So, this fact is obviously not news to Ethan S. Rafuse – military historian – but since you mention cotton,
what about the South deciding to use that great stick they certainly did have – COTTON – by choosing to starve the system instead of flooding it?
Look, I’m sure this is probably the stuff of tons of scholarly debate that simply doesn’t rise to my level of experience, but point me to it, because I would very much like to add to it.
I could, in but a few hours, add thousands of words and hundreds of footnotes on why this was
the stupidest decision ever in the history of warfare.
And that statement contains only the thinnest shred of hyperbole, despite my reputation.
The South should not have risked the chance that the world could survive without their cotton.
Even in the realm of the tightest Secondary Order Effect [SOE] it has little payoff for what should have been seen as an unacceptable risk.
Because it was an unacceptable risk.
No serious scholar argues this.
In trying and starve the globe of cotton in the hopes that it would come begging, the South also bankrupted itself.
But of course, the worst and most foreseeable risk was that the world might discover that it could survive just fine without slave-picked cotton.
As it did.
Meanwhile, you’ve bankrupted yourself for the promise of a payday that will never materialize.