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To what extent was the maintenance of the Balance of Power the most important factor influencing British Foreign Policy?

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To what extent was the maintenance of the BOP the most important factor influencing British Foreign Policy? There were many factors influencing British Foreign Policy throughout this period such as Balance of Power, great Power Rivalry, Trade, Routes to India and fear or Russia and Germany. In this essay I am going to look at how important the maintenance of balance of power was compared to the others. All these factors influenced British Foreign Policy, but which was the most important? One of Britain?s main objectives was to maintain the balance of power throughout Europe. In the first half of the 19th century, Britain dominated the balance of power in Europe. However, by the 1850?s they were becoming increasingly concerned about the developing power of Prussia (Germany) and Russia. Relatively, their economic strength was over taking Britain?s very rapidly. Balance of power was critical for Britain because it enabled them to keep their policy of free trade and to keep Europe free from wars. ...read more.


Henceforth, in 1875 Disraeli (conservative PM) bought 45% shares in the Suez Canal that ran through Egypt so to secure a safe and fast route to India. The Black sea clauses stopped Russia from gaining any land on the Ottoman Empire and not having access to the Straights kept the route to India through the Mediterranean clear. This benefitted Britain by making them more powerful (over Russia) and securing trade with their vital trading partner India. Routes to India was very important influence of British Foreign Policy, because without India Britain would have been in a much less stable economic state and therefore less powerful in Europe. Another important principal was the propping up of the Ottoman Empire and keeping strong trading going with them too. Britain knew that the Ottoman Empire was on the verge of collapse and didn?t want Russia to expand over the Ottoman lands. ...read more.


Free trade also spread as far as China later on in the century benefiting British consumers and exercising British influence over the other side of the world. Trade was a very important policy for Britain; it helped keep economic stability, communications with other countries and with their won products flooding in to foreign markets, could influence others to be similar to them. In my opinion, balance of power was very important for maintaining British Foreign Policies because it meant that there was peace in Europe and no money was spent on wars so the economic state was kept stable. However, I also think that Routes to India was very important for the country because it was such a reliable and rich trading partner, Britain?s relative power decreased rapidly over the century and as Germany and France became more and more powerful India was a great advantage to Britain. So, in conclusion, I believe that the Routes to India were the most important factor for maintaining British Foreign Policies. ...read more.

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