American History


and abolitionist locked horns with Confederate lobbyists trying to formalize ties with Britain, the world’s leading industrial power. The United Kingdom was the main market for the 2-to-3 million bales of cotton that slaves in North America harvested each year. Convinced “King Cotton” had dealt the Confederacy a winning hand in what had become a civil war, the secessionist government was seeking Crown recognition. Britain had banned slavery in its colonies in 1833, but some voices there were backing the Confederate cause, not only to ensure a reliable source of cotton but to rein in the United States, now bidding to compete with the United Kingdom. Arguing against that

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