Discussion England Supported the Confederacy?

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damYankee

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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.



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.
Well it seems you have everything all figured out, Britain blew it by not pick the easy fruit that was the US.
Yes, the Americans would have just thrown down their guns and run for the tall grass, we were such cowardly low life’s.
Why even the North had slaves.
:banghead:
 

Saphroneth

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Well it seems you have everything all figured out, Britain blew it by not pick the easy fruit that was the US.
Yes, the Americans would have just thrown down their guns and run for the tall grass, we were such cowardly low life’s.
Why even the North had slaves.
...

I get the feeling you're reading my posts to a certain point and no further.

I agree that there was no benefit to Britain for fighting a war with the Union in the Civil War as it developed.
I however do feel that there would have been benefit for Britain fighting a war (at least that the British decision makers would have seen a benefit) in the event that the Union had not backed down over the Trent Affair.

It also seems to me to be distinctly odd that you seem to hold there are only two positions for the Union's resilience to defeat - either they won't negotiate unless they're completely occupied, or they're "cowardly low lifes".

I'm actually arguing for neither, I'm arguing that the Union would continue fighting for several months while they still see a way out of the war but that they would eventually be compelled to negotiate when they saw a major collapse in warfighting capability approaching, caused by a combination of a serious lack of strategic materiel and a financial crisis.
(This is consistent with the way wars tended to end between Great Powers and even with secondary powers in this period. It's also what led to the end of the American Revolutionary War, so it's a good model for a successful independence war in which an outside conflict also takes place.)

As to the point about slavery, it's factually correct for 1862 and it's important when understanding British points of view - they were so anti-slavery they disliked the North for it as well.

Perhaps I should provide a few citations.

Gladstone:

"we may have our own opinions, and I imagine we have our own opinions about the institutions of the South- ('hear hear,' and applause)- as unfortunately we may have our own private opinions about the countenance that has been given to those institutions in the North- ('hear hear' and applause)... Why, no doubt if we could say this was a contest of slavery or freedom, there is not a man in the length and breadth of this room- there perhaps is hardly a man in all England- who would for a moment hesitate upon the side which he would take- (hear, hear)- but we have no faith in the propagation of our institutions at the point of the sword ('Hear hear' and cheers)... You cannot invade a nation in order to convert its institutions from bad ones into good ones, and our friends in the North have, as we think, made a great mistake in supposing that they can bend all the horrors of this war to philanthropic ends. (Hear, hear). Now, gentlemen, there are those among us who think- and I confess, for one, I have shared the apprehension- that if in the course of the vicissitudes of the war the Southern States of America should send an embassy to Washington, and should say, 'Very well; we are ready to lay down arms... upon one condition- that you shall ensure us that there shall be no interference with our domestic institutions.' Ah, gentleman, we have had a fear that that application, if it were made, would receive a very favourable reply. ("Hear hear", and cheers)." (Liverpool Mercury, 25 April 1862)


Newspaper reports on the British reaction to the contraband policy:



"Slaves [Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory and James Townsend] have fled to the camp of General Butler; and when their owner, under a flag of truce, claimed their restoration, Yankee ingenuity raised the curious pretence that they were 'contraband of war', but said they should be restored on the owner taking an oath of fidelity to the Union... After great perplexity, the Cabinet of Washington has instructed the Commanders to receive escaped slaves and set them to work, keeping an account of their work and the cost of their keep. Is it thus that men make war to put down slavery?... what is 'the anti-slavery sentiment' that, instead of saying to these fugitive slaves- 'Go forth; we shall do nothing to return you to bondage;' detains them, keeping an account of their food and earnings, that a balance may be duly made when they shall be returned to their former owners, or sold to reimburse the Federal treasury? Dr Beecher and Mr Phillips had better teach 'the anti-slavery sentiment' at Washington, before they trouble themselves to cross the Atlantic. Our 'anti-slavery sentiment' tells us to scorn this miserable paltering. Providence has destroyed, by the appalling judgement of civil war, the old devices by which the Free States propped up the system of the Slave States; and even in the midst of that war, the men who say they are fighting for liberty, actually embarrass themselves with the care of the human chattels in the interest of slave owners. We console ourselves with the belief that this shallow expedient will break down. The army may take charge of a few hundred slaves, but it can do nothing with them when they come forth by thousands; and the movement of slaves having commenced, it must go on spreading and strengthening while the war continues." (Sheffield Independent, 15 June 1861, p. 7)

