Magazine article Geographical

The United States on the Brink of Civil War, 1861

Magazine article Geographical

The United States on the Brink of Civil War, 1861

Article excerpt

Logically, the American Civil War should never have dragged on for as long as it did, lasting four years from April 1861 to May 1865, and costing roughly one million American lives in the process. As indicated by the above North American map, given away at the commencement of the war to subscribers of The Illustrated London News, the 23 Union states which formed the 'North'--shown in a darker red--had significantly more resources to draw upon than the 11 breakaway Confederate states in the South--shown in lighter red.

Specifically, the North had a population of 21 million versus nine million in the South (four million of whom were slaves). It also had 100,000 manufacturing plants versus the South's 18,000, and a 30-to-one advantage in arms production.

All this, combined with the significantly superior industrialisation and infrastructure of the North, should have made victory a formality. And yet, Southern forces fought successfully against the odds, in pursuit of the independent Confederate States of America to which they aspired. …

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