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Evaluating the war at the end of 1863

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Week 4 Discussion: Evaluating the war at the end of 1863:

When you wrote your first essay, I wanted you to think about whether the North or the South should have been more confident about emerging victorious from the Civil War. In many ways we can ask that same question of the conflict at the end of 1863. Despite key victories by the Union in 1863, the Confederacy remained far from beaten and the meaning of the war and its support on the homefront remained in flux. On the other hand, although the Confederacy had managed to remain a dangerous force in the field, key structural problems within its own system also hampered its ability to wage war and maintain a national government. 

Again, it is easier to see outcomes in history from the comfort zone of hindsight, but I want us collectively to dissect the situation at the end of 1863 and with each of you taking an element that has not been discussed or perhaps discussed fully, why one side or the other could look at the situation and believe that their side might prevail. Remember again, the terms of victory: The South just wants a peace that recognizes its independence. The North must subdue the South. We know from hindsight that the war will take another 16 months before it will be over, and that is a long time to just assume that it will be “over” as a matter of course. So, just like you did in essay 1, we will together in discussion board format the many factors that gave one side or the other reason to believe (not necessarily guarantee, but reason to hope) that it would prevail. Because at the end of the day, if a side thought overwhelmingly that their position was hopeless, their effort would have crumbled. 

Discussion posts that receive full credit should do the following:

  • Identify an issue that they think either pointed toward Union or Confederate advantage 
  • Support that issue with evidence from our readings, films, or lecture. 
  • As much as possible, list something that is unique from the previous posts of your classmates.
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