Confederate States of America: An Inviable Nation?

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I am beginning to wonder whether the CSA, if it had somehow seceded from the United States, could survive under its own internal pressures and problems, combined with a large unfriendly neighbor to the North.

I see several problems with the Confederate States which would possibly impair their continued existence:

1. Slavery. The Confederate States is ideologically married to the concept of slavery, and goes so far as to embed it in its own constitution. However, slavery means a huge social price against poor farmers without slaves and is likely to hinder the CSA's industrial development. Slavery is going to antagonize global relations towards the CSA and its also going to become a menace to organized labor as well.

2. Finances. Where is the CSA going to acquire revenues? The main crop of the CSA is cotton--but cotton prices are only heading downwards from the 1860s on. Throw in that the CSA will have to protect itself with a large standing army to hold off a US army of considerable size, and this means a military industrial complex race that the CSA can not hope to win.

3. Internal Disputes. Without even considering what Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri would cause the CSA in internal disputes, half of Tennessee and several counties had already attempted to secede from the CSA. On what grounds can the CSA stop this counter-secession? And there's more--what stops states in the CSA from seceding again if they disagree with 'federal' policy?

4. Demographics. The CSA didn't have anywhere near the immigration that the USA did OTL, and while some level of 'nativist' movement might restrict that, there are also going to be many "poor whites" moving north to seek a better life without slaveholders mucking up the labor market. How can the CSA cope with a slave population increasing in proportion to the free white population? And how can it cope as the USA increases in numbers and economic strengths against it?

I guess I wonder whether there would even be a need for a second civil war, or whether the CSA would simply start to collapse shortly after its own creation. How could the CSA address these questions and remain an independent state?
 

Hnau

Banned
First of all, the CSA states will solve problems differently most of the time. There will be no one unified response to a problem. This could lead to eventual fracturing.

1. Slavery will definitely hinder industrial development. Poor, common farmers without slaves will slowly radicalize against the institution, but the states will likely create new taxes against them or make labor unions illegal. Some might even try to distribute the growing slave population to those without them in order to avoid their resentment. The CSA will not be receiving any favors from other nations (other than Brazil), any time shortly after their victory, unless they abandon slavery. Some countries might turn to the CSA's competitors for cotton and other products of the South.

As late as 1940 in OTL the only significant manufacturing industries were textile mills in the Carolinas, and some steel in Alabama. ITTL it will probably be worse. Railroads, which did much to bring the rural population out of its isolation and fix the economy, was financed in OTL by Northern speculators and state subsidies (most which were stolen by corrupt governments). Most of the railroads were aimed towards drawing the North and South together. Without Northern investment or the necessity to unite the two economies, railroad-building will be a much slower affair. Without this trade network, the CSA will remain more rural and industrialize less.

2. The economy is tied to cotton and slavery. Cotton prices will only decline, and agitation against slavery (by non-slaveowners, slaves, foreigners) will only increase. I wonder if the CSA could begin Keynesian economics to build up its war materiel, and if this could jumpstart industrialization. Poor whites could be very important in new factories for military equipment. This could also finance the creation of railroads and foreign investment (CSA could become a major arms dealer)

3. There'll be an imperative for compromise between the states. They won't disagree with the federal government, only with each other. If a state secedes, its up to the people in a state to fight against a secession, not the CSA. This makes it very easy for the country to fracture.

4. The planter class will rule most states, and the poor whites along with blacks will continue to leave for the North. The CSA won't be able to handle it when the USA decides to take it down a couple of decades down the line.

How could the CSA address these questions and remain an independent state?
Though unlikely: Keynesian economics, very independent powerful military-industrial complex, differentiation in crops, end of planter domination of economic management (taxation, subsidies).

I was also thinking: as the slave population will increase faster than the poor whites, they'll become cheaper. Poor whites will be able to become slave-owners themselves if they can get the land... and as plantation-owners will have divvied up remaining land probably by then, its likely they'll go into light industry has less land-use.

Slave rebellions and poor white farmer rebellions will become exceedingly violent...
 

