Debtor Diplomacy

Finance and American Foreign Relations in the Civil War Era 1837-1873
Sexton, Jay
Date published: 
July 2005

The United States was a debtor nation in the mid-nineteenth century, with half of its debt held overseas. The need to obtain foreign capital greatly influenced American foreign policy, principally relations with Britain. The intersection of finance and diplomacy was particularly evident during the Civil War when both the North and South integrated attempts to procure loans FROM European banks INTO their larger international strategies. Drawing on the unused archives of London banks and the papers of statesmen on both sides of the Atlantic, this work explores a central theme of mid-nineteenth-century foreign relations and a crucial, but previously ignored, aspect of the Civil War.