Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon III).

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
One of the hopes of the Confederacy was partly dependent on European intervention. Napoleon III seemed to toy with the Confederacy. but would not jump in without British support, why?

First we have to look at if supporting the Confederacy would have benefited France? So exactly what would have supporting the Confederacy helped France or Napoleon III? Next we need to see if France could have given the Confederacy support that would have a real impact on the Confederate war effort.

I think one thing we need to look at is that Napoleon III needed to counter the growing influence of Prussia. Although Napoléon had doubled the size of the French overseas territories, the real issue for France was in Europe. Was Napoleon interested in the outcome of the American Civil War?

Next we need to look at if there was any support Napoleon III could have provided that would have helped the Confederacy win the War? Between the number of troops France had in North Africa and French colonies, and 40,000 soldiers in Mexico, France had a limited number of available troops that could help the Confederacy. This leaves us with the French navy. Did France have the right navy to help the Confederacy win the War?

Did the medical condition of Napoleon III play into this? At least to me, it appears that Napoleon III wanted to gain the most with the least expenditure. So I am asking opinions about what French intervention would have looked like.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Don't forget that Napoleon had a client state in Mexico--and Mexico was non-slave having abolished slavery in 1829. From what I've read, Mexico welcomed Black job seekers and fugitive slaves (in fact, there was a little known southern branch of the underground railroad that went through Texas into Mexico). France itself had abolished slavery in all its territories and engaging in a war to support slavery probably wouldn't have been very popular. I can't source it now (but I'll dig) but I read that the Confederate embassy to France rather shot itself in the foot when it (embassy) declared that part of the despicability of the Union was its reliance on immigrant, foreign troops (some of whom were French).

IMO Napoleon had no real incentive to help the Confederacy and I wonder if his neutrality wasn't disinterest.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Napoleon III had a lot on his plate and I am not certain he saw helping the Confederacy, without British support, as a real possibility. I do have a question about what France, by her self, could have done to make a real difference.
 

Lubliner

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Nov 27, 2018
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Chattanooga, Tennessee
Monetary backing, and mainly recognition by a foreign power. I think the confederate need was to be recognized on a world scale so they could barter with the Union. Without the recognition they would never be considered as a world power.
Lubliner.
 
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