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The Differences Of Gladstone And Disraeli In Their Policies Regarding The British Empire And Foreign Policy

3349 words - 13 pages

The Differences of Gladstone And Disraeli In Their Policies Regarding The British Empire and Foreign Policy

Gladstone and Disraeli generally had very different policies regarding
the British Empire and foreign policy. Disraeli tended to shape his
policies in regards to what is in the best interests of Britain and
her empire. Gladstone was a man who followed his principles and
Christian ethics; his foreign policy was an example of his beliefs in
practice, as it tended to be humanitarian, measured and showed
consideration to other nations. However there were instances where
the two bitter rivals overlapped with their actions.

There were a number of imperial and foreign issues throughout the
ministries of Gladstone and Disraeli. A foreign issue that turned
into a major difference between Gladstone and Disraeli was over the
Bulgarian horrors of the mid 1870’s, which resided within the Eastern
question. The issue of the Bulgarian horrors was one of relatively
small importance but had important, wide-ranging connotations, which
could affect Europe and also provided a platform for Gladstone and
Disraeli to continue their rivalry.

In 1875 it emerged that the Turks massacred 12,000 Christians from
Bulgaria, which was part of the Ottoman Empire. This issue raised
questions over how Britain intended to keep peace in Europe and
allowed them to reassess their allegiances in Eastern Europe.

Britain’s main concern during this period was Russia. It was seen as
a problem before this time and continued to be so afterwards. Britain
has always been wary of Russia expanding further into Europe and
becoming too dominant. Britain and other European countries had
attempted to keep all major nations within Europe to very similar
sizes and strength this would be so there would be little chance of
one taking advantage of another or becoming jealous, therefore keeping
peace. This intended to maintain the balance of power, which was
particularly supported by Disraeli. This worked to a certain extent
but there were rarely any long periods of peace it was not uncommon
for short wars or skirmishes between the major European countries
especially involving France and Germany e.g. Franco Prussian War of
1870, which Gladstone kept out of implying he did not see the
balancing of powers as an integral way of keeping peace as Disraeli
did. This is supported by the fact France and Germany at this time
were of a similar size and strength.

Britain as a whole tended to believe that Russia could upset the
balance of power in Europe; there had been a fear over the size and
mystery of Russia as she had always been the unknown enemy, which was
strategically dangerous for other European powers. Gladstone and
Disraeli had differing opinions over Russia. Disraeli regarded her as
more of a threat than...

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