How different would the world be today if the Confederate States of America (CSA) had won? Here is my version of how history might have transpired.
The first seven Southern states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America in February of 1861. The first hostilities at Fort Sumter, SC happened in April 1861.
Battle of Bull Run/First Manassas, July, 1861
(In the actual battle, the South wins. CSA Generals Beauregard and Johnston command barely 29,000 troops against 50,000 Federal troops under the command of Gen Winfield Scott. The Confederacy wins the battle, and the Federal troops make a full panicked retreat back to Washington. But President Jefferson Davis hesitates and loses the opportunity to capture Washington, DC, which would have ended the war in the first major battle. Here is how it could have gone if Davis had made a positive decision to complete the battle, and here is the history that could have flowed from that victory.)
Learning of the Federal defeat and retreat, President Jefferson Davis and General Beauregard order the CSA troops to complete the rout by pursuing the Northern troops back to Washington, only about 30 miles. The pursuit is made far easier for CSA troops as the Federals have abandoned their stores of provisions all along the way back to Washington. A small cavalry force under the command of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson captures the White House and President Lincoln. The cavalry and CSA troops camp on the White House lawn.
Within a week, President Davis and General Robert E. Lee begin negotiations with Lincoln, Cabinet members and Congress members to cease hostilities permanently. The parties negotiate various treaties regarding commerce between the nations. They determine that subsequent territories desirous of statehood get to choose which nation to join, and other border issues.
Abraham Lincoln is impeached by Congress and removed from office in late 1861. He is tried, found guilty of war crimes and receives a prison sentence of 50 years, and dies in prison. As General Ulysses S. Grant has achieved no notoriety in the war, he is not elected President and retires in obscurity.
The lives of over 620,000 men on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line are spared. The CSA is not pillaged and sacked by the Union forces. The state of West Virginia is not formed by Lincoln. CSA cities and plantations are not burned. There are no draft riots in New York City. Northern newspaper editors are not jailed for disagreeing with Lincoln. Robert E. Lee’s plantation named “Arlington” is not stolen by the US Government and made into a Union cemetery.
The importation of slaves was outlawed in the CSA Constitution of 1861, and slavery slowly collapses under its own weight at about the same time as mechanization comes to agriculture in the 1870s. The freed slaves become sharecroppers, or become a part of the workforce necessary in the manufacturing boom in the CSA.
Jefferson Davis serves his Constitutionally-mandated single six-year term, and then is elected Senator from Texas, where he serves until just before his death. Robert E. Lee is the next President elected in 1866. Dozens of new Southern cities and streets are named after Davis, just like George Washington’s legacy after the Revolutionary War.
Stonewall Jackson does not die in battle in 1863, but goes back to the Virginia Military Institute, where he resumes teaching. He eventually becomes the Chancellor of the School, and remains in this position until his death.
The Citadel, the Charleston military academy, becomes the Naval Academy for the CSA.
Richmond, Virginia, continues to be the capitol of the CSA. Atlanta becomes the business and financial center of the CSA. The Atlanta Stock Exchange becomes one of the largest and wealthiest in the world. Most of the major banks of the South are based in Atlanta.
The territories west of the Mississippi eventually seek statehood, and must decide with which nation they will align themselves. Only North and South Dakota Territories decide to become US states. All other territories become Confederate states, because the Montgomery Constitution of 1861 was a vast improvement over the US Constitution.
The USA becomes a nation bordered on the north by Canada, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south and west by the CSA. California, Maryland and Oregon vote to secede from the Union and join the CSA in 1862. The USA statehood growth ceases at 19 states. The CSA eventually grows to 27 states, bordered on the north by the USA and Western Canada, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by the Atlantic, and on the south by Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico. Puerto Rico becomes the last state to join the CSA in 1960.
Hawaii is not stolen by the USA and remains a sovereign nation. Alaska belongs to Canada.
The CSA’s import tariffs are an average of 13%. Consequently, shipping and trade at Southern ports explodes. The ports of Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, Miami and New Orleans become the busiest ports on the Eastern Seaboard. Western ports at San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle become CSA ports. The port of Norfolk/Portsmouth becomes the shipbuilding capital of the Americas. The Navy of the CSA is harbored at Norfolk and Charleston. The CSA controls all commerce in Chesapeake Bay and controls all commerce coming up and down the Mississippi River.
USA’s main ports are New York, Newark, Philadelphia and Boston. The canals and locks are built by the US government to facilitate access to the Great Lakes.
Chicago still becomes a major Midwestern business center, and a center for commodities. Kansas City, Missouri becomes the major Midwestern business center and commodities exchange for the South.
Southern manufacturing expands rapidly as investments pour into the CSA from wealthy Southerners, as well as Northern and European investors. The Bessemer steel mill in Alabama becomes the largest steel mill in the world.
CSA makes gold and silver the only money. Southern banks are not regulated by the government and are allowed to coin their own money. Fractional banking is not allowed in the CSA. There is no inflation in the CSA throughout its history.
