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www.educationforum.co.uk The Foreign Policy of Louis Philippe
Aims, Pressures and Restraints LP took a prominent personal role in foreign policy matters frequently intervening over the heads of his ministers and advisors He wanted to build o the achievement of the Bourbons in restoring France’s position as a global power and the beginnings of a new empire in Algeria He knew that many Frenchmen wanted a glorious and aggressive foreign policy – Bonapartists & Legitimists He knew that the middle class wanted free trade and prosperity and therefore peace – especially with the dominant world economy Britain He was still restrained by the Vienna Settlement – technically being King at all was a breaking of the Vienna Settlement and he risked intervention from the Great powers.... Especially if the 1830 Revolt spread into their countries Republicans and liberals at home wanted Louis Philippe to stand up fort liberal revolts abroad Whose views was LP MOST likely to listen to?
1830 Revolts Events in Paris in 1830 quickly spread across Europe with revolts in Poland, Belgium and Italy Poland – Poles revolted against Russian rule (Vienna settlement). French public opinion wanted France to help the poles. LP chose not to intervene and the Poles were crushed by the Russians Did LP do the right thing?
1830 Revolts Belgium: Belgians revolted against Dutch rule (Vienna Settlement). Belgians and French share common culture and language and had recently been united under Napoleon I. Many Frenchmen wanted them to be reunited Instead of attempting to annexe Belgium LP campaigned hard for Belgian independence form the Dutch and thereby won the support of Britain AND avoided other Great Powers intervening to restore the Dutch – a diplomatic victory for LP but seen as weakness and a missed opportunity by many within France
1830 Revolts Italy Series of revolts in Austrian controlled central Italy against the Austrians. Metternich sent troops to crush the revolts and despite calls for LP to intervene on the side of the Italian nationalists LP did nothing – again seen as weak by comparison to other recent French leaders – loses more support at home 1832 a revolt by Papal States against Austrian rule gets some French support as LP sends troops to be stationed nearby – eventually Austria withdraws but not until 1838
Thiers In 1840 perhaps responding to public opinion LP appointed Thiers as Foreign Minister Thiers was committed to a more adventurous, glorious and aggressive foreign policy and quickly got the opportunity to be all these things in the Near East Crisis 1839-40
Mehemet Ali In 1839 the Sultan of Turkey attacked his old ally Mehemet Ali in Egypt and Syria in an attempt to get full Turkish control of those territories France had developed close ties with Mehemet Ali in North Africa through Trade, finance and culture. French public opinion very much in favour of military action in support of Mehemet Ali as was Thiers Palmerston however had other ideas and orchestrated an alliance of Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia to support the Sultan and drive Mehemet Ali out of North Africa. In the face of this Thiers threatened the 4 Powers with war. This horrified Louis Philippe who dismissed Thiers, replaced him with Guizot – an embarrassing climb-down but what was the alternative?
The Affair of the Spanish Marriages 1846 it was proposed that Queen Isabella of Spain should marry LP’s son Montpensier. LP initially very keen to extend his influence in the region However once again under British pressure LP backed down and withdrew the suggestion and supported instead the British plan to marry her off to her cousin Francis – again LP seen to be weak and dominated by Britain Guizot however behind the other powers backs arranged for Montpensier to instead marry Isabella’s younger sister which delighted many French nationalists but enraged Britain and damaged France’s relationship with Britain
Algeria Arguably the only bit of ‘glory’ in French foreign policy 1830-48 Charles X had conquered the coastline of Algeria in 1830. under Louis Philippe much of the interior was colonised and a new French empire established Massively expensive for no obvious strategic or economic benefit Didn’t bother any of the other Great Powers as none of them wanted Algeria for themselves
Evaluation Pleased no one! Unable to support liberal revolts for fear of Great power intervention and therefore angered liberals and republicans at home Wanted to stay friends with Britain so frequently out manoeuvred by more powerful neighbour Unable to satisfy Bonapartist and Legitimist demands for ‘glory’ A cautious foreign policy which sought to keep the peace and maximise trade ---- bourgeois interests?