67th Tigers

Banned
1. Slavery. The Confederate States is ideologically married to the concept of slavery, and goes so far as to embed it in its own constitution. However, slavery means a huge social price against poor farmers without slaves and is likely to hinder the CSA's industrial development. Slavery is going to antagonize global relations towards the CSA and its also going to become a menace to organized labor as well.
Slavery didn't make the pre-1861 USA a pariah state, and it didn't hinder industrialisation, the CSA having a fairly reasonable industrial base (which was destroyed by Sherman). It would have had more but much of the capital investment went to New England pre-1861.

2. Finances. Where is the CSA going to acquire revenues? The main crop of the CSA is cotton--but cotton prices are only heading downwards from the 1860s on. Throw in that the CSA will have to protect itself with a large standing army to hold off a US army of considerable size, and this means a military industrial complex race that the CSA can not hope to win.
American cotton will provide very large revenues well into the 20th century, as will other produce. This is doubly so if independent, since mills will be built in the Carolinas and Georgia rather than New England ITTL.

Also, why would both the US and CS burden themselves with large regular armies when their volunteer militia had served them so "well" in the last war?

3. Internal Disputes. Without even considering what Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri would cause the CSA in internal disputes, half of Tennessee and several counties had already attempted to secede from the CSA. On what grounds can the CSA stop this counter-secession? And there's more--what stops states in the CSA from seceding again if they disagree with 'federal' policy?
As a county is not a body empowered to make such decisions, only states. Whether states would secede is open to debate, but they'd lose large amounts of revenue.

4. Demographics. The CSA didn't have anywhere near the immigration that the USA did OTL, and while some level of 'nativist' movement might restrict that, there are also going to be many "poor whites" moving north to seek a better life without slaveholders mucking up the labor market. How can the CSA cope with a slave population increasing in proportion to the free white population? And how can it cope as the USA increases in numbers and economic strengths against it?
There's always movement out west (to California, which may be part of a pro-confederate Pacific Republic depending on the butterflies), or indeed north in Iowa etc. (which were OTL full of southerners). However, OTL the devastated and dirt poor south post-ACW was not attractive to immigrants, but the vital, booming south pre-ACW was very attractive.
 
The Confederacy would be inviable for more than just those reasons:

1) Not only does slavery retard the South industrially, but it creates a stagnant economy and culture. An independent CSA would come rather quickly to resemble a North American Brazil or an Anglo Mexico as opposed to a more libertarian US. For one thing, even more so than in the North in that era, there were large numbers of illiterate Southerners. We had a large deal as well with holier-than-thous who wanted to turn the CSA into the BSA. The independent Confederacy would also have had tension between the slaveholders and the people like my maternal ancestors, the poor farmers and sharecroppers. The latter were not always fond of the former, and there's nothing to stop the former from expanding slavery with a little slight of hand and the One Drop Rule.

2) Much as I wish it were otherwise, if my ancestors had been able to beat the Yanks, we'dve had nothing to really get revenue from thanks to the asshats who designed the Consitution while making it just as difficult to change as the Yank one. My region of the US had no revenue, and while we had industry, depending on the victory scenario coupled with the Constitution of the CSA, we'd in all likelihood have remained not just an Anglo Mexico, but an Anglo Russia. What I mean by an Anglo Russia is not so much the principle of one autocrat, but a great deal of boyar feudalism. We Southerners would have actually been behind the Russian Tsars on that, and we restricted where revenue could come from in our Constitution, which adds to the miseries likely faced if my ancestors could have forged their own nation.

3) I don't see the fracticious Southerners of that era getting along that well. The moderates in Richmond would run into trouble with fireeaters and likely guerilla insurgencies of some sort from the Unionist minority (unless the CSA decides a little...expulsion is in order.) The Southerners in regions like today's West Virginia and parts of Tenn. had little in common with the slaveholding aristocrats in the Deep South, and even the Deep South itself was a far from homogenous or united entity on the issues of slavery.

