manpower they were lacking. If it hadn't been for the Russians on the Eastern Front the British/French would have been completely outmanned - as they nearly were when Russia left the war.
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You cannot seem to grasp the power that the Royal Navy gave Britain, which is why Mahan insisted the military priority for an emergent USA in 1900 must always be the Navy before the Army.
And you don't seem to grasp that the Royal Navy was scattered half way around the world, and in fact during the Civil War the US Navy grew to one of the largest navies in the world. It was only after the war that - having no overseas possessions to worry about - that the US allowed our Navy to collapse into obsolescence ( US admirals tried to go back to sail?).
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No, I'm not British (no such critter) nor English; I'm German born and no fan of any of the Generals of the Civil War on either side.
Well your Prussian generals surely did. They paid a great deal of attention to both sides use of the tellegraph and railroads. And right, they've had devolution haven't they.
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My comment about the Emancipation Proclamation is related to an earlier post about Rowan Helper's "Impending Crises". He correctly asserted that cotton retarded economic growth in the South as it was land, manpower and water intensive, drawing down costly resources to the detriment of industry.
Indeed Cotton farming actually stripped the land of nutrients, which explains the South's desperate need to expand into new territories.
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He also agreed w/Adam Smith that labor freely contracted in the marketplace was always more efficient than labor coerced through slavery. Hence he supported the abolition of slavery, for economic not moral reasons, as a means of breaking the stranglehold the Plantation Class held in the South.
It didn't take much, for Northerners to notice how non plantation farmers had been pushed to the margins in the South; to make them fierce "Free Soil" advocates. Also I wonder if the South ever considered using their slaves for industrial purposes before the Civil War forced that necessity upon them.
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Lincoln's Proclamation was a political master stroke, as it gave the North the moral high ground, preventing Great Britain, who had abolished slavery in 1833,  from aligning itself with the South. W/o Britain. the South could not win.
Just like in the American Revolution, its proved almost impossible to win without outside help.
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Great discussion. Well done.
You too, even if you're "mistaken" on some points?  :smile: :wink:
"LIBERALS: their willful ignorance is rivaled only by their catastrophic stupidity"!

 

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