“They have proclaimed theirs to be the land of freedom, while they have become utterly oblivious to the fact that their Union involved a system of slavery more cruel, degrading, and ****ing to the human feelings, intellect, and spirit, than ever before disgraced the world… Do the Northern States seek to free themselves from these heavy charges? Hypocrisy impotent as contemptible! Where under the canopy of heaven did colour stamp a man with such hopeless misery as in the streets of New York, Philadelphia, or Boston?... The triumph of the South cannot make Slavery worse; the triumph of the North can hardly make the position of the slave better, when even now she designates him as a 'chattel', and talks of him as being 'contraband of war'.” (Huddersfield Chronicle, 13 July 1861 p. 5)

"Another piece of news brought by the last steamer, is the remarkable proclamation which General Fremont has issued in Missouri... The slaves held by rebels are, by this proclamation, declared to be free, and not 'contraband of war', as has hitherto been the case. This is a most important distinction, and we regard it as the first step towards making the present struggle a war of emancipation... A movement of this kind will not be easily put back... We are thankful that the patriotic Fremont... has had the courage to act as he has done, and we trust that before long, the principle which he has thus broadly and publicly avowed, will obtain the enlightened and energetic support of the Federal Government." (York Herald, 21 September 1861, p. 8)

“It is certainly stretching the doctrine of contraband of war very far… the argument is as absurd and untenable as an argument could possibly be… when the necessity of emancipating the slaves is so strongly felt that people are ready to seize upon the most obviously absurd pretext as reasons to justify it, it is evident that the day of action is drawing nigh. We have always anticipated its advent, and are not at all surprised to see it coming so soon, nor sorry to see it coming with such ridiculously awkward excuses.” (Leeds Mercury, 8 October 1861)

"Mr Lincoln- long the chosen representative of Illinois, a State which has always signalised itself by a reluctance to allow of the settlement of free negroes on its soul... It is probable that even at the seat of the Federal Government no one is able to tell exactly what becomes of the 'contrabands' who flock to the camp of the army of the Potomac, and few persons, perhaps, feel much curiosity on the subject. Every military officer is allowed carte blanche, and follows his own lights in the matter. Wherein it is observable that those belonging to the regular army generally show a disposition to pay more attention to the vested rights of the master than to the inherent rights of the fugitive." (Bradford Observer, 6 February 1862, p. 7)

And more generally:



“Not only slaves but free coloured men were treated with the greatest ignominy in the Northern States... From the Northern churches the people of colour were practically excluded; they were treated with a contumely which was more insulting even than the direct tyranny of the South... He believed that the North would willingly give up not only the four millions of slaves, but the half million of free-coloured people resident in the North, if by that means the reconstruction of the Union could be effected.” (William Howard Day, Sheffield Independent, 17 January 1862)

“Wherever you find a black person in the Northern cities of America he is most wretchedly treated; he is treated worse than you would treat a dog… At this moment there are fights constantly taking place in Washington and other cities because the poor black man wishes to ride in an omnibus (Hear, hear). I said the people who would do that are not the friends of the black man (Cheers.)” (John Arthur Roebuck MP, Sheffield Independent 11 July 1865)
The most miserable exhibition of imbecile weakness has been made by the President in addressing a deputation of the coloured people who were invited to meet him at the White House and hear his oracular utterances... He tells the coloured people that their presence in the republic is a great embarrassment... The proud, tyrannical, dominant race, who make fine professions of universal freedom and world-wide philanthropy, are the humble suitors to the despised and down-trodden coloured people, and entreat them to go.... America is as much the native country of the men of African, as those of English, Irish, or German descent.” (Sheffield Independent, 4 September 1862)

“Walter S. Cox, the commissioner under the Fugitive Slave Law, to-day [11 June 1863] remanded seven runaway slaves, two of them children, from Maryland, to their claimants. An affidavit of the loyalty of the claimants had been made.” (Leeds Mercury, 25 June 1863)




This is not to say that the British would find common cause with the South because of this; they wouldn't. The Trent affair caused great annoyance and made the British (public and government) ready for war, but they viewed it as a war forced upon them and some papers or MPs were quite angry that it might lead to some benefit for the CSA!


