British Neutrality In Gone With The Wind

1808 Words8 Pages
Rebecca Pickle
HI553
Emancipation Reckoned in Blood
British Neutrality During the American Civil War “There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton fields called the old south. Here in this pretty world Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is not more than a dream remembered…..A civilization gone with the wind.” While recently watching the movie, Gone With The Wind, I was struck with the symbolism during one particular scene; the camera pans upwards showing the empty streets of an Atlanta neighborhood. It is eerily quiet, no citizens on the streets, no horses, save one Confederate soldier riding through. Once
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The last shipment of cotton before the war broke out delivered a tremendous quantity to England, creating a surplus that lasted them well into the war. Had this shipment not been so abundant, things might have been different. As it was, this cotton kept the textile mills working long into the war, and when that was used up, the merchants turned to the cotton from India and Egypt, part of the British Empire by this time, which was not as good in quality, but was available and at a much cheaper price. Other mill owners also changed to producing woolens, ships, or munitions. People adapted and jobs were saved, making it even easier to stay away from the conflict. Regardless of this, there was a small shortage of materials going to mills, causing a minor economic crisis. At one point around thirty thousand workers were stilled, but as an editorial to The London Times stated, the unemployed workers were not working due to any fault of their own, but due to the crisis abroad. While the writer does not come right out and ask the government to help with mediation, it is clear that the public sentiment is for the war to end, and for work to get back to normal, however it can be…show more content…
Frank Merli, in his book, The Alabama, British Neutrality and the American Civil War theorizes that it was this lack of diplomacy that caused people in Great Britain to feel disconnected to the war in the United States. During the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin’s frequent trips to Paris, speaking to not only the king, but other dignitaries, led France to help the young country become victorious over Britain. Perhaps because both sides hoped war would not be necessary, the South failed to understand how important diplomacy actually was and sent no-one to help garner support, until after the war had started, and then the people who were sent were viewed as repulsive. William L. Yancey, one of the most radical members of the secession movement repeatedly defended slavery, and lobbied to reopen the slave trade while he was commissioned in London. Meanwhile, the United States government, under President Abraham Lincoln and the Secretary of State, William H. Seward had sent the grandson of one of America’s founding fathers, John Adams, to forge a relationship with British politicians. Charles Francis Adams Sr. made it very clear to Britain that the war was an internal struggle that needed to be left alone. Any help towards the hostile South would be considered an unfriendly act towards the United
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