While the North and South had different social systems which created some governmental dissimilarities, both were republics. With this in mind and before tackling any complicated Civil War topics, we need to review how a government of the people, by the people and for the people, successfully executes a war.
A republic is a form of government made up of the citizens, policymakers, and the military. The citizens vote for politicians to represent the will of the people. When political circumstances devolve and the people desire (or understand the need) to go to war, the President, in coordination with Congress, declares war and provides the fundamental tools to the military to execute the war. As the military carries out the will of the people and resists their enemies’ military force, the President, as Commander-in-Chief, implements political-military policies. If the Commander-in-Chief is more strategically savvy than the military, then he/she may make strategic or tactical decisions even to relieving senior commanders. On the other hand, when the Commander-in-Chief finds competent military leaders, he/she may form a close working relationship with them and may well work in concert with senior officers in winning the conflict and bringing about a lasting peace.
To be continued…
JoAnna M. McDonald, Ph.D., has been a historian, writer, and public speaker for twenty years, specializing in strategic studies and strategic leadership. Currently, she is in an interim position as an environmental and historic preservation specialist. Other experiences include: working as a military history researcher for the History Channel’s Vietnam in HD and World War II in HD, and working as a civilian for the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force—Predator program, and for the U.S. Army at the Army Heritage and Education Center (Military History Institute), U.S. Army War College.
Author of eleven books on the Civil War and WWII, as well as numerous journal and newsletter articles regarding U.S. Marine Corps history, JoAnna’s next book is R. E. Lee’s Grand Strategy & Strategic Leadership: Caught in a Paradoxical Paradigm (Savas Beatie, 2020).