“England has too cordial a detestation of slavery to unite even in appearance with the South." (Leeds Mercury, 30 November 1861)
“There is not- and it is a proud boast- a single paper in the United Kingdom that, following the example of the debased New York papers, proposed to make the most of the difficulty of America, for former affronts to this country, by recognising the Southern Confederacy in retaliation for the act of Captain Wilkes.” (Bradford Observer, 5 December 1861)
"There can be no peculiar sympathy between England and the new Confederacy so long as slavery is the base of Southern institutions" (Saturday Review, December 1861)
"The gulf placed between us, between the English nation and any community that subsists by slavery, that makes it impossible that we can ally ourselves either by sympathy, community of feeling, or affection with any nation that exists upon that which I can call nothing but a disgrace and curse to mankind (Cheers). (Edward Horsman, MP, December 1861)
"We pray earnestly that God may avert from us the great calamity of finding ourselves striking hands with Southern slavery" (Eclectic Review, January 1862)
"England allied with a Confederation of slaveholding states... such a position as this would have been a cruel necessity... Thank God, we have escaped the danger." (Illustrated London News, January 1862)

In this light, the reason I focus upon Trent is that it's a flashpoint for an entirely separate war. This is much easier than any kind of intervention, and the most likely kind of intervention would be a multinational intervention to prevent bloodshed and encourage arbitration in a war that otherwise looked like being far too bloody. (This intervention would require the buy-in of Russia, the Great Power most friendly to America, so without their buy-in it's not happening.)


To recapitulate:

I think that...
...the Trent War is by far the easiest way for the British to get involved in the ACW because it is explicitly not an intervention.
...the balance of force and momentum against the US in that case would be strong enough that it would be in trouble by the middle of 1862.
...the US would sue for a negotiated peace when it was losing with the momentum against it and no clear path to victory, thus doing the same thing as any other Great Power in trouble in this period.
...this is not the US being unusually weak but is the US being unexceptional in the sense of its resilience to things going badly.
...without the Trent affair as an inciting incident to a separate war then a British intervention is very hard to arrange and requires the war fundamentally changing.

And

...that the US being vulnerable to serious trouble in fighting a simultaneous war with another industrially and navally strong Great Power on top of the historical ACW is not an indictment to the US; it's a recognition that the ACW was a hard war to fight for the Union, and that most Great Powers have a significant peacetime military. The British would have serious trouble dealing with the addition of the United States to their list of enemies in early 1915 (the comparison's not perfect but good enough to be going on with).
 
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damYankee

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...

I get the feeling you're reading my posts to a certain point and no further.

I agree that there was no benefit to Britain for fighting a war with the Union in the Civil War as it developed.
I however do feel that there would have been benefit for Britain fighting a war (at least that the British decision makers would have seen a benefit) in the event that the Union had not backed down over the Trent Affair.

It also seems to me to be distinctly odd that you seem to hold there are only two positions for the Union's resilience to defeat - either they won't negotiate unless they're completely occupied, or they're "cowardly low lifes".

I'm actually arguing for neither, I'm arguing that the Union would continue fighting for several months while they still see a way out of the war but that they would eventually be compelled to negotiate when they saw a major collapse in warfighting capability approaching, caused by a combination of a serious lack of strategic materiel and a financial crisis.
(This is consistent with the way wars tended to end between Great Powers and even with secondary powers in this period. It's also what led to the end of the American Revolutionary War, so it's a good model for a successful independence war in which an outside conflict also takes place.)

As to the point about slavery, it's factually correct for 1862 and it's important when understanding British points of view - they were so anti-slavery they disliked the North for it as well.

Perhaps I should provide a few citations.

Gladstone:

"we may have our own opinions, and I imagine we have our own opinions about the institutions of the South- ('hear hear,' and applause)- as unfortunately we may have our own private opinions about the countenance that has been given to those institutions in the North- ('hear hear' and applause)... Why, no doubt if we could say this was a contest of slavery or freedom, there is not a man in the length and breadth of this room- there perhaps is hardly a man in all England- who would for a moment hesitate upon the side which he would take- (hear, hear)- but we have no faith in the propagation of our institutions at the point of the sword ('Hear hear' and cheers)... You cannot invade a nation in order to convert its institutions from bad ones into good ones, and our friends in the North have, as we think, made a great mistake in supposing that they can bend all the horrors of this war to philanthropic ends. (Hear, hear). Now, gentlemen, there are those among us who think- and I confess, for one, I have shared the apprehension- that if in the course of the vicissitudes of the war the Southern States of America should send an embassy to Washington, and should say, 'Very well; we are ready to lay down arms... upon one condition- that you shall ensure us that there shall be no interference with our domestic institutions.' Ah, gentleman, we have had a fear that that application, if it were made, would receive a very favourable reply. ("Hear hear", and cheers)." (Liverpool Mercury, 25 April 1862)


Newspaper reports on the British reaction to the contraband policy:



