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BS: British support for the confederacy?

robomatic 11 Jul 09 - 03:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Jul 09 - 03:09 PM
Ron Davies 11 Jul 09 - 02:52 PM
Rapparee 11 Jul 09 - 02:04 PM
robomatic 11 Jul 09 - 02:01 PM
gnu 11 Jul 09 - 11:57 AM
gnu 11 Jul 09 - 11:43 AM
kendall 11 Jul 09 - 11:43 AM
Ron Davies 11 Jul 09 - 11:37 AM
Ron Davies 11 Jul 09 - 11:22 AM
gnu 11 Jul 09 - 11:18 AM
Ron Davies 11 Jul 09 - 11:16 AM
Rapparee 11 Jul 09 - 10:24 AM
kendall 11 Jul 09 - 05:21 AM
Ron Davies 10 Jul 09 - 11:53 PM
Stringsinger 10 Jul 09 - 02:18 PM
Ron Davies 09 Jul 09 - 10:35 PM
Rapparee 09 Jul 09 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,Brian 09 Jul 09 - 09:03 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Jul 09 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Stringsinger 09 Jul 09 - 05:05 AM
Ron Davies 08 Jul 09 - 11:09 PM
Neil D 08 Jul 09 - 10:38 PM
Paul Burke 08 Jul 09 - 04:24 PM
Eric the Viking 08 Jul 09 - 04:09 PM
beardedbruce 08 Jul 09 - 02:45 PM
Art Thieme 08 Jul 09 - 02:42 PM
robomatic 08 Jul 09 - 12:58 PM
Leadfingers 08 Jul 09 - 12:40 PM
Jack Campin 08 Jul 09 - 11:29 AM
Dave the Gnome 08 Jul 09 - 09:42 AM

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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: robomatic
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 03:36 PM

I don't recall that we were especially pleased to have ballistic nuclear missiles under multiple administrations. I think only John Birchers and some other dunderheads thought it a 'swell' thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 03:09 PM

After all, look how pleased our governments were when the USSR broke up.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 02:52 PM

Not regaining former colonies--they knew that was a pipe dream. But they weren't exactly crushed at the prospect a strong and growing rival would break into two nations antagonistic towards each other.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 02:04 PM

So THAT'S where they learned the plans for the dory! A seductress working for a foreign government, a retired sea captain...it all makes sense now.

My wife and her friend Mary are quilters. A couple years ago they asked themselves, "Where did the North get cotton during the Civil War? Certainly not from Britain or India or Egypt."

To make a long road of research short (and they're still traveling it), there was a brisk trade between the North and South in cotton. Some was seized from blockade runners and some came from Matamoras in Mexico, but the percentage from the runners was tiny and the cotton from Mexico dried up after Vicksburg fell.

Basically, if you could get the cotton onto Northern soil no one asked "Where did it come from?" The administration in DC winked at it and it was sold in New York and elsewhere as it had been. The supply was somewhat diminished, but not as badly as it could have been.

The two of them want to get into the records at the museum in Lowell, Mass. All of the record books which could be found from the old mills are gathered there. The National Archives are another source.

(Yes, they are aware of the work done in the early 1960s which has until know been considered THE source. However, the author used invalid formulae for his calculations. And I trust my wife and her friend: both librarians, both lawyers, one a mathematician and the other ABD in American History.)


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: robomatic
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 02:01 PM

I think it only natural that the British considered the opportunities possible in regaining former colonies.

There's a cute scene in the opening of Verne's "Voyage to the Moon" where a bunch of Americans are considering their options now that the Civil War is over. One of them is "Say, weren't we once colonies of England? Why don't we go make England OUR colony?"

