Discussion England Supported the Confederacy?

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damYankee

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The fact is, Britian did not pursue action against the US.
They did pursue action on other far reaches of the planet, much to the dismay of some members of our forum who confuse historical fiction and the many possibilities of what could have been if only.....
 

8thFlorida

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Yes, I agree. And people in the north gladly smugged out cotton during the Civil War. Individuals are not the same as governments. Although lawbreakers in the north supported the Confederacy, the government of the United States did not.
Copperheads!!
 

Saphroneth

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The fact is, Britian did not pursue action against the US.
In the Trent affair, the British moved troops, moved ships, prepared for war, issued conditional war orders and sent an ultimatum. The US backed down and aceded to the ultimatum.

This indicates a willingness to fight on the part of the British over the right thing - Trent being that right thing. I think it's by far the most likely thing that would get the UK into a war with the Union in this time period.

They did pursue action on other far reaches of the planet, much to the dismay of some members of our forum who confuse historical fiction and the many possibilities of what could have been if only.....
Yes, because in those cases the ultimatum was sent and not aceded to. That's how a diplomatic crisis works.
 
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damYankee

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Nations do send their armed forces to intervene in other nations civil war's when their is a compelling need or at least a perceived need to do so.
In the case of the UK that compelling need simply did not exist especially after Lincoln more or less apologized for the Trent Affair .
Leftyhunter
Neither side wanted war with each other.
The simplistic impression is Britian had the military force that could have pulled it off.
The reality is defeating the US would not be the end run. Let’s go past the simple idea that Britain sides with the South and secured a victory.
Then what? Britain sails off and we all live happily ever after? Or Britain then finds itself assisting the CSA In subduing the complete civil uprising that follows?
 

Saphroneth

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Then what? Britain sails off and we all live happily ever after? Or Britain then finds itself assisting the CSA In subduing the complete civil uprising that follows?
A civil uprising where? Can you explain what you mean by this?

The most I could see happening in the event of a British intervention is the CSA becoming independent with all the slave states, plus Kansas, plus the Arizona Territory and the southern half of California (though they might get quite a lot less than that). Those are mostly areas where Confederate support was significant.
 

wausaubob

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One of those is a political party and the other isn't.
The British felt that if the breakup of the US took place then it would probably be beneficial to the cause of ending slavery (the North would end it willingly and the South would no longer have the ability to push back against British antislavery measures); they also saw the breakup as quite likely as far as I can tell.

They'd probably consider the worst outcome a negotiated (one-nation) peace with permanent protection for slavery.


British flag vessels didn't engage in slave trading anyway, as a rule; the only flag in the world not liable to be searched by British antislavery patrols was the US one (a situation which changed in 1862).


If only because it meant that the power which was normally the most antiblockade of the Great Powers was now creating all sorts of problockade precedents...
Driving the US flag out of the Atlantic oceans for 8-10 years was consistent with British policy. Anything, including Confederate raiders that promoted that end was a good result as far as the British were concerned.
At first it appeared that separation would be the best result. After separation British financial imperialism could intimidate the Confederacy.
However the economy in the Midwest of the US was performing and those Midwest railroads were paying premiums.
That probably caused some discussion of patience as a better policy.
 
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Saphroneth

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Driving the US flag out of the Atlantic oceans for 8-10 years was consistent with British policy. Anything, including Confederate raiders that promoted that end was a good result as far as the British were concerned.
I'm not aware that this was considered a deliberate goal in any sense. Do you have any citation to that effect?


At first it appeared that separation would be the best result. After separation British financial imperialism could intimidate the Confederacy.
However the economy in the Midwest of the US was performing and those Midwest railroads were paying premiums.
That probably caused some discussion of patience as a better policy.
Can you cite the discussion you're talking about? In Hansard, perhaps?
 

leftyhunter

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Neither side wanted war with each other.
The simplistic impression is Britian had the military force that could have pulled it off.
The reality is defeating the US would not be the end run. Let’s go past the simple idea that Britain sides with the South and secured a victory.
Then what? Britain sails off and we all live happily ever after? Or Britain then finds itself assisting the CSA In subduing the complete civil uprising that follows?
Agree and good point about the UK not wanting to get bogged down in an insurgency conflict.
Leftyhunter
 

Saphroneth

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Agree and good point about the UK not wanting to get bogged down in an insurgency conflict.
This is what I'm not understanding - where would this insurgency be? We're not talking about British annexing any significant chunk of the US here...
 