"Slaves [Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory and James Townsend] have fled to the camp of General Butler; and when their owner, under a flag of truce, claimed their restoration, Yankee ingenuity raised the curious pretence that they were 'contraband of war', but said they should be restored on the owner taking an oath of fidelity to the Union... After great perplexity, the Cabinet of Washington has instructed the Commanders to receive escaped slaves and set them to work, keeping an account of their work and the cost of their keep. Is it thus that men make war to put down slavery?... what is 'the anti-slavery sentiment' that, instead of saying to these fugitive slaves- 'Go forth; we shall do nothing to return you to bondage;' detains them, keeping an account of their food and earnings, that a balance may be duly made when they shall be returned to their former owners, or sold to reimburse the Federal treasury? Dr Beecher and Mr Phillips had better teach 'the anti-slavery sentiment' at Washington, before they trouble themselves to cross the Atlantic. Our 'anti-slavery sentiment' tells us to scorn this miserable paltering. Providence has destroyed, by the appalling judgement of civil war, the old devices by which the Free States propped up the system of the Slave States; and even in the midst of that war, the men who say they are fighting for liberty, actually embarrass themselves with the care of the human chattels in the interest of slave owners. We console ourselves with the belief that this shallow expedient will break down. The army may take charge of a few hundred slaves, but it can do nothing with them when they come forth by thousands; and the movement of slaves having commenced, it must go on spreading and strengthening while the war continues." (Sheffield Independent, 15 June 1861, p. 7)

“They have proclaimed theirs to be the land of freedom, while they have become utterly oblivious to the fact that their Union involved a system of slavery more cruel, degrading, and ****ing to the human feelings, intellect, and spirit, than ever before disgraced the world… Do the Northern States seek to free themselves from these heavy charges? Hypocrisy impotent as contemptible! Where under the canopy of heaven did colour stamp a man with such hopeless misery as in the streets of New York, Philadelphia, or Boston?... The triumph of the South cannot make Slavery worse; the triumph of the North can hardly make the position of the slave better, when even now she designates him as a 'chattel', and talks of him as being 'contraband of war'.” (Huddersfield Chronicle, 13 July 1861 p. 5)

"Another piece of news brought by the last steamer, is the remarkable proclamation which General Fremont has issued in Missouri... The slaves held by rebels are, by this proclamation, declared to be free, and not 'contraband of war', as has hitherto been the case. This is a most important distinction, and we regard it as the first step towards making the present struggle a war of emancipation... A movement of this kind will not be easily put back... We are thankful that the patriotic Fremont... has had the courage to act as he has done, and we trust that before long, the principle which he has thus broadly and publicly avowed, will obtain the enlightened and energetic support of the Federal Government." (York Herald, 21 September 1861, p. 8)

“It is certainly stretching the doctrine of contraband of war very far… the argument is as absurd and untenable as an argument could possibly be… when the necessity of emancipating the slaves is so strongly felt that people are ready to seize upon the most obviously absurd pretext as reasons to justify it, it is evident that the day of action is drawing nigh. We have always anticipated its advent, and are not at all surprised to see it coming so soon, nor sorry to see it coming with such ridiculously awkward excuses.” (Leeds Mercury, 8 October 1861)

"Mr Lincoln- long the chosen representative of Illinois, a State which has always signalised itself by a reluctance to allow of the settlement of free negroes on its soul... It is probable that even at the seat of the Federal Government no one is able to tell exactly what becomes of the 'contrabands' who flock to the camp of the army of the Potomac, and few persons, perhaps, feel much curiosity on the subject. Every military officer is allowed carte blanche, and follows his own lights in the matter. Wherein it is observable that those belonging to the regular army generally show a disposition to pay more attention to the vested rights of the master than to the inherent rights of the fugitive." (Bradford Observer, 6 February 1862, p. 7)

And more generally:



“Not only slaves but free coloured men were treated with the greatest ignominy in the Northern States... From the Northern churches the people of colour were practically excluded; they were treated with a contumely which was more insulting even than the direct tyranny of the South... He believed that the North would willingly give up not only the four millions of slaves, but the half million of free-coloured people resident in the North, if by that means the reconstruction of the Union could be effected.” (William Howard Day, Sheffield Independent, 17 January 1862)

