Ch 13 Liberal Ascendancy

CH.13-LIBERAL ASCENDANCY

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CHAPTER  XIII: LIBERAL ASCENDANCY

SECTION 3: FOREIGN POLITICS, PALMERSTON TO DISRAELI

 

BEHIND THE SCREEN OF THE NAVY, BRITAIN AND ITS EMPIRE’S ECONOMIC PENETRATION THRIVED.

FROM EUROPE TO THE FAR EAST, ANY ENTANGLEMENTS WERE AVOIDED EXCEPT TO PROTECT BRITISH INTERESTS.

POWERFUL STATES WERE TREATED WITH CAUTION, SMALLER STATES WERE BULLIED.


THE WHIG PALMERSTON (FOREIGN OFFICE, FROM 1830 TO 1865) ENJOYED AN UNDESERVED REPUTATION.

MARX IN 1853 STATED “PALMERSTON HAS BEEN SOLD TO RUSSIA FOR DECADES,” FOR PALMERSTON DID PLAY INTO THE HANDS OF THE RUSSIANS.

 
HE APPROVED OF THE RUSSIAN INVASION AFTER THE REVOLUTION IN HUNGARY OF 1848.

HE ENCOURAGED THE POLES TO REVOLT THEN BETRAYED THEM AS HE DID THE DANES IN 1864.

HE SUPPORTED REVOLUTION IN ITALY IN THE HOPE IT WOULD WEAKEN AUSTRIA AND STRENGTHEN RUSSIA.

HE ALSO RECOGNISED NAPOLEON III IN 1851, AND STARTED PREDATORY WARS ON CHINA IN 1840 AND 1860.

NEVERTHELESS, IT WAS INEVITABLE THAT ENGLAND AND RUSSIA WOULD CLASH.

THE FAILURE OF THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT IN EUROPE WAS LARGELY AS A RESULT OF RUSSIAN INTERVENTION, WHICH LEFT RUSSIA WITH NO RIVAL.

AUSTRIA WAS DECADENT AND BANKRUPT, GERMANY DIVIDED AND RUSSIAN ADVANCES THREATENED BRITISH INTERESTS.

FIRST IN ASIA, AT TURKESTAN, THEN IN INDIA. BUT THE THREAT TO TURKEY WAS REAL, AS WERE THE MEDITERRANEAN ROUTES TO THE EAST BY STEAMSHIP, WHICH HAD GREAT DIFFICULTY USING THE CAPE ROUTE FOR LACK OF COALING FACILITIES.

THEREFORE, FROM 1835 STEAMSHIPS WERE RUNNING FROM ENGLAND TO ALEXANDRIA AND THEN FROM SUEZ TO INDIA.


THE SUEZ CANAL WAS NOT OPENED UNTIL 1869, BUT PLANS HAD BEEN LAID.

THE EASTERN MED WAS OF RELIGIOUS INTEREST TO BOTH RUSSIA AND ENGLAND, PARTICULARLY HOLY PLACES AT JERUSALEM.

RUSSIA’S PENETRATION INTO TURKEY AND THE BALKANS WAS PART OF TSARIST POLICY TO WEAKEN BOTH TURKEY AND AUSTRIA.

THE CRIMEAN WAR WAS THUS POPULAR AT HOME, APART FROM OPPOSITION FROM THE BRIGHT-COBDEN GROUP.

THE BRITISH AND FRENCH MOTIVES FOR WAR WERE ENTIRELY SELFISH, NAMING THE PROTECTION OF HOLY PLACES AND TREATMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN MINORITY IN TURKEY AS REASONS.

HAVING AGREED TERMS WITH RUSSIA, BRITAIN INDUCED THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT TO REJECT THEM.


THE SIEGE OF SEBASTAPOL COULD HAVE BEEN OVER IN WEEKS IF FRENCH AND BRITISH COMMANDERS HAD NOT BEEN SO OVER CAUTIOUS.

CAUGHT BY THE WINTER, SICKNESS AND COLD KILLED THOUSANDS.


FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE LATER STATED THAT OF THE 25,000 WHO DIED, 16,000 WERE PUT TO DEATH BY THE INEFFICIENCY OF THE MILITARY SYSTEM.

(THIS WAS THE FIRST WAR WHERE THE HOME POPULATION HAD ACCURATE INFORMATION FROM WAR CORRESPONDENTS.)

ONLY THE GREATER INCOMPETENCES OF THE RUSSIAN GENERALS SAVED THE SITUATION.

 
RUSSIA WAS ECONOMICALLY AND SOCIALLY STAGNANT IN THE 18th CENTURY AND IN 1854 USED TACTICS THAT WERE EMPLOYED IN THE NAPOLEONIC WARS.

SEBASTAPOL FELL IN 1855. IT WAS FOLLOWED BY PEACE WITH TURKEY AND THE BANNING OF RUSSIA USING HARBOURS OF THE BLACK SEA COAST.

THIS TREATY HAD THE DESIRED EFFECT OF HOLDING RUSSIA UNTIL 1870 WHEN THE VICTORIES OF PRUSSIA OVER FRANCE ALTERED THE WHOLE BALANCE OF POWER IN EUROPE.


