Did the British Cause the Civil War?

Did the British cause the War for Southern Independence?

Richard Poe at LewRockwell.com has argued yes.

In a thought provoking piece, Poe details how years of British interest in Southern raw materials fostered Southern dependence on foreign markets.

This argument is not new. Poe is viewing the War from a macro rather than micro perspective and doing so inevitably leads to economic determinism.

I can quibble with some of his history, but that is precisely how we should view the War.

It didn’t happen overnight, regardless of how the North and South eventually came to blows.

Since the founding, the North and South developed different political economies and those differences played a central role in the “sectional conflict.”

It led to disputes over expansion–which political economy would control the central government through the admission of new States–as well as tariff, banking, and federally funded internal improvement legislation.

In other words, the meaning and power of the Constitution was involved in a large scale struggle for power.

Go figure.

It may not be accurate to say the “British” caused the War, but it would be accurate to say that Northern interest in a British economic system and Southern reluctance to adopt that system caused the War.

This did not mean Southerners were backward. Far from it. They in fact considered themselves to be modern people.

But they also viewed the British system with suspicion, and rightfully so. Who wouldn’t look upon British work houses with horror or scoff at British self-righteous moral authority when you are torturing people in these work houses.

Slavery was but one cog in a complex machine greased by Northern and international money. And it didn’t cause the War.

I discuss Poe’s piece on Episode 579 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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