Pax Britannica pp 233-245 | Cite as

The Lion and the Eagle

  • Barry Gough
Part of the Britain and the World book series (BAW)


In 1898, the very year difficulties were building with the Boer Republics concerning paramountcy in southern Africa, a new ally in the guise of a neutral power presented itself to Britain and its sagging fortunes. The United States, victorious in war over Spain, suddenly appeared as a global power; at the same time, it removed from the board an older, decrepit one. This turn of fortune favoured the British, particularly the Admiralty, and although at the time the full fruits of an American victory could not be imagined, it soon became apparent that another important chapter had been entered into in Anglo-American relations. No formal alliance could be vouchsafed, so awkward were the political and historical differences of the two powers; but a sharing of global interests in trade and foreign relations dictated accommodation. That same decade marked a surge of American maritime activity along the Atlantic seaboard, to Europe, and to the Far East. “[Few] noticed that this American commerce was largely a free ride on the coat-tails of the Pax Britannica, the near dominant British world-wide naval hegemony,” observed the American student of maritime strategy Rear Admiral J.C. Wylie. And he continued: “This was not altruism. Britain … found it convenient to support the American Monroe Doctrine because that held in check French or Spanish exploitation of the Americas.”1


Submarine Cable Atlantic Seaboard Imperial Rivalry Naval Force Boundary Crisis 
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© Barry Gough 2014

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  • Barry Gough

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