Make the Confederacy win by changing only British politics

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by QuokkaCheese, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. QuokkaCheese Member

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    When it comes to Confederate victory TL’s, POD’s are almost always hinged on British intervention. However, never does the British intervention seem valid or warranted due to the nature of the British government in the early to mid 1860’s.

    Is there a way to change the politics in Britain to seat a much more hawkish PM by the time the Trent Affair occurs or even cultivating a heightened anti-union sentiment among the general populace to the point where armed conflict is inevitable?
     
  2. dcontreras Coach C

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    Not as long as slavery was protected by the Confederacy in their Constitution. The people of Great Britain were majority anti-slavery. The growing cotton plantations in India also made Southern cotton less a priority.
     
  3. History Learner Well-Known Member

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    You really just need a major victory in battle by Confederate arms; the politics of 1862/1863 were conducive to intervention.
     
  4. Jape Seacombe Mod

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    Lord Palmerston was vaguely pro-Confederate, hated William Seward because he thought he sought to expel Britain entirely from the hemisphere, was an early commentor on the United States' future threat to British world power status and was furious at the Union for the Trent Affair. He is hawkish enough. The problem is the value of US grain and trade outweigh the value of CS cotton, not to mention the issues of fighting the 1860 Union in North America and opinions on slavery and the secession in Britain.

    Best bet is the *Trent Affair ends in blood. The limitations of transatlantic communication slowed down Britain's response IOTL, leading the initial outrage to die down. If you have British property and life destroyed by US forces (accidentally or otherwise), Lord Palmerston could easily push for war IMO if he was so inclinded.
     
  5. Captain Seafort Well-Known Member

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    Or if Albert is unwilling/unable to intervene to tone down the ultimatum to the US. Given Lincoln's initial misjudgement of the seriousness of the situation OTL, it wouldn't take much for the whole situation to spiral into war.
     
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  6. Arcavius Arms and the Man I Sing

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    I think Lincoln would likely accept any eleventh hour attempt at reconciliation short of ceding territory to avoid British intervention.
     
  7. Fiver Curmudgeon

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    British Mediation and the American Civil War: A Reconsideration by Kinley J. Brauer in The Journal of Southern History Vol. 38, No. 1 (Feb., 1972) pp. 49-64 strongly disagrees with you. Palmerston, Russell and Gladstone tried to set up a joint Anglo-French offer of mediation September of 1862. Many British Cabinet members felt that it was too son to offer mediation and Earl Granville suggested that offering mediation at that time would be “dangerous and probably futile”. The response from France also indicated they thought it was too soon to offer mediation. When news of the Battle of Antietam reached Britain, even Palmerston felt that offers of mediation should be delayed. Russell still pressed for making a joint Anglo-French offer of mediation, but even he wanted to couple this with a re-iteration of British neutrality, not an attempt to break the Union blockade of the Confederacy. By later October, even Russell felt it was too soon to propose mediation. Napoleon III then suggested a joint British-French-Russian proposal of a 6 month truce and a voluntary end to the Union blockade. Russia and Britain both rejected this out of hand. The article concludes that “The political situation after November served to confirm the British decision to remain neutral observers of the American struggle.”
     
  8. mrmandias Regent

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    The British idea was to offer mediation when it would be accepted by the parties, not as a way of insinuating themselves into the war.
     
  9. History Learner Well-Known Member

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    Which is why I said they needed a major victory.
     
  10. edgeworthy Well-Known Member

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    Simples ... just make them all as stupid, arrogant, deluded and incompetent as Harry Harrison did!
     
  11. M79 Well-Known Member

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    *Prince Albert dies 10 days early
    *Seward gets advanced warning of more belligerent Palmerston response
    *Lincoln feels he can not offer moderate compromise without appearing weak and stalls for time to defuse the situation
    *Meanwhile Winfield Scott arrives in France, Napoleon III gives 'credit blanque' to UK, backing whatever play they make
    *Seward sends vague reply and releases captives but no apology, Palmerston feels this is insufficient and replies to this effect
    *Tensions flare as Confederates focus on Dranesville, exaggerating casualties and its proximity to Washington
    *With Stonewall Jackson shelling (Hancock) Maryland from (West) Virginia before the situation is resolved, UK elects to intervene on 12 January 1862
    *By mid-1863 Confederacy gains independence, never having lost New Orleans. Maryland secedes, Vandalia is still a Confederate state, Missouri is split in two, and Confederate territories number three in the West. Kentucky may/not hold and there are minor other changes (Delmarva, etc.) but the bigger changes come as Mexican Republican troops lacking US support are defeated at Guyamas in 1864.
     
  12. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

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    Earleir reform act, so much more minor expansion of franchise+blocking of modernizing forces -- the abolitionists/other radical methodists end up a-dangling instead of influential. A UK that's happy with slavery and wanting to deal with rabblerousers like the US intervenes in 1857 when the Civil war between north and south does.
     
  13. Fiver Curmudgeon

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    That was the Confederacy's pipe dream, but it never happened.