4) The South and demographics would state that some ethnic cleansing might occur. We'dve not created a good way to live, I think. Remember, the Southern states have already engaged in ethnic cleansing at least once prior to the rise of the CSA, that of the Indians here. With large minorities who don't want to live here, we might well have Patriot Victory Mk. 2 of expelling and exiling people loyal to the former regime. With that, it remains to me to consider how the South would have coped with a growing population of increasingly restless slaves. If Southern whites are forced to leave in large numbers, remember that being 75% slave didn't work out that well for Sparta or Rome.

5) The last issue troubling the CSA would have been the issue of free black populations such as in New Orleans. My guess is they, too, join Patriot Victory Mk. 2 or are re-enslaved. Neither is exactly a moral way to deal with those things by today's standards, but then the 19th Century wasn't moral by today's standards.
 
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As late as 1940 in OTL the only significant manufacturing industries were textile mills in the Carolinas, and some steel in Alabama. ITTL it will probably be worse. Railroads, which did much to bring the rural population out of its isolation and fix the economy, was financed in OTL by Northern speculators and state subsidies (most which were stolen by corrupt governments). Most of the railroads were aimed towards drawing the North and South together. Without Northern investment or the necessity to unite the two economies, railroad-building will be a much slower affair. Without this trade network, the CSA will remain more rural and industrialize less.
Another point to consider is that southern railroads had much more variation in their gauge's than did the rr's in the north IIRC. This greatly hinders interstate and to some degree intrastate commerce. I could be wrong but I think the standardization of track gauge actually started when the US Military Railroads began operating in "occupied" regions of the south.
 
Another point to consider is that southern railroads had much more variation in their gauge's than did the rr's in the north IIRC. This greatly hinders interstate and to some degree intrastate commerce. I could be wrong but I think the standardization of track gauge actually started when the US Military Railroads began operating in "occupied" regions of the south.
It would seem that the North used a 4'8 1/2" gauge while the South a 5' gauge the Northern gauge being about half the total of US RRs, with the Southern Gauge being the next most used and used for most of the Southern RR systems.
It also appears that the North did not convert the Southern system to the Northern Gauge during the ACW.

This from http://www.railroad.net/articles/columns/history/gauges/index.php
 

67th Tigers

Banned
It would seem that the North used a 4'8 1/2" gauge while the South a 5' gauge the Northern gauge being about half the total of US RRs, with the Southern Gauge being the next most used and used for most of the Southern RR systems.
It also appears that the North did not convert the Southern system to the Northern Gauge during the ACW.

This from http://www.railroad.net/articles/columns/history/gauges/index.php
It's not that cut and dried. The South had several gauges mainly because they pioneered the railroad in the US, and indeed, much of the track in the Eastern Theatre is Standard Gauge....
 
@67th Tigers:

Perhaps I've overstressed my points. I would think slavery would harm the CSA's external relations ( I recall that slavery was a sticking point against the UK intervening for the CSA), and this harm would only increase over time. Brazil might keep slavery slightly longer, but by 1900 labor unions will have joined the chorus of voices against slavery. I don't claim that this means the world is going to attempt to launch an economic siege against the CSA (although that might happen if slavery continues into the 1950s or something insane) or that other nations will launch a war against the CSA to free the slaves for human rights reasons.

But I think that the word "disfavor" would sum things up nicely. Even if the CSA is not directly punished for slavery, other nations aren't going to like this. And they are going to like it even less if the CSA starts acting on the "one drop" rules other people posted. I think the point stands--the CSA is going to be hard pressed to make friends, instead of 'allies of convenience.'

In regard to armies:

Some kind of yuckiness is going to result from the CSA's split from the United States. The United States is not going to be able to return to a small army as long as the CSA remains armed, and the CSA will have to remain armed because they have pro-union elements, freed slaves, and unhappy civilians in their own territory. The USA can't simply disarm with a nation that has claims of some kind on its own territory (and even if the CSA's maximal claims are satisfied, you have the reverse situation where large numbers of pro-union elements are behind the CSA's lines)

To further antagonize the whole situation, the USA is almost certainly going to abolish slavery. This means that slaves now need to make it to Kentucky or West Virginia to become free, instead of dodging fugitive slave hunters in the North. So the CSA is going to need to garrison its borders one way or another, and the USA is going to have to match those garrisons and perhaps more. Even without an arms race (which could happen as well), the CSA is going to need some kind of standing army to keep the slaves in and perhaps kick the unionists out.
 