This turns out to be lower on their priority list than building a cannon which will shoot people to the moon. Verne even had an almost correct calculation for escape velocity.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: gnu
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 11:57 AM

She could be a Brit spy, K. All those times she sent you to the cellar, she could have been on her short wave radio to MI6 passing national secrets about lobster and such. Best keep an eye on her.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: gnu
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 11:43 AM

Indeed... I read the odd humourous book, but history is tops. I had a high school teacher who, on the first day of classes, bellowed, "WHO said Canadian history is boring?!!!" Not only did he make sure everyone was paying attention, they did for three years.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: kendall
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 11:43 AM

Britains part in the war is a little more than a foot note, but not much. I forgave them by marrying one.
Ok, nit pickers, have a ball.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 11:37 AM

I'm with you, gnu. That's why I virtually never read fiction--history is just too fascinating--and there are always more corners to poke into.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 11:22 AM

By the way, if anybody does know of a book comprehensively dealing with the British involvement in the Civil War, I'd also be interested. It's certainly a many-faceted topic.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: gnu
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 11:18 AM

I LOVE these threads. So many fascinating takes and facts.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 11:16 AM

"set to enter the war" is a bit oversimplified.   The plan was not to enter overtly with British troops fighting in the US, but to offer arbitration, which, if accepted, would have resulted in the independence of the South. Of course it would not have been accepted by the North.

And, as some have already pointed out, it was not in fact strictly business.   Many cotton workers (though thrown out of work by the blockade) and others in various cities in Britain signed letters supporting the North, which mightily impressed Lincoln.   (And in fact the North sent money and goods to support cotton workers thrown out of work, though this obviously could not be done on the scale needed to deal with the economic hardship) .But even though the franchise was restricted at that point, the government realized it had to take into account the wishes of those workers.

It certainly is true, as I've indicated above, that the sympathies of the British ruling classes were by and large with the South--or against the North.

Variations on this theme by a member of the Bank of England , who had in fact spent some time in the US: " The narrow, fanatical and originally sincere puritanism of their ancestors has, in the course of six generations, degenerated into that amalgam of hypocrisy, cruelty, falsehood, unconsciousness of the faintest sentiment of self-respect, coarseness of self-assertion, insensibility to the opinions of others, utter callousness to right, barbarous delight in wrong, and thorough moral ruffianism, which is now fully revealed to the world as the genuine Yankee nature."

Also: when the Deerhound picked up Semmes and the others, it had in fact been asked to do so by Captain Winslow of the Keersarge, an old buddy of Semmes from the Mexican War. A US officer approached the Deerhound and asked if anybody had seen Semmes. One of Semmes' officers said: "Captain Semmes is drowned" and the boat moved off.   John Lancaster, owner of the Deerhound asked Semmes;   "Where shall I land you?". Semmes:   "I am now under English colors and the sooner you put me with my officers and men on English soil, the better" (deKay p 202).


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 10:24 AM

I think it's fair to say that Britain (and much of the rest of Europe as well) thought of the Confederacy, and to a lesser extent the North, as places to make money. Austria, for instance, sold about 100,000 Model 1854 .54 caliber Lorenz rifle-musket to the South and 225,000 to the North. Nearly all European countries had military observers on both sides, with the results of these observations seen as soon as the 1870 Franco-Prussian War and later in WW1.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: kendall
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 05:21 AM

Britain depended on cotten from the south to keep their mills running. They were set to enter the war on the side of the Confederacy, but when Lincoln declared victory at Antietam they backed off. It was strictly business.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 11:53 PM

" Many of the Confederacy (sic) had roots in the British Isles".   This observation has limited value, since the same can be said for a good portion of the Union in 1860.

Anybody who does want to explore the antecedents of the Confederacy--and the North, for all that, might want to check another fascinating book: Albion's Seed--which points out how specific areas of the original colonies were settled,, in great part, by specific areas of Britain. And Virginia was settled to a large extent by conservatives from the south of England. So there certainly is a kinship felt between the Southern cavaliers and the upper classes of England.

