RaeAnne SmithHL History of the AmericasSoule: Period 38 November 2011 McPherson Reading LogPart 1: MLA CitationMcPherson, James. "American Victory, American Defeat;" Why the Confederacy Lost. Ed. Gabor Boritt. New York: Oxford Press, 1992. Print.Part 2: Major ThesisMcPhersons main thesis is that the will of the northern and southern people was a result ofmilitary victory. His first argument is that the first turning point of the war was in 1862 when theUnion stopped Confederate invaders at Antietam and Perryville. The second major turning pointMcPherson argues was in the summer of 1863 when the Union was experiencing defeats atFredericksburg and Charlottesville. The final turning point of the war was the battle ofGettysburg and the capture of Vicksburg.Part 3: Supporting EvidencePage 18I. Most interpretations on the topic of the Civil War and why one side lost, while the other wonare broken into two focuses, that being on the Confederacy with the question of "Why the SouthLost" or being on the North with the question "Why the North Won." A. Internal interpretations focus on the Confederacy B. External interpretations focus on the Union.Page 19I. An example of the internal explanation for why the South lost can be seen in the battle ofGettysburg. A. Historians blame the Confederate Generals for losing this battle for the Confederacy. 1. Robert E. Lee for mismanagement, overconfidence, and poor judgment 2. Jeb Stuart for riding off on a raid around the Union army and losing contact with his own army.
3. Richard Ewell and Jubal Early for failing to attack Cemetery Hill on the afternoon of July 1st and again for tardiness in attacking on the 2nd. 4. James Longstreet for lack of cooperation, promptness and vigor in the assaults of July 2nd and 3rd.II. Another interpretation is that the North had more numbers and resources than the South. A. This interpretation allows the South to preserve their pride in the courage and skill of Confederate soldiers.Page 20I. The Norths population was two and a half times that of the South, three times its railroadcapacity and nine times its industrial production. A. This interpretation credits the Souths courage and skill, but does not credit their intelligence, and thus many people began to reject this interpretation. B. There are several examples of the side with lesser numbers and resources won. 1. An example is the Revolutionary war. Britain had more skill and resources than the colonists, yet the colonists won. 2. Other examples include the Netherlands and Spain in 1861, Greece and the Ottoman Empire in the 1820s. C. The Confederacy waged a strategically defensive war to protect its territory from conquest and preserve its armies from annihilation. 1. To win this war, the Confederates only needed to hold out long enough to force the North to the conclusion that the price of conquering the South was too high.Page 22I. General Joseph Johnston argued that the South undertook a war without the means of waging itsuccessfully. A. Beauregard stated that "No people ever warred for independence with more relative advantages than the Confederates." and that he believed that they blamed the poor leadership of Davis for their defeat to divert the blame from themselves.
B. The North had to conquer vast stretches of southern territory, cripple southern resources and destroy their fighting power. Thus, the superior manpower and resources was necessary but not sufficient for winning the war.Page 23I. Another internal conflict thesis is that the Confederacy lost because it was plagued by dissentand divisions. A. Author Frank Owsley argued that the force of states rights fatally handicapped the efforts of the central government and of the army to mobilize men and resources for the war. 1. Owsley accuses governors Brown and Vance for obstructive policies, of withholding men and arms from the Confederate army to build up their state militias, and of debilitating political warfare against the Jefferson Davis administration. B. The states rights thesis focuses on the resistance by many Southerners, including some national leaders. 1. Vice President Stephens went to such measures as conscription, certain taxes, suspension of habeas corpus and martial law.Page 24 2. This opposition crippled the armys ability to fill its ranks, obtain food and supplies, and stem desertions, according to this interpretation. It hindered the governments capability to crack down on antiwar activists who divided the Southern people.I. Three flaws exist in this internal conflict thesis 1. Evidence has suggested that the Confederate war effort of states-rights sentiment has been exaggerated. Although some leaders did criticize the presidents leadership, they took initiative in areas of mobilization including raising regiments, equipping them with arms and uniforms, providing help of for the families of soldiers, organizing war production, supply and transportation, building costal defenses, etc. The Confederacy enacted conscription a
