Study Traces Europe's Bets on Civil War

This re-enactment uses Confederate bonds, not weapons
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2007 8:44 AM CST
Lincoln's likeness oversees Gettysburg National Military Park.   (
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(Newser) – Studying sales of Confederacy bonds in Amsterdam during the US Civil War, two economists say they're able to judge how European traders saw the South's chances of victory, the Wall Street Journal reports. Investors pegged the rebels' odds at 42% early on, but their 1863 defeat at Gettysburg sank bond prices.

The Confederacy sold bonds abroad to raise capital, and researchers' calculations assumed that, if victorious, it would repay them, whereas a triumphant Union would not. After the Gettysburg drop, Confederate futures saw their greatest weekly rise in late 1863 on rumors of peace talks, but by Abraham Lincoln's 1864 re-election, financiers were sure the South would fall.