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I suppose I can't fully agree with the statement because I believe that history is full of exigency, which means there's always a chance of almost anything happening.

This is especially true in wartime. There are an unimaginable number of variables in war, most of which can't be summarized on paper. It is true that the North held large material advantages to the South during the Civil War -- it had much more industrial power, more population, more established credit, more transportation power, established military forces. But these alone do not procure success in a war.

In almost any war, disease and the effects of disease play almost as big a part in the outcome of the war as do military tactics. Who can say which side will have more soldiers ill (or even die from illness)? Or which commanders will be struck by illness?

But few books take such things into account, partially because many history books have flaws, but mostly because it is nearly impossible to weave an awareness of ever-present chance into historical narrative.

The best book to do so about the Civil War is Shelby Foots, "The Civil War: A Narrative," which is a 3 volume history of the Civil War. The best part of this book, especially relating to this discussion, is about the Battle of Gettysburg, and has been published as a separate book, entitled "Stars in Their Courses: The Gettysburg Campaign."

On the other hand, I believe that the difficulties facing the Confederacy were overwhelming. Although they were able to maintain tactical balance -- and even supremacy -- in the eastern theater, they always had to devote too much support (financial, military, strategic) to the eastern theater to make this possible. Thus, the west was always more poorly defended in the Confederacy.

Further, there were several internal and external political problems which I don't believe the Confederacy could adequately face. They were unlikely to ever receive international support, unless they were granted independence by the North. A larger problem, however, was that the Confederacy was really held together only by a belief in the protection of slave-holders rights -- there was significant disagreement throughout the South on other issues, and these fissures even began showing during the war (which served mostly to unite the South). This means that even if the South had been granted independence, I'm not sure it would have remained independent.

Of course, this is a question that can never be answered decisively. Historians have been arguing it since the end of the war and will continue to do so.

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Q: Why the south never had a chance to win the civil war?
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