It is easy in this world to become cynical and to suspect that people usually act only in their own self-interest, right and wrong be hanged. However, there are counter-examples. Prior to the Civil War it was thought by Southern leaders that cotton was King, and that if Southern cotton was withheld from Europe, England and France would surely intervene in order to rectify the situation. For a number of reasons this intervention did not occur. However, lack of cotton did throw thousands of textile workers out of work, especially in Manchester, England, where the unemployed cotton workers and their families suffered greatly. In the midst of their sufferings however, the workers sent a clear message that they believed the conflict raging in America involved greater issues than just their pecuniary well being.
At a meeting of cotton workers in Manchester on December 31, 1862, the following address to Abraham Lincoln received approval: (more…)