Explanations for why the North Won the Civil War
From the beginning of the war the North had obvious advantages. Essentially the North had large amounts of everything that the south did not have. Their industry was extremely powerful, and the Southerners made the fatal mistake of believing that their thriving cotton industry alone could support the Confederacy throughout the war. Union officer William Tecumseh Sherman said to a southern friend, “In all history, no nation of mere agriculturists ever made successful war against a nation of mechanics…You are bound to fail.” This statement was an accurate description of how the North felt about the war, and how unprepared the South was at the onset of the war.
Sheer manpower ratios were unbelievably one-sided, with only nine of the Nation's 31 million inhabitants living in the southern states while the other 22 million lived in the north. The Union had over 70 percent of the population of the United States. They also had large amounts of land available for growing food crops, which served the dual purpose of providing food for its hungry soldiers and money to support its growing industries. The South, on the other hand, devoted most of what arable land it had exclusively to its main cash crop: cotton. Raw materials were almost entirely concentrated in northern mines and refining industries. Railroads and telegraph lines, the necessary lifelines of any army, were used extensively all across the Northern countryside but left the South isolated, outdated, and undeveloped in industrial ways.
The Confederacy started the war ill equipped and without the necessary food, supplies, manpower, or weapons needed to defeat such a strong nation as the Union. It was only a matter of time before the North would win, and once all of the South’s supplies were diminished and its troupes were exhausted, they finally conceded to the North, and ended the war.
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