Civil War Outcomes: North, South, and West

Described as one of the most violent periods in American History, the American civil war played a critical role in shaping the political landscape of the United States and has continued to influence major political decisions. Historical records estimate the number of men and women who sacrificed their lives in the war at 60, 000. This has been estimated to be a figure more than all the historical war death toll figures combined. Whereas the causes of the war have been demonstrated to range from a variety of factors that include slavery and the widening gap between the North and the South, both sides portrayed both strengths and weaknesses in the course of the preparation for the war. This research paper seeks to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Union and the Confederacy in preparation for the civil war and analyze the contributions of the North, South, and West in the outcome of the war.

At the beginning of the war, both the Union and the Confederacy enjoyed their unique advantages and it was not clear who would emerge as the winner by the end of the war. Most pointers however supported the Union in winning the war because of several advantages it had over the Confederacy. As the war progressed, it was clear that the Union would emerge as the winner in the historical battle. One advantage the Union had over the Confederacy was in terms of population. According to Donovan and Griess (2002), “the Union population of 22 million was greater than the Confederate population of 9 million by more than two to one; that allowed them to field much larger armies and hold many more troops in reserve.” The ability to hold on longer in the course of the war was therefore to the advantage of the Union giving them the critical strength of population advantage. The second advantage of the Union in the preparation for the war was based on the power of industrialization. The Union was endowed with factories that we’re able to supply the army with enough supplies capable of sustaining the war. Production of arms and military hardware was concentrated in the North. This fact is illustrated by Donovan and Griess (2002), in stating that the “North could produce the things it needed to prosecute the war itself while the South had to rely upon trade with foreign countries to procure those necessities.”

The industrial capacity to produce enough ships by the Union gave them the naval power and advantage over the Confederacy. This meant that the “North was able to successfully conduct a blockade of the Southern ports and deprive the South much needed supplies” (Rooney, 2008). The success of the Union over the Confederacy in the war was primarily because the economy of the Confederacy had been severely destroyed; not because it had been destroyed militarily. In addition to the above, the Union had a more experienced government capable of delivering quality leadership in times of crisis. The developed railroads enabled them to transport supplies, equipment, and men as opposed to the Confederacy.

Whereas the Union had several advantages, it, however, had disadvantages that threatened its capacity to win the war. First, the Union was not in complete agreement with the Confederacy over the abolition of the slave trade. It was therefore seen as a dominant force trying to dilute the strengths of the Confederacy. Second, the Union was deprived of skilled and capable military leadership. Last, the Union was fighting a battle in unknown lands and unfamiliar territories that hampered the advancement of its soldiers.

Even though the Confederacy lost the war to the Union, they had several advantages that enabled them to hold longer and resist the dominant Union. These include the large volume of trade with Europe and the best military officers. This fact is echoed by Rooney (2008) in stating that “perhaps the most important was the fact that they had better military leaders in that most of the best military officers in the United States military prior to the outbreak of the Civil War were from the South.” When the South declared independence from the Union, brilliant military leaders such as General Stonewall Jackson and General Robert E. Lee were from the South. These leaders resigned from their positions in the army and took up top leadership roles with the Confederacy.

The Union was also endowed with the home advantage. The battle was being fought in the Confederacy’s home ground. This is expounded by Rooney (2008) in stating that.

Often, they were much more familiar with the terrain than were the Northerners and they were always more desperate to win. When you believe that you are defending your wife and children from invaders, you care more about your cause than those who are simply being paid a wage to go fight for a cause that does not influence their lives as directly. This made a significant difference on the battlefield.

Last, the Confederacy had disadvantages that overweighed its advantages. These included a small navy in comparison to the Union. In addition to the above, the Confederacy had a long coastline that was hard to defend and exposed to the advancing Union troops. Last, it had a weak industry and factory production that was incapable of supplying needed military materials for its army. In brief, “the North had more resources that allowed them to continue the war longer than the South could, but only after a long, bloody fight” (Hickman, 2008).

The contribution of the North, South, and West in the outcome of the Civil war took different perspectives. The North contributed to the outcome of the war by victory against the South and successfully succeeding to unite the Confederacy back to the Union. This was achieved through the application of its immense resources in terms of personnel and military hardware. The South on the other hand contributed to the end of the war by taking part in the abolition of the slave trade after top military leadership surrendered into the hands of the Union. The West on the other hand played a critical role in bridging the gap between the North and the South. They, therefore, ensured that the victory went to the North by supporting it. In conclusion, it can be discerned from the above discussions that the civil war played a critical role in shaping the politics of the United States. It remains one of the most significant events in the history of the United States that has been recorded in the literature for decades.


Donovan, T.H. and Griess, T.E. (2002). The American Civil War. Washington: Square One Publishers, Inc.

Hickman, K. (2008). American Civil War: Causes. Web.

Rooney, S. (2008). Strengths & Weaknesses of the North and South During the Civil War. Web.

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