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Background[ edit ] Relations with the United States were often strained and even verged on war when Britain almost supported the Confederacy in the early part of the American Civil War. British leaders were constantly annoyed from the s to the s by what they saw as Washington's pandering to the democratic mob, as in the Oregon boundary dispute in to However, British middle-class public opinion sensed a common " Special Relationship " between the two peoples, based on language, migration, evangelical Protestantism, liberal traditions, and extensive trade.
During the affair, London drew the line and Washington retreated. Historian Charles Hubbard wrote: Davis left foreign policy to others in government and, rather than developing an aggressive diplomatic effort, tended to expect events to accomplish diplomatic objectives.
The new president was committed to the notion that cotton would secure recognition and legitimacy from the powers of Europe. One of the Confederacy's strongest hopes at the time was the belief that the British, fearing a devastating impact on their textile mills, would recognize the Confederate States and break the Union blockade.
The men Davis selected as secretary of state and emissaries to Europe were chosen for political and personal reasons—not for their diplomatic potential. This was due, in part, to the belief that cotton could accomplish the Confederate objectives with little help from Confederate diplomats.
Notwithstanding a relatively minor border incident in the Pacific NorthwestAnglo-American relations had steadily improved throughout the s. The issues of the Oregon territoryBritish involvement in Texasand the Canada—US border dispute had all been resolved in the s.
Secretary of State William H.
Sewardthe primary architect of American foreign policy during the war, intended to maintain the policy principles that had served the country well since the American Revolution: During the Civil War, British reactions to American events were shaped by past British policies and their own national interests, both strategically and economically.
In the Western Hemisphere, as relations with the United States improved, Britain had become cautious about confronting the United States over issues in Central America.
As a naval power, Britain had a long record of insisting that neutral nations honor its blockades of hostile countries.
From the earliest days of the war, that perspective would guide the British away from taking any action that might have been viewed in Washington as a direct challenge to the Union blockade. From the perspective of the South, British policy amounted to de facto support for the Union blockade and caused great frustration.
They hoped for our ruin!
They are jealous of our power. They care neither for the South nor the North. James was Charles Francis Adams.
He made clear that Washington considered the war strictly an internal insurrection affording the Confederacy no rights under international law.Updated world stock indexes. Get an overview of major world indexes, current values and stock market data.
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