DISRAELI CHECKED RUSSIAN ADVANCES IN THE BLACK SEA WITHOUT GETTING INVOLVED IN A WAR. THE TREATY OF SAN STEFANO IN 1878 EFFECTIVELY LED TO A NUMBER OF NEW STATES BEING CARVED OUT OF THE BALKAN PROVINCES OF TURKEY.

IT WAS THE FAILURE OF THE 1848 EUROPEAN REVOLUTION THAT SPARKED THE FORMATION OF MILITARY DESPOTS IN EUROPE, FOLLOWED BY THE SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN WAR OF 1864 AND THE AUSTRO PRUSSIAN WAR OF 1866 - WARS LINKED TO THE UNIFICATION OF ITALY AND THE FRANCO PRUSSIAN WAR OF 1870.


AFTER THIS, STATES FLEXED THEIR MUSCLE POWER AND BECAME RIVAL GROUPS, ALL LEADING IMPERIALISM TOWARDS THE WORLD WAR OF 1914.

DURING THIS PERIOD, BRITAIN TOOK LITTLE PART IN EUROPE’S WARS.

MORE IMPORTANT WAS THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR IN 1861, THE WAR TO DETERMINE THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF THE USA INTO EITHER AN INDUSTRIAL OR A PLANATION ECONOMY - ONE WHERE FOODSTUFFS AND RAW MATERIALS WERE PRODUCED FOR EXPORT BY SLAVE LABOUR FOR THE SLAVE OWNING ARISTOCRACY.

IN EFFECT, IT WAS A CLASS STRUGGLE BETWEEN A LANDED ARISTOCRACY AND A BOURGEOIS DEMOCRACY. IT WAS A MODIFIED FORM OF THE EUROPEAN STRUGGLE, SLAVERY BEING A SPECIFICALLY AMERICAN FORM OF FEUDALISM.

THE STRUGGLE IN THE US FUELLED A CLASS DIVIDE IN BRITAIN. THE RULING CLASS AND THE INDUSTRIALISTS SUPPORTED THE SLAVE OWNING SOUTH BECAUSE THE NORTH BLOCKADED THE SOUTHERN PORTS AND PREVENTED COTTON REACHING LANCASHIRE.

THERE WAS AN INFLUENTIAL DEMAND FOR RECOGNITION OF THE SOUTHERN CONFEDERATES IN BRITISH UPPER CLASS CIRCLES. EVERY OPPORTUNITY WAS TAKEN TO HAMPER THE NORTH.

THE WHOLE BRITISH WORKING CLASS WAS EQUALLY SOLID IN SUPPORT OF THE NORTH.

NOTEWORTHY, BECAUSE THE LANCASHIRE COTTON OPERATIVES SUFFERED FROM UNEMPLOYMENT AND FAMINE BUT RESISTED EVERY EFFORT OF THE EMPLOYERS TO GET THEM TO CAMPAIGN TO FORCE THE NORTH TO LIFT THE COTTON BLOCKADE.

IT WAS THIS CLASS CONFLICT THAT BROKE THROUGH THE STAGNATION THAT HAD SET IN SINCE THE COLLAPSE OF CHARTISM IN 1848. IT MARKED THE BEGINNING OF AGITATION THAT LED TO THE 1867 REFORM BILL, THE REBIRTH OF SOCIALISM AND THE RISE OF FENIANISM IN IRELAND.

IN 1861, COTTON WAS BRITAIN’S MOST IMPORTANT INDUSTRY.

IN 1860, COTTON SPUN IN LANCASHIRE CAME FROM THE US. 1,115 MILLION POUNDS (WEIGHT) OF COTTON HAD BEEN IMPORTED COMPARED TO 204 MILLION POUNDS FROM INDIA.

BY THE AUTUMN OF 1863, 60% OF TEXTILE WORKERS WERE UNEMPLOYED AND FAMINE REACHED ITS HEIGHT.


THOSE STILL WORKING USED INFERIOR INDIAN AND EGYPTIAN COTTON AND WAGES FELL TO FOUR TO FIVE SHILLINGS A WEEK.

NEW COTTON FIELDS WERE BEING DEVELOPED IN INDIA AND EGYPT. THE WHOLE PROFIT WENT TO BRITISH INSTEAD OF AMERICAN CAPITALISTS.

COTTON FIELDS DECREASED AREAS FOR FOOD PRODUCTION IN THESE COUNTRIES, ALREADY BARELY LARGE ENOUGH FOR THE NEEDS OF THEIR OWN PEOPLES.

THE COTTON FAMINE CLOSED SMALLER BRITISH FACTORIES, AND LESS WORKERS WERE NEEDED FOR LARGER AND FEWER LOOMS.

THE NORTHERN AMERICAN VICTORY RESULTED IN THE GROWTH OF THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY IN THE USA, PROTECTED BY HIGH TARIFFS.

IN THE LONG RUN, THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR DID MUCH TO DESTROY THE MONOPOLY OF LANCASHIRE AND HASTEN THE TRANSFERENCE OF BRITISH INDUSTRY FROM MANCHESTER TO BIRMINGHAM. A TRANSFER FOLLOWED IN DUE COURSE BY CORRESPONDING POLITICAL CHANGES.

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