tv The Civil War International Aspects of the Civil War CSPAN July 28, 2019 10:00am-11:16am EDT
>> while the civil war was fought within the united states, the conflict had a global impact. up next historians talk about the international affairs of the federal government and the confederacy as well asconfederae of immigrants on both sides of the war discussion was part of a conference hosted by gettysburg college civil war institute. hello, and welcome to the second roundtable of the afternoon. . am brian schoen the subject of this panel is going to be asking us to step up and think from what the civil war might look like from 5000 feet. they are going to be internationalizing this conflict that we like to selfishly think is america's domestic war. we going to be thinking about how it is in some of the broader international developments shaped the civil war and get a sense of what is going on
outside the rest the world. in some ways, this is not a new thing. people have been brining -- people up and writing histories years civil war since after the conflict ended. a combination of the sesquicentennial from new rethinking's on what 19th-century globalization is, and our current context where -- americans are rethinking what it means to be part of a larger world in a post-cold war era has generated a lot of rich scholarship in the last decade or so that situates the u.s. civil war in a broader context. we are fortunate to have three young and excellent scholars who are going to help guide us through this. we look forward to your questions at the end. i am going to start to my left, dave thompson is assistant
professor of history at sacred heart university. he was aa knowledge high school scholarship student some time ago. [applause] his research focuses on finance during the civil war. his first book "the evolution of global financial markets in the civil war era" is slated for publication in 2020 next to him is. -- next to him is andre fleche. -- received the james a raleigh award in 2013. at the end is andre zimmerman who his professor of history at george washington university and author of "alabama and africa: pretty washington and the globalization of a new south"
and also the editor of -- writings on the civil war in the united states. he is currently working on the history of the u.s. civil war as an international working-class rebellion. understanding this is the first time the institute has hosted a panel that looks at the global civil war. so, we have got a lot of exciting things we can share. to start off, i would like to ask our panelists, we know a lot about the civil war, you guys are aware of the dynamics of the civil war, what about people outside of the united states in 1860? what are some of the other things that were competing for headlines in something like the london times, probably the most widely circulated newspaper at the time. what other things are happening -- were happening that help us contextualize? >> the short answer is a lot.
timepends on a particular during the war itself, but if you were to pull up a random london times or any other publication within europe, andre might be able to speak about other ones in the western thesphere, but it is political machinations, the soap operas of europe i like to call them, that seem to embroil these writings. the u.s. is competing in this sense with the civil war, but there is a lot of ink spilled to discuss the war in its detailed intricacies. not only on the military front, but various political implications as well. is it is competing, but it taking up a surprising amount of space when you look at some of these papers. >> i emphasize two developments
that were really important in the 1860's. first, the rise of nationalism in europe which in some ways mirrored the debates that americans were hammett -- having about the future of nationalism the united states. second, an reinvigoration of colonialism around the world. this time, european powers were pushing into southeast asia, the far east, also the western hemisphere. the major powers of europe were very interested in the civil war because they view the united states as a competitor in the western hemisphere. out, you hadbroke three major empires that still had a's take in the western -- still had a stake in the western hemisphere, the british, the french. with united states disintegrating there was an opportunity there for european
countries to take advantage of the united states had just come 1848 in then in mexican war by adding california and the southwest, which was by no means foreseen. many european powers did not think the u.s. was going to win that war. britishy year, the shored up their claims to parts of what are now the honduras nicaragua coast. powers knew the passage to the pacific was going to be key both for europe and the united states. just as abraham lincoln is being inaugurated, the spanish empire, which had been receding in the new world, re-annexed the dominican republic. there is no doubt they are taking advantage of the chaos in the united states to move back into the new world.
was the moment for the french. napoleon the third in the 1850's had through a coup d'etat, taken power in france, he was committed to reestablishing the french empire, not just in algeria but in the western hemisphere. he was not an admirer of the united states. he visited the united states when he was a young man, and from a french perspective, he found america to be greedy, materialistic, and uncultured. he did not want to see them dominating the western hemisphere. so he developed his grand design. the invasion of mexico, which unfolded first with the cooperation of spain and great britain in the first year of the civil war, and then extending throughout the first half of the 1860's.
europe, italian unification as the words breaking out. a nation unifying. there is quite a bit there on european powers minds. one angle that is not talked about is the european communist movement. they were fascinated by the american civil war and, for two reasons, as part of the european revolutions, the communist lay come of the organization that wrote the comet's manifesto, played an important role in help turning that into a communist revolution. it failed, it did not work, they had to go into exile. a lot of them went into exile in the united states, and a lot of soldiers in 10 union had been born into one of the
german states, and only a tiny bit had been communists but it included important officers. marx and engels, their old -- wanted to see how their old comrades were doing the roar. -- the war. it, how can we overthrow the despotism of private property? isre, other than slavery, private property more despotic? the civil to look at war as what it was, a successful revolution against a despotic form of private property, and they were inspired by it. for them, the context was not so much what was happening at the same time, a series of revolutions that included 1848, the u.s. civil war, the paris commune, and future ablutions.
