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Intervention and non-intervention: the Whig dilemma over foreign policy, 1830-1834

Corin, W. M. (1975) Intervention and non-intervention: the Whig dilemma over foreign policy, 1830-1834. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This study in the formation of foreign policy explores the difficulties encountered by Earl Grey's Whig administration (1830- 1834) in reconciling the desire to promote 'the cause of liberty all over the world' with an equally strong attachment to the principles of retrenchment and non-intervention in foreign affairs. It is demonstrated at the outset, by particular reference to the opinions of Grey and Lord Holland, the elders of the party, that the equivocations over foreign policy of the Whigs in office were fore shadowed by inconsistencies in their attitude towards intervention and non-intervention whilst in opposition. After a discussion of the developing diplomatic situation in 1830 and the formation of Grey's heterogeneous administration, the Cabinet debates over the wisdom or necessity of intervention abroad are considered in the context of four theatres of diplomatic conflict - the Netherlands, Poland, the Near East and Portugal. Study of these areas shows that for all their traditional sympathies, many ministers were loath to sanction threats to intervene by force in the cause of national self-determination, still less in the pursuit of British strategic interests. When the contradictions implicit in the Whig approach precipitated a major Cabinet crisis, such as occurred over intervention in Portugal, natural caution and constitutional inertia prevailed. In conclusion, the Whig reluctance to embrace a view of foreign policy which was both dynamic and ideological is re-emphasised. The strength of the hostility towards such an approach is demonstrated by reference to the efforts made to exclude Lord Palmerston from the Foreign Office in subsequent Whig administrations.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1975
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 17:05

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