GDG- Lost Cause and Inevitibility

Margaret D. Blough mdblough1 at
Sun Jan 22 16:57:53 CST 2012


Many, if not most, secessionists did not see the slave states as being at any disadvantage economically or militarily. The antebellum South was wealthy, both in slaves and "King Cotton", and it saw itself as superior socially and culturally to the "mudsills and greasy mechanics" and foreigners of the North and certainly superior in military talent. They did not believe the North could get itself together enough to resist and they believed that, even if it did, such resistance would be ineffectual. Most were certain that the UK and France would come to the South's support because of their dependence on "King Cotton." There were some factual elements in this belief, primarily the wealth of the South and the fact that, unlike the US government, they did not need to regain control of territory and populations. A lot of the rest of it was making the fatal error of believing their own propaganda, including their portrayals of Lincoln as an illiterate yahoo with apelike characteristics. One of the most unexpected and movingly courageous episodes in Stephen Douglas's life was when he toured the South during the presidential campaign of 1860. It was NOT the done thing for presidential candidates to campaign then and, by the time he did it, it was clear that he could not possibly win. Douglas not only strongly urged the slave states not to attempt secession but not to underestimate his longtime rival. 

The reason that the "overwhelming resources" belief will get you associated with the Lost Cause is that it was an explanation that Confederate supporters only came up with as defeat stared them in the face. The few pro-slavery advocates who argued against secession and refused to discount the US government and its will and ability to fight were ignored. 



----- Original Message -----
From: "George Connell" <georgeconnell at> 
To: "GDG" <gettysburg at> 
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 5:14:42 PM 
Subject: GDG- Lost Cause and Inevitibility 

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
I have long been bothered by the belief that anyone who maintains that the South's defeat was inevitable as long as the Union retained the will to fight is a "Lost Causer!" 

I think this is an utterly realistic assessment of the 'correlation of forces' and a great example of why the South was nuts to risk war. 

What am I not getting? 

26ª11'56"N 81ª48'19W" 
Which is about as far south as one can get 
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