Age Old Debate
On this date in 1863, Secretary of State William Seward rejected France’s offer to mediate peace and end the War Between the States. Needless to say, because of his decision, millions more died, and some of the worst battles fought on American soil took place. Some of those battles still hold records today in the number of casualties they claimed.
This brings us to that familiar old adage: What would have happened if the South had won the Civil War? There have been numerous books written on the subject, as well as ongoing blogs and discussions. One thing is for certain, however. If the war had ended at the onset of 1863, millions of American men would have kept their lives.
Seward was criticized for his decision, and despised by some because of it. An accomplice of John Wilkes Booth, Lewis Powell, nearly killed Seward at the same time that Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. After the war, Seward was criticized by the press for purchasing Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, calling it “Seward’s Folly.” He got the last laugh though, when gold was discovered five years later, in 1872.