“Wherever you find a black person in the Northern cities of America he is most wretchedly treated; he is treated worse than you would treat a dog… At this moment there are fights constantly taking place in Washington and other cities because the poor black man wishes to ride in an omnibus (Hear, hear). I said the people who would do that are not the friends of the black man (Cheers.)” (John Arthur Roebuck MP, Sheffield Independent 11 July 1865)
The most miserable exhibition of imbecile weakness has been made by the President in addressing a deputation of the coloured people who were invited to meet him at the White House and hear his oracular utterances... He tells the coloured people that their presence in the republic is a great embarrassment... The proud, tyrannical, dominant race, who make fine professions of universal freedom and world-wide philanthropy, are the humble suitors to the despised and down-trodden coloured people, and entreat them to go.... America is as much the native country of the men of African, as those of English, Irish, or German descent.” (Sheffield Independent, 4 September 1862)

“Walter S. Cox, the commissioner under the Fugitive Slave Law, to-day [11 June 1863] remanded seven runaway slaves, two of them children, from Maryland, to their claimants. An affidavit of the loyalty of the claimants had been made.” (Leeds Mercury, 25 June 1863)




This is not to say that the British would find common cause with the South because of this; they wouldn't. The Trent affair caused great annoyance and made the British (public and government) ready for war, but they viewed it as a war forced upon them and some papers or MPs were quite angry that it might lead to some benefit for the CSA!


“England has too cordial a detestation of slavery to unite even in appearance with the South." (Leeds Mercury, 30 November 1861)
“There is not- and it is a proud boast- a single paper in the United Kingdom that, following the example of the debased New York papers, proposed to make the most of the difficulty of America, for former affronts to this country, by recognising the Southern Confederacy in retaliation for the act of Captain Wilkes.” (Bradford Observer, 5 December 1861)
"There can be no peculiar sympathy between England and the new Confederacy so long as slavery is the base of Southern institutions" (Saturday Review, December 1861)
"The gulf placed between us, between the English nation and any community that subsists by slavery, that makes it impossible that we can ally ourselves either by sympathy, community of feeling, or affection with any nation that exists upon that which I can call nothing but a disgrace and curse to mankind (Cheers). (Edward Horsman, MP, December 1861)
"We pray earnestly that God may avert from us the great calamity of finding ourselves striking hands with Southern slavery" (Eclectic Review, January 1862)
"England allied with a Confederation of slaveholding states... such a position as this would have been a cruel necessity... Thank God, we have escaped the danger." (Illustrated London News, January 1862)

In this light, the reason I focus upon Trent is that it's a flashpoint for an entirely separate war. This is much easier than any kind of intervention, and the most likely kind of intervention would be a multinational intervention to prevent bloodshed and encourage arbitration in a war that otherwise looked like being far too bloody. (This intervention would require the buy-in of Russia, the Great Power most friendly to America, so without their buy-in it's not happening.)


To recapitulate:

I think that...
...the Trent War is by far the easiest way for the British to get involved in the ACW because it is explicitly not an intervention.
...the balance of force and momentum against the US in that case would be strong enough that it would be in trouble by the middle of 1862.
...the US would sue for a negotiated peace when it was losing with the momentum against it and no clear path to victory, thus doing the same thing as any other Great Power in trouble in this period.
...this is not the US being unusually weak but is the US being unexceptional in the sense of its resilience to things going badly.
...without the Trent affair as an inciting incident to a separate war then a British intervention is very hard to arrange and requires the war fundamentally changing.

And

...that the US being vulnerable to serious trouble in fighting a simultaneous war with another industrially and navally strong Great Power on top of the historical ACW is not an indictment to the US; it's a recognition that the ACW was a hard war to fight for the Union, and that most Great Powers have a significant peacetime military. The British would have serious trouble dealing with the addition of the United States to their list of enemies in early 1915 (the comparison's not perfect but good enough to be going on with).
Yet when someone expresses an opposing opinion they do so under the illusion of American Exceptionalism.
You seem obsessed with the Trent Affair. While I am thinking about the eight years of struggle for independence from Britain that in 1862 Americans were just two or three generations removed from.
The American people, by 1862 now spread across a continent larger than Europe had human resources that the Union had not tapped in its struggle against the CSA.
When you reflect on the War of 1812 you think of the negotiated end of the conflict. Most Americans reflect on the Battle of New Orleans.
After the British sacked Washington DC in that conflict the US Dream, the American spirit was not defeated. America actually expanded. The citizens, not the government expanded the borders, settlers, took on the Mexican Army in Texas.
Citizens, not the government took on the great challenge of settling the west, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, California, Oregon
Citizens took on the challenges of engaging the native. Citizen Militias were formed only when enough US citizens occupied an area to vote for inclusion as a territory did the US military post units.
Few antagonist such as yourself who frequently posts alternative narratives to our history ever understand that dynamic.
Here is an interesting what if.
How long would Richmond stood if the North threw every Union Army into the fight in 1862 or 63? Instead of taking New Orleans, the largest city in the South, instead of surrounding Vicksburg, instead of engaging southern forces across the southern states, had the strategy been to isolate and destroy Virginia first, what would have been the outcome?
 
