If Lee had won at Gettysburg ?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by DerChef, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. DerChef macrumors 6502

    DerChef

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    #1
    Just watched the Ken Burns documentary of the Civil War

    Would it have changed the course of the war ?

    I personally dont think so, The Union could have gone on the defensive and relied on the blockade.

    Europe might have recognised the Confederacy but giving military support was another thing entirely.

    If Lincoln had decided to step down would there have been 2 anti war candidates in the 1864 election, again I dont I think so

    :confused: .
     
  2. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #2
    There's a whole series of books by Harry Turtledove on this very subject. Alternate histories. Fun reading, if you're looking. The first one is "How Few Remain".
     
  3. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #3
    "I personally dont think so, The Union could have gone on the defensive and relied on the blockade."

    True, but:

    Remember that the goal of the South was not to take and occupy. The goal was separation; Secession.

    Assuming that the Southern army could have regrouped fairly quickly, it would have been poised as a direct threat on D.C. The psychology of the whole deal might easily have led to negotiations which could have allowed Secession.

    Other factors: If European nations had recognized the Confederacy as a nation, it's quite possible that no blockade would have been allowed by them--particularly the British Navy. (While the British had initially begun the anti-slavery movement, there was still great animosity toward WashD.C.) At the time, the mills of England were starving for cotton. Sales of cotton would have allowed the Confederacy to acquire the money for purchase of armaments.

    Guesstimations of an aftermath: Slavery would have died out for economic reasons. Westward expansion across the Great Plains would have accelerated, from a mix of population pressure and availability of military funding from the earlier end of the war.

    Comment: If Lincoln had thought of it, and had it been politically possible, the cost of buying all the slaves in the country (and then freeing them) would have been less than ten percent of the cost of the war.

    Fast forward: Recalling the guesstimate that in Vietnam it cost some $25,000 per dead VC, one wonders...

    'Rat
     
  4. DerChef thread starter macrumors 6502

    DerChef

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    #4
    I heard that Britian saw what was coming and stock piled cotton.

    I personally think the South was in deep trouble after they lost control of the Mississippi the year before
     
  5. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #5
    No doubt about a certain amount of stockpiling, but a year or two's worth wouldn't offset the three years of embargo, I'm guessing.

    Sure, the South was in deep doo-doo, but think of a chess game: DC was the North's King and would have been threatened; Vicksburg to New Orleans was more like off in a far corner with a Rook. Again, psychology. Short-term immediate threat, vs. long-term attrition. Politicians generally think short-term. Lincoln didn't have any sort of unified Congress even when the North was clearly ahead. Political and public will, and their perceptions, always outweigh what can physically be done by a military.

    But speculation is fun...

    'Rat
     
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #6
    I think that's a great point about war in general. And to some degree and by extension, military spending.
     

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