The British Empire and the Crises of the Americas in the 1860s
This chapter analyses how Britons responded to the febrile political and social crises of the Americas in the 1860s. Although the American Civil War created a particular challenge – and great confusion – to observers in the United Kingdom, that conflict was one of a wider range of concerns in balancing the demands of rival imperial and new post-colonial powers to preserve British influence. Considering opinions expressed travel writing and political commentary, the chapter argues that Britons struggled to balance competing interests – in economic affairs, in geopolitical strategy, in imperial authority, and in suppression of the slave trade – to maintain a manifestly uncertain dominion over the Americas. Touching on British concerns stretching from the Mosquito Coast to the Pacific north--west, the chapter suggests that crises in the Americas illuminated diverse priorities and anxieties.
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