Blue and Gray Diplomacy

Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations

Copyright Date: 2010
DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones
Pages: 432
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  • Book Info
    Blue and Gray Diplomacy
    Book Description:

    In this examination of Union and Confederate foreign relations during the Civil War from both European and American perspectives, Howard Jones demonstrates that the consequences of the conflict between North and South reached far beyond American soil.Jones explores a number of themes, including the international economic and political dimensions of the war, the North's attempts to block the South from winning foreign recognition as a nation, Napoleon III's meddling in the war and his attempt to restore French power in the New World, and the inability of Europeans to understand the interrelated nature of slavery and union, resulting in their tendency to interpret the war as a senseless struggle between a South too large and populous to have its independence denied and a North too obstinate to give up on the preservation of the Union. Most of all, Jones explores the horrible nature of a war that attracted outside involvement as much as it repelled it.Written in a narrative style that relates the story as its participants saw it play out around them,Blue and Gray Diplomacydepicts the complex set of problems faced by policy makers from Richmond and Washington to London, Paris, and St. Petersburg.

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0449-7
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  4. Prologue
    (pp. 1-8)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones.4

    This horrible war, this terrible war, this wholly unnecessary war—these words were not mere rhetoric to contemporary Europeans who avidly followed the American Civil War and roundly denounced what they perceived as a blind rage propelling the vicious conflict. The sectional struggle had spun out of control, ultimately leading to more than 600,000 deaths and threatening to disable not only North America but also Atlantic commerce and thereby do irreparable harm to Europe. Trench warfare, cannon, long-range artillery, and rifled muskets; massive armies engaged in fierce hand-to-hand combat with guns, knives, and sabers; ironclad warships that made the Union...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Republic in Peril
    (pp. 9-46)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones.5

    Supporters of the Confederate States of America regarded themselves as the true progenitors of the republic and their secession from the Union as a return to the world of limited national government envisioned by the Founding Fathers. In his Inaugural Address of February 1861 delivered in Montgomery, Alabama, President Jefferson Davis declared: “We have assembled to usher into existence the Permanent Government of the Confederate States. Through this instrumentality, under the favor of Divine Providence, we hope to perpetuate the principles of our revolutionary fathers. . . . Therefore we are in arms to renew such sacrifices as our fathers...

  6. CHAPTER 2 British Neutrality on Trial
    (pp. 47-82)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones.6

    News of British neutrality drew venomous attacks from the Union and wild exultation from the Confederacy. From the British perspective, the policy provided the best means for averting involvement in the war, but it recognized the existence of two belligerents and thereby infuriated the Union by awarding the Confederacy a stature higher than rebel. Confederate ships could raid Union commerce and enter neutral ports with prizes, and they could seek ship repairs in those same ports along with foods and other materials necessary for survival. Furthermore, the Confederacy could float loans, purchase war materials, and contract the building of ships...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Trent and Confederate Independence
    (pp. 83-112)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones.7

    In early November 1861 the commander of the USSSan Jacinto, Captain Charles Wilkes, forcefully removed two southern emissaries, James M. Mason and John Slidell, from the British mail packet HMSTrentand threatened an Anglo-American war that would all but assure the Confederacy’s independence. Mason and Slidell had sought to deal a lethal blow to the Union by convincing the British and French to disavow the blockade and extend diplomatic recognition to the Confederacy. But they could not have known how close they came to achieving this objectivebeforereaching Europe.

