How long would the Confederacy survive?

A Confederate victory is one of the most famous alternate history scenarios one can think of. Countless words have been written/typed thinking of how they could've defeated the Union and secured their independence.

But assuming they were successful, that raises the question...how long would an independent Confederacy last? I've seen a wide variety of estimates ranging from the Confederacy lasting to the current day, to some like Turtledove having them last a few decades to others who argue they wouldn't last more than five years.

So I'm putting it to you, my fellow alternate history enthusiasts. If the Confederacy won the ACW, how long would it have survived as an independent nation? Would it make it to the modern day or not? And if not, then how long does it last? Five years, the 1890's? The turn of the century?
 
The boring answer is that there's no one answer. All of the answers given can be correct depending on the circumstances that follow and how it achieves independence in the first place.
 
I feel like any later than the turn of the 20th century's pushing it. Maybe a remnant CSA with just the Deep South could last longer, but they're not keeping all of their claimed territory for that long.
 
My view is that it could survive long, but increasingly as just a bit better example of the old Federal Republic of Central America. Barring an agreement with the Misean argument that the CSA would syphon all foreign capital going to North America due to low or no tariffs, I cannot see it doing very well. Expect failed foreign policy adventurism angering the USA, UK, and down the way South American states, race relations that make the current USA or Brazil look benign, even more strident sectional conflict between the CSA border states that need good relations with the USA with the Deep South, central goverment vs. state goverment conflicts, and yes I would say you are looking at a better version of the FRCA, but just barely viable. Ultimately a country that will follow the same trajectory as Mexico and Central America in being devoured by the USA economic and demographic weigh (but cannot the CSA balance the US by brining a European Power into the American System? No, because if you read McDougall "Promised Land, Crusader State" there is no way either the USA or the UK will permit the CSA to become a trojan horse for an extra-hemispheric power. Not that they will not try, but that they will get whipped to use the ACW term). That said it would pick up economically as USA capital flows into it in the 1940s and 1950s with the advent of air-conditioning.
 
A relatively quick Civil War with Confederate victory would probably have a friendlier relationship with the USA but a victory after a bloody 3/4 yrs with Franco- British backing would turn USA into a bitter garrison state, probably having little to do economically with the South and winking at any aid to rebellions. And there good sized stretches of Tennessee and Texas that were pro union and I don't see the Conferderacy having the military ability to expand into the rest of the Americas. So I say it couldn't last. Something smaller and cohesive,like Texas- Arkansas-Oklahoma- NewMexico, that wouldn't threaten the USA access to Gulf of Mexico, I could see that surviving.
 
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It will still be around today. The relationship with the US will be cold for a while before warming up thanks to the cultural affinity, much like US/British. There may well be a war at some point, but that would be just a border thing. Realistically if the US fails to conquer them, it isn't ever happening. The Civil War was a titanic effort, you aren't going to be able to get that once that has either failed, or never existed in the first place.

The Confederacy is also not going to just fall back into the arms of the superior north voluntarily as I've seen suggested. People greatly overstate what a failure it would be. Yes, it will lag significantly the North, but that is another way of saying it will lag the most developed place in all the world. Compared to even Southern Europe or Latin America it will look pretty developed, especially if you are just looking at the white population. Anyway even if it was a disaster, that doesn't particularly mean they would want to reunify and that would also make the North less interested. Yes it may be a success or failure, but the odds of it failing in the sense of not existing as opposed to just being a place you wouldn't want to live are low. Also, while the war happened because of slavery, they were very rapidly building a national identity that got killed in its cradle. Unlikely to truly blow up politically, they were pretty good at keeping a grip. Succession might be a concern, but not really if they win a Civil War since they centralized a lot.
 
Apartheid survived until globalization so...
The confederacy also has a much larger europian population then apartide south africa which may extend its longevity further. Without otl pressures even when slavery dies a apartide or permanent Jim Crow south is likley going to be inevitable since otl it took pressure from the north and intervention by the federal government to enforce desegregation. Outside intervention is also not guaranteed and can even be hard blocked if they adopt south africas otl deterince approach by keeping a limited nuclear arsenal by making thier own independently or more safely by buying a handfull from south africa in secret and then use them as a deterance while it builds up its own nuclear program.
 
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That depends on future governmental policies and that is unknowable. Independence that comes easily meaning no war or very short war is probably more problems for the Confederacy then a long war. A significant chance exists the internal problems and significantly reduced hate for the old Union bring the component parts back into the Union over time.

In a long war the South will be economically damaged, but much more unified. How long the war goes on impacts how long slavery lasts. The longer it goes on the more the institution will be cannibalized inadvertently and for wartime necessities.
 
The boring answer is that there's no one answer. All of the answers given can be correct depending on the circumstances that follow and how it achieves independence in the first place.

This sums it up.

The most likely CSA independence scenario happens to be the most boring one. Seven states secede, they give up on getting the other slave states to join them and let federal installations in their territory alone for awhile, and after realizing there is not enough support in the northern states for a reconquest and worried about losing the upper South, the federal government negotiates terms of independence.

