Schell, Paul. “The Peril of Intervention”, Boston College, 2003. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/436.
The most decisive campaign of the American Civil War was waged in neither Virginia, nor Pennsylvania, nor along the Mississippi River, but rather in Great Britain. Northern military advantages in the prosecution of the war effort could have been completely negated by a serious diplomatic setback in Great Britain. In order to win the Civil War, the North had to prevent Great Britain from entering the conflict. British intervention (which would have also included France), whether in the form of actually entering the war on the side of the South, official recognition of the Confederacy, foreign mediation, or a call for an armistice followed by peace negotiations, would have been a diplomatic disaster for the North and a fatal blow in its attempt to re-unify the nation. Military setbacks on the battlefield were not nearly as threatening as diplomatic setbacks abroad. The North had greater manpower, a stronger and more balanced economy, an industrial infrastructure, and a better equipped army; yet, in order for these advantages to translate into military victory at home, the North first needed to ensure that the domestic conflict did not spread to an international war.