2 months ago
Last edited at 9:25AM on 1/8/2014
Their strategy was to use devotion to a cause in their favor. The South would defend their own soil to the very last man or boy, while the North had to rely on soldiers following orders. Lincoln eventually made the fight about slavery to give their soldiers a common cause (even though according to the CSA vice president, Alexander Stephens, the fight was always about maintaining Southern Culture, with slavery being of utmost prominence), and that proved successful. The other strategy was to get Great Britain to throw their support behind the South, and to do that the CSA armies had to show they could hurt the North militarily. Their defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg and in the Siege of Vicksburg dashed any hope of getting that support.
It was a delaying strategy in hopes that eventually Europe would side with them and force a resolution. Cotton was king back then, the equivalent of oil today, and European textile industries were developed around imported US cotton. It was working for awhile, riots broke out across England and France and their politicians were feeling the pressure, it seemed only a matter of time. But that all came crashing down in 1863 when Lincoln declared emancipation for the slaves. This turned it from an economic question for the Europeans into a moral one, and they couldn't side with the South after that.