Introduction: Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, 1785–1815

  • Graeme Callister
Part of the War, Culture and Society, 1750-1850 book series (WCS)


This chapter offers a discussion of concepts of national identity, public opinion and foreign policy in the eighteenth-century context, with specific reference to France, Britain and the Netherlands. The chapter suggests an original interpretation of the concept of public opinion, dividing it into active opinion and latent opinion; the former the product of deliberate debate in the public sphere, and the latter the cumulative effect of longer-term perceptions, representations and cultural stereotyping. The chapter also offers a survey of interpretations of identity, “othering” and the eighteenth-century public sphere. It concludes by situating the influence of public opinion on military and political decision-making in a wider theoretical and chronological context.


Public Opinion Foreign Policy Eighteenth Century Public Sphere National Identity 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graeme Callister
    • 1
  1. 1.York St John UniversityYorkUK

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