    On June 30th, 1863 backbencher John Roebuck made a motion to Parliament calling for recognizing the Confederacy. It was not a success. As Foreman's "A World on Fire" shows, Roebuck self-destructed. "The undersecretaries from the Home and Foreign offices were scathing in their criticism" of Roebuck. Henry Adams recorded that John Bright "caught and shook and tossed Roebuck, as a big mastiff shakes a wiry, ill-conditioned, toothless, bad-tempered Yorkshire terrier". A Southerner present called it "the most deliberate and tremendous pounding I have ever witnessed." Roebuck tried to take up the motion again on July 10th, but it was blocked by his friends. Southerners begged Roebuck to withdraw the motion before it could be voted down. A Time editorial joined the chorus for withdrawal on July 13th. Roebuck did just that that very evening, after which Palmerston publicly hoped no such motion would be made in the future. Roebuck withdrew his motion without it being voted on, four days before news of a battle at Gettysburg reached Britain, and six days before the British knew the Confederacy had lost the battle.
     
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  14. History Learner Well-Known Member

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    I'm at a loss as to how a paragraph concerning John Roebuck's self destruction relates to my assertion with regards to Confederate battlefield success or, perhaps more importantly, the Roebuck Motion in 1863 relates at all to the main point at hand of British intervention in the Fall of 1862. As for the situation at hand then:

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  15. Fiver Curmudgeon

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    How are you at a loss? I showed that in 1863, the British believed the Confederates would win at Gettysburg, but refused to support the Confederacy. "One more victory" is a myth. The Confederacy won lots of "one more victories", but the only time the British came close to intervening was over the Trent Incident.

    I have already showed there was no chance of British intervention in Fall of 1862, they didn't even offer mediation. Your repeated ignoring of that evidence does not make it go away.

    British Mediation and the American Civil War: A Reconsideration by Kinley J. Brauer in The Journal of Southern History Vol. 38, No. 1 (Feb., 1972) pp. 49-64 still strongly disagrees with you. Palmerston, Russell and Gladstone tried to set up a joint Anglo-French offer of mediation September of 1862. Many British Cabinet members felt that it was too son to offer mediation and Earl Granville suggested that offering mediation at that time would be “dangerous and probably futile”. The response from France also indicated they thought it was too soon to offer mediation. When news of the Battle of Antietam reached Britain, even Palmerston felt that offers of mediation should be delayed. Russell still pressed for making a joint Anglo-French offer of mediation, but even he wanted to couple this with a re-iteration of British neutrality, not an attempt to break the Union blockade of the Confederacy. By later October, even Russell felt it was too soon to propose mediation. Napoleon III then suggested a joint British-French-Russian proposal of a 6 month truce and a voluntary end to the Union blockade. Russia and Britain both rejected this out of hand. The article concludes that “The political situation after November served to confirm the British decision to remain neutral observers of the American struggle.”
     
  16. mrmandias Regent

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    Also, 'one more victory' doesn't meet the challenge in the OP.
     
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  17. History Learner Well-Known Member

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    I'm at a loss because you're making claims in direct contradiction of what you previously said:

    Gettysburg is only mentioned once, with nothing being said about them expecting the Confederates to win or that they refused intervention on the basis of that; in fact it notes the motion was tabled before news of Gettysburg even arrived in England. What your citation does say, however, is that Roebuck had a meltdown and this was the cause.

    I'd also like to point out again you're attempting to conflate events in the Summer of 1863 with those of the Fall of 1862, which featured two unlike strategic situations.

    You've repeatedly cited a single source while I responded with two. To claim I'm ignoring evidence when I've cited a more varied historiography to support my assertion is utterly baseless, and it's very telling you've continued to extol your single source instead of attempted to respond to the ones I've posted. I also find it telling you've left out portions of your own source such as this one:
    Which rather decisively support my case.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019 at 1:33 AM
  18. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

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    There were several US politicians and newspapers in the run up to the civil war calling for the US to annexe Canada. Obviously this never came to anything, but if you can somehow get the British to take the possibility more seriously, splitting the US in two might well seem like an attractive way of taking a potential enemy down a peg or two.
     
  19. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

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    If we assume that a North-South confrontation (whether it becomes a war or not) is brewing no matter what, then we may seek an early "British politics" POD in the form of Britain sticking to its guns over Oregon, and ultimately taking it all. This humiliates the USA, and limits the future number of Northern states just that little bit. Certain elements in the North become obsessed with conquering Canada. They're still a fringe, relatively, but the idea is more serious than in OTL. Britain, seeing the USA as more of an enemy in this ATL, grows correspondingly more willing to take the USA down a peg. When the secession crisis occurs, Britain proves more willing to interfere for the mere purpose of screwing over the USA.

    (Of course, the POD here is purely about British political attitudes, but the scenario running up to the ATL's Civil War sees both Britain and the USA more embittered and hostile towards each other, so it may not fit the OP's demands.)
     
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  20. QuokkaCheese Member

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    Thinking this is probably the most likely POD. It's increasingly hard to imagine that the British would intervene without something like this occurring. Appreciate the reply.