Elephants for Mr. Lincoln: American Civil War-Era Diplomacy in Southeast Asia

Overview

This is the story of American merchants, diplomats, and missionaries in Southeast Asia prior to and during the US Civil War. American relations in Southeast Asia had begun in the prewar years with the work of these individuals and—with subtle variations in duty—would continue throughout the war years. During those years, trade on US vessels had plummeted due to high Union tariffs and fear of Confederate raiders in Asian waters. On the diplomatic front, the turnover rate for consular agents was high, and they ...

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Overview

This is the story of American merchants, diplomats, and missionaries in Southeast Asia prior to and during the US Civil War. American relations in Southeast Asia had begun in the prewar years with the work of these individuals and—with subtle variations in duty—would continue throughout the war years. During those years, trade on US vessels had plummeted due to high Union tariffs and fear of Confederate raiders in Asian waters. On the diplomatic front, the turnover rate for consular agents was high, and they lacked naval support from the East Asian Squadron. In contrast, American missionaries in Burma and Thailand—who still served despite reduced budgets, food shortages and ill health—provided a crucial bridge to America. In fact, by making steady achievements in education, medicine, and publishing, the American missionaries, who transcended regional and global differences in Siam and Burma, were the key to closing the knowledge gap, promoting good will, and representing the US abroad. Within these pages, readers can find myriad accounts of American relations with Southeast Asia. Everything is contained in this book: from the King of Siam's letter to President Lincoln offering white elephants to aid the Union (unfortunately, the letter didn't arrive until after the war had ended) to the recounting of Paul Revere's daughter, the wife of a merchant consul in Singapore, of how she rang the bell made by her father to remind sailors of the nightly curfew to former President Ulysses S. Grant's world tour in 1870 during which he promised to improve diplomatic ties with Siam. These accounts of commerce, treaties, and mission work are a testament to the enduring human spirit, enterprise, and pragmatic attitude of these early pioneers of American Diplomacy.

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Editorial Reviews

California Bookwatch
A fascinating coverage provides college-level readers with an unusual early diplomatic history key to understanding today's Asian history.
CHOICE
The authors offer interesting material culled from extensive research...Recommended.
November 2006 Reference and Research Book News
This work describes the activities of American merchants, missionaries, and diplomatic envoys in Southeast Asia prior to and during the US Civil War. The narrative shows how these figures maintained and occasionally furthered American interests in the region while their country was embroiled in conflict, paving the way for the 1879 tour through Rangoon, Penang, Singapore, Bangkok, and Saigon by President Grant, helping to cement US relations in the area.
Reference and Research Book News
This work describes the activities of American merchants, missionaries, and diplomatic envoys in Southeast Asia prior to and during the US Civil War. The narrative shows how these figures maintained and occasionally furthered American interests in the region while their country was embroiled in conflict, paving the way for the 1879 tour through Rangoon, Penang, Singapore, Bangkok, and Saigon by President Grant, helping to cement US relations in the area.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810857629
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/15/2006
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Willliam Strobridge began his 33 years of military service in occupied Japan. After serving in Korea, Vietnam, and at the Center of Military History, he taught at Georgetown University and wrote corporate history as a vice president at Wells Fargo Bank for 20 years. Anita Hibler first taught overseas at a mission school in Northern Thailand in 1971, more recently at the University of Indonesia, and currently online for the University of Maryland University College.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Acknowledgments Chapter 2 1. Introduction Chapter 3 2. Establishing Early Contacts Chapter 4 3. Along Burma's Rivers Chapter 5 4. King Mongkut's Guests Chapter 6 5. The World of Commerce during the U.S. Civil War Chapter 7 6. Diplomacy during the War Years Chapter 8 7. Epilogue Part 9 Selected Bibliography Part 10 Index Part 11 About the Authors

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