The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945 Page: 314
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Southern History delivered at the University of Louisiana in
April, 1937. It also sketches the academic career and comments
upon the character of Professor Ramsdell. The frontispiece is
an excellent photograph of the "Dean" of Southern historians,
and a comprehensive bibliography of his writings is appended.
General historians usually give the disparity of military re-
sources between the North and the South as the decisive cause
for the defeat of Confederate armies, but that is not a sufficient
explanation of the complete disintegration of the civilian estab-
lishment in 1865. These lectures deal with inherent weaknesses
of the Confederacy and its administrative failures in mobilizing
the manpower, material, and morale of the home front for
total war. Confederate officialdom could not envisage the con-
trols for the immediate social and economic problems entailed
by the war and, unlike the United States, it could not afford to
There was simply no experience for creating the bureau-
cratic regimentation necessary to fight a hard war. Southerners
were, by tradition and temperament, Jeffersonian individualists,
and from "hillbilly" to governor they were apt to consider
intervention from Richmond as capricious and unwarranted.
Moreover, in the colonial economy of the Old South there were
few facilities for fabricating the accoutrements of soldiery and
the apparatus of war. The problem of war production was
primarily one of paucity of manufactures rather than conver-
sion of industry.
In appraising the internal difficulties of the Richmond regime,
Professor Ramsdell stated unequivocally throughout the three
essay-chapters that the greatest weakness of the Confederacy
was financial. The excessive issues of irredeemable paper cur-
rency formed the parent evil from which came baneful in-
fluences on all vital phases of life. Consequent inflation and un-
controlled prices destroyed the purchasing power of the gov-
ernment and paralyzed its procurement services, destroyed the
confidence and security of the people, brought irremediable
privation and destitution, entailed raiding and plundering from
their own side, caused desertion in the armies, increased the
demoralizing sentiment of rich-man's-war and poor-man's-fight,
and contributed to extortion, profiteering, and trading with the
enemy. Inflation was a central cause of the "fall" of the Con-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945, periodical, 1945; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146055/m1/332/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.