The Anaconda Plan

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In 1861, the United States was no longer united and its people were at war, in what is commonly known as the American Civil War. This left President Abraham Lincoln in a tight spot on how to go about dealing with the Southern states that had seceded, the Confederacy, who were now at war with the Northern states, the Union. Lincoln met with his generals to devise a strategy by which the Confederate states could be brought back into the Union. General Winfield Scott, commanding general of the Union army, proposed one plan of battle that he had earlier proposed to Major-General George B. McClellan. His plan came to be known as the Anaconda plan. This plan, although it was never technically adopted, ended up being extremely successful and…show more content…
This was to prevent them from exporting cotton, tobacco, and other cash crops and to keep them from importing much needed war supplies. Since cotton was the South’s staple product and what they relied on for economic success, if the trade of this were to be shut down then they would run out of funds and lose all financial power. The Confederate government was able to purchase a pound of cotton for as low as 8¢, and sell it to Europe for as much as 54¢. This sale was often above 300% profit while considering the costs of transport.[4] Therefore, if they were to lose this major source of income, they would begin to crumble and lose any financial power they could possibly have over the Union. This plan was never adopted mainly due to Winfield Scott’s lack of planning. His proposal for the blockade was not properly a strategy, despite the fact that it is often referred to by historians as one. It did not estimate the forces that would be needed to guard the 3000 or more miles of coastline in the seceded states.[5] Nor did it consider an allocation of resources, set out a time line, or even name points of particular concern. Due to this lack of planning, Lincoln was extremely skeptical of the plan’s possible success. It was because his doubt of the plan’s success that he chose to battle with the Confederacy in ground campaigns, rather than waiting for a slow strangulation of the Confederacy to occur. In the
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