Divided Hearts explores the passionate political strife that raged in Britain as a result of the American Civil War. Moving beyond Mary Ellison's 1972 landmark regional study of Lancashire cotton workers' reactions, R. J. M. Blackett opens the subject to a new, wider transatlantic context of influence and undertakes a deftly researched and written sociological, intellectual, and political examination of who in Britain supported the Union, who the Confederacy, and why.
The American Civil War had a profound effect on Britain's political culture; no other event during that period -- not in Poland, Hungary, Italy, or British colonies -- compared. Blackett argues that the traditional historiographical assessments of British partisanship along class and economic lines must be reevaluated in light of the nature and changing contours of transatlantic abolitionist connections, the ways in which nationalism framed the debate, and the effect that race -- among other issues -- exerted over the British public's perception of conditions in America. Divided Hearts presents a compelling and innovative thesis, one sure to engage scholars in many fields of history.