Should Mason and Slidell really shoulder the blame for Confederate diplomatic failure?

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leftyhunter

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In several recent threads by @gem about Confederate blunders and critques on Davis one theme is that Davis made a huge blunder in appointing George Mason has the Confederate cheif unofficial diplomat to the UK and John Slidell to France.
Maybe that assesment is to harsh.
Mason and Slidell have huge caveats to overcome to gain foreign diplomatic recognition.
1. The Confederacy does not have a navy capable of defending its ports and sea trade lanes.
2. There is a major drought in the Ukraine which is Europes traditional source of grain. The UK alone will need U.S. imports to provide at least forty percent of its grain needs.
3. Cotton is vital but cotton can be obtained from British India, Egypt which is on good terms with the UK , smuggled cotton from the Confederacy, cotton grown in Union liberated areas i.e. the Islands off South Carolina and liberated Louisiana.
4.France has it's military tied up in Mexico.
5. The UK and France were in a recent war with Russia. Yes they won but it was not a particularly popular war and the British and French public is somewhat burned out on war.
6.Defending a slave republic is not particularly popular.
7. There is more money to be made trading with the U.S. then the Confederacy.
With all of the above hiw could even a master diplomat sell the idea of granting the Confederacy diplomatic recognition?
Leftyhunter
 

gem

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In several recent threads by @gem about Confederate blunders and critques on Davis one theme is that Davis made a huge blunder in appointing George Mason has the Confederate cheif unofficial diplomat to the UK and John Slidell to France.
Maybe that assesment is to harsh.
Mason and Slidell have huge caveats to overcome to gain foreign diplomatic recognition.
1. The Confederacy does not have a navy capable of defending its ports and sea trade lanes.
2. There is a major drought in the Ukraine which is Europes traditional source of grain. The UK alone will need U.S. imports to provide at least forty percent of its grain needs.
3. Cotton is vital but cotton can be obtained from British India, Egypt which is on good terms with the UK , smuggled cotton from the Confederacy, cotton grown in Union liberated areas i.e. the Islands off South Carolina and liberated Louisiana.
4.France has it's military tied up in Mexico.
5. The UK and France were in a recent war with Russia. Yes they won but it was not a particularly popular war and the British and French public is somewhat burned out on war.
6.Defending a slave republic is not particularly popular.
7. There is more money to be made trading with the U.S. then the Confederacy.
With all of the above hiw could even a master diplomat sell the idea of granting the Confederacy diplomatic recognition?
Leftyhunter
It was a very hard sell. It would have only worked if confederates were winning the war, which at no point were they ever winning
 

jgoodguy

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In several recent threads by @gem about Confederate blunders and critques on Davis one theme is that Davis made a huge blunder in appointing George Mason has the Confederate cheif unofficial diplomat to the UK and John Slidell to France.
Maybe that assesment is to harsh.
Mason and Slidell have huge caveats to overcome to gain foreign diplomatic recognition.
1. The Confederacy does not have a navy capable of defending its ports and sea trade lanes.
2. There is a major drought in the Ukraine which is Europes traditional source of grain. The UK alone will need U.S. imports to provide at least forty percent of its grain needs.
3. Cotton is vital but cotton can be obtained from British India, Egypt which is on good terms with the UK , smuggled cotton from the Confederacy, cotton grown in Union liberated areas i.e. the Islands off South Carolina and liberated Louisiana.
4.France has it's military tied up in Mexico.
5. The UK and France were in a recent war with Russia. Yes they won but it was not a particularly popular war and the British and French public is somewhat burned out on war.
6.Defending a slave republic is not particularly popular.
7. There is more money to be made trading with the U.S. then the Confederacy.
With all of the above hiw could even a master diplomat sell the idea of granting the Confederacy diplomatic recognition?
Leftyhunter
I'd add that
There was a years inventory of raw cotton in British warehouses.
There was the arrogant attitude of the CSA that England needed the CSA more than the CSA needed England AKA king cotton.
Finally I do not know of any Diplomatic experience they had and they get low marks for their ability.
 
