Did the Confederacy have a chance to win the Civil War?

Did the Confederacy have a chance to win the American Civil War?

  • The Confederacy did have a chance to win the American Civil War.

    Votes: 22 44.0%
  • The Confederacy never had a chance to win the American Civil War.

    Votes: 18 36.0%
  • It is unclear to me whether or not the Confederacy could have won the American Civil War.

    Votes: 10 20.0%

  • Total voters
    50
Sep 2013
809
Chattanooga, TN
#81
It would be a difficult situation for them to become a smaller and smaller minority in Congress. Slavery was becoming concentrated in the deep south. There were a series of events, bloody Kansas, the caning incident, John Brown's "raid", and then Lincoln's election. Slavery wasn't really threatened any time soon, but the interests of the deep southern states and their elite seemed better served in an independent country.
The totality of the evidence I have seen that a long-term threat to slavery was important to antebellum white southerners.


The southern states could have gotten an agreement and a Constitutional Amendment protecting slavery permanently. The Corwin Amendment said there could be no Constitutional Amendment abolishing slavery. This assumed that a leglislation could not abolish slavery and also that the slave states were likely to be badly outnumbered in the future so that it would be possible for 3/4 of the states to ratify an anti-slavery amendment.
If the South did not secede, the free states would have eventually greatly outnumbered the slaves states. The Supreme Court would likely have ruled that the Corwin Amendment was unconstitutional and/or the free states would have passed an Amendment abolishing slavery that the leaders of the free states would say nullified the Corwin Amendment.
 
Sep 2013
809
Chattanooga, TN
#82
This is speculative. Why free slaves and lose your assets. Slaves could also be used as factory workers etc.
Why free slaves and lose your assets? Part of the answers are the same reasons that the North abolished slavery.

1# reduced need for slavery due to both industrialization in general and the mechanization of agriculture in particular

2# humanitarian reasons

Furthermore, it's very possible that Great Britain, France, and the USA and other countries would have boycotted the Confederacy for having slavery in the 20th century. I've read people write that the South found itself increasingly isolated on the international scene for still having (legal) slavery in the 19th century. I've heard and read that antebellum white southerners in the mid-19th century didn't like being condemned for having slavery. The situation would have been far worse in the 20th century than in the mid-19th century.

If you don't think that the enormous increase in overall affluence due to industrialization and other technology does not tend to make slavery less attractive, please tell me what First World Countries in the world today have legal slavery?

Why is it only areas with rather primitive technology compared to technology in the 20th century have slavery? The Spanish in the 15th, 16th, and 17th century enslaved Native Americans. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the British enslaved black people. Americans enslaved black people in the late 18th century and early half of the 19th century. Brazil had slavery until the late 19th century. The French enslaved black people in the 18th century in the Caribbean. Primitive tribes in third world countries have practiced slavery since antiquity and up to this day. I defy you to name a First World country with legal slavery in the 20th century. A first world country, not some Second/Third World Country in the Middle East.
 

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,651
#84
Yeah but there would have been tractors available to plow for planting cotton in the first half of the 20th century, reducing the need for slave labor.

Industrialization in the South was inevitable during the first half of the 20th century due to the advent of technology such as electricity and electric motors and gasoline engines. If the Confederacy won the Civil War, the Confederacy still would have abolished slavery in the first half of the 20th century, even though there were no machines for picking cotton at the time.