>> we talked about the 19th century as being this packed protonic aware -- the picture you guys have painted is one that is filled with revolution, violence, concern. now, maybe that is the segue into thinking a little bit about how it is that some of these dynamics and processes that were unfolding in north america played out to european and other audiences. what did they make of these sorts of processes and dynamics? what did they think the civil war was about? andre: you have the united
states which was claiming to represent this idea of republican government which we don't mean the republican, party, but the small are republican meaning the representative government. is that the future of the world? the second big question, what is the future of labor? does slavery have a place in modern economy? are we going to shift to a on wagest economy based labor? americas, youhe have some countries experimenting with contractor labor. importing chinese laborers as indentured servants. none of the sinks up and worked out, i think it is important to understand the degree to which people are watching and sorting
through these issues, certainly for european liberals who wanted more representative government, the existence of the united states was a reaffirmation of a democratic government, or representative government was possible. at the same time, european conservatives, aristocrats, would have been happy to see the united states split in two which would make their position stronger in the americas. was biddingederacy to become the most powerful and prosperous slave economy in the world. these are some of the issues that people are paying attention to and trying to work out. from another perspective, inking at radical opinion both europe and in africa, one of the difficult things for radical intellectuals to understand was they understood the war to be a war about
slavery. certainly for the slavery -- certainly further confederacy it was explicit. they were confused by the statements by lincoln and the union government that this was not a war to interfere with slavery where it already existed. one well-known story is that the italian revolutionary garibaldi was asked to be a general in the union army, and he said he would if they declared antislavery as a war aim. they said no, and garibaldi ended up not serving. in nigeria, someone named robert campbell, a jamaican, had gone to what is today nigeria with abolitionists, he wrote about the civil war from lagos. like a lot of both the african-american press, and the international black press, there is a sense of dismay.
why isn't that the union fighting slavery? why is mclellan promising to return slave people to their captors? theird thing is that government of liberia was looking at -- well-known plants, so-called colonization plans, to deport freed african-americans from the united states. see this isople rooted in racism, the government of liberia was saying please do that, and send the african-americans here to liberia because we would like to have them here. box -- toon a little add on a little, i think it mirrors what andrew and andre were getting at. one example of this frustration of -- not syncing up with working-class interests is that march 26 1863 you have 3000 rallyinglass londoners
together in a city that has a lot of ties to the south because of money that is tied up in cotton. they are rallying, the whole function of this meeting is to say yes, the emancipation proclamation, we hear about workers rallying in the north despite the fact that they are working contrary to their interests if they are trying to keep a job well they are working in one of these mills. it is undeniable that they side more with a free labor identity that is contrary to what is going on in the south. it ties into the german states as well. >> maybe we can build on that. their -- there are a lot of people outside the -- out line what are the things that scholars have often thought about and that we know -- a great question is what is going
to get powers involved to do something with the war? to either recognize confederacy, how is it these different groups of people chose, if they chose, the side they were going to pull for in this? does anybody want to take up that thorny question? europe,it comes to something i can speak to is money talks. these wealthy financiers, they want to hedge their bets, they are taking a look, they want to see how this wars playing out. many folks who are in london are deeply tied into that kotten connection that i have already mentioned. they are not really necessarily excited about the prospect of certainly a unification, maintaining a union, but openly supporting on the part of the british government. it is telling at the end of the war that southerners are --porting -- exceeds me
british members of parliament and other well-heeled folks are supporting the south. it gets into a similar token, you can talk about this financial connection in france. successful iny is europe through a french bank. the united states never does this, they sell a bond could -- but they don't have up loan directly through a bank in europe. it is looked at in a different light when he realized with earl and her that his daughters meriting -- marrying john slidell. i have to feel that he is doing his daughter a favor. the day after he -- this loan he buys the exact same amount in union debt. through various exchanges. >> he is playing both sides. >> you have a lot of folks that
are playing both sides. i like to point to -- early example of that. of course we do not have a trans atlantic cable, it is down at this point. it existed prior to the war, but it is out of commission at the time of the war. best case scenario you're looking close to three weeks lag time with news coming over, so it becomes problematic what is going on and how that impacting prospects. and in turn how much these governments may consider or not consider recognizing the confederacy, or providing support for the united states government. >> you are probably familiar, the way that the question has traditionally been taught us to emphasize the importance of the slavery question. we teach that because the union was anti-slavery, great britain, france, other powers were not going to get involved on behalf of the confederacy because there
populations were opposed to slavery. recently, as david is emphasizing, is that really true ? did these governments respond to public opinion in that way? issue coloring their judgments? i think first and foremost what we have to say is that great britain and france, the two powers that most likely could have made a military impact on the war, simply did not want to back a loser. they were not going to get involved and make a decision to recognize or support the confederacy unless they were convinced the confederacy would win. if they packed the confederacy and the confederacy loses, you have an enraged united states on their hands with the capability to threaten canada, the caribbean. they were still having this tension between self-interest
