Date of Award

2-15-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Abstract

The following is a study of the collapse of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. This· study focuses on class dissent, unionism, and desertion in the Confederate Army as the major contributing factors to the collapse of the Confederacy. The South during the American Civil War was a deeply divided region with poor whites fighting against the planter elites. These deep social tensions caused many within the South to abandon the Confederate cause. Throughout the South before and during the Civil War there were large pockets of people who never supported the Confederacy. In East Tennessee, Arkansas, and West Virginia Unionists waged a violent and brutal guerrilla war in an attempt to destroy the Confederacy. In addition to Unionists, many Southerners who supported the Confederacy at the start of the war carried these social tensions from the home front into the army. By the second year of the war desertion in the Confederate Army was becoming a major problem. The common Confederate soldier quickly realized that they were fighting a rich man's war. The wealthy planters were not willing to do their part by either fighting or support the families of those soldiers who were blooding the battlefields. In the end, the Confederacy sealed its fate even before the first shots of the war were fired since they were never able to get all Southerners to back ·their cause.

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History Commons

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