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wausaubob

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Gladstone's April 1862 speech is the most effective. Although it ignores concrete steps taken by the United States to co-operate with Britain on the high seas.
 
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wausaubob

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From the point of view of the monarchy, if Britain could concede the independence of the Americans, why cannot the Americans concede the independence of the Confederates? Moreover, democracy is not something people should be dying to protect and preserve.
Though in Germany and Prussia, which had experienced the full Napoleonic dominance, there was considerable more sympathy with nation building and less sympathy with France.
In the crisis I think Lord Russell encouraged a German tour for the grieving monarch were the Germans were more sympathetic with the efforts of the United States to build a powerful and united country.
PM Palmerston was stalling. In the time gained Lincoln adopted the Emancipation Proclamation and the British government developed the counter argument to the idea that international mediation equaled a peaceful solution.
 
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Saphroneth

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You seem obsessed with the Trent Affair. While I am thinking about the eight years of struggle for independence from Britain that in 1862 Americans were just two or three generations removed from.
It's the most obvious place where the Civil War could have had a different outcome, so it's of interest.

Yet when someone expresses an opposing opinion they do so under the illusion of American Exceptionalism.
You stated that you believed the US wouldn't negotiate. Do you think the same is true of other nations?
If you think the US acts differently to other nations in similar circumstances, that is American Exceptionalism. By definition.

When you reflect on the War of 1812 you think of the negotiated end of the conflict. Most Americans reflect on the Battle of New Orleans.
I'm unsurprised, it's the most clear land victory of the war. However, it should be recognized that the US entered a war against a distracted Britain, spent two years accomplishing very little, and then negotiated a peace in which it got none of what it was after.

How long would Richmond stood if the North threw every Union Army into the fight in 1862 or 63? Instead of taking New Orleans, the largest city in the South, instead of surrounding Vicksburg, instead of engaging southern forces across the southern states, had the strategy been to isolate and destroy Virginia first, what would have been the outcome?
In 1862? Easy, McClellan takes Richmond in July 1862 and cripples the Confederate industrial production for the rest of the war (as in 1862 Richmond held the one Confederate steam hammer, which spent the latter half of the year producing tools for other Confederate industrial sites). He was close historically (thanks to the advantage of his seaborne logistics) but didn't have a numerical advantage thanks to the massive retention of troops to defend the Union capital.
 

Saphroneth

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From the point of view of the monarchy, if Britain could concede the independence of the Americans, why cannot the Americans concede the independence of the Confederates? Moreover, democracy is not something people should be dying to protect and preserve.
What on earth are you talking about? Union, Confederacy and UK were all democracies.
 

leftyhunter

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Good quotes and somewhat amusing to have the nation that profited the most from the trans-Atlantic slave trade and purchased the bulk of cotton grown by slaves lecturing the United States about hypocrisy.
Not to mention massive arms sales to the Confederacy and building blockade runners, commerce raiders, and free use of same at British ports in the Caribbean.
Leftyhunter
 
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Saphroneth

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Not to mention massive arms sales to the Confederacy and building blockade runners, commerce raiders, and free use of same at British ports in the Caribbean.
Blockade runners yes (they're civilian ships being risked against the blockade), commerce raiders not so much. The Alabama was an error and duly compensated, but the British did endeavour to catch other Confederate warships being built in their ports (the Laird Rams got caught, for one).
 

leftyhunter

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What on earth are you talking about? Union, Confederacy and UK were all democracies.
Sort of kind of. Women were not allowed to vote in most of the states and none in the antebellum period. I have a thread " was the vote for Secession free and fair"? No it was not per many sources on violence towards anti secessionist voter's.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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Blockade runners yes (they're civilian ships being risked against the blockade), commerce raiders not so much. The Alabama was an error and duly compensated, but the British did endeavour to catch other Confederate warships being built in their ports (the Laird Rams got caught, for one).
Well the British didn't stop the Shenedoah. Nor has previously discussed arms sales to the Confederacy well into 1864. Not to say the British arms sales violated then British law nor that other nations didn't also sell weapons to both sides.
Point being the newspaper editorials criticized the Lincoln Adminstration for hypocrisy dealing with escaped slave's while failing to admit that the British arms dealer's along with other West European arms dealer's were prolonging slavery by selling weapons to the Confederacy.
Leftyhunter
 
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Saphroneth

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Sort of kind of.
Democracy does not automatically mean universal suffrage democracy. It's true that one can quibble over whether North, South or Britain was more democratic, but given the overwhelming majority of other powers were something completely different in terms of the power given to the elected institution it's fairly evident that - at least in terms of the government - they're more similar than different.
 