This even came out explicitly at the time of the Civil War: deKay, p 122: An MP, John Arthur Roebuck, in a speech given at Sheffield "praised Southerners in the most exemplary terms, ending with the ultimate compliment. claiming that 'they are Englishmen'".    Whereas Northerners are descendants "of the scum and refuse of Europe".

Interesting he should characterize it so, since there were Scots, Welsh, Germans, French etc--as well as English-- in both the North and South.

No doubt it has to do with the above-cited felt kinship of the British upper classes with the plantation owners.

But those Southerners who were not "cavaliers" were often descended from Borderers--who, considered violent and uneducated "scum and refuse", had been removed from the Border when James VI became James I, then sent to Ireland, where they also did not fit in. Following that, succeeding generations went to New England, where they did not get along, to Pennsylvania, where they did not accept Quaker ways, and finally wound up scattered along the Appalachians. And provided many US presidents from Jackson to LBJ.

Many more details of this in Albion's Seed.







Book on the Civil War.   Still the best overview I've found is Battle Cry of Freedom, by James M. McPherson. Came out in 1988, but still not bettered as far as I know.

Only one chapter on British involvement:   "John Bull's Virginia Reel".   But he is amazingly thorough for only one volume on the whole war.   And on top of that he's a great storyteller--vivid sketches of dramatis personae, details on strategy--but also capturing the sweep of events.

As usual, lots more to say, but no time.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 02:18 PM

Many of the Confederacy had roots in the British Isles.

There was also the issue of slavery.
Many black people moved to the Islands under British protection rather than remain under
Confederate practices.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 10:35 PM

The US never declared war on the Confederacy. But there were still legal problems. Lincoln declared a blockade on the Confederacy, thereby gaining "for the Confederacy the rights of a belligerent in all the courts of Europe, since a nation did not blockade its own ports".

Lincoln's reply, when asked about this: "Yes, that's a fact. I see the point now, but I don't know anything about the Law of Nations....I'm a good enough lawyer in a western law court, I suppose, but we don't practice the Law of Nations out there, and I supposed Seward knew all about it and I left it to him",

This quote is not footnoted, but has the ring of truth.

From: The Civil War: A Narrative, by Shelby Foote. Volume I, page 159.


As usual, unfortunately no more time for other aspects of the topic. There's a lot more to say.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 09:11 PM

When I visited the Ballincollig Gunpowder Mill (the Royal Gunpowder Mill) outside of Cork, Ireland, I asked if the gunpowder made there was exported to the States during the US Civil War.

The answer was "Yes, mostly to the South, but some to the North."

Medical supplies, including quinine and other medicines, were exported to the South along with British Pattern 1853 Enfield rifled muskets. The total number of Enfields sent over to both sides was about 900,000.

Yes, there was British support for the Confederacy. Some was due to the idea of the Blockade, which did not permit ANY ships to enter or leave the Southern harbors. Normally, the interdiction of medical and food supplies would have been against the "laws of war" -- but the Union took the position throughout the War that the Confederacy was not a separate country and hence any blockade was proper and in keeping with the "laws of war." Note that the United States never declared war on the Confederacy, reasoning that a country cannot declare war on itself.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: GUEST,Brian
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 09:03 AM

Different parts of British society held sympathies for both sides.
The South thought that Britain and other European Countries would become allies because of the cotton supply (most of the worlds cotton at that time was grown in the American southern states). So the Confederacy made strong representations to Britain. This came to a head with the Trent Affair and Britain came close to joining the war on the side of the Confederacy. If Britain had joined the Civil war on the side of the South then this would have been directed via Canada and the North would then have to fight on two fronts. The North was obviously keen to avoid this and the Trent Affair was resolved, but Britain was always seen as favouring the South.

