The start of war, the North had industry,
more people, Lincoln's skills -- sure victory!
The South had passion and experience;
their generals put the outcome in suspense.
Election 1860, South amenable
to any "Northern man of Southern principle."
But Lincoln, the Republican, was anti-slave,
and Douglas was a Democrat who never gave
a strong impression either way. On slavery
some two of three Americans appeared to be
against, so Lincoln didn't need the Southern vote.
Plantation owners thought alike: the antidote
to Northern tyranny was clear, but they would need
a million poor to fight the battle. They'd secede
and form their own Confederate authority.
So Carolina (South) was first, and rapidly
the others followed suit. Jeff Davis President,
their Constitution offering the argument
that slavery was normal, blacks a lesser race.
Implicit was the Southern motive to embrace
"King Cotton" and tradition, even while the fear
of growing Negro numbers worsened every year.
Fort Sumter heard the starting shots, and President
Buchanan, ineffective, handed subsequent
affairs to Lincoln. It's instructive to compare
the strengths and weaknesses: a greater share
of population, armaments, and industry
sustained the North. It ruled the railroads and the sea,
had Lincoln's common sense, and let the black man fight.
The South, defending land and honor, would incite
its Rebels to a heated passion, and its war
experience and military leaders more
than balanced their free enterprise deficiencies.
The North anticipated victory with ease:
Bull Run was like a party, ladies picnicking
to watch the massacre; but in a sickening
surprise for Northerners, the Yanks were beaten back
by Stonewall Jackson and the Rebs, a fierce attack
that set the tone for many Southern victories.
With George McClellan (strategist, but ill-at-ease
in battle, and in scorn of Lincoln) in control
of stagnant Union forces, the elusive goal
of victory was fading. Bloody Shiloh showed
the horrors of the war, while Southern conquests owed
their debt to Lee. The Merrimac and Monitor
engaged at sea, and in the west, to reassure
a President consumed with doubt, Ulysses Grant
defeated Vicksburg and began again to plant
the seeds of Northern victory, like once before.
Supreme commander U.S. Grant would change the war.