Saphroneth

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Well the British didn't stop the Shenedoah.
Because, like Alabama, it wasn't a commerce raider when it left.

The British government did seize (CSS Alexandra) or attempt to seize (CSS Alabama) Confederate ships building in British yards. However, it was almost impossible to prove that they were intended for conversion to commerce raiders: the Alexandra case was thrown out of court. Building a normal ship for a belligerent is entirely legal; the Laird Rams were stopped because they could be proven to be warships.
Since the Amerika was built for Russia in New York (launching 1857) it looks like the US didn't have trouble building a paddle corvette for a belligerent fighting the British at the time the ship was ordered and constructed; I've seen reference to other construction for Russia during the Crimean War but can't confirm the name.


Nor has previously discussed arms sales to the Confederacy well into 1864.
And to the Union until the summer of 1863 (for firearms) and the whole war (for gunpowder).


Point being the newspaper editorials criticized the Lincoln Adminstration for hypocrisy dealing with escaped slave's while failing to admit that the British arms dealer's along with other West European arms dealer's were prolonging slavery by selling weapons to the Confederacy.
It's not hypocritical in this case because the British aren't claiming the moral high ground in not selling weapons while also doing so as government policy. Note that the stuff they're accusing Lincoln of is government policy on both sides, while the arms dealers aren't.
 

leftyhunter

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Because, like Alabama, it wasn't a commerce raider when it left.

The British government did seize (CSS Alexandra) or attempt to seize (CSS Alabama) Confederate ships building in British yards. However, it was almost impossible to prove that they were intended for conversion to commerce raiders: the Alexandra case was thrown out of court. Building a normal ship for a belligerent is entirely legal; the Laird Rams were stopped because they could be proven to be warships.
Since the Amerika was built for Russia in New York (launching 1857) it looks like the US didn't have trouble building a paddle corvette for a belligerent fighting the British at the time the ship was ordered and constructed; I've seen reference to other construction for Russia during the Crimean War but can't confirm the name.



And to the Union until the summer of 1863 (for firearms) and the whole war (for gunpowder).



It's not hypocritical in this case because the British aren't claiming the moral high ground in not selling weapons while also doing so as government policy. Note that the stuff they're accusing Lincoln of is government policy on both sides, while the arms dealers aren't.
Russia was at the time a friendly nation so no problem in constructing a warship to fight a not so friendly UK.
The Laird Ram Affair was initiated if memory serves by the U.S.Embassy in the UK not the UK government.
Yes critiquing the U.S.Govt for not properly providing refuge to escaped slave's while arming the Confederacy is hypocrisy.
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wbull1

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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...
I don't understand your statement that a breakup would be beneficial to the ending of slavery since the protection and expansion was the main reason for secession. It seems to be an independent Confederacy would be even more resistant to anti-slavery sentiment, having just spent lives and money to protect it.
 

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If bullfrogs had wings they wouldn’t bump their butts every time they try to fly.
 

Saphroneth

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Russia was at the time a friendly nation so no problem in constructing a warship to fight a not so friendly UK.
If it's a warship and a known one, there absolutely is; if it's not a warship, there is not.
"Friendly nation" doesn't have any legal force. What has force is alliance and neutrality, and in this case the USA was a neutral - if the US was constructing a known warship for the Russians while neutral in a war, that would be a breach of neutrality.
If on the other hand the ship was not armed at the time it left port, it would not be a breach of neutrality. If the US were honestly unaware that the ship was intended to be a Russian warship, then it would also not be a breach of neutrality.

This is how international law and neutrality worked at the time. Armed warships could not be constructed for a belligerent by a neutral power for which a relevant declaration of neutrality had been made; other weapons of war could be purchased by a belligerent, but there was no guarantee of safe delivery. In this sense it's like Cash And Carry from WW2 (but Destroyers for Bases is right out).

The Laird Ram Affair was initiated if memory serves by the U.S.Embassy in the UK not the UK government.
It's quite possible that that was the case; for the rams the identity of the people who ordered the ships wasn't exactly announced in the papers. (They were claimed to be for another power not currently involved in a war.)

