The Civil War and its Aftermath
Military history does not lend itself readily to summary. The details are too important and the bald account of strategic factors flatters too much the prescience of the victors. A search for lucidity must exclude muddle, and muddle is an inevitable part of war. It is true that modern warfare often seems to make the battlefield ancillary to the resources, administration and morale of the belligerent nations. The day has passed in which a weak power could defeat a strong one in a single battle, because a large and industrial nation can repair losses, throw in new supplies, and raise new armies; but mass and mobility carry their own weaknesses because mouths have to be fed, men armed, and communications preserved. If the cumbrous machinery of war can mitigate the consequences of tactical defeat it can also prevent the exploitation of success, and amid an organization of unparalleled complexity success is often the reward of improvisation. War is still a contest of skill, resourcefulness and courage, but it is no longer fought as a tournament but as a struggle between peoples in which every factor counts.
KeywordsAmerican History Republican Party Negro Equality Fourteenth Amendment Poor White
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