When the Alabama was sunk off of Cherbourg survivors were picked up by the Britsh owned 'Deerhound' rather than being left to be taken prisoner by the Kearsarge giving further cause to see Britain as sympathetic to the South.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 06:19 AM

Ron - Just out of interest - My copy of "THE NATIONAL ENCYCLOPÆDIA: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge. By Writers of Eminence in Literature, Science and Art." Circa 1876, has this to say about The Alabama -

"The vessel was built by Messrs. Laird of Birkenhead and sailed surreptitiously from the Mersey on the 31st of July 1862, known simply as "No 290". She proceeded to Terceira, one of the Western Islands, where she was supplied with guns, coal and stores from a vessel which had been sent from London to meet her..."

So - when you tell people you can now say you have an (almost) contemporary account of it!:-)

Anyone have any recommendations for a book on the Civil War? Particularly the British involvement?

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: GUEST,Stringsinger
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 05:05 AM

The sad news is that during a speech, Obama trivialized the situation by making a stupid remark about "Leave it to Uighur" as if that was funny.

There is nothing funny about this situation. On one hand you have a totalitarian and authoritarian government outlawing practices they don't approve of. On the other, you have people who are indoctrinated in their religion and feel justified in defending it violently. It's a lose-lose situation.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 11:09 PM

This is indeed a fascinating story.

I recommend The Rebel Raiders, by James Tertius DeKay, as well as Men and Ships of the Civil War, by Scott Rye, to anyone serious about this question--both informative but not dry.

Crux of the problem was the interpretation of the Foreign Enlistment Act of 1819. This Act made it illegal for any British subject to sell a ship to a foreign belligerent if that ship was to be used against a state with which Britain was at peace.

But James Bulloch , the resourceful Confederate agent, found a solicitor who came up with the idea that as long as the ship's guns were not installed, a British shipyard was free to build warships for the South.   So Bulloch had the guns installed outside the 3-mile limit.

(Therefore the line from "The "Alabama": "While Liverpool fitted her with guns and men" is strictly speaking, not true.)   In fact Raphael Semmes had to be quite persuasive to convince half of the men who had sailed out of Liverpool to sign on with him--the main problem being the fact there would be no prize money until the South won the war.

Not only did the British government let the ship which became the Alabama slip out from Liverpool, but also the future Shenandoah.   And two ironclads--called the "Laird rams" were also built in the UK--and almost made it out. After all, "papers at the Laird works showed convincingly that they were owned by a French firm" (DeKay p 162)--supposedly built for the pasha of Egypt to patrol the Nile.

When the news of Chancellorsville and Lee's move into Maryland and Pennsylvania reached Britain, Gladstone proclaimed that the restoration of the US union was no longer possible. Palmerston said explicitly that the Union no longer existed.

"Naval experts, not only in the United States, but in Britain, were convinced that the Laird rams could break the blockade." ...."Adams knew that the Lincoln cabinet was so afraid of the rams that it was seriously considering the possibility of flouting Britain's self-styled "neutrality" and sending a squadron of US Navy steamers up the Mersey", guns blazing, to destroy the rebel ships at anchor Such a move would unquestionably mean war with Britain" (DeKay p 163).    Adams even mentioned the word "war" in a letter to Russell--after Russell had yet again refused to seize the rams.

Only this prospect convinced the Palmerston government to stop the rams from leaving the UK.

And this was after the Emancipation Proclamation, which was announced in late 1862---, after the North could finally claim a victory (Antietam)-- to take effect 1 Jan 1863. So the Proclamation in itself did not solve the problem.

This is not even touching the subjects of the cotton trade, attitudes of educated Britons toward the North, and the Alabama Claims. The topic is far too rich to deal with in one post.

.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Neil D
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 10:38 PM

Here is something I added to a previous thread where someone made the claim that if America had never broke away from Great Britain slavery would have ended 30 years sooner.

