If Europe had joined?

Discussion in 'Civil War' started by cameronpalte, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. cameronpalte

    cameronpalte Member

    While a good number historians believe that while Europe didn't think highly of the American army, they were actually stronger, Europe still had a very strong army. Do you guys think if Europe had joined on the side of the South it would of had a large difference or effect on the outcome of the war?
  2. Vercingetorix

    Vercingetorix Member

    Well, I guess it depends what you mean by "Europe" joining the side of the South. I find it hard to picture England, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria-Hungary, Russia, et al. all banding together and joining the South as one big, happy family.

    I especially think that after the Emancipation Proclamation, England would have had a very difficult time joining the South. Maybe France could have joined the South and England could have joined the North. I don't think that would have changed the course of the war very much at all, though.
  3. CarpeNemo

    CarpeNemo New Member

    It's my recollection that the Confederacy was trying to enlist English help in the war, with promises of trade of cotton (which England primarily got from Egypt, if I recall correctly) and other goods in exchange for troops and supplies.

    The idea would have been an attempt to ally with England, who still wasn't fond of America what with the Revolution and the War of 1812 and all, still relatively fresh in mind.

    Clearly, England didn't think too highly of the South, either, because it's apparent no aid was sent.

    If England had joined? It's possible that the Confederate President and the Union President might sit down for coffee once in a while to discuss relations, and it's equally possible that we'd all be British again. Hypotheticals work out in so many ways, eh?
  4. pietastesgood

    pietastesgood Member

    That's actually pretty interesting. I remember that the South had attempted to use King Cotton to get the Europeans to intervene in their favor. If the British or the rest of Europe had actually sent help, I do think the South may have won.
  5. CarpeNemo

    CarpeNemo New Member

    King Cotton is a High School buzzword. The reality was, Europe didn't need the south for cotton as Egpyt was producing the needed goods more locally and cheaper than the south could ever hope for. Cotton was what kept us Southerners hoping in the Civil war, and as all of America can see, we were left wanting.

    Cotton and soybeans were the major southern crops. With competition in Asia, the US South couldn't hope to compete. If the south had a better crop and more availability of said crop, the war outcome might have been different.
  6. The South not only had cotton and soybeans; they also had tobacco. The combination was appealing to Europe, and more specifically England. Although it is ignored by many educators these days, the fact remains that England was debating on coming into the war on the side of the South. Lincoln knew this and feared that the North would lose if England supported the South, so he gave the Emancipation Proclamation, to make it seem that the war was being fought over slavery (when that was only one of many issues that led to the war). Since England had outlawed slavery within the territories it controlled, after the EP (which had no impact on the South until after the war; and it did not say or do anything about slaves in territory controlled by the North), it couldn't join with the South without looking like a hypocrite to its own people.
    If England had joined with the South, there are all sorts of "might be"s, from 2 nations in what's currently the US, to 1 nation with the capital in Richmond, to Europe still being under German control, and so on.
  7. pietastesgood

    pietastesgood Member

    ^^I never knew Egypt was also in contention for the cotton market at the time, interesting! All I remember is that the attempt to seduce Britain with cotton was foiled because Britain had a surplus from the previous year, but this new information seems to make the refusal clearer.

    ^Yeah, I also remember how England couldn't really outright support the south since it had been a pretty big advocate of antislavery, if I recall correctly. It couldn't support the South outright without pissing off its citizens.

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