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Factors Behind The Confederacy’s Defeat In The Civil War

One of the books that explored the reasons or the factors behind the fall of the Confederacy is the one written by African American Historian Charles H. Wesley. In his book entitled “The Collapse of the Confederacy”, Wesley notes that the defeat of the Conferederacy was a result of “underlying internal and social factors”, further stressing that it was ultimately the “loss of will to fight” that eventually brought down the Confederacy to its knees.

Nonetheless, when one makes an analysis on the factors that contributed to the loss, one would be able to see that the main factors include: financial difficulty, insufficient number of troops and the, of course, low morale. Financial problem was one of the most pressing issues being dealt with by the Confederacy at that time. From the very beginning, the Confederacy was in bad financial condition, lacking in both specie and banks.

It had difficulty in negotiating loans and was forced to finance its operations through issues of paper money, which by 1864 reached $1 billion in face value, more than twice that of the greenbacks issued by the Union. The gold value of these notes declined dangerously. (History Channel, 2006) That the Confederacy experienced trying days at the onset of the war did not help either. As noted by the History Channel Website, even with its early military triumphs, the Confederacy never won recognition as an independent government, although Southerners had been confident that king cotton would bring this about—which, alas, did not happen.

As for low morale, Wesley notes that the demoralized troops of the Confederacy aggravated the Confederate’s military setbacks and economic scarcity. And as what they always say, he who does not have a why to fight for, will not have the how to fight.

References:

The History Channel, 2006: Confederacy [online] Available at: http://www. thehistorychannel. co. uk/site/search/search. php? word=Confeder [cited on June 13, 2006] University of South Carolina, 2006: The Collapse of the Confederacy [online] Available at: http://sc. edu/uscpress/2001/3410. html [cited on June 13, 2006]

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