and humanitarian questions of slavery. >> i can answer the question about foreign powers at work in the civil war in a different way. one of the things that many people living in the united states recognized -- or believed at least -- was that the institutions and ideas that the united states were incapable of fighting slavery where it already existed. certainly, that is a debatable question. but that is certainly how every president had interpreted it up until that point including abraham lincoln. there are two populations that are interesting who drew on .oreign powers the first were enslaved people -- not necessarily black abolitionist scott -- but people whose voices were
preserved by the works progress administration. they had efforts long before 1861. they continued and extended their fight after 1861. -- the non-uss ways that people of african --cent inc. about history the figure of mosys. who is referred to as an african political leader and user of magic who is able to emancipate his people and lead them out of the land of bondage. ofre were a lot african-american political traditions by enslaved people, the less prominent african-american antislavery a formts, who relied on of magic called condor in order to -- conjure in order to fight
slavery. and more broadly having a conception of history that was not this endless generation of slavery in the united states, but african liberation. a second group, which i mentioned, really european americans. particularly german-american communists, and people inspired by communists. what's important is not the constitution of private property, what is important is democracy. property and private are antithetical to each other, they thought. so, let's fight for democracy and let's not worry about constitutional niceties or the traditions of the united states, let's worry about an international democracy. those two you could say our foreign powers, but they are very much rooted in the united states but not in the political institutions of the united states at the time. >> what do we gain from studying
the international context that we are talking about? onthis basically just adding to the traditional story, the narrative account we have of the civil war? are we just broadening the scope, basically the same processes that are in play that determine the cause and the outcome of the war are still the same? or, does thinking about it from different perspectives fundamentally change the narrative that we typically have of what the civil war was about? i don't think we are all going to disagree on this one necessarily. it is very important -- shifting that framework a little bit. if anything when we talk about internationalizing the war, it has certainly been from a diplomatic angle. it has been very anglo-american focused. certainly very eurocentric. i think it is important when you
start to drill down into different communities throughout the world and how they are interpreting the sore. they are very knowledgeable --ut this war, i do not say they are still of the same kind start tobut if you look at the role of ministers and parts of europe talking about the war. sometimes these are americans regrowing that who are going over to talk about the work sometimes you look at at workers meetings in the german state from the fact that they are in the middle of the were talking about conceptions, what free labor means, and how that may be applied in their own personal lives. i think it provides a greater sense of the stakes of this war and that folks all around the world are talking about this. i have been reading accounts
from parts of japan and china and a straley are talking about the war. it is delayed, the news they are , but it is something that they are vitally interested in because i think they recognize what is at stake. i think that because of that, they are deeply engaged. i think if you think of that anymore since you are providing a greater framework for understanding the war. gain a moree realistic and rich understanding of the war by looking at these international stories. time wereat the well-informed on foreign affairs. if you look at newspapers from the era, the front pages are dominated by four news. americans knew what was going on in their village, but not necessarily what was going on in europe, so they consumed news to find out about that. decade withas the
the highest percentage of foreign-born people in the united states in our history. many of the soldiers who fought in the war, some of the politicians that debated the war were born elsewhere. they had their understandings about the way the world works, about politics shaped in other contexts. gettysburg, a few on the first day, carl shirts -- found himself in command of the 11th corps temporarily. in civil war history, the 11th corps has been maligned, it has been a joke. they were unlucky enough to be right in the face of stonewall jackson at chancellorsville, they were routed again not far from campus here on the first shurz hastysburg, but
an interesting story. he was a german chancellor 1888 who joined a revolution because he wanted to create a representative government, not quite the communist that others were, but he was interested in civil liberties, antislavery which is why he backed lincoln and the union cause. the reason why lincoln appointed generals, whomen are not successful on the battlefield, but politically very important. on july 6, a cuban born union soldier frederico fernandes was captured in the peach orchard. he survived captivity, but died, but when he went to cuba after he had served to
join an insurrection against spain. he was hoping to bring representative government and freedom to the slaves in cuba. another interesting global story there also. foreign-born on the confederate 14th-15th louisiana regiments saw culp's hill on day two were called the polish brigade. not because they were mostly polish, but because they were recruited by a polish revolutionary who had fought for the independence of poland. he saw the confederate cause analogous. up shirtsfor bringing and siegel. they are two different types, and they can tell us a lot about the role of german-american radicals. i should say, there were german-americans who fought on
the confederate side, so the german public opinion was broad. it was not ethically determined to be german. -- really was a socialist. he was one of the socialists who made a political career in the united states and gets remembered because he was so successful as a politician, the socialist part drops out and was not as well remarried. he was not as regular that she was not as radical as the comet asleep, but he was anticapitalist. siegel was interesting because he was a member of the comet asleep. was a member of the communist league. lincoln replaced fremont with halleck which was -- who was infamous for prohibiting union units for allowing enslaved people into their lines. the goal simply refused to do that and was successful.
