Lecture 18: Why the Union Won, Confederacy Lost 


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Overview:

This lecture probes the reasons for confederate defeat and union victory. Professor Blight begins with an elucidation of the loss-of-will thesis, which suggests that it was a lack of conviction on the home front that assured confederate defeat, before offering another of other popular explanations for northern victory: industrial capacity, political leadership, military leadership, international diplomacy, a pre-existing political culture, and emancipation. Blight warns, however, that we cannot forget the battlefield, and, to this end, concludes his lecture with a discussion of the decisive Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in July of 1863.

Reading assignment:

Drew G. Faust, Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War

Gary Gallagher, The Confederate War: How Popular Will, Nationalism, and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat