America's International Civil War | Wilson Center

America's International Civil War

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While the military contest between North and South dragged on inconclusively over four years, an equally crucial contest of diplomacy, ideology, and propaganda was waged abroad. Powerful economic interests and anti-democratic sympathies favored the South. On the other hand there was a reservoir of popular good will toward the "Great Republic" and widespread antipathy toward human slavery. Each side sought to shape foreign debate over the "American Question." The Union won only when it learned to align its cause with what foreigners understood to be an ongoing international struggle for liberty, equality, and self-government.

Don H. Doyle is a Wilson Center public policy fellow and the McCausland professor of history at the University of South Carolina. Doyle teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses in United States history with a focus in the 19th century, the American South, and nationalism in the Americas and Europe. Prior to teaching at the University of South Carolina, Doyle has taught at numerous universities including Vanderbilt University, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and the University of Leeds. He has been a Fulbright Professor of American history at the University of Rome, the University of Genoa, and the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. Doyle's numerous publications include: The Social Order of a Frontier Community; Nashville in the New South; Nashville Since the 1920s; New Men, New Cities, New South; The South as an American Problem (co-edited with Larry Griffin); Faulkner's County: The Historical Roots of Yoknapatawpha; Nations Divided: America, Italy, and the Southern Question; and Nationalism in the New World (co-edited with Marco Pamplona); Secession as an International Phenomenon (edited). Currently he is working on a book whose working title is The Cause of All Nations: America's International Civil War, which will focus on the international context of the Civil War and the role of foreign opinion, immigrant soldiers, and international diplomacy in defining the meaning of the war for North and South. He is publishing with Basic Books and plans to complete the book while a fellow at the National Humanities Center next year. Doyle holds a B. A. from the University of California, Davis and a Ph. D. from Northwestern University.


  • Don Doyle

    Public Policy Scholar
    McCausland Professor of History; Director, ARENA, Association for Research on Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Americas, University of South Carolina
  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center