year before the Union and raised a larger portion of its troops by drafting than the Union. The Confederacy suppressed unionists more ruthlessly than did the North 2. The second flaw is the "fallacy of reversibility." This means that if the North had lost the war, the same thesis of internal conflict could be used to explain the Northern defeat. There was bitter division in the North over conscription, taxes, suspension of habeas corpus, martial law and the emancipation of the slaves as a war aim. The opposition in the North may have been more powerful and effective in the North than in the South 3. Americans during the Revolutionary War in 1776 were more divided than they were in the Confederacy in 1861 but the United States won its independence from Britain, but the Confederacy did notPage 26I. Another interpretation was the "internal alienation" thesis. A. Two large groups were alienated from the war effort in the Confederacy: the non-slaveholding whites and slaves. Non-slaveholders made up two thirds of the Confederacys white population and many of them opposed secession in 1861. B. They formed enclaves of unionism in Western Virginia, creating a new Union state and in east Tennessee where they carried out guerilla operations against the Confederacy. C. Other non-slaveholding whites who supported the Confederacy became alienated because of inflation, shortages of food and salt, high taxes, and a growing conviction that they were risking their lives and property in a war to defend slavery. 1.Bread riots occurred in parts of the South in 1863 and many soldiers left the army to return home and support their families. E. Slaves were essential to the Confederate work force.
1.They allowed for 3/4 of white men to join the military while the slaves stayed to contribute to the war effort. 2. Many slaves believed that a Northern victory would bring them freedom so thousands of slaves escaped to the Union and were used for labor and eventually military manpower for the Union. a. This affected the Confederate manpower because many white men returned home or did not join the army so they could stay home to control their increasingly restless slave populationII. There are also flaws with this thesis: A. The American population during the Revolutionary War most likely had greater alienated elements than the Confederacy during the Civil War. During the Revolutionary War, slaves ran away to the British and Loyalist whites weakened the American cause more than the non-slaveholding whites in the South during the Civil War B. The fallacy of reversibility is also a flaw to the internal alienation argument. 1. There were large amounts of people in the North were who alienated from the Lincoln administrations war policy. a. One third of the border state whites supported the Confederacy and many others were only lukewarm unionists. b. There also existed guerrilla warfare behind Union lines in pro- Confederate areas. c. In free states, the Democratic party denounced conscription, emancipation, certain war taxes, the suspension of habeas corpus, and other measures to mobilize men and resources. 2. The Democrats attempted to cripple the Lincoln administration. a. While the South had bread riots, the Union had draft riots, which were arguably more violent and threatening, soldiers deserted both
the Confederate and Union armies, the South had slaves who wanted Yankee victory, while the North had Democrats and border-state unionists who opposed emancipation, etc.Page 29I. Another internal interpretation is the "lack of will" thesis. A. A thesis by southerner, E. Merton Coulter, in his book The Confederate States of America states that the South lost the war because "people did not will hard enough and long enough to win." 1. The Confederacy lacked a strong sense of nationalism since the Confederacy did not exist long enough to establish a deep-rooted political and cultural tradition. a. The Confederate national flag was red, white and blue with an arrangement of stars and stripes like the American flag. b. Confederate money and postage stamps had the portraits of Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and other American heroes. c. Many Southern whites also felt guilty about fighting a war to preserve slavery. d. The Confederates were religious and believed that God was on their side.II. Flaws exist with this thesis: A. The Confederates regarded themselves as the true heirs of American nationalism with the ideals of the founding fathers in 1776 and that the Northerners were the ones who repudiated those ideals. B. The Confederates felt that they were forming a new government that would conserve the heritage of the old America
C. Confederate nationalism was perhaps stronger than that of the Union. 1. Letters and diaries from Southerners expressed fierce patriotism and more passionate dedication than the Union D. Although some people felt guilty about fighting a war to preserve slavery, there were far more quotations saying that the institution was positive and the best labor system. E. With huge casualties and losses, the Confederates began to question whether God was on their side after all.Page 35I. The next thesis is that the North had more superior leadership than the South. A. The North arguably had better generalship. 1. by 1864, the North had generals including Grant, Sherman and Sheridan who had emerged to top commands and had a firm grasp of the need for coordinated offenses, a concept of the total-war strategy, the skill to carry out the strategy and the relentless and even ruthless determination to keep pressing despite high cost in casualties. 2. The South had brilliant leaders as well such as Lee, Jackson and Forrest but the South had no generals who rose to the level of overall strategic genius demonstrated by Grant and Sherman. B. The second category of leadership was management of supplies and logistics. 1. By 1862, the North had a group of top and middle level managers who organized the northern economy and the logistical flow of supplies and transportation to the Union armies with unprecedented efficiency. a. The South could not match the northern skill in organization nor did the south manage its economy as well as the North.
