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Account for the aims of British foreign & imperial policy from 1856-1902

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Josie Frodsham Account for the aims of British foreign & imperial policy from 1856-1902 One of the main aims of British foreign & imperial policy was to uphold the balance of power. For Britain, this was done through the balance of power. One of the main reasons for this was because a stable Europe enabled the expansion and protection of the British Empire. This was effective - from 1856-1902, Britain was involved in no European Wars. It was founded upon Britain's economic priorities. Peace time was cheap, the cost of Wars were funded through taxation and government borrowing. Diplomacy was a cheaper & easier way of protecting Britain's interests, when economic growth was of great importance to the British ruling class and its entrepreneurial supporters. A stable Europe also made trade with North America, Africa and the Pacific (all the main areas of investment, at this time) much easier and contributed to Britain's prosperity. ...read more.


Free trade was becoming necessary for Britain. It meant no tariffs, which in turn would lead to an increase in Britain's economy. To other countries, the more Britain was exporting, the more powerful it was becoming - meaning any Wars or uprisings were unlikely. Free trade also meant good relations with a lot of countries, meaning peace in Europe. Another aim of British foreign & imperial policy was based upon Russophobia. Britain saw Russia as a huge threat to its own interests. They were worried about Russia's desire to expand westwards into Europe. Britain knew this could only be achieved through the Weaknesses of the Ottoman Empire, something which Britain was desperate to protect as it knew that if the Ottoman Empire was to collapse, then other great European powers would claim parts of the Empire and thus become more powerful. Russia was also growing more powerful within Europe, and posed a threat in the Mediterranean - which was vital for trade. ...read more.


Empire was becoming a measure of international power. Britain also wanted to bring 'civilisation' to those parts of the world 'uncivilised'. For the British, civilisation meant British culture and this meant bringing the notion of British superiority to the indigenous peoples. By westernising its colonies, Britain sought to secure its more control more effectively and so face less threat of revolts. And success in expanding Britain's power base had vote winning potential at home. Both Disraeli and Lord Salisbury exploited this as British influence in Africa grew. Patriotism was becoming a popular concept and successive governments were able to use imperial expansionism to generate patriotism and increase their own popularity amongst the voters. Overall however, there was a consistency in Britain foreign and imperial policy from 1856-1902. Russia was always perceived as a threat, imperial trade had to be protected, and peace in Europe, maintained through a balance of power was kept throughout the period of time. In fact, the purpose and principles of British foreign and imperial policy remained, in most parts, the same. It was, however, the methods used to fulfil the principles that proved to be so variable in consistency. ...read more.

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