one of the things that was interesting that i discovered, and you can see this if you look at the publish records of the battle of wilson's creek, is that he was actually successful. after howlett takes over he begins to rewrite the history of it and slanders siegal for political reasons because he was a proslavery unionist and siegal was anti-slavery and not the particular configuration of the united states. terms of how this changes things around on the civil war and our conception of it, one thing that is important, one thing to take into internationalizing the civil war a further step is to give up the model of the u.s. and the world, it preserves this idea of a discrete u.s. that knows about the world and the world knows about what it's doing. what i'm finding in my research, and a lot of other scholars, not just in the civil war, the world is in the u.s. as much as the u.s. is in the world and all
sorts of currents flow through the civil war. in working on the military history of the civil war and the role of radicals, i am finding that it changes the way we understand the military history, i think historians -- many historians have noticed that the war as is often said, the war , was won in the west, the mississippi valley, west of the appalachian mountains, and in the east there was a kind of strategic stalemate and also political stalemate. i think developing the revolutionary strategy against slavery was something that was hampered in the east by their adherence to u.s. institutions, including, i would say, benjamin butler's contraband drop, in which he really meant contraband. he was widely criticized in the radical press, german and american radical press, for calling people contraband, that is, seized property. you have enslaved people
fighting inside union units, and union units working very closely with enslaved people that i think they did not do in the east, and i think that helps explain the way the war was fought in the way the union won. prof. thomson: guys, another he have to draw great example that i like to come back to, looking at this immigrant population, the community is that come into here. one person i like to spend time on his august belmont. he works for the rothschild family, comes to the united states in 1837. he is supposed to be going to an cuba to become the rothschild banking agent, and he shows up in new york in the middle of the as in new york in the middle of the panic of 1887 and says, "i am going to stay here, because your partner just went under, and i am now your new representative in new york city. you are welcome." niceyou are welcome." they did not particularly care for that. they had a very acrimonious
relationship with the belmonts. but ultimately belmont goes on and by 1860 he becomes the chair of the democratic party, and he is the first chair of the dnc to actually take it beyond an honorary title, and he plays a huge role in 1860, and even beyond. by the time we get into the war, he ultimately volunteers in service to the lincoln administration, to go back to europe where he serves as administrator to try to convince folks over there to give money to the united states. it is at that point that he starts to badmouth lincoln and gets ultimately unceremoniously canned. this is an immigrant who comes to the united states and shapes so much of the late antebellum and beyond, which is why it's called the belmont stakes. that is your fun fact. it is named after him. [laughter] prof. schoen: by some estimates,
this focus on immigration seems to be really important. just to add an numeric value to this, one in four american -- union soldiers were foreign-born. another 18% was the son of an american immigrant. you put those statistics together, it does suggest a shockingly amount was not what -- large amount of the union army was not what we would call blue blooded americans. and if you add to that the nearly 200,000 african americans who fought, it does certainly change. it could suggest a way of rethinking, you know, how and why the union one -- won, in part, because the confederacy did not recruit nearly the same number or percentages of immigrants, and certainly refused come on the very waning days of the war, to enlist african americans in the battle. so i think it is right to focus on that. that does raise a question, though, which is -- does the civil war change americans' perspective on ethnicity and
immigration? prof. fleche: that is a great question. certainly for the immigrants, they dearly hoped that it would. the foreign-born fought, you know, their perspectives were shaped around two goals. one was to assert their americanness, assert their citizenship in the united states. certainly that was a concern of the irish, and the famous irish brigade that, through service to the country, they would gain acceptance as americans. the same could be said for the german-american population as well. and, you know, we would like to thank that there certainly was some positive movement in that
regard, in favor of the way those populations are viewed, certainly in the press, the union press. not of course on the confederate side. they like to point out the union army is made of foreign vandals. so i am not sure how far we can go on that. [laughter] prof. zimmerman: to continue on that, the german americans were, as andre was saying, were reviled in the american press and the confederacy, and again, it is a stereotype, that there was a view, and it was not entirely without empirical foundation, that whether they live in the north or the south, they were rapidly anti-slavery, so in the west come in the ways that a confederate might speak of yankees, often they talked about dutchmen in the west, and dutchmen was a way to say german
-- but they have nothing to do with the netherlands. they complained and called them "the damned dutchmen" oftentimes. there are stories of people lynching german americans in the confederate south. there are stories of confederate soldiers bragging that they were going to scalp germans. others also spoke very negatively about the german americans. they had to admit, i mean, after scott stepped down as commander in chief, sigel was the only one preparing. so they were good soldiers, and they were also radical soldiers, and the radicalism, that really alienated people like mcclellan and halleck, and a lot of people in the union who did not like the german americans, either. they knew how to shoot really
well because they had not only been fighting in their own revolution but preparing for the next one, too. they were good soldiers and radical soldiers. they were not west point trained and that really alienated people like mcclellan and a lot of conservatives in the union that also didn't like the german-americans either. prof. thomson: one great place to look, if you want to see the perceptions, particularly german americans in the immediate aftermath of the war, look in the congressional records when it comes to the debate over who supported the franco-prussian war. you have got folks on one side saying that the french were our allies in the revolution and lafayette will roll over in his grave if we don't come to their aid and others are saying that the germans were the ones who helped us to win the war and what would it look like if we were to turn our backs on them? it's really something to quite -- to see that fairly heated debate. one of the largest supporters of