2. The Union had a system of taxation, loans and treasury notes to finance the war without unreasonable inflation, b. the Confederacy relied mostly on fiat money and suffered a crippling 9000 percent inflation. C. The third category of leadership was the Executive leader. 1. Lincoln proved to be a better leader than Davis. Lincoln was more successful in communicating with the people, more skillful as a political leader in keeping factions working together for the war effort, better able to endure criticism and work with his critics to achieve a common goal, he was flexible, pragmatic, and had a sense of humor. 2.He had chosen good administration and he knew how to delegate authority to them. 3. Davis was austere, rigid, humorless, he suffered ill health and was frequently prostrated by sickness. Davis had feuds with two of the Confederate generals, Joseph Johnson and Beauregard. II. Flaws exist with this thesis as well. A. Although the Union did have many good leaders, it had very poor leaders as well such as McClellan, Pope, Burnside, and Hooker who nearly lost the war to the Confederates in 1862-1863.Part 4: Values and LimitationsOrigin: James McPherson published his book, "American Victory, American Defeat" in 1992 byOxford University Press.Purpose: McPhersons purpose in publishing "American Victory, American Defeat" was toprovide multiple theses on why the South lost the Civil War and why the North won. Heprovides both support and flaws for all of the possible interpretations. He also writes about hisown personal thesis, which is that the will of the northern and southern people was a result ofmilitary victory.
Values: McPherson is a prominent Civil War historian. He received his PhD from John HopkinsUniversity. He then became a professor at Princeton University. He won the Pulitzer Prize for hiswork, Battle Cry of Freedom. In 2003, he became the president of the American HistoricalAssociation. He won a 100,000 dollar prize for his skill in military history writing. All of theseaccomplishments of McPherson give him good qualifications as a historian. In "AmericanVictory, American Defeat" McPherson does an excellent job of providing both the evidence andflaws for many different interpretations. Noting the flaws as well as evidence prevents bias in hiswork.Limitations: McPherson was criticized by some Southern societies for being biased in acomment he made in the Sons of Confederate Veterans. McPherson also published his book 19years ago. This time span gives room for new interpretations and opinions on why the South lostthe Civil War and why the North won.Part 5: Essay OutlineIB Question:Introduction:Background 3- The Civil War in America was fought between the North and4 sentences. Southern factions of the United States from 1860-1865. It appeared from the very beginning that the North would surely win the war. They eventually did just this. The North had superior leadership in areas such as generalship and superior executive leader. The North had more resources and manpower as well. These, along with other factors, led the Union to win the war against the Confederacy and restore the Union.Thesis The North was able to win the Civil War with its superiorSentence generalship, ability to manage supplies and logistics, and superior executive leader, Abraham Lincoln.Body Paragraph OneTopic Sentence The North had superior generalship.Introduce Grant, Sheridan and Sherman were a group of top commanders that
Argument #1 had a firm grasp of the need for coordinated offenses in all theatres.Specific Grant won the first major battle for the Union at Shiloh, Tennesseesupporting in 1862.evidenceExplanation of Many of the battles prior to this had been lost by McClellan, butevidence – Grant was able to bring the Union to its first victory. This lifted theWHY does the spirits of the Union and demonstrated the military power of theevidence Union through Grant.providedexplicitly helpprove theargument(connect to thetopic sentence)Introduce These three military geniuses furthermore had the skill to carry outArgument #2 strategy.Specific Grant chases Lee around Virginia in 1865. He captures Richmond,supporting the capital of the Confederacy. Grant forces Lee to surrender atevidence Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia in 1865.Explanation of With Grants military genius and skills, he is able to forceevidence – Confederate general, Lee to surrender, bringing the Civil War to anWHY does the end.evidenceprovidedexplicitly helpprove theargument(connect to thetopic sentence)Introduce Grant, Sherman and Sheridan had ruthless determination to keepArgument #3 pressing forward despite a high cost in casualties until the South surrendered unconditionally.Specific Sherman led Union troops to Atlanta in 1864. They burned the citysupporting and then headed to Savannah burning everything in sight.evidence "Shermans March."
