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The Concert Of Europe Essay

1567 words - 6 pages

The Concert of Europe

The Congress System, which took the form of a series of congresses and
diplomatic meetings held between 1818 and 1822, can be regarded as a
practical expression of the rather general concept of the Concert of
Europe. The Concert of Europe was an attempt to regularize the
conflicting ambitions of the Great Powers in the interests of Europe
as a whole. As such, its effectiveness was dependant on the
willingness of all five Great Powers to show moderation in the pursuit
of their individual interests. Without this, it would be impossible to
reach a consensus on important issues. Although The Concert’s main aim
was to maintain peace, revolts in different areas of Europe such as
Spain, Portugal, Belgium and France, made its peace making facilities
harder to obtain due to the delicate circumstances.

The struggles between constitutionalists and absolutists in Spain
during the 1820’s continued during the following two decades. When
British troops were withdrawn from Portugal in 1827, the result was
the triumph of the absolutists, who were backed by Spain, allowing
Miguel to become King. In the 1830’s Spain would endure a dispute, as
a result of Ferdinand’s death in September 1833 and his brother Don
Carlos claiming the throne. As Carlos was supported by the absolutists
in both Spain and Portugal, Ferdinand’s widow turned to the
constitutionalists for support. The French, who had become supporters
of constitutionalism, offered Great Britain an alliance in 1834, to
work together in support of the constitutional governments in Spain
and Portugal. Although Palmerston rejected the offer, in 1834 he
accepted a wider Quadruple Alliance of Britain, France, Portugal and
Spain in order to defend constitutional institutions and to exclude
Miguel from Portugal and Carlos from Spain.

By the terms of the Treaty, whereas Britain might intervene alone in
Portugal in defence of its measures, France was specifically forbidden
from doing so in Spain. After a combination of the Spanish army and
British navy destroyed the absolutist forces of King Miguel and Don
Carlos in the spring of 1834, Miguel fled but Carlos presented more of
a problem, as he renewed his claim and raised more troops, joining
forces with the Basques in their flight for independence. But neither
Britain nor France was prepared for Guerrilla warfare so they
therefore refused the Spanish Queen’s appeals for official military
aid in 1835, sending token forces of volunteers or irregular troops
instead. The recriminations between Britain and France was as a result
from Palmerston’s reluctance to allow France the opportunity to
restore her influence in Madrid by lending more effective aid to the
liberal causes.

The friction that was being created by France’s and Britain’s
involvement with the Spanish crisis was...

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