The Cotton Famine Episode

In Manchester on new year’s eve 1862, thousands turned out for a public meeting to congratulate President Abraham Lincoln for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. What motivated these people to come along on a wet Wednesday night to listen to fiery speeches about a foreign war? Especially since the most obvious impact of the American Civil War on Lancashire was that the supply of raw cotton was cut off – the so-called ‘cotton famine’ – causing huge economic distress in the textile mill towns. The answer seems to lie in the faith that – somehow – the US represented the last, best hope of earth. Even to people in Lancashire. In this episode, Adam talks to David Brown of the University of Manchester and Richard Blackett of Vanderbilt, to find out about the impact of the cotton famine and what it tells us about the meaning of America in mid-Victorian Britain.  See for privacy and opt-out information.

Om Podcasten

From Oxford University's Rothermere American Institute, host Professor Adam Smith talks to guests doing world-leading research that sheds light on the United States from the outside in. We ask what forces have shaped the culture and politics of the US, how its role in the world has changed and what it might be in the future. Is America now, or has it ever been, the "last best hope of earth"? Probably not, but plenty of people have thought so. We try to understand why. See for privacy and opt-out information.