the german-americans was charles sumner, who spent a sizable amount of time recuperating after the caning in the german states. an insane amount of german-american connections after the war, it could be its own book, it's rather quite something. prof. zimmerman: i remember when philip sheridan went and wrote interesting things. prof. schoen: as someone who is married to an irish american, i feel like the irish might be getting the short shrift here. [laughter] prof. schoen: does anyone want to speak to how it is how other ethnicities other than the german-americans may have factored into this conflict? what sort of national origins or imperial origins also tended to influence the immigrants that were in the united states? fighting the conflict. prof. fleche: it is important to emphasize that many of these believed groups really in the cause. it's not that they were, you know, divorced from american society. in fact they believed that their
actions in the civil war would not only reform the united states but potentially the world . to speak to the irish, a good percentage of irish born soldiers would have had some type of political position on the irish relation to great britain. you know, the most radical would have been irish republicans, who were hoping to achieve independence from the british empire. union,lieved that the the irishman that fought for the union believed that reuniting the united states was the best -- would be the best way to achieve an independent ireland. they assumed that the united states would be arrival to britain and might support an irish rebellion. to that end after the war, there was actually a fenian rutherford organized in the united states that wanted to liberate ireland. toy didn't have the means
attack ireland, so instead they attacked canada. it didn't go very well, but these were some of the ideological underpinnings of the migrant experience for. certainly the germans had all that we reform ideas have touched on. those are probably the two biggest groups, although the biggest immigrant group would have been people from the british isles themselves, and it was their ideological position, it probably depended on where they lived, you know, how they made a living. but certainly the irish and the germans had political motivations. prof. zimmerman: just to add to that, the irish also explicitly fought in the civil war to gain combat experience that they would use against britain and many did go back to britain and
continue to fight. they talked about skirmishing, which is loose order infantry fighting but also something that's good for streetfighting, too, for example. that's one of the kind of tactical last -- lessons they brought. it should also be acknowledged, though, that my perception is that the common perception of irish immigrants in the civil war is that they may have been prounion, they may not have been prounion, and again just as there were many proslavery germans there were many anti-slavery irish immigrants but that as a whole irish immigrants work approach a pro on theutral to slavery question and i think an explanation for that is simply the idea little -- ideological institutions from which they came. that kind of political organization, ideological organization tended to be church-focused. when italians came to new york, they tended to be radicals, and
they demanded separate church is not just as a separate languages but they also didn't like to proslavery conservative ideological orientation that they perceived. it's important to remember that there were a lot of stereotypes from people who projected their own negative feelings onto the very poor immigrant groups. it shouldn't be exaggerated or denied, i think, that there were ways to fight for freedom and the freedom was entirely white and based on anti-black racism. prof. fleche: many irishmen fought for the confederacy as well. in their case, they were attracted to this idea of a war for independence. if the consent or as he -- if in fetters he had the right to secede from the united states, maybe also ireland would have a right to secede from britain. prof. schoen: that is great. immigration into the united states, david, you mentioned
sort of financial flows that are interrupted by the civil war but also our contribute in two different opportunities for the confederacy. a lot of these external forces are pouring into the civil war in interesting and complicated ways. they create these kind of contested loyalties for some. what if we reverse the question and think about -- what impact did the civil war have on the rest of the world? have did it reshape -- or did it reshape the global processes at a time when the borders were very porous, a time when it was also interconnected, and increasingly interconnected global economy. how did the civil war in its outcome, a union victory, change the course of world history? or did it change the course of world history? prof. thomson: i can start with that and speak from an area of great interest.
to me, obviously, the financial component of this, the war itself is transformational. the fact that we come out of the andwith the united states start to rapidly kind of move up the ladder, if you will, so that by the end of the century we are the world's largest economy in by world war i we are a creditor nation. there's no denying the fact that the war plays a pivotal role in all of this. the u.s. comes out of the war, american banks start to open their own branches overseas. -- it's the first time that has ever happened, they take on international markets, never bend of the need to london. they think they can try to compete with them. the fact that half of the u.s. national debt is held in foreign hands by 1869 is also quite
something. it's an incredible amount of i in, $1 billion at that point, not a lot of money today, but $1 billion is still quite a bit of money. it plays an important role in understanding that only the united states and its development, but i would argue the development of the german economy and as these power start to go toe to toe by the end of the century i think that the war itself plays an important role in all of that. prof. fleche: i would stress two things. first, the destruction of slavery in the united states, and secondly, the preservation of the union. and these have global effects for a number of reasons. first come on the slavery issue, when the confederacy was defeated, the largest and most powerful slaveholding nation in the world, moved to free labor.
