Research Post 2: When Collective Security Abandoned Abyssinia

I have found, as I continue my study into the response of the world to the Abyssinia Crisis, that the domestic organization of each of the Great Powers directly involved heavily affected their actions during the Crisis. The three major powers directly involved with the Crisis, Great Britain, France, and Italy, each had a very different domestic set of institutions and concerns to their national governments that influenced how they interacted with each other and the League as an institution. Italy, as an authoritarian, Fascist government, organized itself so that the average Italian citizen’s opinion mattered little, and rather the industrialists and industry of the nation influenced the national government more aggressively. The French Government, while a republic, had an executive branch and military apparatus that was extremely concerned about a resurgent Germany and was committed to maintaining the Stresa Front, whilst having a divided civil population that did not express its international desires easily. Britain, as the leading world power with a Liberal Democracy, and with one of the most complex apparatuses of state, had the interesting combination of needing to follow the direction that the people and domestic institutions expressed in voting, but while also having a government apparatus that did not easily change direction and was comparatively conservative. These different styles of governance and domestic interests resulted in fundamentally different approaches between the nations regarding dealing with each other and the League.

[Read more…]

Queen Victoria: The Politician and Reformer

Great Britain during the nineteenth century served as the model for social change without the social and political upheaval typical of nineteenth century mainland Europe.  At the helm of this tempered change sat Queen Victoria, from 1837 to 1901.  During her reign, Britain underwent significant industrial and educational reforms, becoming the model of productivity and liberal capitalism in Europe.  The purpose of my research will be to examine the role of the Queen in such reforms through her correspondences with political leaders, as well as her personal journal entries, all of which are conveniently available at Swem Library.  Britain was, in fact, a constitutional monarchy with very limited powers granted to the monarch herself.  However, by investigating these correspondences I will attempt to understand to what extent the monarch actually played a role in these trajectory-changing industrial and educational reforms.  Such a study will provide further insight into the powers of the restricted British monarchy in the nineteenth century.