Cover image for The cause of all nations : an international history of the American Civil War
Title:
The cause of all nations : an international history of the American Civil War
Author:
Doyle, Don Harrison, 1946- , author.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Basic Books, [2015]
Physical Description:
xviii, 382 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Summary:
"When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, he had broader aims than simply rallying a war-weary nation. Lincoln realized that the Civil War had taken on a wider significance-that all of Europe and Latin America was watching to see whether the United States, a beleaguered model of democracy, would indeed 'perish from the earth.' In The Cause of All Nations, distinguished historian Don H. Doyle explains that the Civil War was viewed abroad as part of a much larger struggle for democracy that spanned the Atlantic Ocean, and had begun with the American and French Revolutions. While battles raged at Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg, a parallel contest took place abroad, both in the marbled courts of power and in the public square. Foreign observers held widely divergent views on the war-from radicals such as Karl Marx and Giuseppe Garibaldi who called on the North to fight for liberty and equality, to aristocratic monarchists, who hoped that the collapse of the Union would strike a death blow against democratic movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Nowhere were these monarchist dreams more ominous than in Mexico, where Napoleon III sought to implement his Grand Design for a Latin Catholic empire that would thwart the spread of Anglo-Saxon democracy and use the Confederacy as a buffer state. Hoping to capitalize on public sympathies abroad, both the Union and the Confederacy sent diplomats and special agents overseas: the South to seek recognition and support, and the North to keep European powers from interfering. Confederate agents appealed to those conservative elements who wanted the South to serve as a bulwark against radical egalitarianism. Lincoln and his Union agents overseas learned to appeal to many foreigners by embracing emancipation and casting the Union as the embattled defender of universal republican ideals, the "last best hope of earth." A bold account of the international dimensions of America's defining conflict, The Cause of All Nations frames the Civil War as a pivotal moment in a global struggle that would decide the survival of democracy."--

"The Civil War is most often understood as an internal conflict, one fought by American soldiers over issues uniquely American in origin and consequence. But in The Cause of All Nations, distinguished historian Don H. Doyle reframes our understanding of the Civil War, describing it as a conflict that was shaped by international forces--and which had major international repercussions. Doyle shows that, rather than being an internal struggle, the Civil War hinged on the support of nations across the seas, especially in Europe. Both the North and the South looked to Europe for backing, and the Confederacy in particular depended on Britain and France recognizing it as a legitimate nation, which would allow for commercial treaties, loans, and even military aid. Indeed, representatives of the North and the South went so far as to adapt their ideologies to the expectations of European leaders, in the hopes of garnering much-needed support; at a certain point late in the war, the Confederacy even considered abolishing slavery in an attempt to win over French and British rulers. Lincoln quickly learned to reframe the Union's argument in order to win over potential allies. Instead of framing the debate around the unconstitutionality of the South's secession, his speeches began to highlight the importance of preserving the Union and freeing the slaves, an approach with allowed Lincoln to win the support of the European public. The United States became the 'Great Republic, ' an embattled defender of liberty, equality, and self-government and, in Lincoln's poignant words, the 'last best hope of earth.' A bold account of the international dimensions of one of America's most defining conflicts, The Cause of All Nations offers an important new way of understanding the Civil War"--
Language:
English
Contents:
Timeline of key events 1860-1870 -- Introduction: American crisis, global struggle -- Only a civil war? Garibaldi's question ; We are a nation ; We will wrap the world in flames -- The American question. The republican experiment ; The empires return ; Foreign translations ; Foreign legions -- Liberty's war. The Latin strategy ; Garibaldi's answer ; Union and liberty ; The unspeakable dilemma ; Shall not perish -- Republican risorgimento.
ISBN:
9780465029679
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, he had broader aims than simply rallying a war-weary nation. Lincoln realized that the Civil War had taken on a wider significance--that all of Europe and Latin America was watching to see whether the United States, a beleaguered model of democracy, would indeed "perish from the earth."

In The Cause of All Nations , distinguished historian Don H. Doyle explains that the Civil War was viewed abroad as part of a much larger struggle for democracy that spanned the Atlantic Ocean, and had begun with the American and French Revolutions. While battles raged at Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg, a parallel contest took place abroad, both in the marbled courts of power and in the public square. Foreign observers held widely divergent views on the war--from radicals such as Karl Marx and Giuseppe Garibaldi who called on the North to fight for liberty and equality, to aristocratic monarchists, who hoped that the collapse of the Union would strike a death blow against democratic movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Nowhere were these monarchist dreams more ominous than in Mexico, where Napoleon III sought to implement his Grand Design for a Latin Catholic empire that would thwart the spread of Anglo-Saxon democracy and use the Confederacy as a buffer state.