Blue Max, it wasn't t he issue of slavery that caused Britain to stay out of the war, it was that Lincoln made IT the war. Up till the EmancProc, the ACW was about Federal Government over States' or States' over Government's.

1. Anyway, I think that Britain and France would help the South recover quickly when (if) it became a country with cotton, tobacco, etc. despite slavery. And since those BIG nations are involved, I don't think much, if not any, international problems would come about. However, internal problems are a whole different matter. 3 should say what would happen decently.

2. The above just about summed up this. Cotton mainly started to decline because the Union's blockade cut about 5 million yearly exports of the crop to Britain. If the South won, I'd think cotton would resupply rather quickly.

3. I combined 3 and 4 because they're the same. Thing is, states could secede from the South if they wanted to. That could cause some serious problems. And what would happen to Maryland if the South won the war? Maybe it would be one of the spoils. The Missouri and Kentucky problems are strange too. A peaceful matter would be a delegation to decide which side to lean towards. The other is a civil war in those states (like Bleeding Kansas!). Since blacks were growing in population all over the deep south, something would have to be done to either decrease their population or increase the whites'.
(1) Ever read Harry Turtledove's Settling Acounts: The Grapple? If so, do you remember Camp Determination? If not, it was a
concentration camp to kill blacks. Even though that was in 1943, someone in the South may have developed the idea to eliminate the CSA's enemies.
(2) Let's say the Civil War had damaged the North more than the South. Because of Britain and France, the Confederacy swiftly recovers (or does not plunge the nation into depression). Davis organizes a policy to persuade his allies to stop all trade with AMerice (i.e. revenge). The Union plunges into depression, as the South seems to shine golden. Immigrants pay attention to this. Soon, Charleston, New Orleans, etc. become ports of entry. The islands off of North Carolina become like Ellis Island. White population greatly increases.
 
I must disagree with your PoV. You need only look at the CSA constitution, or the declarations of Secession of the CSA, or the entire crisis from 1850 afterwards.

State's Rights were an issue, but they were not THE issue at hand. I understand that some people saw it that way at the time, but the declarations leave no room for doubt that Slavery was the cause. You can even consider where the pro-union elements where in the CSA to back this up. That's a lot of homework, but you can look it up if you'd like, or you can take my word for it.

Perhaps I do not elaborate my points well. What I was trying to say about the price of cotton has nothing to do with the fact that the post-war CSA would sell cotton when the US blockade is removed. However, the CSA is not the world's only cotton supplier, nor does it have monopolistic control over price. I know the UK had another source for cotton--Egypt? The UK and France aren't going to be 'altruistic' towards the CSA, although they might do business with them. Cotton will not buy the world's friendship.

Besides, the world is going to shift from "cotton is king" to "oil is king" and that shift isn't necessarily going to favor the CSA. If anything, it will favor Russia, the USA and the UK.

I've been deliberately vague on the conditions the CSA would form under, although acquiring Maryland would essentially force the USA to relinquish Washington DC. I don't mean to constrain what "the CSA" is, but this is not a likely development. Maryland did not enthusiastically support the Confederate move to Antietam, so I disagree with the whole Maryland supports the CSA bit. If nothing else, US Forces are going to hold the line in Virginia, not Maryland.

It's AH Heresy, but I don't read Mr. Turtledove's works. I don't have them and I can't respond in detail to these points, but here is my answer to your suggestions. A concentration camp designed to kill blacks is not going to be liked by the rest of the world. Haiti and Liberia are going FIRMLY into the USA's corner with that, and you've guaranteed that the CSA is going to have a dirty civil war of its own. Actually, you've probably got the CSA to implode under the violence that would result. Concentration Camps, however, were pioneered by the UK in the Boer War. That's still 40 years ahead in the future.

