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What is cotton diplomacy?

Answer : A Confederate diplomatic approach during the American Civil War was known as “cotton diplomacy.” Withholding cotton exports to Britain and France was part of the strategy in the hopes that these two European nations, who greatly relied on Southern cotton for their textile industries, would support the Confederacy in the war.

The Confederacy believed that by inducing a cotton scarcity in Europe, they could persuade France and Britain to acknowledge the Confederacy as an independent country and offer it financial and military help. The plan, however, ultimately failed because Britain and France were able to find other cotton suppliers and were not willing to risk a conflict with the United States over it.

The Confederacy’s attempts to win recognition and assistance from other countries suffered a great deal from the failure of cotton diplomacy. The Union navy’s blockade of Southern ports had a substantial effect on the Southern economy as well, as it hindered the export of goods like cotton and other necessities, causing shortages and hard times there.

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