Fiver, do you agree with me on this?
I agree that an independent Confederacy would industrialize, but consider it very unlikely that they would end slavery in the first half of the 20th century. Purchasing a plow would not reduce the amount of labor needed to pick the cotton crop, so Confederate planters would not need less slaves. There is no commercially viable alternative until the 1950s. Slavery was also legally enshrined in Confederate Constitution and even if it were no longer proftiable, it was the cornerstone of southern society.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,572
Australia
#85
I think slavery in an independent Confederacy would have collapsed by about 1900. Advances in industrialisation would see less slaves required for agriculture and more for factory work. Maintaining and operating machinery would see slaves getting some education by default, becoming the skilled artisans and mechanics a modern society needs. Once enough slaves had enough education and became more difficult to replace in the economy, coupled with external pressure from the USA, UK and the rest of Europe the system would be unsustainable.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,474
Dispargum
#86
^ I agree as more and more countries moved farther away from their own slavery pasts, the Confederacy would have seemed increasingly backward. A certain amount of international censure or even ostracism, possibly even trade embargoes, may have been applied to pressure the Confederacy to join the more advanced nations.
 
Likes: grey fox

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,768
#87
If the Confederacy kept slavery, Brazil and the Spanish Empire might also have. In the early 20th century maybe most blacks were share croppers and a high proportion of share croppers were white. So if they were using share croppers, slaves would have worked even better for the land owners.

By the 1950s, there was a reduced need for farm workers, so there might be some reason to abolish slavery. Although, there are many other jobs slaves could be used for.

It is hard to know what would have happened, but it is possible there could still be slavery if the Confederacy had won.
 
Likes: Fiver
Sep 2013
809
Chattanooga, TN
#88
If the Confederacy kept slavery, Brazil and the Spanish Empire might also have.
The Spanish Empire was moving against slavery before the American Civil War. What is your evidence that the Confederacy's having slavery would have influenced Brazil to keep the institution of legal slavery?

In the early 20th century maybe most blacks were share croppers and a high proportion of share croppers were white. So if they were using share croppers, slaves would have worked even better for the land owners.

By the 1950s, there was a reduced need for farm workers, so there might be some reason to abolish slavery. Although, there are many other jobs slaves could be used for.
Slavery did not work as well in industrial and other non-agricultural jobs as slavery worked for agricultural jobs. This is part of the reason that the northern states choose to abolish legal slavery in the late 18th century while the South kept slavery.


It is hard to know what would have happened, but it is possible there could still be slavery if the Confederacy had won.
Fat chance. If the Confederacy had won, the United States would have still industrialized and remained a First World Country. It is highly doubtful that the white people of the southern United States would have kept the institution of legal slavery while the whole developed world condemned them for it. The United States and European countries might have boycotted Confederate cotton. The Confederacy would have had powerful economic incentives to industrialize instead of just keeping an agricultural economy based on growing of cotton, tobacco, sugar, and rice. These modern industrial jobs and other high skilled job just don't work well with legal slavery.

Again, I defy you to name a First World country (not some second world country in the Middle East like Saudi Arabi) in the 20th century with legal slavery. I especially doubt you can name a First World country with legal slavery in the late 20th century. You ignored me the first time I said this. Why do you not tell me a First World country that had legal slavery in the 20th century? You cannot.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2013
809
Chattanooga, TN
#89
I agree that an independent Confederacy would industrialize, but consider it very unlikely that they would end slavery in the first half of the 20th century. Purchasing a plow would not reduce the amount of labor needed to pick the cotton crop, so Confederate planters would not need less slaves. There is no commercially viable alternative until the 1950s. Slavery was also legally enshrined in Confederate Constitution and even if it were no longer proftiable, it was the cornerstone of southern society.
If the Confederacy had won the Civil War, what do you think that the chances are that the Confederacy would still have the institution of legal slavery in 2019?
 
Sep 2013
809
Chattanooga, TN
#90
^ I agree as more and more countries moved farther away from their own slavery pasts, the Confederacy would have seemed increasingly backward. A certain amount of international censure or even ostracism, possibly even trade embargoes, may have been applied to pressure the Confederacy to join the more advanced nations.
This international censure/ostracism/trade embargoes/boycotts, combined with the fact that slavery was far less profitable in non-agricultural jobs and with humanitarian concerns among white Confederate citizens, likely would have led to the abolition of slavery.
 

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