U.S – RUSSIAN COOPERATION The American Civil War and how the US-Russian cooperation saved the Union
What were the circumstances at the time American system landed into Russia, Konstantin George reviews Russia-America relationship at the time of the American civil war in his material “The US-Russian entente that saved the Union”, printed by the Executive Intelligence Review, 1992, The United States. It points out the need for Russia’s development in order to hold on to its sovereignty and how the alliance of two super states rebelled the growth of the British and French global rule.
“Americans (also) might not know the story of the Union’s alliance with the Russian Czar Alexander II – who freed the serfs 1861, two years before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Russia’s alliance with the United States was absolutely critical to the Union victory in the Civil war, the defeat of the British strategic design.The crowning period of humanist US-Russian collaboration was during the Lincoln administration, when a wartime alliance between United States and Russia was negotiated by US Ambassador to Russia Cassius Clay (1861-1862; 1863-1869). This is a chapter of American history which is no longer known today by Americans. It was Russia’s military weight and threats of reappraisals against Britain and France, that prevented any British – led intervention against Union. America and Russia shared the conception of transforming this wartime pact into a permanent alliance based on developing Russia into a technologically progressive nation of 100 million combined with an industrialized United States with a population approaching 100 million by the end of the nineteenth century. This combination was seen as a worldwide “Grand Design”, an ordering of sovereign nations committed to economic and technological progress – the “American System” of political economy against the British Empire’s “free trade” policy of leaving the colonial world in perpetual backwardness and misery. Ambassador Clay specifically considered his own mission to be the forging of an alliance among the United States, Russia, and Mexico, committed to the spread of republicanism around the globe.”
Konstantin George tells about the two opposing alliances. He depicts that United States turns its back to the British, French free trade “conquer and rule” type of economic growth to favor the strengthening of national infrastructure and seeking strength in solid partnerships. This is where Russia and United States collaboration was integral.
The American civil war a global political war then came – several times within a hair’s breath of global shooting war. The global battle lines were drawn between two international alliances the Union and the Russian Empire, arrayed against the Confederacy in alliance with England and France – the Russell-Palmerston alliance with their tool “Petite” Louis Napoleon III. The Union’s survival and ultimate victory was achieved in part thanks to the influential “American faction in Russia” to whose outlook Alexander II tended. This fraction stuck to its guns, despite all British threats, to ensure the survival and development of the United States for the common interest of Russia and America. The cornerstone of Britain’s operational policy, from no later than 1860 on, was to dismember both United States and Russia. This was the prelude to enacting a “new world order”, devoid of sovereign nation states and order centered on a British controlled grand Confederacy, labeled by British policymakers “The United States of Europe”.
Konstantin George implies that Russia’s eagerness to follow the American system was their fear of the British global stronghold. The resentment for large “European domination” is also reflected in a Russian US. Diplomat’s letter expressing the view that after taming Russia, Britain would come after United States.
The foundation of US-Russian collaboration was laid in the 1763-1815 period. It was the product of political influence extended within Russia by the networks organized by Benjamin Franklin in the Russian Academy of Science, whose leading members were followers of the tradition of technological progress established by the collaboration of Gottfried Leibintz and Peter the Great and through the American Philosophical Society. By 1911, the United States had by far and away become Russia’s largest trading partner. The event that completed the molding and toughening of the commitment to entente of the Russian and American factions was the 1853-56 Crimean war. Russia’s humiliation and the acute realization that British policy was orienting toward actual dismemberment of the Russian Empire, (…) unless it committed itself to the abolition of serfdom and a policy of industrialization to fortify itself against the British monarchy. The United States Minister to St. Petersburg T. H. Seymour, in a line of argument that illustrates the Whig thinking at the time repeatedly warned President Franklin, Pierce and his Anglophile secretary of State William Marcy what Britain was up to. He wrote to Marcy in a letter dated April 13, 1854: “the danger is that the Western powers of Europe after they have humbled the Czar, will domineer the rest of Europe and thus have the leisure to turn their attention to American affairs”.
Within his writing Konstantin Georges tells that President Lincoln’s top priority in foreign policy was forging a strategic alliance with Russia. The collaboration includes a programme where the freeing of the Russian serfs, of 1861 and a plan to build an infrastructure of railroads much similar to their own was also in the core. Lincoln was also aware that with Gorchakov and the Czar were pro-American and anti-British.
George describes the Russians as being cautiously pro-America and wanting to make sure if Lincoln would persevere conflict to preserve the Union. It apparently was reflected in the czar’s first meeting with Clay in July 1861.
“Culminating with the question of what the Union would do should England intervene. Clay advised Lincoln: “I told the Emperor we did not care what England did, that her interference would tend to unite U.S. the more.”
After the U.S reassurance Russia stands firmly behind its U.S alliance. The policy was elaborated in a lengthy personal communication from Russian Foreign Minister Gorchakov to President Lincoln, dated July 10, 1961. With a regretful and empathizing manifesto of the perils of civil war and expressing hope for quick resolution, Alexander pledges friendship to Americans.
Konstantin George depicts President Lincoln’s reaction and also points out that the history books later might have favored a more anglophile approach.
Lincoln was deeply moved on receipt of this Russian policy, statement, telling the Russian ambassador: “ Please inform the Emperor of our gratitude and assure his Majesty that the whole nation appreciates this new manifestation of friendship. Of all the communications we have received from the European governments, this is the most loyal.” Lincoln then requested permission, which was granted, to give the widest possible publicity to the Russian message. This was crucial. The U.S-Russian alliance was no secret pact. Quite the contrary, by mutual agreement between the two nations, the agreement was given as much publicity as possible, as were he reasons behind it and its absolute necessity to the Union. Only later was the history entente, sold by Anglophile, historians as a Russian move for balance on the European continent.
Konstantin George tells about an elaborate political play that went on by the Brits and French In the Autumn of 1862 to have Russia recognize the Southern States an independent state, where Czar Alexander II, refuses to adhere. On the contrary, he threatens with military actions. At the end the Czar is quoted to justify his alliance to America with the following words
“ All this I did because of love for my own dear Russia, rather than for love of the American Republic. I acted thus because I understood that Russia would have more serious task to perform if the American Republic, with advanced industrial development were broken up and Great Britain should be left in control of most branches of modern industrial development.”