Yes critiquing the U.S.Govt for not properly providing refuge to escaped slave's while arming the Confederacy is hypocrisy.
In the first case, it's quite possible to critique the hypocrisy of another while holding a consistent stance of one's own; in the second case, unless the newspapers are also the ones selling arms to the Confederacy specifically then it's not a hypocritical stance even if the connection is being consciously made that Confederate == slavery. (See below.)
The thing the newspapers highlighted is that the Lincoln administration was claiming an antislavery stance while also enacting the Fugutive Slave Law inside the District of Columbia; that's the same group doing it in both cases.
Hypocrisy is something done by an individual or an organization, with a single coherent membership; the government holding both positions is hypocritical, but an individual holding one position while another individual from the same country holds a different position is not.


I don't understand your statement that a breakup would be beneficial to the ending of slavery since the protection and expansion was the main reason for secession.
It wouldn't; this however was the view of the British at the time. They felt that an end to the war without Confederate independence would see a protection clause applied to slavery, largely because they misunderstood the Southern mindset.


During the time period of a lot of these newspaper articles, the following were true.
1) The Union and the Confederacy were both slave owning nations.
2) The Union's antislavery actions were limited to the slaves of supporters of their enemy, and not their own supporters.
3) The British felt that the actions of the Confederacy demonstrated that the Confederacy as a whole wanted to be independent more than they wanted the more effective preservation of slavery.

This is the fundamental misunderstanding of the British at the time. They felt that there was an easy route for the Confederates to gain the preservation of slavery for decades into the future (a negotiated reunification peace), and in that they were correct (because Lincoln wrote as such). What they thought (incorrectly) was that the reason the Confederates had not chosen this route was because they wanted independence for its own sake; what they did not realize is that the Confederates as a whole felt that independence was the surest route to secure the continuation of slavery.
 
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Saphroneth

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If bullfrogs had wings they wouldn’t bump their butts every time they try to fly.
It seems to me that an understanding of history beyond a recitation of dates and events has to at least consider the concept of alternate history, if only to allow for an understanding of the "because".
Why did Lincoln release Mason and Slidell after the Trent affair? Because the danger posed to the Union war effort by a war with Britain was not worth the marginal benefit gained by holding Mason and Slidell. (After all, what's the worst they could do? Start a war between the Union and Britain?)

Coming as it does at the end of 1861, the British view the Trent affair as a deliberate US attempt to provoke a war with Britain, so as they can end their (apparently) futile war with the South and compensate their loss with Canada. Before you say that's a ridiculous idea, it's the sort of thing being suggested by the most popular newspaper in the world at the time (the New York Herald) and the British knew that the Union secretary of state was very jingoistic towards the idea of annexing Canada because he'd said as much in public on more than one occasion.

This is a misunderstanding on the part of the British; coupled with a misunderstanding about the seriousness of the situation on the part of the Union in general and Lincoln specifically, it's about the only way to get the two nations into a war which is to the long-term advantage of neither.
 

damYankee

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It seems to me that an understanding of history beyond a recitation of dates and events has to at least consider the concept of alternate history, if only to allow for an understanding of the "because".
Why did Lincoln release Mason and Slidell after the Trent affair? Because the danger posed to the Union war effort by a war with Britain was not worth the marginal benefit gained by holding Mason and Slidell. (After all, what's the worst they could do? Start a war between the Union and Britain?)

Coming as it does at the end of 1861, the British view the Trent affair as a deliberate US attempt to provoke a war with Britain, so as they can end their (apparently) futile war with the South and compensate their loss with Canada. Before you say that's a ridiculous idea, it's the sort of thing being suggested by the most popular newspaper in the world at the time (the New York Herald) and the British knew that the Union secretary of state was very jingoistic towards the idea of annexing Canada because he'd said as much in public on more than one occasion.

This is a misunderstanding on the part of the British; coupled with a misunderstanding about the seriousness of the situation on the part of the Union in general and Lincoln specifically, it's about the only way to get the two nations into a war which is to the long-term advantage of neither.
Alternative history is the key here. Alternative reality, history etc. is meaningless.
The Trent Affair changed nothing, the South failed to convince Britain or France to recognize the CSA.
After several tense weeks, the crisis was resolved when the Lincoln administration released the envoys and disavowed Captain Wilkes's actions, though without a formal apology. Mason and Slidell resumed their voyage to Britain but failed in their goal of achieving diplomatic recognition.
Hardly a defining moment is history.
 
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