Skip to comments.The Great Civil War Lie
Posted on 06/11/2013 4:48:08 AM PDT by iowamark
Civil War buffs have long speculated about how different the war might have been if only the Confederacy had won formal recognition from Britain. But few recognize how close that came to happening and how much pro-Southern sympathy in Britain was built on a lie...
Early British support for the South was further buttressed by something as mundane as a protective tariff the Morrill Tariff approved by Congress on March 2, 1861. This new tariff, passed to protect American infant industries, also unwittingly gave rise to a troublesome myth of mounting trans-Atlantic proportions.
The tariff had been opposed by many Southern legislators, which is why it passed so easily once their states seceded. But this coincidence of timing fed a mistaken inversion of causation among the sympathetic British public secession allowed the tariff to pass, but many in Britain thought that the tariff had come first, and so incensed the Southern states that they left the union.
Nor was this a simple misunderstanding. Pro-Southern business interests and journalists fed the myth that the war was over trade, not slavery the better to win over people who might be appalled at siding with slave owners against the forces of abolition...
Why was England so susceptible to this fiction? For one thing, the Union did not immediately declare itself on a crusade for abolition at the wars outset. Instead, Northern politicians cited vague notions of union which could easily sound like an effort to put a noble gloss on a crass commercial dispute.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com ...
Heavy spin. Thos gullible, unsophistated yahoos over there in the British Empire were easily fooled by the sneaky Americans.
There was a significant economic component to the WBTS in addition to slavery (and slavery was wrapped up in the economics as well). Lincoln—a man who was not exactly as enlightened in his opinions about blacks as his hagiographers have made him out to be—was very shrewd in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation and pushing the issue of slavery back to the forefront. Abe wasn’t the secular saint he’s been turned into since 1865, but he was a very smart man and a very sharp politician, whatever else those of us down here in Dixie may think about him.
Abolition was an economic sanction. Take the tractors from the farms. Note that the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) not only came years later, but only addressed the issue in the South, which had already seceded.
Hardly the way to treat any alleged primary reason for war.
NYT is spinning the Civil War 150 years after the fact.
More mud from the liberal pig pen.
The initial reaction in the United States was to rally against Britain, threatening war; but President Abraham Lincoln and his top advisors did not want to risk war. In the Confederate States, the hope was that the incident would lead to a permanent rupture in Anglo-American relations and even diplomatic recognition by Britain of the Confederacy. Confederates realized their independence potentially depended on a war between Britain and the U.S. In Britain, the public expressed outrage at this violation of neutral rights and insult to their national honor. The British government demanded an apology and the release of the prisoners while it took steps to strengthen its military forces in Canada and the Atlantic.
After several weeks of tension and loose talk of war, the crisis was resolved when the Lincoln administration released the envoys and disavowed Captain Wilkes's actions. No formal apology was issued. Mason and Slidell resumed their voyage to Britain but failed in their goal of achieving diplomatic recognition.
I’ve often wondered if europe did not have a vested interest in the US breaking up in general. For obvious reasons.
Harry Turtledove writes some interesting “alternate history” books about this period where the south does win autonomy. Interestingly, it results in a lot of border skirmishes as the two countries move west. Also, as the French and British become allies of the south, the Germans become allies of the north. This leads to an American front in WWI.
Basically, Turtledove makes the argument, over and over in his books, that larger countries result in less wars.
South Carolina before the war between the states was paying a significant part of the federal budget, far more than say Massachusettes, in excise taxes. This caused those in South Carolina to begin a secession movement as early as 1835 in its legislature. This was not a slavery issue, rather, the northern states getting a free ride on the back of the southern coastal states to which they dictated tax policy. The south was not industrialized and was never going to be due at the time to power and raw materials issues. Lastly, Britain long earlier, circa 1810, had outlawed the slave trade and slavery in 1833 so they had little vested interest in supporting a slave based economy, their interest in supporting the south had to do with regaining control of the industrializing US. Any view of history beyond that is revisionist at best IMO.
Comedy. I am sure the NYT would agree with that poppycock.
In the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 the imports and tariff taxes in the United States plummeted and the Congress in 1812 brought back the excise tax on whiskey to partially compensate for the loss of customs/tariff revenue. Within a few years customs duties brought in enough federal income to again abolish nearly all federal taxes except tariffs. When the United States public debt was finally paid off in 1834 President Andrew Jackson zeroed out the excise taxes and reduced the customs duties (tariffs) in half.
Excise taxes stayed essentially zero till the American Civil War brought a need for much more federal revenue.
The NYT, stirring the chaldron of liberal swill.
It would not have made a bit of difference.
Very satisfying indeed.....proud to be among ya.
The Confederate “ambassador” to the Court of St. James’s never even met formally with the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary. He later gave up in disgust and returned to Richmond, as did the legate to the French court. While the latter had been received more cordially, a dreaded alliance between the French and the Confederacy never emerged.
1. The U.S. had fought two major wars with the British, the only two major wars we had fought. The Mexican-American War not being a threat to our survival. Thus, the British considered us, and we considered them, to be high on the list of potential enemies.
2. We were an economic and naval challenger to Britain. Intelligent leaders in Britain would have realized that by 1860, we were actually eclipsing them, and becoming the most powerful nation on Earth.
3. There were still territorial issues between the UK and the US. Although not mainly resolved by 1860, they were still fresh in everyone’s minds.
The normal inclination would have been to promote the weakening of the United States by encouraging civil war. This is what they did.
The involvement of the Royal Navy would have been helpful for the South, but British troops on U.S. soil would have had a galvanizing effect in the North (and negative effect in the South) far more detrimental to the South's cause than any military benefit from their participation.
The British public was very antislavery, which would have created problems for them at home.
That said, no one should discount the effect of commerce and trade. Britain needed raw cotton for its mills and the South had it. This made it well worth encouraging the South to maintain those relationships, but apparently not a strong enough motive to send warships to break through the naval blockade.
“The Great Civil War Lie “
The title is complete!
The truth is and has always been obvious for all those capable of understanding.
Correct, my error, I was referring to tariffs.
Comedy. I am sure the NYT would agree with that poppycock.
I only read two and a half of the books and got tired of feeling like I was being strung along. His book, “Guns of the South” is, in my opinion, his best alternate history book. A bunch of german racists from South Africa in 2035 go back in time to just after Gettysburg and supply Lee with 100,000 AK 47’s and the training needed. His knowledge of Civil War history really enhances the story. I highly recommend it.