Imagine if the Confederacy had won the Civil War and slavery still existed in the United States. Today, if the Confederacy had won the Civil War, there would still be unequal rights, wars would be breaking out, and the income for pay would be lower than what people deserved. Without several advantages possessed by the North, usually called the Union, this could have been a reality. The Union’s advantages consisted of being a larger military force, and their industrial advantage and ability to produce supplies for their soldier.
The Civil War’s lasting effects include abolishing the institution of slavery in America and firmly redefining the United States as a whole, indivisible nation rather than a loosely bound collection of independent states. With the Northern States being larger in population number came their larger military status. The Union had about two million soldiers fight in the war, the Confederacy had about 750,000. A member of the Union army had much smaller chances of being killed or injured in wartime as opposed to the greater odds for Confederate soldiers, according to an article on History Net “Yankee stood a 1 in 8 chance of dying due to illness and a 1 in 18 chance of dying in battle. A Rebel faced a 1 in 5 chance of succumbing to disease and a 1 in 8 chance of dying in combat.” Here one can see the statistical difference between the likelihood of death among Northern Soldiers compared to their Confederate counterparts. The less-likely it is for a soldier to die, the more-likely his side is to succeed in combat.
The union had more of an advantage in numbers. According to http://www.historynet.com/civil-war, it states that, Soldiers Engaged in the Union was over 2,100,000. The Confederate was over 1,000,000. This just proves that the Union had the advantage from the very beginning. The Union also had the upper hand in production of military supplies, due to it’s industrial culture and economy. According to a table on regarding Union and Confederate resources from www.learnnc.org the Northern states there were 110,000 factories throughout the land, and only 18,000 in the Confederate states. This means that the Union could ultimately produce 6.1 times more supplies than the south, an obvious advantage. Many Weapons, Uniforms, and combat tools could be produced at a fast rate in thousands of factories, almost infinitely fueling the Northern Military forces. Along with the Combat Supply industry, steel could be made into railroad tracks at rapid succession, producing a more transportable military, relying on trains, the quickest means of transportation at the time, to move their soldiers and supplies wherever they needed. This has the ultimate advantage considering these goods are the source of the war. So having these goods transported faster and more reliable made it easier to produce what they needed. The same table on www.learnnc.org says that the Union owned 22,000 miles of railroad over the Confederate owned 9,000 miles of railroad. This massive difference in miles covered by railroad was most likely one of the biggest contributing factors to the downfall of the South. According to an article called Civil War Facts, its states that, “The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. When Abraham Lincoln won election in 1860 as the first Republican president on a platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep South seceded and formed a new nation, the
Confederate States of America. The incoming Lincoln administration and most of the Northern people refused to recognize the legitimacy of secession. They feared that it would discredit democracy and create a fatal precedent that would eventually fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries.” This fact shows that the reason the Civil War started was because they believed in different things that they couldn’t compromise on. All these factors had led the Union to a win that would change the future.
Throughout the war the Union thrived off of these advantages of a bigger military, and more supplies to help their soldiers. When it came down to war time, these advantages obviously shined through and helped the Union prosper. Without the massive difference in statistics between the north and south, the outcome of the war may have been drastically different.
Article by Calista Hudson and Drew Delbrouck
“2.1 North and South in 1861.” North and South in 1861 – North Carolina Digital History, www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-civilwar/5463.
“Civil War Soldiers.” HistoryNet, www.historynet.com/civil-war-soldiers.