“[Our nation’s Civil War] embraces more than the fate of these United States. It presents to the whole family of man, the question, whether a constitutional republic, or a democracy…can, or cannot, maintain its territorial integrity."
Abraham Lincoln, 1863, by Alexan (Library of Congress)
—Abraham Lincoln, in a message to Congress in special session, July 4, 1861
The American Civil War was closely watched by other countries to see what its outcome might signal for the cause of liberty, as well as what effect it could have on their own governments. Paul Quigley, director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and the James I. Robertson, Jr. associate professor of Civil War history at Virginia Tech, explores international perspectives on the war, ranging from ideological affinities to economic calculations to strategic considerations.
Among other topics, he examines how Spain took advantage of the conflict to return to Santo Domingo and Napoleon III installed a puppet regime in Mexico; considers what the Civil War meant for the global cotton trade and the international antislavery movement; and discusses the roles that transatlantic immigration and diplomacy played in a conflict that we usually view as a domestic affair.