Dixie Gentlemanly Capitalism: Studies in British Finance of the Confederacy

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Title: Dixie Gentlemanly Capitalism: Studies in British Finance of the Confederacy
Author: Weisel, Michael Lloyd
Advisors: David Gilmartin, Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this work is to explore the culture of the South's ties into international finance by examining the South's financial relationships with British merchant banking and agricultural factoring houses, using the theory of 'gentlemanly capitalism' put forward by Professors Cain and Hopkins. By utilizing diplomatic correspondence, political speeches, and newspaper editorials along with the extant business records of London and Liverpool merchant banking houses Fraser, Trenholm & Company and Alexander Collie & Company, I show that 'gentlemanly capitalism' provides a theoretical framework allowing comparative analysis for business and economic development in the Atlantic world between the United States and Great Britain. My thesis also explores both the financial transactions and the underlying relationships between the South and Great Britain. This analysis is accomplished by utilizing primary source correspondence, diplomatic messages, political speeches, memoirs, and newspaper accounts to try and gain a perspective of both Great Britain and the Confederacy's sense of place in the world structure at the commencement of hostilities. Although these perceptions changed as the vagaries of war presented some harsh realities, there is a sense of presumed order between the South and Great Britain. Correspondence between British and Southern politicians and businessmen illustrates the South's notion of producing agricultural exports (cotton) for Great Britain, with the explicit presumption that the proceeds will be used by the South to purchase finished manufactured goods from Britain. This is the classic definition of British mercantile imperialism with the mother country providing the finished goods, while the colony or economic trading partner provides the raw materials. The importance of this work lies in the conclusion that suggests a vision of the Confederacy and South apart from what the United States might have been or in fact became. Southern leadership was anxious to embrace Britain's post war view of the Confederacy's place in the world order. During the war, British gentlemanly capitalists supported and conducted business with the Confederacy because of their cultural affinity, long term free market view and vision for a post war United States with the South firmly ensconced within the British imperial sphere.
Date: 2004-05-02
Degree: MA
Discipline: History
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/653

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