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leftyhunter

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This is what I'm not understanding - where would this insurgency be? We're not talking about British annexing any significant chunk of the US here...
When nations send troops to intervene in civil war's they often get involved in very tricky complex insurgencies.
While I can't of course speak for @damYankee I believe the point he was making was that in the event of a hypothetical war with the United States British forces in the United States would have to deal with considerable insurgencies in Union Territory.
As I have pointed out in my thread " Union vs CSA Guerrillas" both the Union and the Confederacy had to devote considerable military effort to deal with their respective insurgencies.
Leftyhunter
 

8thFlorida

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Driving the US flag out of the Atlantic oceans for 8-10 years was consistent with British policy. Anything, including Confederate raiders that promoted that end was a good result as far as the British were concerned.
At first it appeared that separation would be the best result. After separation British financial imperialism could intimidate the Confederacy.
However the economy in the Midwest of the US was performing and those Midwest railroads were paying premiums.
That probably caused some discussion of patience as a better policy.
Well in case you were wondering many of the Confederate Raiders were crewed by those from England. Even the CSS Alabama was crewed by men from Liverpool. So I’m not sure if England didn’t actively participate in our Revolution of 1861. Just for clarity.
 

damYankee

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A civil uprising where? Can you explain what you mean by this?

The most I could see happening in the event of a British intervention is the CSA becoming independent with all the slave states, plus Kansas, plus the Arizona Territory and the southern half of California (though they might get quite a lot less than that). Those are mostly areas where Confederate support was significant.
In your version Britain would sail up in an enormous fleet, land it’s army and march to victory. Hurray!
Then what?
Defeat the Union then what, your the guy proposing this alternative history.
Show us one scintilla of evidence in the history of the people in the US , especially those of that era, that would suggest in anyone’s wildest dreams, that the citizens would surrender?
Britain and the CSA would have to invade and occupy every state.
In the land of what if, what do you think happens?
Britain and Davis shakes hands and that’s it?
BS.
If the south had ever succeeded in secession how long before the CSA became expansionists and comes into to conflict with ever takes the place of the Union. Because there is no way in Hattie’s the CSA would be capable even with Britain’s help the end of the North. Ain’t happening.
 
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damYankee

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A civil uprising where? Can you explain what you mean by this?

The most I could see happening in the event of a British intervention is the CSA becoming independent with all the slave states, plus Kansas, plus the Arizona Territory and the southern half of California (though they might get quite a lot less than that). Those are mostly areas where Confederate support was significant.
If the south won, one of the issues it would pursue is repatriation of runaway slaves and all the slaves that had been freed
during the war. Including the slaves Canada had been taking in for decades.
This would open another can of worms.
 

wausaubob

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Thus many private citizens in Britain supported the Confederacy. Though other former British citizens had already immigrated to the United States, or came over what was to become the Canadian border, once the war began.
British policy was influenced by anti-democratic sentiments. However the example of an effective blockade had already been demonstrated in the Napoleonic era. As cited by @Saphroneth, the British were very unlikely to do anything which supported the idea that neutrals could disregard a blockade. In addition, between 1852-1856 the British had shut down the trans-Atlantic slave trade with Brazil as its destination. As attention turned toward to the slave trade involving Cuba, the blockade supplement British efforts by closing the Confederate coast to slave smugglers.
Even prior to the onset of the Civil War in the United States, the Democratic administration in the United States bowed to the inevitable and began to enforce laws against American participation in the slave trade.
The United States navy wanted to suppress the trade, and did not want to get a series of confrontations with the British.
All British policies, and missteps, have to viewed in the context that the British never questioned the blockade or the right of the United States to decide the issue of condemning captured vessels in New York.
While all this doubt and uncertainty was going on, the British got the right of inspection as to vessels flying the US flag which right virtually ended the Atlantic slave trade.
 

leftyhunter

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Indeed, it is "...one of the oldest lies..." one tells oneself. Simple ledgers don't win wars. If I'm wrong can someone please explain to me why the American ledger didn't win Vietnam.... :sneaky:

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
I do have a thread where the subject of the Vietnam War can be addressed in the moderated forum section " Compare and Contrast the American Civil War with the Vietnam War of 1957 to 1975.
Leftyhunter
 
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wausaubob

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The slave population in the United States was seriously increased by legal and illegal importations during the era 1790 and 1825. The slave population took a big jump in the 1840's with the accession of Texas. Once the import of slaves was ended, and once the portals of new territory, such as Louisiana, Florida and Texas were no longer open, slavery would become the slowest growing part of the US population. It would in short term lose every political contest.
 

Saphroneth

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Show us one scintilla of evidence in the history of the people in the US , especially those of that era, that would suggest in anyone’s wildest dreams, that the citizens would surrender?
This seems to be the core of your objection - the idea that the US would never contemplate any kind of negotiation without a total occupation.
This seems to me to be, frankly, unsustainable as a view unless one's viewpoint is thoroughly based on the idea of America as unique and exceptional - and it's also not fitting with actual US actions in wars of the past.

Take the War of 1812. In that war, the US did indeed negotiate, and it negotiated a treaty in which it recieved none of the things to which it had gone to war - it did not require a British conquest of every single state before the US would be willing to talk terms, it took blockade and land action (and even when the land action didn't exactly result in the British running the table the blockade was still sufficient to cause the US to come to the table).

