Collapse of the Confederacy from 1864-65

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HIST 4055 (Final Essay/Question 2) 25 June 2010 Collapse of the Confederacy from 1864-65 The collapse of the Confederacy in 1865 was due to a variety of reasons. These issues by and large involved the military along with a dire political and economic situation. The transfer of General Ulysses S. Grant, from the West, with his “aggressive” new war strategy, in addition to, Union General William T. Sherman’s "March to the Sea," and eventual capture of Atlanta, Georgia in the East, allowed the Northern military to strengthen the grip of their Anaconda Plan. The Confederate Gen. John B. Hood, pursuing his wasteful Tennessee campaign in the West and the eventual surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee, would mark the end of the Confederate military. The reelection of Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and the prior Emancipation Proclamation further undermined the institution of slavery, while strengthening Northern support of the war. With incredible inflation, and a losing war effort in the South, 1865, would mark the official end to the short life of the Confederacy, and a new reshaping of the Union. (N) Ulysses S. Grant’s success on the Western front had made him somewhat of a “hero" in particular to the Vicksburg campaign. Grant came from humble backgrounds and was unlike the previous five Union Generals before him. His “aggressive” new strategy would be later called, "a war of exhaustion." His plan was to attack the Confederacy on five fronts, with most importantly, the Army of the Potomac relentlessly striking Lee, driving his army southward, towards Richmond. The bloodiest battles of the war pursued in the East beginning with the dreadful Battle of the Wilderness. The Wilderness battle alone would take around “17 percent of each ar... ... middle of paper ... ... survive, it had to rely on cotton and other staple crops. The self inflicted “cotton boycott,” attempting to draw England into the war would prove to be a failure, since they found cotton elsewhere from Egypt, India, and other sources. Also, the selling of 50 million in Government Bonds for future sales of cotton, later devalued the currency as the Confederacy would continually lose the war. (T 141) (N) It could be said that from the beginning the Confederacy would eventually fail. By 1864-65, the final losing battles that defeated the Southern military on top of the widespread economic conditions left the South with very few options. The “lost cause” was apparent in 1865, as the South surrendered and the Confederacy dissolved. The curtain lowered on the Antebellum South, and the institution of slavery, forever shaping the former Southern way of life.

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