And you also forget that the CSA, although run by planter elites, is still a democratic country that can't just respond by killing poor white farmers who dislike the system. The addition of a Short Evil Mustached Man who turns the CSA into a National Populist State is going to
result in an exodus from the CSA...leaving the CSA to shine golden, how?

The CSA, with its use of slave labor, does not need free labor. It does not encourage immigration but emigration. Any recognizable civil war is clearly going to do more damage to the south than the North--or are you suggesting that the Army of Northern Virginia is burning Philadelphia to the ground or something? Nor can a state one fourth the size and population of the United States convince its larger allies to take a loss by embargoing a larger, richer, smarter trading partner.

And a prosperous CSA is not prosperity for the immigrant, indeed, there is no way that an immigrant could advance in the CSA's quasi-aristocratic system. The Plantation owners could reap vast fortunes, but how do these earning draw the attention of immigrants who can't get that land or afford those slaves?

You offer an interesting literary PoV to this topic, but I think it unlikely that this could ever have happened.
 
Russia, USA, UK? Big oil started in Texas. Yes, Russia probably has a lot more than Texas, but if oil development continues as it did OTL the CSA will get rich off of oil. And let's not forget; by (1870s, I believe?) some point OTL the South was churning out 20% of US steel.
 
Russia, USA, UK? Big oil started in Texas. Yes, Russia probably has a lot more than Texas, but if oil development continues as it did OTL the CSA will get rich off of oil. And let's not forget; by (1870s, I believe?) some point OTL the South was churning out 20% of US steel.
Conveniently ignoring that the people who made the discoveries did so with Pennsylvanian help - and not as in hired hands, but as in engineers who knew something about drilling.

http://www.priweb.org/ed/pgws/history/history_home.html

For things to go as they did OTL requires a lot of foreign effort. Why would they do that?

This is assuming butterflies don't get in the way, because I hate using that as a reason against something.

The USA still has other areas than Texas - including California - and will have the know-how to do something about it. All the oil deposits in the world won't do the Confederacy a lick of good if they're owned and developed by foreigners, which is a more likely outcome than it getting rich of them.

The CSA even lasting to 1900 is iffy.

Not even touching the steel production comment until at least some reference is given.
 
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Russia, USA, UK? Big oil started in Texas. Yes, Russia probably has a lot more than Texas, but if oil development continues as it did OTL the CSA will get rich off of oil. And let's not forget; by (1870s, I believe?) some point OTL the South was churning out 20% of US steel.
Rather, Texas will get rich off oil. And if the Confederal government starts to get grabby, well, secession is a proven success...
 
I guess I wonder whether there would even be a need for a second civil war, or whether the CSA would simply start to collapse shortly after its own creation. How could the CSA address these questions and remain an independent state?
This largely depends on when and how they win the war. A CSA that takes Washington after the first Bull Run, and is industrially similar to France in strength is going to look a lot different than a poor, devastated CSA that outlasts the USA and a black confederate aided victory, a la robertp6165's Black and Gray TL, really brings up some interesting questions.
 
A CSA with any meaningful industrial development is a long way after any Civil War victory, though.

Blaming Sherman for destroying Southern industry (with the implication there was any significant development until the war killed it) is like blaming the Italian Wars for the lack of Italian coal mines.

Interesting note on that note: A Confederate victory probably does interesting things with West Virginia, which has a fair sized area not so enthusiastic about being part of a new & Union state.

On the other hand, they're not exactly going to be thrilled with Virginia, either, in the long haul.
 
Though there were a number of challenges confronting the CSA, the first two would not be largely significant.

1. Slavery, despite being written into the CSA constitution, was a doomed institution. It would not have persisted into the 20th century for dozens of reasons, not the least of which being that a large percentage of Confederate higher-ups understood that, regardless of any aid you granted it, the institution would fall away naturally with time. Also considering that some sources say the Confederacy intended to have various methods of self-emancipating, and other anti-slavery programs to encourage the British and French to ally with them, it's doubtful CSA slavery would have lasted even as long as its Brazilian counterpart.

