Europe's View of the Causes of Southern Secession

1stvermont

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Europe's View of the Causes of Southern Secession

This is not an area I have much knowledge on and would like to know if what I have learned is generally true. That Europe regarded the causes southern secession from a states rights/ tariff perspective.


-London Times, November 7, 1861

[T]he contest is really for empire on the side of the North, and for independence on that of the South, and in this respect we recognize an exact analogy between the North and the Government of George III, and the South and the Thirteen Revolted Provinces. These opinions…are the general opinions of the English nation.”

-British Lord Action Correspondence with Robert E Lee
I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy.”

I was told in the book The glittering illusion: English sympathy for the Southern Confederacy [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0895265524/?tag=civilwartalkc-20]

Shows that the vast majority in Europe at the time of the civil war believed the war was over either tariffs or states rights. Englishman Sir John Dalberacton convinced many in England to feel sympathy for the CSA because he said they were fighting a tyrannical government and defending states rights. English statesman Richard Cobden said in December 1861, the British “are unani-mous and fanatical”; that subject was free trade.


So what was Europe's opinion?
 

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Europe's View of the Causes of Southern Secession

This is not an area I have much knowledge on and would like to know if what I have learned is generally true. That Europe regarded the causes southern secession from a states rights/ tariff perspective.


-London Times, November 7, 1861

[T]he contest is really for empire on the side of the North, and for independence on that of the South, and in this respect we recognize an exact analogy between the North and the Government of George III, and the South and the Thirteen Revolted Provinces. These opinions…are the general opinions of the English nation.”

-British Lord Action Correspondence with Robert E Lee
I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy.”

I was told in the book The glittering illusion: English sympathy for the Southern Confederacy [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0895265524/?tag=civilwartalkc-20]

Shows that the vast majority in Europe at the time of the civil war believed the war was over either tariffs or states rights. Englishman Sir John Dalberacton convinced many in England to feel sympathy for the CSA because he said they were fighting a tyrannical government and defending states rights. English statesman Richard Cobden said in December 1861, the British “are unani-mous and fanatical”; that subject was free trade.


So what was Europe's opinion?
There wasn't one opinion that was Europe's opinion. Different people had different opinions.
 

1stvermont

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There wasn't one opinion that was Europe's opinion. Different people had different opinions.

So very true sir. I was looking at it from a more general perspective of the European people as a whole.
 

1stvermont

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Interesting and thanks. Do you have any references so i could read up on that.
 

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thomas aagaard

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Shows that the vast majority in Europe at the time of the civil war believed the war was over either tariffs or states rights.
It do nothing of the kind., It is two random opinions taken from a description of a random book.

If you want to find out what the Europeans thought, you first need to define "European" (what exact countries do we look at), then realize that there is a difference between random citizens, then newspapers and the leading politicians and the monarchs.
Then you would need to find primary sources showing us what the different persons think.
Then factor in that opinions can differ from country to country..

After a huge amount of research... that would properly take a professional historian years you might get to a point where you have some idea about what different groups think.

Sticking to "what did British newspapers write about it"
or "What did British politicians say" would be a lot easier.
Or "what official decision regarding the war did the different European powers make?"

They would all be much more manageable to look at.
this topic is a good example of one that solely focus on what newspapers write. (and much of it is clearly roomers, myth, mistakes, whisfull thinking and lies... but still interesting)
http://civilwartalk.com/threads/black-men-in-the-confederate-army-what-the-newspapers-said-1861-1865.127333/unread
 

John Winn

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Europe's View of the Causes of Southern Secession

This is not an area I have much knowledge on and would like to know if what I have learned is generally true. That Europe regarded the causes southern secession from a states rights/ tariff perspective.


-London Times, November 7, 1861

[T]he contest is really for empire on the side of the North, and for independence on that of the South, and in this respect we recognize an exact analogy between the North and the Government of George III, and the South and the Thirteen Revolted Provinces. These opinions…are the general opinions of the English nation.”

-British Lord Action Correspondence with Robert E Lee
I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy.”

I was told in the book The glittering illusion: English sympathy for the Southern Confederacy [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0895265524/?tag=civilwartalkc-20]

Shows that the vast majority in Europe at the time of the civil war believed the war was over either tariffs or states rights. Englishman Sir John Dalberacton convinced many in England to feel sympathy for the CSA because he said they were fighting a tyrannical government and defending states rights. English statesman Richard Cobden said in December 1861, the British “are unani-mous and fanatical”; that subject was free trade.


So what was Europe's opinion?
I don't think your sources show what you claim. England isn't "the vast majority of Europe". In fact, one could argue that England isn't Europe at all (but I'll not go there). I don't really know what Europe's collective opinion was or if such a collective opinion even existed. That there was sympathy for the Confederacy in the UK is certain but it's also certain that many didn't support it. Class and money played a big role in who was and wasn't in support. France may have seen a possible economic advantage but in the end didn't act. As to the rest of Europe who knows. Maybe they didn't really care all that much. Certainly don't remember reading about Dutch or Spanish involvement for instance.

I'd guess that whatever European states or their citizens might have thought it wouldn't have had much if anything to do with state's rights as they didn't have states in the sense of the United States so it wouldn't have been something they'd relate to. And I really can't see anybody in Europe being concerned about tariffs in another country unless such affected their direct trade. They had other things to deal with.