at that time, there were only two holdouts -- the spanish empire, empire with cuba and puerto rico, and the empire of brazil. it is hard to measure the impact, but the brazilians did study the civil war, and the emperor began and listing black troops, and they actually studied the united states colored troops and their experiences when they were formulating their policy. so it plays some role there, and in cuba as well, the beginning of the end of slavery in cuba comes out of the 10 years war, the insurrection against spain that began in 1868, you know? the spanish empire did not abolish slavery completely until after the insurrection was
defeated, but both the rebels in cuba began liberating slaves and then the spanish government started to introduce modest and delayed emancipation policies to try to quell the insurgency. the u.s. grant administration was very important in that process. diplomatically they were constantly putting pressure on spain. you don't want the u.s. to intervene on the side of the rebels? .mancipate the slaves the grant administration wanted to see slavery destroyed in that atmosphere. the reunion of the united states has important geopolitical considerations. it might be too much to say that it made the united states superpower, but it certainly cemented its status as a power in the hemisphere. again, notivil war, coincidentally, the spanish withdrew from the dominican
republic, the french withdrew from mexico. the united states now becomes the imperial power in the americas. it certainly transforms the 19th century and some scholars have suggested that the global balance of power in the 20th century and beyond. prof. schoen: you could argue that they create canada as a dominion. sometimes the civil war created three nationstates on the north american continent. prof. zimmerman: to look at it from another angle, to think of it from the perspective of the black freedom struggle in the united states, which obviously started long before the civil war and continues to this day, it entered a new phase with the american civil war and very early reconstruction, when hopes for land reform were dashed and at the end of reconstruction, of course, to. one thing that scholars have begun to talk about is the idea music, but this
embodiment of a way of doing politics and a way of thinking about the world and society that in not just the struggle against slavery but to thrive and flourish within and after. many of the great places of revolution against slavery during the civil war, helena, arkansas being my favorite, where there were early capitals for the blues. these scholarsh and think -- and i do, if blues acknowledges the contra knowledge i acknowledged -- i referenced earlier, with willie dixon, we can see the blues, arguably as well as it's many, many offshoots, willie dixon said it's the promise of the shoots, but if you think of jazz, rock 'n roll, and and the international impact, that's pretty big, too.
coming out of the black freedom struggle and the question of slavery and proslavery. prof. schoen: i think at this point, it might be good to turn things over. we touched on some of the brought an interesting ways which global trends and global individuals have shaped the civil war, how the civil war shaped some of those. but this is only the tip of the iceberg, when you think about this. so we are really interested to see what questions you have, maybe other topics you would like discussed. we will just open the floor now for questions. we will begin over here with this gentleman. >> notwithstanding lincoln's stewardship, how close did the trent affair nearly bring us into conflict with great britain? prof. fleche: well, neither side really wanted war.
i mean, i think we should start there. it's hard to say. what i would say is that the british were very aggressive about, about asserting their rights. if you are not familiar with it, the trent affair, the united states shipped two confederate envoys off of a male package that was flying the british flag that the british saw as an affront to honor. theyritish gave seward sickly an ultimatum that the united states was going to have to address this and come up with a position within a fairly short amount of time and if not, that breaking diplomatic relations, the first step to war. the british did send troops to canada. obviously what
this did is it caused lincoln and seward to back down, or at least mason and slidell. certainly ashat cooler heads prevailed in the lincoln administration, they realize they didn't want to do with a war with great britain at that time and the british didn't want a war either. but that wassay, the moment when the u.s. became closest to war with britain. prof. schoen: let me jump in here. i think one of the other important dynamics with the trent affair was the role of the european powers had. it was not just the united states in britain who didn't want to conflict at that moment. the french were not eager to have a conflict at that particular moment. the russians were also trying to play the game. there was a lot of interesting backhaul diplomacy to make sure that didn't escalate. one of the striking things to me
is the part of the book i'm working on now, the extent to which the people were worried about international law and the law of nations in sorting out these complex. that pertains to the rights of ships to be searched through the blockade and these other things and it applies to the trent affair and an argument could be made that i think the peaceful revolution -- resolution of the trent affair and the willingness of the lincoln administration to suggest that they would balance the wishes of international law on that point actually served as a bit of a guitar and -- d tonto -- detente that was crucially important and how britain formed diplomacy in 1862, during the cotton famine, and the fall of 1862, kind of played out. another one of those high point moments when it looked as if written might -- i wouldn't say intervene, there was a lot of discussion of intervention, but they might try to step in and create terms for peace, which is different from actually throwing the british navy into the
conflict, which is what may be some confederates would have wanted. somebody on the side? >> i would like to ask about how the civil war played out in a nation that i have not really heard mentioned, but both in the system of government and its system of labor, it seems to be very interesting. that's russia. how did the russian aristocracy or intellectuals or anybody else -- prof. schoen: a pertinent question in this current environment, huh? [laughter] prof. thomson: i was thinking as we were talking that russia is kind of one of those nations that we neglected to mention because of someone came to me -- someone came to ask who was our closest ally in the civil war, it was russia from the get-go. they pledged allegiance at two points during the war when the
u.s. posted huge naval flotillas from the russians. we can look into what the real meanings are there. apparently the party in new york was really something else, like 25,000 oysters. it was wild. mean, it was all served him -- serfdom. from what i've read in the correspondence from st. petersburg, they are deeply invested in the war. the ruble is crumbling. the united states is an interesting window and a lot of folks put a lot of financial interests in the united states. they are very, very interested in it. prof. zimmerman: it is really interesting, the other conflict they had as they were siding
with established unions and they didn't want to create this precedent of blessing insurgency against what they saw as a legitimate government, the russian upper-class was worried similarmilar, you know, -- revolutions breaking out in russia. prof. zimmerman: it is really interesting, looking from a comparative perspective, russia and prussia, earlier, serfdom, one of the ways they worked out a way you could theoretically abolish freedom but keep power over the land, it is a complex idea of freedom that i think is also at work in the 19th century that is harder for us in the 21st century to see, where people legitimately claim they were paying people, yet they were still keeping them down to the land and forcing labor, as happened in russia and as happened in the united states also. dan: thank you. prof. schoen: here on the right. peter: peter barkley from peoria, illinois.
