What would have happened if the South won the US War Between the States?

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Answered by: martin, An Expert in the Wars and Conflicts Category
If the South had won the War Between the States, otherwise known as the Civil War, a myriad of incomprehensible changes to world history would have been made. Abraham Lincoln had once stated that the conflict would not only determine the future of the United States but the very future of mankind.

To remove a United States of America from the history books would involve a total rethinking of the various probabilities that are the stuff of arm chair historians and fiction.

This is really one of the ultimate 'what if' scenarios. Many Civil War buffs have spent hours and longer debating the possible consequences of what is now an almost inconceivable alteration to world history. Some believe that slavery would have eventually died a natural death due to world opinion.

Slavery was already abolished in the North and what type of immigration policies would be in place as well as the details of the handling of numerous other hot button issues then become quite difficult to ascertain.

Modern America as we know it today would have evolved completely different and our neatly conceived national and world pictures go right out the window.

World history as is would have to be thrown out with the trash and a whole new deck shuffled. With an independent South and the remaining United States cut in half, a whole new dynamic would ensue.

Many times during the War Between the States the fighting spirit of the North was severely tested. Had the war gone poorly during Lincoln's campaign, McClellan might well have sued for peace as his platform suggested. If Lee hadn't been so hasty by attacking at Gettysburg, he may have been able to hold out in the South long enough to put a damper on Lincoln's reelection efforts. With McClellan as president, the continuation of the conflict might have been less certain. Many times during the war, it seems as if it was only Lincoln's prescient vision for a United America and his wartime presidential power to block any conciliation until his terms were met were the only things standing in the way of an armistice.

The South might well have become a thriving agricultural nation. Eventually the wounds of the war might heal enough for trade to begin between the North and South. State's rights being honored more vigorously, the South might even have experienced some secessions of its own.

Would the two powers have become friends like the US is with Canada and Mexico today? Or would an ongoing rivalry like that in Europe incite further hostilities between the two nations? The different new probabilities and scenarios of this development are a total game changer. This is what makes history so fascinating, those 'what might have beens'. We will never know what the complexities of the many changes to the fabric of world culture would have occurred and it is very likely that we are better off for not knowing.

It is fun to speculate though the differences to our existence of having separate Northern and Southern Republics instead of one nation might have made for a sullen today. An America thus weakened might not have survived and could have driven the earth into another dark age.

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