Explanation of Sherman used this strategy of "total war" to inflict a psychologicalevidence – effect on the Confederates. This shocked the Confederates as heWHY does the attacked the civilian population as well. His tactics, although brutal,evidence proved to the Confederates, as well as the Union that he would go toprovided extreme measures to win the war.explicitly helpprove theargument(connect to thetopic sentence)Conclusion With the superior leadership of Grant, Sherman and Sheridan, the Union was eventually able to bring Lee to surrender, ending the war in 1865.Body Paragraph TwoTopic Sentence The North also had superior management of supplies and logistics.Introduce By 1862, the Union had a group of top and middle class managers.Argument #1Specific These managers organized the northern economy and the logisticalsupporting flow of supplies and transported the Union armies withevidence unprecedented efficiency.Explanation of With an organized flow of supplies, soldiers of the Union armiesevidence – could quickly and efficiently receive much needed supplies,WHY does the enabling them to be prepared to fight.evidenceprovidedexplicitly helpprove theargument(connect to thetopic sentence)
Introduce The Union better organized its economy.Argument #2Specific The Union had a balanced system of taxation, loans and treasurysupporting notes to finance the war without unreasonable inflation.evidenceExplanation of This balanced system prevented the Union from acquiring nearly asevidence – much debt and inflation as the Confederacy, which had a 9000WHY does the percent inflation.evidenceprovidedexplicitly helpprove theargument(connect to thetopic sentence)Conclusion With an organized group of officials managing the flow of supplies and managing the Union economy, the North was better prepared than the South.Body Paragraph ThreeTopic Sentence The leadership of Lincoln was superior and helped to bring the Union to win the war.Introduce Lincoln was more successful in communication.Argument #1Specific He more effectively expressed his war aims, and kept workingsupporting factors together to support the war cause.evidenceExplanation of Because Lincoln could communicate with the people moreevidence – effectively, he could keep the factions together and prevent severe
WHY does the divisions within the union.evidenceprovidedexplicitly helpprove theargument(connect to thetopic sentence)Introduce Lincoln had a strong physical constitution.Argument #2Specific Lincoln was healthy and was present at all necessary engagements.supporting Davis on the other hand, was always sick and was not alwaysevidence present when needed.Explanation of Good health is important because as Lincoln is the leader of theevidence – Union, he should be present for all major decisions and be able toWHY does the lead the people to win their support.evidenceprovidedexplicitly helpprove theargument(connect to thetopic sentence)Introduce Lincoln chose good administrative subordinates.Argument #3Specific Lincoln chose good administrative subordinates that he couldsupporting delegate authority over and who did not frequently quarrel withevidence him. Davis went through five secretaries in four years and spent too much time on administrative details that should have been left to subordinates.Explanation of Lincoln had god administrators that allowed his job to be slightlyevidence – easier because he did not have to put energy into arguing with themWHY does the and looking for new administrators unlike Davis.evidenceprovidedexplicitly help
prove theargument(connect to thetopic sentence)Conclusion The superior leadership of Lincoln over Davis was significant in winning the Union the Civil War.Conclusion ParagraphRephrase With the superior generalship, managers of supplies and logisticsThesis and President, the Union was able to defeat the Confederacy and ultimately win the Civil War.Other The Union also had other advantages such as greater manpower andpossibilities supplies.Thoughts to Without the superior leadership in the North, the Union would havePonder / wider likely lost the war, the United states today could have been twoconnections separate countries.