The Burden of Confederate Diplomacy
Of the many factors that contributed to the South's loss of the Civil War, one of the most decisive was the failure of Southern diplomacy. In this ... Show synopsis Of the many factors that contributed to the South's loss of the Civil War, one of the most decisive was the failure of Southern diplomacy. In this penetrating new work, Charles M. Hubbard reassesses the diplomatic efforts made by the Confederacy in its struggle to become an independent nation. Hubbard's much-needed synthesis focuses both on the Confederacy's attempts to negotiate a peaceful separation from the Union and on Southern diplomats' increasingly desperate pursuit of state recognition from the major European powers. Drawing on a large body of sources, including original documents such as diplomatic instructions and correspondence generated by the Confederate government, Hubbard offers an important reinterpretation of the problems facing Confederate diplomats. He demonstrates how the strategies and objectives of the South's diplomatic program -- themselves often poorly conceived -- were then placed in the hands of inexperienced envoys who were ill-equipped to succeed in their roles as negotiators. In particular, the South's insistent emphasis on cotton as a bargaining tool and the isolationist and reactionary views of Southern politicians created burdensome obstacles for Confederate diplomats. In his discussion of the Confederacy's failed diplomacy with England and France, Hubbard argues that the South's contradictory commitments to individual liberty on the one hand and slavery on the other alienated otherwise sympathetic Europeans. Hubbard considers both the short- and long-term consequences of the South's diplomatic inadequacies and suggests, intriguingly, that the outcome of the war might have been different had some of the Confederacy's diplomatic initiatives succeeded.Destined to become a standard work on the subject, The Burden of Confederate Diplomacy sheds new light on a vital aspect of America's Civil War.