Dixie Victorious - Wrap Up

A few general observations about Dixie Victorious are in order.

First, and this is a problem with counterfactuals generally, these pieces have story structures without all the needed story elements, like protagonists. Second, in most cases the author applied too much detail to a fictitious event; this spotlights what should be sleight of hand. Third, most Dixie authors have piled on too many counterfactuals per chapter, creating a Rube Goldberg chain of events that strains credulity. Fourth, in multiplying their counterfactuals per chapter, most Dixie authors have failed to balance development of each; typically, the false military events will be overwritten and the political outcomes covered in a mere phrase. Fifth, the authors are overwhelmingly versed in military history and deficient in politics; in Dixie, the imagined political effects of military events are uniformly ludicrous.

Dixie Victorious set this challenge for its contributors: they had to work backwards from an improbable political outcome. They also had to entertain readers who already knew the ending to their stories. Our authors took identical paths:

Military event ... military event ... [add more as needed] ... political event ... independence.

Outside of the Cleburne scenario, no one mixed it up. And no one took the road Political event ... political event ... independence. Wouldn't that have been interesting? Or how about military event ... political event ... military event ... political event .... etc.?

The economic events, well, they never even had a chance.

There's a funny thing about Dixie, and it warns us about Civil War historians generally and their understanding of causality. Every contributor here has supplied a completely different military scenario, marrying it to an identical political outcome. Okay, it was a contrived exercise. But they tried to make the outcomes plausible.

Read your next "factual" as carefully as you would a "counterfactual." And be just as suspicious of what your "factual" author thinks plausible.

p.s., Here are the Dixie summaries. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.