Explain how diplomacy and naval forces became the lesser known keys to victory for both the Confederacy and the Union, why was the north able to succeed in both?

Essay by Toboscoe January 2004

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The Confederacy needed to import materials for the war from Britain, so to shut off the Confederacy from receiving these imports, Lincoln ordered the Navy to blockade all southern ports, and stop both international trade and the short-distance coastal traffic. This blockade started out very weak and unobtainable and the South snuck 9 out of 10 ships through it.

The power of cotton allowed the Confederacy to employ cotton diplomacy as its foundation for foreign relations during the Civil War; Southerners used cotton to pressure countries such as England and France into the war on behalf of the Confederacy. Southern leaders were convinced that the key to their success lay in gaining international recognition and help from European powers in breaking the blockade that the Union had thrown up around coastal areas and ports and that was increasingly effective as the war went on. Although the Union blockade never thoroughly sealed the Confederate coastline, it was successful in causing Southern imports and exports to drop drastically at a time when the Confederacy needed to fund its huge war efforts.

Southerners saw cotton as the great leverage in this effort, and at the time this made sense. This concept of King Cotton led many Southerners to believe that England and France would have to intervene in the Civil War in order to save their own economies. The Confederacy began applying pressure on the neutral powers through a voluntary embargo of cotton however they were forced to lift the embargo after Britain and France used alternate sources for cotton import. The south was forced to use special ships called blockade runners to slip past the blockade and relay cotton back and forth to Europe. This really set back the cotton industry and squeezed the Southern economy. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Seward...