One hundred and fifty years ago, on 1 December 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Proclamation that Emancipated America’s slaves, in the middle of the war between the Union and the slaveholding Confederacy.
One hundred and fifty years ago the British government made plans to wage war against Lincoln and support Jefferson’s Davis’ Slaveholders’ rebellion.
The British workers stopped Prime Minister Palmerston in his tracks.
Though their employers rallied to the cause of the slaveholders, and tried to win the weavers over too, Lancashire opposed secession.Though the weavers of Lancashire were suffering from the war, they rallied to support Lincoln and the Union.
British socialists launched the Union Emancipation Society that led the opposition to the war, rallying monster meetings across the county and the country to support Lincoln and emancipation. Karl Marx, John Bright and Manchester’s trade unionists joined in a struggle for freedom in America.
Back then, everyone knew that it was the working class that had stopped the British plutocracy from joining the confederate cause.
President Lincoln thanked the Lancashire workers for their great sacrifice. Gladstone owned up to having been taught a lesson by the labouring class that had earned its right to speak. Karl Marx credited the workers with changing the course of history.
Since then, scholars have baulked at the terrible truth that freedom in America had been helped by Karl Marx and the British working class. Revisionist historians worked hard to cover up the real record. Instead, we were told, the Lancashire weavers were supporters of secession!
But new research shows that the Lancashire workers were indeed overwhelmingly opposed to secession, and rallied in support of the Union. Drawn from the archives of the Union Emancipation Society and contemporary reports British Workers & the US Civil War explains how Karl Marx and the Lancashire weavers joined Abraham Lincoln’s fight against slavery, 150 years ago.
You can buy British Workers & the US Civil War direct, for just £4, post free in the UK (outside, add £2).