Paul Zingg

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




During the secession movement of January- February 1861, which culminated in the Montgomery Constitutional Convention, the young Confederate government established well-defined policy objectives for the purpose of securing European allies and material assistance. Basically these aims were three-fold: to secure recognition of the sovereign status of the Confederate states; to induce intervention by the European powers on the side of the Confederacy; and, after April, 1861, to gain a repudiation of the Union blockade from these same powers. Relying predominantly on the coercive power of cotton, the South began its quest for these objectives with diplomatic efforts directed at the leading European commercial nations. Great Britain immediately became the focal point of the diplomatic ventures. Since Britain stood to be the most affected by any severe interruption of the cotton supply, the Confederates decided that all possible pressures should be put on her to sharpen her awareness of this fact and to lure her to economic security through alliance with the cotton capital of the world, the Confederate States. Despite the clear definition of Confederate foreign policy aims, the initial Southern mission to Britain and the Continent revealed the great disparity between diplomatic theory and diplomatic performance.