Several prominent Civil War historians have stated that diplomacy was the most vital component of the war. Victory and defeat depended on it. Evaluate then goals, course, and results of both Union and Confederate diplomacy during the war.
The goal of the Confederacy was to be recognized as a legitimate nation while achieving international support to help with the cost of fighting the Civil War and to secure additional foreign military forces.
The Confederacy reached out to those with foreign reliance on the cotton exports from the South. The British and French would never fully commit support due to the issue of slavery. I also think the lack of Confederate military victories and a whisper of a threat from to the British aided in British and French hesitating to commit full support.
“In May, Britain responded to the blockade with a proclamation of neutrality, which the other European powers followed. This tacitly granted the Confederacy belligerent status, the right to contract loans and purchase supplies in neutral nations and to exercise belligerent rights on the high seas. The Union was greatly angered by European recognition of Southern belligerency, fearing that is was a first step toward diplomatic recognition, but as British Foreign Secretary Lord John Russell said, “The question of belligerent rights is one, not of principle, but of fact.”
Sensitive to any further international recognition of the Confederates as statesmen rather than rebels, Secretary of State William H. Seward instructed Charles Francis Adams, Minister to England and the son of former Secretary of State and President John Quincy Adams, to warn the British not to “fraternize with our domestic enemy,” whether officially or unofficially, or risk an Anglo-American war. But the Union realized that Europe’s declarations of neutrality also constituted official acceptance of the blockade, a position with many long-standing implications. Although international law stated that a blockade...