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“This transformation of northern will illustrates the point made earlier that the will of either the northern or southern people was primarily a result of military victory rather than a cause of it. Events on the battlefield might have gone the other way, on these and other occasions during the war. … To understand why the South lost, in the end, we must turn from large generalizations that imply inevitability and study instead the contingency that hung over each military campaign, each battle, each election, each decision during the war.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“What about Lincoln’s superiority to Davis as commander in chief? This might seem indisputable. Yet Lincoln made mistakes as a war leader. He went through a half-dozen failures as commanders in the eastern theater before he found the right general. Some of his other military appointments and strategic decisions could justly be criticized. And as late as the summer of 1864, when the war seemed to be going badly for the North, when Grant’s forces had suffered horrendous casualties to achieve a stalemate at Petersburg and Sherman seemed equally stalemated before Atlanta, Lincoln came under enormous pressure to negotiate peace with the Confederacy. … And Jefferson Davis might have gone down in history as the great leader of a war of independence, the architect of a new nation, the George Washington of the southern Confederacy. This did not happen, but only because of events on the battlefield — principally Sherman’s capture of Atlanta, and Sheridan’s spectacular victories over Jubal Early in the Shenandoah Valley. These turned northern opinion from despair in the summer to confident determination by November.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“That brings us back to the overwhelming numbers-and-resources interpretation, which at least had the merit of recognizing the large external aspect of Confederate defeat. But the deficiencies of that interpretation remain. Another category of analysis with an external dimension, though, might seem to resolve the dilemma of explanation. This one focuses on leadership. Numerous historians both northern and southern — and British as well, for they have paid a lot of attention to the American Civil War — have argued that the North developed superior leadership [generalship, logistics and political] which became the main factor in ultimate Union victory. And yet — and yet — it should not be uncritically accepted. … On more than one occasion the outcome seemed to hang in the balance because of incompetent northern military leadership.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“Another internal explanation for Confederate defeat has been around for a long time and has recently resurfaced in a number of studies. This one can be described as the ‘lack of will’ thesis. It holds that the Confederacy would have won if the southern people had possessed the determination, the will to make the sacrifices and the total effort necessary to achieve victory. … The main defect of the lack-of-will thesis, as well as of the internal conflict and internal alienation thesis discussed earlier, is that they attribute Confederate defeat to factors intrinsic to the South. Like the analysts of Confederate mistakes at Gettysburg, they tend to forget about the Yankees.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“Similar criticisms apply to another interpretation that overlaps the internal conflict thesis. This one might be termed the ‘internal alienation’ argument. … The nonslaveholders constituted two-thirds of the Confederacy’s white population. Many of them, especially in moutainous and upcountry regions of small farms and few slaves, opposed secession in 1861. They formed significant enclaves of unionism in western Virginia where they created a new Union state, in east Tennessee, where they carried out guerrilla operations against the Confederacy and contributed many soldiers to the Union army, and elsewhere in the upland South. Other yeoman farmers who supported the Confederacy at the outset, and fought for it, became alienated over time because of disastrous inflation, shortages of food and salt, high taxes, and a growing conviction that they were risking their lives and property in a war to defend slavery. … The alienation of many southern whites was matched by the alienation of a large portion of that two-fifths of the southern population that was black and slave. … Tens of thousands voted with their feet for the Union by escaping to Yankee lines, where the North converted their labor power and eventually their military manpower into a Union asset. … The alienation of these two large blocs of the southern people seems therefore a plausible explanation for Confederate defeat. … But perhaps the most important weakness of the internal alienation thesis is that same fallacy of reversibility mentioned earlier. Large blocs of northern people were bitterly, aggressively alienated from the Lincoln administration’s war policies.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“As for the ‘died of democracy’ thesis, a good case can be made that, to the contrary, the Confederate government enforced the draft, suppressed dissent, and suspended civil liberties and democratic rights at least as thoroughly as did the Union government. The Confederacy enacted conscription a year before the Union, and raised a larger portion of its troops by drafting than did the North. … If the North had lost the war — which came close to happening on more than one occasion — the same thesis of internal conflict could be advanced to explain northern defeat. … Americans in the war of 1776 were more divided than southerners in the war of 1861, yet the United States won its independence and the Confederacy did not. Apparently we must look elsewhere for an explanation of Confederate failure.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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In a regional vote on September 29, 1951, two entire counties — Lubbock and Parmer — and parts of eleven other counties — Lynn, Lamb, Hockley, Deaf Smith, Floyd, Castro, Bailey, Armstrong, Randall, Potter, and Cochran — voted to form Texas’s first groundwater management district. Significantly, three of the most intensively irrigated counties — Hale, Swisher and Crosby — refused to join. … Ultimately, an area of 8,149 acres square miles, or 5,215,600 acres, would be served by the new district. Texas High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 opened for business in April 1952 and on February 1, 1953, set forth its first regulations covering all full-scale irrigation wells pumping 100,000 gallons per day or more. Compliance was voluntary. In the meantime, land under pump expanded from 650,000 irrigated acres in 1946 to 2,700,000 irrigated acres in 1954. The district regulations did not provide immediate relief. Between 1951 and 1958, the average water level fell twenty-eight more feet. In 1954, at least six farmers who started irrigating in 1953 were back into dryland farming. The general manager of the district concluded that “our conservation program is about twenty-five years or more too late.”
— Ogallala: Water for a Dry Land, John Opie, 1993

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…while looming darkly a kindness of fragrance opens around them…
— e.e.cummings, 95 poems, 1958

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“One of the earliest and most persistent themes was spelled out by Frank Owsley in his book States Rights in the Confederacy, published in 1925. … On the tombstone of the Confederacy, wrote Owsley, should be carved the epitaph ‘Died of State Rights.’ A variant on the states rights thesis focuses on the resistance by many southerners, including some national leaders like Vice President Alexander H. Stephens, to such war measures as conscription, certain taxes, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and martial law. … The persistence during the war of the democratic practices of individualism, dissent, and carping criticism of the government caused historian David Donald, writing in 1960, to amend that inscription on the Confederacy’s tombstone to ‘Died of Democracy.'”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992

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“As they reflected on this matter, numerous southerners and historians came to the conclusion that overwhelming numbers-and-resources were not the cause of northern victory after all. History offered many examples of a society winning a war against greater odds than the Confederacy faced. … In the Civil War the Confederacy waged a strategically defensive war to protect its territory from conquest and preserve its armies from annihilation. To ‘win’ that kind of war, Confederate armies did not have to invade and conquer the North; they needed only to hold out long enough to force the North to the conclusion that the price of conquering the South and annihilating its armies was too high, as Britain had concluded in 1781 and as the United States concluded with respect to Vietnam in 1972. Most southerners thought in 1861 that their resources were more than sufficient to win on these terms. Most outside observers agreed. The military analyst for the Times of London wrote that ‘no war of independence ever terminated unsucessfully except where the disparity of force was far greater than it is in this case.’ … Even after losing the war, many southerners continued to insist that this reasoning remained sound.”
— Why the Confederacy Lost, 1992