    At about midnight on October 12, 1861, the...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Road to Recognition
    (pp. 113-144)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones.8

    TheTrentcrisis had caused war talk on both sides of the Atlantic, further driving British interest in ending the American conflict before another problem developed that could lead to a third Anglo-American war. The two Atlantic nations had narrowly escaped conflict over a question of honor in theTrentaffair. What if they confronted each other over the blockade? How long must the war go on before it destroyed the economic livelihood of neutral nations? How many wartime atrocities were enough to convince the antagonists to lay down their arms? The United States, the British insisted, must accept Confederate...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Union and Confederacy at Bay
    (pp. 145-180)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones.9

    The threat of European intervention intensified in the summer of 1862, highlighted by the first pitched debate on the issue in Parliament. The Union’s victory at New Orleans had not quieted the advocates of British and French involvement in the war. Indeed, Russell rejected Adams’s appeals to revoke the belligerent status of the South, as did Napoleon in overriding Dayton’s protests, repeatedly expressing interest in intervention but holding back until England took the lead. Russell infuriated Adams by declaring again that neutrality was “exceedingly advantageous” to the Union. Relations became so raw that William H. Russell warned his fellow British...

  10. CHAPTER 6 The Paradox of Intervention
    (pp. 181-214)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones.10

    Immediately after Lindsay’s motion failed, rumors swirled around London that Baltimore had fallen to Confederate forces, edging England and France closer to a joint mediation that implied southern independence. Russell felt relieved about recent events on the battlefield, hoping the collapse of Washington’s neighboring city would break the Union’s resolve and lead it to the peace table. Southern separation, repeated many British observers, would benefit both antagonists. But the rumors from the battlefield proved unfounded, and, despite the swelling popular interest in mediation, the Palmerston government felt no inordinate pressure from mill workers and other constituents. Time had not yet...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Antietam and Emancipation
    (pp. 215-252)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones.11

    British intervention appeared certain after the Union’s second defeat at Bull Run in the autumn of 1862. Its attempt to defeat the Confederacy had again proved impossible, a truth that seemed obvious to contemporaries three thousand miles across the Atlantic. Surely the Lincoln administration would recognize the futility of continuing a war that could destroy both antagonists. Southern separation posed the only viable alternative to mounting atrocities. From theTimesand theMorning Postcame appeals to the Palmerston ministry to recognize the Confederacy. TheMorning Heraldexpressed the growing popular sentiment: “Let us do something, as we are Christian...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Union-Confederate Crisis over Intervention
    (pp. 253-284)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones.12

    European interest in intervention remained very much alive by the autumn of 1862. From their vantage point thousands of miles away, the British, French, Russians, Belgians, and others on the Continent had become increasingly concerned about the American struggle, hoping to see an end to the fighting before it endangered onlooking nations and required direct intervention. The American battlefield, it seemed clear after Antietam, would not determine a winner; rather, it promised endless carnage as both antagonists stubbornly fought on, each side resolved to grind out an ultimate victory that rested on virtual annihilation of the other’s forces. The dictates...

  13. CHAPTER 9 Requiem for Napoleon—and Intervention
    (pp. 285-320)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones.13

    French interest in intervention continued after the British rebuff and, like their counterpart, for reasons unrelated to slavery. Napoleon had long favored the Confederacy though restrained by his people’s distaste for slavery, which partly explained his reluctance to act without a British initiative. But by late 1862 domestic economic problems had threatened violence and provided a strong motivation for leading an intervention ostensibly aimed at ending the American war and securing access to southern cotton. Napoleon, however, had more in mind. A close relationship with the Confederacy would combine with control over Mexico to facilitate his predecessor’s dream: Reestablish French...

  14. Epilogue
    (pp. 321-324)
    DOI: 10.5149/9780807898574_jones.14

    The Civil War was America’s greatest crisis, for it imperiled the republic both from within—the struggle between North and South—and from without—the threat of intervention by England and France. Whichever side won the war would largely determine the direction of the republic, and, as pure as the British and French claimed their neutrality to be, their actions would likewise shape its future to their advantage.

    Thus the story of the Civil War cannot be complete without an exploration of its international dimensions. Yet historians of Blue and Gray diplomacy remain small in number, particularly compared with the...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 325-374)
  16. Historiographical Note
    (pp. 375-376)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 377-400)
  18. Index
    (pp. 401-416)