Just my initial thoughts on your question and assertion. I'm open for being educated further.
 

The Confederate

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Shows that the vast majority in Europe at the time of the civil war believed the war was over either tariffs or states rights.
This is only newspapers, this doesn't represent the vast majority views in Europe, only of few persons, this is a British newspapers by the way, so how can it represent the view of the vast majority in Europe?

And most of the British population were pro-Union.

Also, even if this was the view of the majority of the European population, this doesn't mean nothing because for the South the War was about Slavery:

"We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection." - South Carolina

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun." - Mississippi

"The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery." - Georgia

"Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union... She was received into the confederacy...as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery — the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits — a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.

In all the non-slave-holding States… the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party… based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color — a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States

all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations…" - Texas



 

major bill

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Spain was another player in the Americas during the Civil War era. I the British and French lead. Similar to both Britain and France, the conservatives believed the U.S. Civil War was about the demise of democracy as a system while the liberals believed it was a war over slavery. Steward worked the Southerners wanted Cuba and the slavery issue very hard with the Spanish. Spain pushed the Union to declare emancipation to keep Europe from recognizing the Confederates. In the end Spain wanted to sit on the fence and wait to see who might win.
 
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"The people of Europe were not well informed about the background or the progress of the American Civil War. No European country except Switzerland had experience with democratic federalism. Most Europeans had little understanding of the complex American political-governmental system, the evolution of the slavery issue in America, and the complex issues that had led to the American conflict.

"During the first year and a half of the war there was great confusion in Europe about the causes of the war and the objectives of the Union government. Carl Schurz, U.S. minister in Madrid, reported in September 1861 that Lincoln's initial policy of avoiding the slavery issue had eroded the initial support for the Union cause among the 'liberal masses' in Europe: 'It was exceedingly difficult to make Europeans understand . . . why the free and prosperous North should fight merely for the privilege of being reassociated with the imperious and troublesome Slave States. ... As soon as the war becomes distinctly one for and against slavery, public opinion will be . . . overwhelmingly in our favor.'"
One War at a Time, Dean B. Mahin, pg. 197
 

USS ALASKA

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For a British outlook...

'Divided Hearts: Britain and the American Civil War' by R. J. M. Blackett

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

USS ALASKA

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A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman

The American Civil War Through British Eyes, Volume 1: Dispatches from British Diplomats, November 1860-April 1862 by James J Barnes Patience P Barnes

Union in Peril: The Crisis Over British Intervention in the Civil War by Howard Jones

When the Guns Roared World Aspects of the American Civil War by Philip Van Doren Stern

Lincoln and the Russians: The Story of the Russian-American Diplomatic Relations During the Civil War by Albert A Woldman

Europe and the American Civil War by Donaldson Jordan, Edwin J. Pratt

The British Foreign Service and the American Civil War by Eugene Berwanger

Caution and Cooperation: The American Civil War in British-American Relations by Phillip E Myers

The United States and France: Civil War Diplomacy by Lynn Marshall Case, Warren F. Spencer

In the Shadow of the Alabama: The British Foreign Office and the American Civil War by Renata Eley Long

Spain and the American Civil War by Wayne H. Bowen

Great Britain and the American Civil War by Ephraim Douglass Adams

Britain and the War for the Union by Brian Jenkins

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

John Hartwell

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jgoodguy

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"The people of Europe were not well informed about the background or the progress of the American Civil War. No European country except Switzerland had experience with democratic federalism. Most Europeans had little understanding of the complex American political-governmental system, the evolution of the slavery issue in America, and the complex issues that had led to the American conflict.

"During the first year and a half of the war there was great confusion in Europe about the causes of the war and the objectives of the Union government. Carl Schurz, U.S. minister in Madrid, reported in September 1861 that Lincoln's initial policy of avoiding the slavery issue had eroded the initial support for the Union cause among the 'liberal masses' in Europe: 'It was exceedingly difficult to make Europeans understand . . . why the free and prosperous North should fight merely for the privilege of being reassociated with the imperious and troublesome Slave States. ... As soon as the war becomes distinctly one for and against slavery, public opinion will be . . . overwhelmingly in our favor.'"
One War at a Time, Dean B. Mahin, pg. 197
I think this is a very good point and describes what transpired.
 

kholland

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The London Times was most definitely what one would call a pro-Confederate newspaper. Their view doesn't even represent that of their entire country. The majority of the British Middle and Lower classes favored the North, while the Aristocracy sympathized with the South.
A succinct response and fairly close to the reality of England's view of our war.
 

matthew mckeon

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In A World On Fire, about Britain and the US during the Civil War, the attitudes towards the Civil War get unpacked with a lot of detail, and I recommend this book to anyway interested.

The Times was generally pro South. Middle class and laboring people tended to support the Union because of anti slavery and pro democracy grounds. Charles Darwin, in the midst of causing his own, scientific revolution, offered strong support for abolition, considering slavery, which he observed on his famous voyage on the Beagle, to be an atrocity.

Anthony Trollope, traveling in the North during 1861-62(during the Trent Affair, actually), offers proUnion opinions, while poking fun at American bragging.
 


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