Would slavery really have ended here 30 years sooner, and without the upheaval, if there had never been a break with Great Britain. Perhaps, but remember that for 160 years slavery in North America WAS a British institution. It would not have been so easy to abolish slavery in 1834 if The United Kingdom contained an area 20 times the size of England whose entire economy was based on slave labor. Even after 1834 Great Britain was complicit in the American institution of slavery. The British textile industry, a major segment of it's economy, relied heavily on the cotton being exported from the American south, providing slaveowners with their biggest market.
   During the American Civil War there was even some fear in Washington that Britain might use it's navy to break the Northern blockade of the South which had cut off that supply of cotton, thus strangling the Southern economy and cutting them off from manufactured goods and raw materials they desperately needed. That would have neutralized the North's greatest advantage. Actually there was never any real threat of this happening, probably because of emerging cotton cultivation in other parts of the British Empire.
Nevertheless, there was strong sympathy for the Confederate States in Britain and The Emancipation Proclamation was aimed at swaying British public opinion as much as for any other reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 04:24 PM

Radicalism was strong among Lancashire cotton mill workers, and support for the Union was high despite the unemployment caused by the blockade.

The Rochdale Observer on 13th March 1864 reported the following rousing address from Chartist orator Ernest Jones:

'I have not forgotten the men of Rochdale, their love of freedom and of truth, and I trust that those who are now struggling, honourably and constitutionally, for the freedom of the black will join in every effort for a fresh instalment towards the Charter of an Englishman's liberty (applause). Those who pat the slave-owners of America on the backs would like to be slave-owners in England too (cheers and hear! hear!)...I trust that we shall find that in establishing liberty universally throughout the American continent we shall be placing the crowning pinnacle on the edifice of freedom here as well'.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 04:09 PM

There is a confederate soldier/sailor buried in the cemetary at fleetwood/Rossal? I can find exactly where when I ask my friend. I have seen the gravestone once it is in poor repair. I can't remember all the details but can find out if interested.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 02:45 PM

Art,

What a Revolutionary idea!


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 02:42 PM

Farm fowl were trained to find spys. A favorite dish of that time came from the facts as you state them above. It was named Chicken-Catch-a-Tory.

Art


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: robomatic
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 12:58 PM

I think it has been asserted that a strong motivator toward Lincoln's timing of the issuance of "The Emancipation Proclomation" was to advance the Union over the Confederacy in the social and political estimation of the government and people of Great Britain.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 12:40 PM

It is , I believe , well documented that a LOT Of Mill Owners were
certainly at least sympathetic to the South , as most of their raw Material was from the Confederate States and the Indian cotton coming in was of quite inferior quality . The Mill Workers were only concerned for their jobs , but DID have an involvement with the anti
slavery movement in the early years of Trade Unionism.


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Subject: RE: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 11:29 AM

One of the odder anecdotes about that I've heard was from a friend of mine who worked for the museums in Fife around 1980, and got to sort through a recently-closed textile mill (in Kirkcaldy, I think). He found they had a few tons of tenting canvas in stock, all monogrammed "CSA". They'd made it for the Confederate army, couldn't get it through the blockade, and had stashed it away for 120 years (waiting for the South to rise again?). The company's receivers found plenty of buyers among the Civil War re-enactment crowd.


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Subject: BS: British support for the confederacy?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Jul 09 - 09:42 AM

The other day a friend, while introducing the song 'The Alabama', mentioned that while Britain was officialy neutral during the American civil war they did secretly support the Confederacy. This was bourne out somewhat by the story of the Alabama, which I know well anyway, and the fact that the UK had to pay a considerable sum to the US following a decision in Geneva that Britain did indeed play a part in damaging the, now official, US Union. However, I decided to look into it a little and it is far from clear cut. It looks a fascinating subject for a little more reseach and I am going to locate some books to get a better picture.

Couple things I did already know and have found out are that Manchester people did, apparantly, at great hardship to themselves caused by the cotton famine, support Lincolns principles. There is now this statue of Lincoln in Manchester. The other, aand I find a little bizzare, thing is that Lord Palmerston read 'Uncle Tom' three times when trying to decide whetehr to offer arbitration to the divided states!

Anyone have any comments or their own personal reseach to add?

Cheers

DeG


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