The Instigator
1Historygenius
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
GWindeknecht1
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

The CSA could have won the Civil War (2)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
GWindeknecht1
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/28/2011 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,273 times Debate No: 19040
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)

 

1Historygenius

Pro

I am going to learn from my mistakes on the first debate I did and try again.

Here is how I think the CSA could have won the Civil War:

1) All military forces needed to be under the same command structure and deployable wherever needed. Don't do a strictly static defense.

2) Use a flexible defense where you only focus on defending key areas like Vicksburg, New Orleans, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Nashville, and Island Number Ten. The CSA needed to use defensive tactics and use forts to their fullest.

3) They needed to buy as much warships as possible from Britain and sell bonds to British aristocrats.

4) Concentrate the navy at places like the mouth of the Mississippi to defend key places on the river.

5) Don't fire on Fort Sumter. Make Lincoln start the civil war for the less politically popular cause of preserving the Union.

6) Instead of putting most of the soldiers and artillery in the Western Department in in the winter 1862, put them in Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.

7) Make sure places like Vicksburg have at least good provisions that can last a year.

8) Only attack the north if you are attacking an area that is weak and that valuable to the war.
GWindeknecht1

Con

Thank you for posting the debate today. I'm excited to examine this area further.
I negate that the Confederacy had the ability to win the war.

Contention 1: The South lacked economic ability regardless of tactics.
During the times of "King Cotton" the vast majority of the Confederacy's economic output relied upon the trade of cotton and other farmed goods to the large European markets. However, the South's economic machine was quickly destroyed by the onset of the Northern naval blockade. Almost overnight, the Confederacy's trade with Europe plummeted. The South had lost it's main source of revenue and the Confederate economy slumped. From 1861 to 1865, the Confederacy faced dwindling capital, soaring inflation, and considerable federal deficits. These inherent problems prevented the South from implementing a strong resistance, especially as the war lengthened. The key problem of the Confederacy was that it lacked the industrial power of the North, something that would have taken years to build in the South, if the capital had even been in existence. Regardless of any reformed military strategies, the South lacked a strong economic foundation throughout the war that would ultimately lead to inevitable defeat.
Contention 2: The South lacked the resources to win regardless.
In the 1860s, war was decided by which nation had the strongest industrial backing and resources. Unfortunately, the South lacked fundamental and imperative resources in which to carry out a successful resistance against the Northern onslaught. General William T. Sherman wrote "The North can make a steam-engine, locomotive or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or a pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical and determined people on earth--right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared. . . . At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, and shut out from the markets of Europe by blockade as you will be, your cause will begin to wane". This was the unfortunate reality for the South. It lacked the industrial resources of the North.

In conclusion, because the South lacked the economic power so crucial to victory, and because the South lacked war materials to carry out any form of powerful resistance, I urge a negative ballot today, contending that the South could not have won the war due to fundamental flaws.
Debate Round No. 1
1Historygenius

Pro

My opponent has failed to rebuttal any of the eight points I made.

Now the south purchased weapons from places like Britain and France so they did have some supply of weapons that were made in other places. If the CSA also bought more ships from Europe they could possibly stand to the might of the USA which would allow that vital weapon trade to continue. Industrial power is not everything and in terms of tactics the CSA had some early victories because they had better generals than the USA. Men like Lee and Jackson gave victories to the south while there were some blunders such as Gettysburg, they still fought strong. Also if the south had done a scorched earth policy in Georgia during Sherman's March to the Sea then Sherman's campaign would have been in trouble. Strategy is another, had the south remained on a flexible defense remaining that included key areas protected such as several forts then you can keep a good defense. Now what happens when the CSA troops kill many Union troops? Then the Union has to bring in more from the workforce and cannot create more weapons and supplies. Not to mention that the war may get unpopular politically and if the war went completely bad for Lincoln then he would have lost the next election.
GWindeknecht1

Con

First round just establishes the basis of your case. Second round, however, I can rebute.

