Palmerston and Foreign Policy Ginger Beer or Champagne?
In 1851, following Russell’s dismissal of Palmerston from the position of Foreign Secretary, Queen Victoria, anxious to regain a degree of royal influence in foreign affairs, asked the Government for a statement of the general principles of British foreign policy. The Government complied, but their answer was unrevealing, not because of any particular wish to be unhelpful but because British foreign policy in the nineteenth century was a bundle of inconsistencies and improvisations from which it was quite impossible to disentangle any principles. Britain played a major role in the creation of the Congress System; and she played a major role in destroying it. She helped to devise the terms of the Treaty of Vienna and then frequently gave her aid to subverting it. She looked on foreign policy as an extension of her trading interests, yet devoted much of her energies in foreign affairs to antagonising her customers.
KeywordsForeign Policy Foreign Affair European Power Turkish Empire Strict Neutrality
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