One thing about southern elites in this scenario is that they have to give up on not only the upper South joining them, and even accept that slavery will eventually be abolished in the upper south, they will have to give up on getting northerners to recapture their escaped slaves for them. This CSA will be necessity have a large army and large militia to prevent escapes, but also soften the conditions of slavery to make slaves less likely to escape. If they indulge the crazy they get into a war with the USA, which will be a quicker version of the ACW, with the same result. CSA with sane leadership will eventually abolish slavery, as a condition join TTL's version of the League of Nations, but try to make it as de jure as possible, and settle into the role as a bizzarro Canada.

I don't see how they win a war without the northern elites going all out to play idiot ball, on a scale where the USA itself collapses.
 
It will still be around today. The relationship with the US will be cold for a while before warming up thanks to the cultural affinity, much like US/British. There may well be a war at some point, but that would be just a border thing. Realistically if the US fails to conquer them, it isn't ever happening. The Civil War was a titanic effort, you aren't going to be able to get that once that has either failed, or never existed in the first place.

Question, though: what exactly is the CSA going to do about slaves escaping north? The US won't extradite them both because they see slavery as abhorrent and because it wouldn't benefit them in the slightest. So in all likelihood the Confederates will have to spend the resources and manpower to patrol their lengthy northern border to catch any would-be escapees. And in all likelihood they'd violate the border trying to catch someone before long and start an incident.

Cultural affinity can't overcome serious, constant and fundamental tensions like this. It only led to rapprochement between the US and the UK after impressment and the frontier were resolved as issues. But the challenge of runaway slaves is a much tougher nut to crack than those.
 
Could survive anywhere between few years to this day. But I would too argue that longer CSA survives lesser likely is re-union is with USA either voluntarely or with power. IMO re-annexation like TL-191 is bit unlikely since after 80+ years of independent CSA would had developed its own identitet which would make the country really hard to incorporated back to United States. And I don't too see USA and CSA remaining eternal mortal enemies. There might be one or two wars but they hardly are going to fight each others all of eternity/until another one is completely defeated.
 
For the final, definitive answer on this question, I urge you all to read Nothing For Which to Apologize: Ambition and Loathing in the New South.
::shameless plug complete::

But in all seriousness, I would say that it's dependent on a lot of factors, such as the borders with the United States, when the war ends, and many other things going on in the world at large. However, the Confederate States have many internal contradictions, a whole lot of money, and at least one very powerful enemy. I don't think that the Confederacy's got an infinite lifespan, but stranger things have happened.
 
After a generation or so, would the US even *want* it back? I can see a lot of Yankees coming to regard Southerners as a bunch of reactionary cave men whom the Union is better off without.
 
As earlier posters have said, the possibilities run the gamut from early failure to existence into perpetuity. I will say that I agree with those who have said that the idea of the CSA rejoining the Union after successfully winning their war of independence is essentially impossible. No matter how long said war lasted, the revolution would be burned into the national consciousness so much that willingly returning to the United States would be unthinkable to the Southern population.

That said, a scenario in which the CSA leaves peacefully without a war could see a peaceful reunification if the Confederacy collapses under its' own weight and looks back to the days of Union as "the good old days". Whether the US would be willing to take them back is an open question.
 
After a generation or so, would the US even *want* it back? I can see a lot of Yankees coming to regard Southerners as a bunch of reactionary cave men whom the Union is better off without.

Probably not. If not in one at least in 2 - 3 generations CSA would had developed strong national identitet which would be very different from USA. Actually I see TL-191 attempts of re-anned CSA after SGW ending badly for Yankees and them have eventually accept independence of CSA. I am not really sure if USA after 50 years would be any intrest to annex CSA anyway. Perhaps some parts but not Deep South at least.
 
to others who argue they wouldn't last more than five years.
Wishful thinking that 'instant karma is gonna getcha' in John Lennon's words


Even if houses can't stand divided - neighborhoods, towns, and continents certainly can. The world tolerates gross inequalities for *very* long periods of time. Inequality and injustice can be very 'functional' for many segments of a population in a given society or economy.
 
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Question, though: what exactly is the CSA going to do about slaves escaping north?
See, I think this is an understated thing in most TLs. I just read a book about the Civil War and the author makes the argument that even by 1863 in OTL, slavery was really wounded by the simple fact that slaves ran away to the Union forces everywhere, in huge numbers. Granted, peace will help reduce these areas (I doubt the North will get to keep New Orleans for example) but still. Thousands of slaves will escape to a North that, while not being an enlightened racial utopia, certainly isn't going to send them back. Is slavery really tenable in such a circumstance?
 
If the Confederacy stays quiet internationally, being a good little dystopia, I can see them surviving for quite some time. Mexico and Spain could support them as a counter to the United States, and so long as France and GB look the other way, that might work. But any European government that is seen openly aiding them will have to contend with public outrage.

If the Confederacy is stupid and tries to expand slavery into the Carribean like some of them wanted to OTL, Great Britain, France, the US and Spain will hand them their asses on a silver platter. In that case, the CSA would probably just be annihilated in a matter of months, with every major Atlantic power grabbing a piece.
 
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