Rebuttals:
1.The South lacked the infrastructure to do anything but a static defense. You presumed that the South had a viable infrastructure system but the sad reality is that it was non-existent. According to Arturo Rivera, for AmericanCivilWar.com, "The South lacked the necessary industrial, and transportation infrastructure to wage an effective war."
2.The South could not focus on simply "key areas". The South's entire economic machine was slave labor. Ergo, every part of frontier had to be protected in order to keep the economy going without allowing Union forces to penetrate the economic machine. Furthermore, the South lacked the manpower of the North to carry out an effective resistance.
3.Great Britain was barred from trading with the South. Trade would have included buying warships. The North also had financially isolated the South, barring it from "selling bonds to British aristocrats". Remember, E-Trade didn't exist in the 1860s, so digital transactions were impossible.
4.According to "AMericanCivilWar.com" the Union had 42 commissioned warships in April of 1861 whereas the South had none. The Southern Navy was entirely underprepared to take on the advanced and numerous Northern naval vessels.
5.Regardless of who started the war, the South's defeat was inevitable.
6.Again, the South lacked the infrastructure necessary to successfully move equipment from one place to another.
7.Due to the chronic deficit problems plaguing the Davis Administration throughout the war, the South would have been unable to allocate, much less gather, the supplies necessary to sustain Vicksburg for a year.
8.It's a funny thing about defense; the North tended to defend what was valuable. It would have been impossible for the South to attack a weakly defend and valuable Northern area for a simple fact, the North would have defended it making it "strong not weak".

Rebuilding my own points:
My opponent today has attempted to reason that the South already had some supply of weaponry. However that supply was simply not enough. According to Arturo Rivera, for AmericanCivilWar.com, "The south also lacked the factories and other facilities (ironworks, etc.) to create cannons, rifles as well as other weapons". Their supply of weapons was too little to carry on any drawn out war. He went on to reason, that if the South had bought ships from Europe everything would have turned out differently. However, when looking at the actual timeline of events, the Northern blockade was in place long before a single ship could have been built to protect the South. Ships are not made overnight, they take months to build. Furthermore, my opponent fails to understand the significance of industrial power. Look back to my evidence from General William T. Sherman; it is quite clear that industrial power would ultimately be a deciding factor in the war.
My opponent goes on to say "If the South had done a scorched earth policy, Sherman would have been in trouble", while that would have made it more difficult for Sherman, the South would have still lost thousands of acres of farmland, the basis of it's entire economy, rendering it weaker. My opponent goes on to say the Union would have been unable to create more supplies and replace casualties; however, this couldn't be farther from the truth. The Union actually had a huge numerical advantage over the South, a 23 million to 5 million ratio. While the South ran out of men, the North held a significant population advantage which would become a deciding factor.

Taking a step back, let's clarify the debate this evening. My opponent has failed to take into consideration the absolute necessity of industrial power, which favored the North. The North held huge infrastructural, industrial, population, logistical and naval advantages over the South, which would ultimately lead the North to victory.
Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
1Historygenius

Pro

"...every part of frontier had to be protected in order to keep the economy going without allowing Union forces to penetrate the economic machine." If you looks at some northern campaign you can see there plan was not to free slaves during the war but to take on key goals. Vicksburg is an example and shows that the Union concentrated on key areas such as that and during Sherman's March to the Sea he did free some slaves but his army was mostly busy looking for supplies for the army.

"Furthermore, the South lacked the manpower of the North to carry out an effective resistance." We can use example of battles to prove this wrong. Despite the CSA losing the war, several battles such as Cold Harbor prove that there is more to war than numbers. Grant outnumbered Lee at least 2-to-1 and yet he still lost. This still proves that the CSA had better generals in the war and thus had the potential to winning it. No victory or loss inevitable, there are many things that can happy in any way that can change the course of it. At the Second Battle of Bull Run the Union outnumbered the South again by at least 10,000 men yet the Union still lost.

Despite the population differences according to the 1860 National Census showed that only 4 million men from the north were of combat age, not all 22 million of them. This can be found in the book "Don't Know Much about History" on page 219. If casualties started to heavily mount up then those 4 million men will be surely reduced which means more men from the workforce that are not of the combat age would have to fight and those militias would probably not do as good as regular troops.