In my view, the likely course of events is like this:

- Trent war kicks off
- The British establish a blockade, cut off supplies to the Union, and reinforce Canada
- The Union is unable to take Canada and is unable to break the blockade
- The blockade inflicts economic hardship on the Union, while the need to defend against various British attack vectors and the lack of European weapons going to the Union means that the Union's ability to fight the Confederacy is seriously compromised.
- A combination of the British exerting pressure on land in the north and the better-armed Confederacy causes Union reverses on land
- The Union's strategic material reserves (lead, gunpowder) drop rapidly, as do their number of troops as they can't replace their small arms
- A combination of the continuing blockade, an inability to see a route to end either war in the short term and the situation overall deteriorating with no way for it to improve (because of the continuing blockade badly damaging the Union economy, the army shrinking through casualties and weapon breakage, and the rapidly dwindling amount of critical war materials) leads to the Union deciding to cut their losses and sue for peace

This does not actually require British-Confederate cooperation, and despite this it's the most plausible scenario I can see for Confederate independence. It also doesn't require major British occupation of a large area of the US (though it does expose most every major US city to some kind of raid apart from maybe Pittsburgh).
 
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damYankee

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This seems to be the core of your objection - the idea that the US would never contemplate any kind of negotiation without a total occupation.
This seems to me to be, frankly, unsustainable as a view unless one's viewpoint is thoroughly based on the idea of America as unique and exceptional - and it's also not fitting with actual US actions in wars of the past.

Take the War of 1812. In that war, the US did indeed negotiate, and it negotiated a treaty in which it recieved none of the things to which it had gone to war - it did not require a British conquest of every single state before the US would be willing to talk terms, it took blockade and land action (and even when the land action didn't exactly result in the British running the table the blockade was still sufficient to cause the US to come to the table).

In my view, the likely course of events is like this:

- Trent war kicks off
- The British establish a blockade, cut off supplies to the Union, and reinforce Canada
- The Union is unable to take Canada and is unable to break the blockade
- The blockade inflicts economic hardship on the Union, while the need to defend against various British attack vectors and the lack of European weapons going to the Union means that the Union's ability to fight the Confederacy is seriously compromised.
- A combination of the British exerting pressure on land in the north and the better-armed Confederacy causes Union reverses on land
- The Union's strategic material reserves (lead, gunpowder) drop rapidly, as do their number of troops as they can't replace their small arms
- A combination of the continuing blockade, an inability to see a route to end either war in the short term and the situation overall deteriorating with no way for it to improve (because of the continuing blockade badly damaging the Union economy, the army shrinking through casualties and weapon breakage, and the rapidly dwindling amount of critical war materials) leads to the Union deciding to cut their losses and sue for peace

This does not actually require British-Confederate cooperation, and despite this it's the most plausible scenario I can see for Confederate independence. It also doesn't require major British occupation of a large area of the US (though it does expose most every major US city to some kind of raid apart from maybe Pittsburgh).
Actually IMO all of these what ifs are an exercise in speculative hyperbole.
In my view, Britain had more to gain by remaining out of the fight.
 
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Saphroneth

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In my view, Britain had more to gain by remaining out of the fight.
Yes, but they could easily have felt they had more to gain by fighting a concurrent war - Trent being the obvious example.

It is my view that:

The British are very unlikely to intervene in the ACW without some major change. (Such as the US trying to spark a servile war, which would result in such bloodshed the British might feel compelled to intervene with other European powers to prevent the crisis).
The British might fight a concurrent war with the Union based on some other provocation - such as Trent, the easiest by far to turn into a war.
If the British did either, the effect on the Union war effort would be ruinous very quickly.


Trent is the example you seem determined to ignore. I may have missed it, but you don't seem to concede that Trent could quite easily have led to a war.


If the south won, one of the issues it would pursue is repatriation of runaway slaves and all the slaves that had been freed during the war. Including the slaves Canada had been taking in for decades.
They might try, but Canada wasn't going to do anything of the sort. It's a diplomatic problem and a reason why the British might not align with the CSA, but at this time the USA is also a slave power; even as late as early 1863 the British believed that the Union was insufficiently anti-slavery to make them trust the Emancipation Proclamation, based on matters like the Greeley letter and the knowledge that the Fugutive Slave Law was still being enforced in the Union so long as the slaveowner was a loyalist.
 

edgeworthy

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This does not actually require British-Confederate cooperation, and despite this it's the most plausible scenario I can see for Confederate independence. It also doesn't require major British occupation of a large area of the US (though it does expose most every major US city to some kind of raid apart from maybe Pittsburgh).
Although it was actually possible to travel by Steamboat via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers between Pittsburgh and New Orleans. SS New Orleans, with a 12ft draft, managed it for the first time in 1811.

It is highly unlikely, but not physically impossible!
 
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