American Sectionalism in the British Mind, 1832–1863. By Peter O’Connor. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2017. Pp. 280. Cloth, $47.95.) In the winter of 1860–61, Americans had a choice to make. Would the Union continue to survive intact as it had, or would the election of Abraham Lincoln prove momentous enough to finally rend the union of the states? The choice they made inaugurated the bloodiest conflict in the nation’s history. But Americans were not alone in making a choice. Nations, primarily in Europe, decided between Union and Confederacy just as Americans did at home. Nowhere else was this decision as impor- tant as it was in Great Britain. Peter O’Connor’s American Sectionalism in the British Mind, 1832–1862 examines the dilemma British elites faced in deciding whether to support the North or the South. O’Connor’s study follows from the simple question of why Great Britain did not offer its full- throated support of the Union cause until fully two years into the war. The answer, O’Connor contends, is rooted in an underappreciated degree of nuance some in Britain had in how they understood sectionalism in the United States, an understanding that was decades in the making. The British
The Journal of the Civil War Era – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Mar 1, 2019
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