Furthermore, if the south adopted a hit and run mentality then those big Union armies would not stand a chance. The Union forces cost more than the southern forces did and by making the war more expensive for the north then the industry would have to create more and more things such as uniform, firearms, cannons, and other items an army needs. By making the war to expensive for industrial north, Lincoln would make to sign peace terms.

If the South focused on their defense to cause more defeats to the Union then Lincoln would probably be voted out of office in 1864.

"The South lacked the infrastructure to do anything but a static defense." If they could not do anything but a static defense then why were they able to mount assaults on the North? Seems like they could do more to the defense since the Union kept concentrating on Richmond and defending Washington D.C. which proves that they were in a war of attrition.

You have to take risks in war and that is scorched earth. Yes the south would lose some acres of land in Georgia but that benefits of it would be an big Union army awaiting disasters as it would be starving. Then if the south used hit and run tactics, Sherman's march would have ended differently.

You take the advantage away from a larger army by staying in the mountains. Big forces can't move fast in tight spaces, and the resulting columns are easy to break and bottleneck. Prepositioning artillery in strategic high ground locations would have made it very hard to get into SW Virginia all the way down through the Appalachain foothills in Georgia. It would be very expensive to remove an insurgency, and the insurgency could be very effective breaking invading troop supply chains.

Also since the South was very able to mount assaults on Union land what if they won at Gettysburg? Then the South would have the opportunity to move north onto heavily industrial places that were vital to the Union.

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GWindeknecht1

Con

I would first like to thank my opponent for the debate, it has been most enjoyable. A theoretical historical debate is almost always fun and I have thoroughly enjoyed this debate. For that, I thank you.

To provide a roadmap of the final posting:
I'm first going to go over his rebuttals.
I'm next going to rebuild my own case, if necessary.
And finally, I'll clarify the debate today and show the framework for voting.

Looking over his rebuttals:
" If you looks at some northern campaign you can see there plan was not to free slaves during the war but to take on key goals." - Actually, the entire reason the North went to war was to abolish slavery. It was serendipitous that the North that the North effectively annihilated the foundation of the Southern economic machine. The North's plan was two-part, 1) Abolish Slavery. 2) Destroy Confederacy by taking down their economy. They accomplished both goals.

"Despite the CSA losing the war, several battles such as Cold Harbor prove that there is more to war than numbers. Grant outnumbered Lee at least 2-to-1 and yet he still lost. " -There is obviously more to war than simple numbers. However, the North had the manpower and almost every other factor working for them. If you read Sun Tzu's "The Art of War", a numerical advantage is imperative to victory. The South lacked the manpower necessary to continue the war. Look to my http://www.fasttrackteaching.com... evidence.
My opponent goes on to say "If casualties started to heavily mount up then those 4 million men will be surely reduced which means more men from the workforce that are not of the combat age would have to fight and those militias would probably not do as good as regular troops."- That is not correct at all, look at the figures. The North had 23 million people, the South only had 5 million people. The population and numerical advantages once again go to the North. The North had the ability to replace the fallen, whereas the South did not.

"If the south adopted a hit and run mentality then those big Union armies would not stand a chance." - The infrastructure of the South and the size of the armies did not allow or a "hit and run mentality".

"If the South focused on their defense to cause more defeats to the Union then Lincoln would probably be voted out of office in 1864."- For the most part, the majority of the entire Civil War was fought on Southern territory, particularly the war in the Western areas. It was a defensive war, and the North continued to win for above reasons.

"If they could not do anything but a static defense then why were they able to mount assaults on the North?"- Well, I'll answer your question, the North had the infrastructure. As time went on in the war, the South's initial advantages were soon discounted and the North's overbearing industrial strength became more and more of a deciding factor in the war.

"You take the advantage away from a larger army by staying in the mountains. "- Yes, but both sides had big armies, it would have been illogical for the South to adopt a million man "in the trees" approach.

"Also since the South was very able to mount assaults on Union land what if they won at Gettysburg? Then the South would have the opportunity to move north onto heavily industrial places that were vital to the Union." - Even if the South had won at Gettysburg, the longer the war went on the South would have found themselves more and more financially unable to continue the war effort. The South lacked the finances, the economy, and the industrial power necessary to continue a strong war effort for any longer than a year or two. That is why the majority of the South's victories were in the first part of the war. The South did not have the opportunity to go toward the industrial centers as they would've quickly ran out of resources and the areas to the North were heavily defended.

