Free Essay on Union in Peril: The Crisis over British Intervention in the Civil War by Howard Jones

Published: 2022-05-25
Free Essay on Union in Peril: The Crisis over British Intervention in the Civil War by Howard Jones
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  American Civil War
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 915 words
8 min read

Howard investigates the predicament in the Anglo-American status in the period of the Civil War as well as its implication to the South's effort to gain assistance from the foreign in the year of 1861 to '62. The author presents an argument of the primary concern being the prospect that Britain would offer diplomatic acknowledgment to the Confederation, an approach which would have sought to justify secession and destabilized constitutional framework. Union in Peril is quite an intriguing book that offers great insight into the civil war and Anglo-American studies.

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Conservative knowledge recognizes that the tactical defeat of 1862 incursion of Maryland by Lee as well as the consequent provision of the Emancipation Proclamation constrained the opportunities of intervention from the foreign support by offering a critically required Union win contributing to the moral element of culminating of slavery. Howard extensively contests this presumption in his text which as the title elucidates, the specter of intercession by British resulted into a significant risk to the Northern atrocity effort, the chances that enhanced the inadequate effect of Emancipation Proclamation (Carroll 87).

Jones succinctly establishes some contentions worth noting. Firstly, the interventionists such as Gladstone who was the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord Russel, the Secretary, presumed decisive Confederate independence was a bygone matter (34). Secondly, Russell was the chief advocate instead of Lord Palmerston, the Prime Minister. Also, the Britons were not well versed with the war's prospects and they undervalued Northerners' dedication in the course. Moreover, the Emancipation Proclamation strengthened for period English clergymen's prospects for intercession, dreading it forecasted brutal slave rebellions in the South. Fifth, Howard contends that a significant number of the British interventionists were not necessarily reckless people whose intention was to downgrade America but they needed to avert the war to safeguard the interest of humanity and the textile workers from British in this regard. George Lewis is portrayed as a bottleneck in quest of intervention by Britain.

At the beginning of the war, the mutual relations between Britain and the US were unstable. Lincoln and his government believed European powers would stand their grounds that the Confederacy established a governmentally illegitimate insurgency. However, in the year 1861 on May thirteenth, Victoria the Queen enraged the government of the Union by presenting a declaration objectivity which consequently offered belligerence to the South part. This honorable win for the Confederacy became unrecognized by the nations in the South, yet it would have been its priority avenue for a diplomatic win-win situation. However, the belligerence caused dogmatic legitimacy on the union and presented it with British ships and weapons among other goods. The relations were also intricate due to the involvement of adamant and stubborn union renowned diplomats like Adams Francis and Seward William who were equally canny.

The kind of mediation for the most part supported by the Palmerston service held back before Royal Naval force ships breaking the barricade arriving on American shores, though those might have been unintended results of their objectives. They were ideal for diplomatic acknowledgment of the Confederacy and in mitigating the conflict in France and Britain. For the Britons they tended not to comprehend the course of the Union, they highly dismissed Lincoln and his government and they thought he championed for secession because of his toughness. Nevertheless, interventionists from the North held it in high regards as they knew it would be a setback to the veracity of the Union and its constitutionalism as well. Lincoln and his associates attempted to convince the Southerners that their intention was not to instigate a war on slavery, but in this course they inadvertently made foreigners notice that slavery was not the primary cause of the war. This twist of the event was likely that any intervention by the Britons would probably become a foundation to a major war. The Britons assumed that the South would eventually prevail was detrimental as it causes a dilemma for the Union. Every Confederate win them was their chance to progress but they actually delayed the anticipated course of action.

This text provides extensive knowledge in investigating beyond the restrictions of traditional Civil War antiquity. Moreover, it exemplifies knowledge in the worldwide ramification of the American Civil War (Carroll 87). With the assistance of primary resources, Jones demystifies the intricacies of diplomatic relations in the event of domestic disputes (47). The text provides more knowledge on why some traditional assumptions were not the cause of certain causes especially on civil war.

Another aspect one can draw from the book is the role Europe and the Confederacy and reasons to Britons withdrawal from advancing their notion deeper. It is a subject that needs much research into the catch-22 presented by the intervention experienced by the Union during the war period. It covers the events in details making it a good read for any scholar who is interested in Anglo-American crisis during the civil war. Additionally, it provides information on emancipation proclamation, its conception, implications and even culmination. Jones writing is quite convincing, however, the ideas surrounding Battle of Antietam may be difficult to comprehend (71). This occurrence would have had a significant impact on Britons. They would have become inclined to proUnion because they witnessed Lincoln's to obliterate slavery and failure of the south.


Carroll, Francis M. "The American Civil War and British Intervention: The Threat of Anglo-American Conflict." Canadian Journal of History, no. 1, 2012, p. 87.

Jones, Howard. Union in Peril: The Crisis over British Intervention in the Civil War. 1st ed., The University Of North Carolina Press, 2012.

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