Hoping to capitalize on public sympathies abroad, both the Union and the Confederacy sent diplomats and special agents overseas: the South to seek recognition and support, and the North to keep European powers from interfering. Confederate agents appealed to those conservative elements who wanted the South to serve as a bulwark against radical egalitarianism. Lincoln and his Union agents overseas learned to appeal to many foreigners by embracing emancipation and casting the Union as the embattled defender of universal republican ideals, the "last best hope of earth."

A bold account of the international dimensions of America's defining conflict, The Cause of All Nations frames the Civil War as a pivotal moment in a global struggle that would decide the survival of democracy.


Author Notes

Don H. Doyle is the McCausland Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. The author of several books, including Faulkner's County and Nations Divided , he lives in Columbia, South Carolina.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Following British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston's dictum that "Opinions are stronger than armies," Doyle, a professor of history at the University of South Carolina, offers an intercontinental history of the Civil War that emphasizes diplomacy and ideology over military tactics. Doyle (Secession as an International Phenomenon) sees the Civil War as a global referendum on the viability of republicanism and mass suffrage following the failure of the revolutions of 1848-a referendum acted out on a radically new field of battle thanks to the development of an international press. Neither the Union nor the Confederacy comes out looking good in Doyle's account: the South's struggle for recognition was hampered by incompetent diplomats; the North, insisting to Europeans that the war was precipitated by a legalistic disagreement about constitutional law, failed to capitalize on the powerful antislavery sentiments across the Atlantic until it was nearly too late. Throughout, Doyle lucidly contextualizes these dueling diplomatic missions within the larger machinations of European rulers: to quell dissent at home and reignite their own imperialist ambitions across the Atlantic. Doyle's account, while lacking in organization, is nonetheless a readable and refreshing perspective on a conflict too often understood through a purely domestic context. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Doyle (history, Univ. of South Carolina; New Men, New Cities, New South: Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston, Mobile, 1860-1910) proffers an examination of the Civil War from multiple European perspectives. Although the work includes some diplomatic history for context, the primary focus is on the public square. Some individuals questioned the role of slavery as a cause of the war. They correctly noted that if the fight was about slavery, why did Abraham Lincoln in his first inaugural address promise not to interfere with slavery in the Southern states? Others viewed the war as a moratorium on the sustainability of republican government. That the first and longest-running government managed by representatives of the general populace had fractured into a civil battle was viewed by some as proof that "the people" were incapable of preserving liberty over time. With many questions being posed in the public square by citizens from different classes and countries, agents of both the Union and the South worked to shape mass opinion to serve their nation's interest. VERDICT This fascinating work on the impact of the Civil War on the Atlantic world is an essential read for anyone interested in the conflict. Readers should also consider Duncan Andrew Campbell's English Public Opinion and the American Civil War. John R. Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

In recent years, the international impact of the American Civil War has become a topic of growing interest, and Doyle (Univ. of South Carolina) offers a significant contribution to the discussion with this well-written and thoroughly engaging volume. He maintains that the course and character of the American conflict had a direct and crucial impact on European nationalist movements as well as on a growing debate as to the viability of republics. Doyle notes that Confederate envoys courted favor with the monarchical regimes of Britain, France, and Spain, citing the South's own aristocratic society while endorsing French plans for an expansive "Latin/Catholic" empire in the Americas. European critics of republicanism were exultant over the course of the war until the end of 1863, by which time the Emancipation Proclamation and a string of Union victories had undercut the chief arguments in favor of either rhetorical or diplomatic support of the Confederacy. With fascinating chapters on the international debate over republicanism, the public relations battle in Europe, immigrant and foreign combatants, the debate over slavery versus equality, and the postwar consequences of the US Civil War, this book is indispensable for all collections. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. --Blaine T. Browne, emeritus, Broward College


Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
Time Line of Key Events, 1860-1870p. xiii
Introduction: American Crisis, Global Strugglep. 1
Part I Only a Civil War?
Chapter 1 Garibaldi's Questionp. 15
Chapter 2 We Are a Nationp. 27
Chapter 3 We Will Wrap the World in Flamesp. 50
Part II TheAmerican Question
Chapter 4 The Republican Experimentp. 85
Chapter 5 The Empires Returnp. 106
Chapter 6 Foreign Translationsp. 131
Chapter 7 Foreign Legionsp. 158
Part III LibertyÆs War
Chapter 8 The Latin Strategyp. 185
Chapter 9 Garibaldi's Answerp. 210
Chapter 10 Union and Libertyp. 240
Chapter 11 The Unspeakable Dilemmap. 257
Chapter 12 Shall Not Perishp. 281
Coda: Republican Risorgimentop. 299
Acknowledgmentsp. 315
Abbreviationsp. 319
Notesp. 321
Indexp. 371