Robert E. Lee

Essay by silent812College, Undergraduate May 2004

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The main issue described is the many different reasons for the defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War. It talks about the different viewpoints of historians that seem to be biased toward the Confederacy. These opinions are divided in two categories: internal and external.

The first opinion states "that the centrifugal forces of state rights killed the Confederacy." Frank Owsley states that the governors in North Carolina and Georgia withheld men and equipment from the Confederate armies in order to build up their own state armies.

In the second opinion David Donald "argued that the resistance of Southerners to conscription, taxes, and limitations on speeches that were critical of the war effort fatally crippled the Confederacy's war effort."

The third opinion of the internal argument was that "the Confederacy lacked the will to win because of its inability to fashion a viable Southern nationalism, increasing religious doubts that God was on the Confederacy's side and guilt over slavery."

In the "Yes" argument Nolan argues that as a strategist, Lee did not look at the war on a large scale but rather on small areas at a time. I don't believe Nolan has anything against the south but he definitely anti-confederate. Lee's great failure as a commander was in "grand strategy." Nolan states that Lee should have taken a defensive approach instead of offensive. One of the reasons was the lack of resources made available to him. The north had a lot more resources including men, railroads, and being more industrial. With Lee's army surrounded, his men were weak and exhausted; Lee realized there was no choice but to surrender his Army to General Grant. In April 1865 Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Courthouse. This concluded the bloodiest conflict in the nation's history.

In the "No" argument Gallagher says...