In 1898, William Randolph Hearst owns a chain of publications and newspapers. However, his publishing empire is in California, which is a state of the CSA. Hearst finds no interest in the CSA for his stories about Spain’s influence in the Western Hemisphere, as Spain is a valued ally and trading nation. The US Congress and President McKinley want to establish an American Empire. However, with only 20 states, they are no so quick to project military might. Their southernmost port is Philadelphia, not Florida. The USS Maine is never dispatched to Havana harbor and does not sink there. Teddy Roosevelt never leads the Rough Riders in a cavalry charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba. He does not win the Congressional Medal of Honor. The United States has no naval presence in the Pacific, and does not attack the Spanish at Manila.
Theodore Roosevelt still becomes Vice President, and eventually becomes President in 1901 when McKinley is assassinated.
Theodore Roosevelt leads the project to build the Panama Canal. Many CSA companies participate, but the CSA government does not spend money unconstitutionally on the project.
Hoover Dam is not built by the US government, but by a consortium of the seven states served by the Colorado River. Its name remains the Boulder Dam.
The CSA continues to gain its revenue from tariffs, and there is never an income tax of any kind.
There is no CSA standing army, but each state has its militia. The CSA does have a Navy, authorized in its Constitution.
Oil is discovered in Texas, Oklahoma and the Gulf of Mexico. Over time, the CSA becomes an exporter of petroleum products to the North, as Northern oil fields do not produce what they need. The CSA is entirely self-sufficient in oil and gas. Because there is no inflation, crude oil prices never exceed $20 per barrel.
Coal is also produced and exported to the North from the vast fields of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia (remember that West Virginia is not formed by Lincoln).
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914 starts WWI. As a result of the overlapping treaty obligations between various European nations, the continent is gripped by war. Even though US President Wilson desires entry into the war, the USA does not have either the military might or the political will to enter. The USA gives support of munitions and materiel to the Allies in much smaller quantities but does not commit ground troops to the Continent. Germany wins, and the maps of Europe are redrawn. There is no Treaty of Versailles. Germany projects its military might worldwide with its navy, a superior force to the defeated British navy. However, Germany is very friendly with the CSA, who stayed neutral in the war. It is more hostile toward the US.
After 1918, Germany becomes a major world power. No communism develops in Russia, as a strong Germany would not tolerate it, and was positioned geographically to do something about it. Hitler remains an obscure paper-hanger and non-entity.
The Ottoman Turkish Empire is not defeated in WWI. Consequently, the territories controlled by Turkey are not divided, and the British do not get the opportunity to establish Palestine, Syria and Trans-Jordan in 1918. This also means that the state of Israel was not established in 1948. Prior to World War I, the best major European countries in which to be Jewish were Germany and Austria. The vast Jewish communities of Central and Eastern Europe would have held their traditional places in multi-nation-empires, instead of becoming aliens in new nation-states. The Jewish diaspora from Russia and Europe to North America would not have occurred in such large numbers. Consequently, many of the Jewish movie directors, producers, writers, composers and actors would have stayed in Europe.
Hollywood does not become the world’s entertainment center, but Berlin does. But Hollywood does become an important center of entertainment in Los Angeles, California
The Great Depression of 1929 does still occur in the USA because of the formation of the Federal Reserve and fractional banking. However, the CSA is enriched by it, since the CSA’s money is backed by gold and silver, with no inflation. Thousands of businesses and millions of people relocate to the South and West.
Japan becomes one of the leading nations of the Far East. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not bombed with nuclear weapons in 1945.
Russia remains a monarchy. Communism never gains a toehold. V.I. Lenin, Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin remain obscure theorists. No Iron Curtain. No Cold War. No use for thousands of ICMBs…they were never built.
No Communist Cuba. The CSA has a very strong relationship with Cuba, and is Cuba’s primary trading partner. Cuba emulates the CSA’s constitution, and becomes a beacon of freedom for Latin and South America. However, the US also trades with Cuba since no embargo was enacted.
Mao Tse Tung and his wife are communists and work to bring Communism to China. They are arrested and executed in 1927. No more Communism in China.
China’s emperor embraces capitalism, and China becomes a leading world power.
Word War II does not occur, since none of the reasons for the war existed.
The Jewish Holocaust does not occur.
The Wright brothers fly their airplane in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, NC. Over the remaining
part of the 20th Century, aeronautic innovation occurs primarily in private aviation, since the USA and CSA were not consumed by and planning wars.
NASA is not created by governments, but private enterprise develops rocket technology.
No United Nations is formed.
No Korean War. The Korean Peninsula is not split by Chinese Communism, and the nation remains whole.
John F. Kennedy is not assassinated in Dallas in 1963. However, his Executive Order 11110 on June 4, 1963 to issue silver-backed money and de-fund the Federal Reserve still gets him assassinated in a Northern city. Someone other than Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas becomes the next president.
The CSA embraces nuclear power, and dozens of nuclear power generating plants spring up all over the nation. The CSA generates 90% of its electrical needs through clean, safe nuclear power.
No Vietnam War, and only one Vietnamese nation exists because China is not promoting Communism.
No Gulf Wars.
In the entire 140-plus year history of the Confederate States of America, there is no warfare, save the one day of battle on July 21, 1861 in Virginia.
Over 150 million people are not killed by governments and wars during the 20th century. All because Jefferson Davis did not hesitate to act on a day in July of 1861.
One Man Can Make A Difference.