In the early years of the Civil War, the North (United States/Union) struggled against the South (Confederate States). Battle after battle was lost to the South, despite the North's superior firepower, industry, population, etc. What caused this loss is debated by historians constantly, we just know that it happened.
But what if it didn't?
Until around the middle of the war, Lincoln's newly formed Republicans were the quintessential Free-Soiler party. This means that they were not dedicated to the eradication of slavery, but rather containment: new states admitted to the Union would be free, while the south could retain their slaves (with the idea that slavery would eventually die out). At the aforementioned middle of the war, Republicans became galvanized to the point of accepting slave emancipation in the south. A cause (whether it was the primary one can be debated) was consistent loss, which forced northerners to harden their ideals into a specific, achievable goal. This goal was the eradication of slavery.
The generally accepted point when the Republicans transferred from Free-Soil to Abolitionist (freeing of slaves) was the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. It freed the slaves in states that seceded, despite the lack of Union authority over them- the premise being that they would be freed as the Union army progressed.
But if the north was more successful at war, winning as swiftly as their material advantage implied, the Republicans would not be galvanized to abolition. This would (likely) result in southern states being returned with slavery. This leads to my question. What would the US's attitude toward slavery look like with a drastically shortened American Civil War?
The important historical differences are as follows:
- The first few months of the war are along the lines of current history
- Confederacy overrun by brilliant tactician at 1st Manassas
- Battle of Wilson's Creek is won by Union, who push into Missouri, recapturing much of the state
- Battle of Missouri (fictional) occurs where a last ditch Confederate move to halt the Union advance partially succeeds, giving the Union Missouri, but blocking further Union advance (Sept 1861)
- Battle of the Keys (fictional) secures northern blockade of Floridian coast (Oct 1861)
- Battles of Charleston and Wilmington (fictional) expand bock across east coast (Feb 1862)
- Massive northern incursion takes Confederacy by surprise in Apr 1862, north advances all the way to Atlanta and Charlotte
- Last ditch Confederate effort stifled in Jun 1862, peace declared June 18th, 1862