Letter from American History – December 2010

The mythologizing began soon after the last shots were fired in the Civil War. Rebel diehards who clung to the notion that the Confederacy was a noble “lost cause” argued that the South failed in its quest for independence only because of the overwhelming military resources of the Union. “What has long been overlooked is that the Confederacy fell victim not just to enemy armies, but also to the poverty of its proslavery, antidemocratic vision of the future and the determined resistance of its own people,” says Stephanie McCurry, a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South. In our cover story, “The Confederacy: America’s Worst Idea,” McCurry argues that as we approach the 150th anniversary of secession this December, it’s time to take an unromanticized look at the Confederate States of America and how it collapsed under the weight of its own moral and political contradictions.

One Response

  1. Ethan Ables

    In you opening paragraph you make an utterly baseless and ridculous statement that the CSU “collapsed under the weight of its own moral and political contradictions.” The CSU collapsed under the weight of an invading army! An army who waged open warfare on civilian populations (shelling of Vicksburg to name one of many). The CSU never had a chance of winning a conventional war with the north and its leaders were terribly misguided to even attempt one. The war making ability of the north compared to the south at that time is like the New York Yankees vs The Bad News Bears.

    We don’t know how the CSU would have developed because it was invaded and conquered.

    As to the point about slavery being the cause of the war; you must answer the question of whether or not the North would have invaded if the south if the south had freed the slaves at the same time as they -seperated from the union.


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