britain did not stand by and wait for cullman to come back. he looked for other sources. -- they looked for other sources . one of those was india. of course we know in the 1930's, 1940's, gandhi made a statement, spinning his own cotton, because cotton was coming from england back to india as material and gandhi sought that as a part of the revolution. so it was a part of the indian revolution as well. what other things did other countries do to impact the loss of the south's tobacco and cotton? what was the effect of that at the end of the war? prof. schoen: i guess i will take that as the resident so-called cotton expert. it is a great question and it is a great point. the south produced the vast majority of commercial cotton
prior to the war. the war dried-up most of their supplies. it's not coincidence all, and i mentioned this earlier, in the midst of the war and immediately afterwards, european powers went hunting elsewhere for a place to get their cotton. there's a book called the empire of cotton that traces that story the second wave european imperialism was a direct byproduct of the american civil war, leading not only into india, egypt, and parts of africa, but also into australia and other places. i think that it shows, really, the way in which all of these aims are integrated. >> pennsylvania. i noticed in some of the readings of popular literature, from europe -- like charles dickens, the interview go, they seem to make a comment and they
say about america that you are "the land of the free but you tolerate slavery." how prevalent was that attitude in europe? prof. fleche: i would say that it prof. fleche: i would say that it was probably among the intelligence, yes, certainly at the educated populace, especially on the reforming wing, and that was also the opinion of politically active workers. i say politically active, because there is a lot of debate in literature about this, but there were many workers that were not particularly aware of worker issues, attended minstrel shows, only worried about their job when the cotton famine hit. but there were men and women supportive of workers groups. >> from connecticut. i was just wondering to what extent the emancipation proclamation changed the perspective of foreign nations about the civil war and whether they should join or not. prof. schoen: it is crucial. it is a great question. i mean, it is very important.
there is a lot of debate, and folks like james pearson have discussed as to whether or not antietam itself was responsible for shutting the door, but it plays a huge role, you know, napoleon iii still has these vain hopes that maybe he can nudge the british to be supportive in some kind of intervention, but it is really hard to be on the side of the british, who abolished slavery in 1883, now that the war has been won to "end slavery," how do you introduce that into the part of the south? prof. fleche: there is some confusion about the emancipation proclamation, because it is not free all slaves in the united states. as it progresses and it becomes
clear that slavery is on the way out, it certainly has an impact on european public opinion, no doubt about that. >> john keegan at the end of his book about the civil war said we have never had a revolution in the united states because of the intensity of the national civil war and the exhaustion. what do germans another radical stand socialists think about after supporting the union, and more power wound up in the hands of the capitalists, in the gilded age? prof. schoen: andrew, that is your question. [laughter] prof. zimmerman: i think it is a common perception that the civil war was a capitalist revolution. the south was not capitalist, it
a lot of people are born radicals, not just communists, but also that. ben wade said this, one of the radical republicans, who said now that we have dealt with slavery, now it is time to deal with other kind of capital, too. i think the most powerful thing is w.e.b. dubois, when he said a revolution of enslaved workers, he says, they were free for a moment, and then there was a counterrevolution of property, and that gave us the reconstructionist south and the gilded age north. so instead of seeing the 1880's coming as an outcome of the civil war, it was a counter revolution to the civil war.
