The Rhetoric of Recognition: Henry Hotze, the Index, and Confederate Propaganda in Britain Open Access

Ostdiek, Bennett James (2015)

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Henry Hotze served the Confederacy as a propaganda agent in London during the Civil War, publishing articles in the London press arguing that Britain should extend diplomatic recognition to the South. His tactics developed over time in accordance with his evolving understanding of his mission and the events of the war. When he first arrived in London in late January of 1862, his work emphasized the South's view on states' rights and the Confederate government's accomplishments. However, he soon recognized that successful diplomacy requires appealing to a foreign power's interests, and accordingly he began writing from a British perspective. In May he founded an ostensibly British newspaper, the Index, and used it to argue that recognition accorded with Britain's rights, duties, and commercial interests. The British Cabinet briefly considered recognition in the aftermath of the Confederacy's victory at the Second Battle of Bull Run, but decided against it after the South's defeat at the Battle of Antietam. At this point Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, once again forcing Hotze to change his propaganda tactics. He had largely ignored the issue of slavery up to this point, but in October he began defending the South's relationship to the institution from the editorial pages of the Index. However, his arguments proved ineffective, for the Emancipation Proclamation caused the British people to view the North as fighting to end slavery and consequently oppose recognition of the Confederacy. The tone of Hotze's propaganda became increasingly angry and desperate in response. He had recognized that the Confederacy would not gain diplomatic recognition unless its armies defeated the Union. Hotze's failure to secure recognition for the South reveals the ultimate hopelessness of the Confederacy's arguments. He argued for recognition with as much skill as anyone could have. However, Britain simply had no vital interest in Southern independence. For that reason, unless the Confederacy could defeat the North conclusively in battle, Britain had no intention of recognizing the South and thereby offending the United States.

Table of Contents

Introduction ................. 1

Chapter One ............... 15

Chapter Two ............... 44

Chapter Three ............ 71

Epilogue .................... 95

Bibliography ............... 99

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