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The dissolution of the Confederacy by Brian Visaggio

Author says: what if rather than Civil War, simply the slow working processes of history forced the dissolution of the Confederacy? muses Brian Visaggio (pictured).

July 10th, 2010:

the Confederate States of America was officially dissolved.

Despite securing independence at the negotiation table with United States President George McClellan, the Southern Confederacy proved unable to contain the spirit of independent action which had precipitated the War of Secession in the first place.

The years following the war's conclusion proved destabilizing, as the the member states balked at economic reforms implemented by a series of presidents, primarily John C. Breckinridge and James Longstreet, to make the Confederacy competitive on a global stage. Recognizing the difficulty the nascent country would have without a strong economy, policies were implemented to encourage industrial growth and restore control over monetary policy to Richmond. The money issue in particular provoked a resurgent nullification crisis, subverting the central government and in effect reducing the Confederacy into little more than a league of associated republics.

The North might "fissure" too in such a situation" - readers commentIn 1885, this league of free states, as it was by then frequently being described, had the last of its significant powers -- the power to maintain a military -- stripped away by constitutional amendment requiring it to depend on the voluntary loan of state armies, effectively removing even the ability to coerce its members into obedience. The unilateral secession of Georgia in 1888 prompted cascade of similar declarations, and by early July, President Fitzhugh Lee was forced by events to call for the legal dissolution of a confederacy that no longer had any members at all.

It has been speculated that the long-term survival of Confederate General R.E. Lee might have provided a unifying figure for citizens to rally around, a symbol representing the whole of the war effort, but unfortunately, his unexpected death in 1871 put such hopes, such as they may have existed, to rest, and the American South saw unleashed a spirit of dislocation and fractiousness that grew for throughout the remainder of this troubled republic's short life.The end result was eleven disparate, squabbling independent states stagnating as their economies collapsed around them, those countries sometimes referred to as the "Basketcase Republics".

The Confederacy would be briefly revived in the 1950's as a way of standing up to the increasing strength of their northern neighbor, but this short-lived project proved untenable, as the member states feared domination by Virginia, which by maintaining a friendly and beneficial trade relationship with the United States proved one of only two former Confederate States (alongside Texas) to prosper.

Brian Visaggio

Guest Historian of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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