a lot of people miss that because it was so quickly undone by counterrevolution. and keegan is not the only one who missed the real revolution. prof. schoen: americans had a variety of different motives to fight for, and some were not pursuing radical ends, they may have been pursuing conservative ends. great. over here to the right. sandra: sandra from british columbia, canada. it is my understanding that 40,000 what were to become canadians enlisted in the war and fought. do you think their motivations may have had to do with worry about the war spilling over or changing something about the north, or do you think there is no knowing about why they would enlist in the civil war? prof. fleche: well, certainly some canadians were motivated by anti-slavery. that was a concern. canada also had important trade ties with upstate new york, the midwest, and there was some cultural overlap. at this time, people moved back and forth across the border, so i think family ties probably played a role. prof. zimmerman: i do not know about these canadians in particular, but for african canadians, who had escaped slavery, there was one free state in the north, and that was canada. in the united states, you were still subjected to be hunted down and return it to slavery, and canada with the free state,
so maybe that has something to do with it. i don't know. >> thank you so much for your scholarship on these topics, foreign-policy issues, labor history, for me, it has an interest of mine. my question is about the transitional period in the mid-19th century. this is a real transitional moment, the american civil war and other concepts going on as well. i'm wondering if we are going through our own traditional moment right now on the international stage. do you see any parallels or lessons you can draw from this time period, the mid-19th century, to bring it forward to 2019? [laughter] prof. schoen: i am glad to be moderator at this. [laughter] prof. zimmerman: feel free to chime in, brian. [laughter] prof. fleche: power politics, the direction that our
relationship with china is heading, this idea that big unions oppose each other nationally or have competing interests, you know, i think there is certainly a component to that, and the republican party thinking in the civil war, that the united states must remain united to be powerful, and to compete with britain, france, other empires in the hemisphere, so i definitely think there is an aspect there. prof. schoen: i will not totally punt on it. you could say that the 19th century, that we are talking about here, is a moment in which liberal nationalism, as we start to see it play out in the 20th century, is coming into existence. in some ways what we are talking about, the civil wars, the war with germany, and italian unification, is the way that francis lieber, a german immigrant, said it is the way it is informing people's lives. until recently, that is kind of what many people attuned, and then we had nationalism, globalization, and in the big question that we are not really clear about is whether this is the end of that liberal order,
that in some ways -- i would not say in the only way, because of course world war ii is very important -- in some ways had its birth in the period that we are looking at, and it had a violent birth. the question is -- is it dying? if it is not dying, then what is it doing? and is it going to be violent, or is it not? and that is a domestic one but also international. prof. zimmerman: all the nationalism, and german unification, italian unification, came out of a betrayal and defeat of a poor people's democracy, too. that is another thing to remember also, that it was not just a victory against absolutism but over workers, formerly in slave
people here, and one lesson for the civil war for those movements is when thieves fight, honest people prosper. prof. schoen: that is a great question. looks like here on the left. john: john from charles town, west virginia. you talk about kind of the big, broad questions of the 19th century about what is the future of government, what is the future of labor versus the civil war in the united states, but what was the reaction on the global stage, if any, to reconstruction in the united states as counterrevolution? prof. zimmerman: one thing i would say is european powers wisely look to the united states. i've written about that in west africa, but it was widely admired around the world. they looked to modern and advanced european colonial powers. this is how to establish white supremacy and advanced capitalism, again. i mean, it was a horrible model. when i say model, i do not mean
good. it was very influential on european people and their powers. prof. schoen: to the left. kent: i just have a quick question. my name is kent. take the trend example, lincoln said, yeah, we will play ball with you right now, because we are fighting a war, but don't forget we have the largest naval force in the world. you are going to send troops to canada? go right ahead. that is what this guy was writing about. but what i heard in lincoln's correspondence, he was a constant statesman, and he corresponded with the english government but also with benito juarez, i believe, in mexico, because juarez, he really went
prof. fleche: i do not think lincoln wanted to tangle with the royal navy, although it is true that the american navy was growing, lincoln subscribed to the one war at a time position. i think you are right that especially secretary of state seward used that threat, whether it was realistic or not, to try to tamper british eagerness to get involved. as far as juarez, the lincoln government is a very important factor of the juarez regime. juarez was a liberal reformer in mexico who was fighting the french invasion. the border issue is settled more under johnson and after
lincoln's assassination, but seward and grant were very pro-juarez and anti-french. >> [indiscernible] prof. schoen: there is a book called "lincoln in the world," and i forget the author's name. the other book i would recommend is "the cause of all nations," by don doyle. i think we have time for one more question, and we had one man standing, so let's let him have it. john: john willing from washington, d.c. i recently came across a book, and i knew nothing about the topic previously, it is called "when the irish invaded canada." when they can here to join the union army, they do so so they could then go back and free ireland from britain. and in 1866, they invaded canada, with the idea that they were going to hold canada hostage for the freedom of ireland. is that true, or how common was that? prof. fleche: it is true. it did not go very well, but it is true. prof. schoen: they also took a ship and tried to attack our let itself. that it not go very well, either. with that no, we will end, or headed over to our fearless leader, and he will tell us what to do next. [applause] >> you are now watching american history tv. american history tv is only on c-span3.
penn state professor lee ann banaszak reflects on the 100th anniversary of women suffrage and talked about the tactics women used to get the night at the moment passed and ratified. this took place at the historians meeting in philadelphia. greta: lee ann banaszak, when was that women tried to get the vote, and what was it that triggered the movement? dr. banaszak: that is a great question. it started in seneca falls, but in truth, it started earlier than that with women who were interested in the abolitionist movement but were excluded in lond a