Democratic Peace Theory
During this affair, Washington was dealing with the more serious problem of the conflict with the Confederation. Britain used this situation to indirectly give support to the south. Even though the US public was very inclined for war and wanted to resist Britain, the Lincoln administration recognized the disastrous consequences of entering a war against the south and England at the same time. The north was already fully occupied militarily and couldn’t afford another war, hence Washington finally seceded to English pressure and gave in to their demands.
“The british government was hardly less bellicose than the public and the press. Fortified by legal opinions holding that Mason and Slidell had been removed from the Trent in contravention of international law, the cabinet adopted a hard-line policy that mirrored the public mood. Prime minister lord Palmerstone’s first reaction to the news of the Trent incident was to write to the Secretary of State for war that, because of Britain’s precarious relations with the US, the government reconsider cuts in military expenditures planned to take effect in 1862.” (Layne, 1994)
We can therefore see that the avoidance of confrontation in this case cannot be explained by the democratic peace theory. Public opinion and inner state peaceful norms had nothing to do with the decision of going into war. Quite the contrary, the public was in favour of