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In several recent threads by @gem about Confederate blunders and critques on Davis one theme is that Davis made a huge blunder in appointing George Mason has the Confederate cheif unofficial diplomat to the UK and John Slidell to France.
Maybe that assesment is to harsh.
Mason and Slidell have huge caveats to overcome to gain foreign diplomatic recognition.
1. The Confederacy does not have a navy capable of defending its ports and sea trade lanes.
2. There is a major drought in the Ukraine which is Europes traditional source of grain. The UK alone will need U.S. imports to provide at least forty percent of its grain needs.
3. Cotton is vital but cotton can be obtained from British India, Egypt which is on good terms with the UK , smuggled cotton from the Confederacy, cotton grown in Union liberated areas i.e. the Islands off South Carolina and liberated Louisiana.
4.France has it's military tied up in Mexico.
5. The UK and France were in a recent war with Russia. Yes they won but it was not a particularly popular war and the British and French public is somewhat burned out on war.
6.Defending a slave republic is not particularly popular.
7. There is more money to be made trading with the U.S. then the Confederacy.
With all of the above hiw could even a master diplomat sell the idea of granting the Confederacy diplomatic recognition?
Leftyhunter
In a word, yes. Combined, their diplomatic prowess equalled the proverbial box of rocks.
 
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jgoodguy

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Which begs the question with all of the listed caveats ; how would a master diplomat if sold foreign nations that it was in their best interest to grant the Confederacy diplomatic recognition?
Leftyhunter
First do no harm.

Second get whatever there is short of recognition. CSA did pretty well selling cotton bonds, getting blockade runners and commerce raiders and foreign observers in the CSA.

Third somehow divorce recognition from Union threats of war.
 

jgoodguy

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Big thing for the CSA is not to lose or appear to be losing. Military victories are essential.
 

leftyhunter

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First do no harm.

Second get whatever there is short of recognition. CSA did pretty well selling cotton bonds, getting blockade runners and commerce raiders and foreign observers in the CSA.

Third somehow divorce recognition from Union threats of war.
True the Confederacy was able to get belligerent status but it's not quite good enough. The American Rebels were able to get the real deal .
In civil wars one and or both sides do get open foreign military and or diplomatic recognition. The trick is to convince various foreign countries that it is in their best interests to do so.
Even assuming Davis could hire the best diplomats in the world how would they convince foreign countries that diplomatic recognition of the Confederacy is in their best interest?
Leftyhunter
 
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jgoodguy

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True the Confederacy was able to get belligerent status but it's not quite good enough. The American Rebels were able to get the real deal .
In civil wars one and or both sides do get open foreign military and or diplomatic recognition. The trick is to convince various foreign countries that it is in their best interests to do so.
Even assuming Davis could hire the best diplomats in the world how would they convince foreign countries that diplomatic recognition of the Confederacy is in their best interest?
Leftyhunter
It'd take a what if for sure, but we know that in hindsight. My point was in the main first do no harm which they failed at.
 
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matthew mckeon

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The thing is, the British had no real reason to help the Confederacy. During the Revolution, French and Spanish aid to the Americans were part of their long rivalry with Britain. The same conditions didn't apply. The South needed to sell cotton to Britain for a lot of reasons. They really couldn't embargo it.

Confederate diplomacy did score some victories: a lot of arms were purchased, the commerce raiders built. But regardless of how skilled a diplomat was send, actual recognition and intervention had no upside.
 
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leftyhunter

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The thing is, the British had no real reason to help the Confederacy. During the Revolution, French and Spanish aid to the Americans were part of their long rivalry with Britain. The same conditions didn't apply. The South needed to sell cotton to Britain for a lot of reasons. They really couldn't embargo it.

Confederate diplomacy did score some victories: a lot of arms were purchased, the commerce raiders built. But regardless of how skilled a diplomat was send, actual recognition and intervention had no upside.
That's my point. It's easy for Benjamin Franklin to be regarded as a diplomatic genius because French, Spanish and Dutch interests aligned with that of the rebels. Even for a genius level diplomat that's a tough sell in 1861.
Leftyhunter
 
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Exactly that was the pitch the Americans could exploit. What pitch could even a highly regarded diplomat make to attain foreign recognition?
Leftyhunter
Under the precept of "first, do no harm," Slidell seems to be an amiable fellow with decent relations with a wishy-washy French government. Mason, on the other hand, seemed to be a bit of a bull who carried his own china shop with him wherever he went. While not quite persona non grata in England, he wasn't well liked by the British governing class.
 

leftyhunter

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Under the precept of "first, do no harm," Slidell seems to be an amiable fellow with decent relations with a wishy-washy French government. Mason, on the other hand, seemed to be a bit of a bull who carried his own china shop with him wherever he went. While not quite persona non grata in England, he wasn't well liked by the British governing class.
Any juicy examples?
Leftyhunter
 
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Any juicy examples?
Leftyhunter
I screwed up. It was William Lowndes Yancey who Russell didn't like. Nothing in particular that I've found so far, but Russell shunned Yancey after their first meeting which was private. It was Mason who didn't like Russell because Lord Russell was basically ignoring him. Sorry for the confusion.
 
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