2. The CSA was a sought after trade partner. Has the US not initiated a blockade, the CSA would have continued the trade associates it had prior to the war: Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Russia were all recipients of future-CSA members' goods prior to the ACW. Furthermore, it's doubtful either state would maintain a large standing army, given the tradition of the time to rely more on a small, professional army to stall an attack, and a larger, volunteer force to repel it, which persisted in OTL into WWII. Furthermore, both Atlanta and Richmond were viable manufacturing cities, though admittedly not as potentially fruitful as Pittsburgh or Chicago, they were seen as prime markets for manufacturing, and had already opened a number of factories between the time of secession and the fall of the cities. Railroads, too were being made, planned to connect Atlanta to Texas. The US advance actually destroyed more southern factories and railroad lines then were produced by the North during the war.

3. Internal disputes could be handled in a number of ways. More often then not, it would fall to the two disputing states to decide upon a proper method, with the federal government only stepping in if there was a military engagement between the two, or if mediation was requested. Counter-secession is doubtful to occur, largely due to the shown propensity of the Union to attempt to retain lost states. It's doubtful any of the more Northern states would have seceded for fear of invasion, and the more southern states would be kept member by geographic ties (excluding Florida, which would have likely remained due to its reliance on the other member states for economic power).

4. The pre-ACW south was actually prime for immigration. It got a large number of European immigrants in the 40's and 50's. The reason for the decline in post-ACW immigration to the South is due to the massive destruction and economic crippling of the South caused by Sherman's Total War, which burned millions of dollars in farmlands, railroads, and industrial buildings. Furthermore, it's likely the CSA would have turned to Mexico as a source of labor and numbers, as the relatively weak Mexican state would have presented a prime opportunity for expansion, for, despite it's stance of State's rights, like the rest of the country, the CSA believed strongly in expansion, and claimed New Mexico and Arizona territories as its own.
 
Though there were a number of challenges confronting the CSA, the first two would not be largely significant.

1. Slavery, despite being written into the CSA constitution, was a doomed institution. It would not have persisted into the 20th century for dozens of reasons, not the least of which being that a large percentage of Confederate higher-ups understood that, regardless of any aid you granted it, the institution would fall away naturally with time. Also considering that some sources say the Confederacy intended to have various methods of self-emancipating, and other anti-slavery programs to encourage the British and French to ally with them, it's doubtful CSA slavery would have lasted even as long as its Brazilian counterpart.
Riiiiiight. The people willing to leave the United States, fight a major war, and specifically prohibit the government from ending slavery in the core document of their government are going to accept it ending until forced to by overwhelming circumstances. Baloney.

On economics:

"In 1860 the North possessed 110,000 manufacturing establishments to the South's 18,000." "New York State manufactured almost $300 million worth of goods - well over four times the production of Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi combined." (Kennedy, Rise and Fall of the Great Powers)

The South can't even maintain its existing railroad system (if it can be dignified with the term system) in terms of things wearing out, nevermind war damage - how is this going to change if it achieves its independence?

Immigration may or may not have been in "large numbers", but it was behind that which went to the rest of the country.

As a trade partner, the CSA only has cotton to export, and precious little capital in exchange for it - not really good for its economic prospects when it comes to the infusion of capital it direly needs to build up industry.

As such, any Confederate industrial development will probably look as dependent on foreign aid as Russia's, and no one has any reason to be so generous.
 
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Is there a reason why this three year old thread was resurrected instead of a new one being started?
 
Some of these features mentioned are going to combine in interesting ways. There's always the possibility that free white labourers increasingly undercut by slavery migrate to the CSA's cities for work, rather than leaving to the USA/California. This would probably cause enough of an urban boom to induce more manufacturing and factories.

The issue would then be that pioneering Southern aristocrats start realising industrial mass production is well suited to a forced gang labour system, which could become much more profitable than tobacco, if not cotton pretty quickly. You would then see large numbers of slaves being moved to the cities, again undercutting free labour.

I can then see militant white trade unions, as well as pretty nasty slave revolts, particularly if the country becomes majority slave. This urban violence, and the increasing fascist response to it, would be what would bring down the CSA I think.
 
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