Onto my own points:
My opponent has failed to argue against the foundation of my points today.

1) The South lacked the economic ability.

The simple fact of the matter is, industrial prowess played a huge role in deciding the ultimate victor. The Southern economy was plagued with lack of exports and imports, massive inflation, and massive chronic federal shortfalls. The South did not have any economic ability.
The North on the other hand held such abilities.
The North had the financial backing, the industrial backing, a population advantage, a logistical advantage, and nearly every other advantage. A Northern victory was almost inevitable.

2) the South lacked the resources.
Look to my Sherman evidence, the South did not have the industrial capacity to carry on a war effort or be self-sufficient in terms of producing essential war materials. Furthermore, the South was grossly outnumbered. Though my opponent has pointed out numbers aren't everything, and indeed they aren't everything, they play a deciding role in the outcome of nearly every engagement. The North outnumbered the South almost 5 to 1.

Finally, let's look at the entirety of the debate today.

Only a negative ballot is possible, my opponent has failed to disprove any of my evidence regarding the technical, population, or industrial advantages of the north.
My Opponent had to prove the South could have won, but I have proved that the Southern economy was grossly outmatched by the Northern economic machine.

Naturally, I urge all voters to take into consideration everything that has been said in today's debate and look at the entire picture.
Thanks again to my opponent for the historical debate.
Thank you, and I urge a negative ballot in today's debate.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
yahoo answers O.o
Posted by GWindeknecht1 5 years ago
GWindeknecht1
@ DanT, your right, the South did have a better ratio. However, 1historygenius did not mention that at all throughout the debate so that can't be weighted when voting.
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
1Historygenius
Agreed to numbers are not everything as is proven in history. For example, the Zulu War has the British winning despite being outnumbered. In Africa the Italy offensives during WW2 had the Italians outnumbering the Brits but they still lost.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
The CSA had a better kill to Army ratio, with 13:100 compared to the Union's 3:100
If you look at total casualty the Union casualty to confederate ratio was 60:100 compared to the Union's 19:100

The Confederates casualty to Union Casualty ratio was 62:100
The Confederate Soldier to Union Soldier ratio was 51:100

The Union army had a 30% Casualty rate
The Confederates had a 37% Casualty rate

The Union Army was not doing so good for a Army twice the size of the Confederacy.
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
1Historygenius
@LordKnuckle Washington lost the majority of his open battles such as New York and Brandywine. The French helped the Americans during the revolution and so the British had to spread its forces across the world. Hit and Run tactics are not really open battles.
Posted by Lordknukle 5 years ago
Lordknukle
@ history:

Some of the best armies were defeated by militias. For example, Washington defeated the British with his rag tag militia.
They often engage in quick hit-and-run tactics. Full sized armies require head on brute force, which doesn't always work/

If I had a choice of a reasonably sized and reasonably trained militia or an national army, I would choose the militia.
Posted by GWindeknecht1 5 years ago
GWindeknecht1
I'm well aware of Chinese military history, however, Sun Tzu also realized the importance of numbers. Regardless, the debate is over. Thank you for the debate.
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
1Historygenius
Another odd thing, when Sun Tzu went to war he usually did not have an advantage and his opponent's army's were bigger.
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
1Historygenius
You do realize that militias are not experience soldiers and that is why they would probably not do as good as regular troops?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by E.BurnumIII 5 years ago
E.BurnumIII
1HistorygeniusGWindeknecht1Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con effectively showed that the South lacked the economic ability and resources to win.
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
1HistorygeniusGWindeknecht1Tied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Though the Con did miss why the north declared war on the south he generally had far better arguments then the pro did. Also i followed his sources and they checked out so I gave Con sources as well, good debate :)
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
1HistorygeniusGWindeknecht1Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I thought Con made generally better arguments. Pro wasted his opening argument, as far as this ignorant reader could see. How would changing the command structure, concentrating the navy, etcetera, have helped? There was no explanation given, no showing that these changes would have made a difference, no real case made.