The Domestic Process

  • William Wallace
Part of the Studies in Comparative Politics book series (STCP)


In the nineteenth-century international system the domestic context of foreign policy could to a considerable degree be taken as given. Only in the short and intermittent wars were the mass of the population involved to any degree in bearing the burdens of external affairs. Few of the major states were democracies; those that were, with few exceptions, carefully excluded foreign policy questions from the democratic sphere. The international economy was developing, but as yet involved in most countries only a minority of commercial interests and a small minority of the working population. Gladstone might stump the country, electioneering on the Bulgarian atrocities. In the United States, the great exception, newspaper sensationalism and public opinion might evoke the Spanish-American War. But on the whole the world of diplomacy remained an intimate and aristocratic one, in which Sir Edward Grey might sanction conversations with the French, or even send the fateful ultimatum to Germany, without consulting the Cabinet,106 in which the Queen of England might begin a letter to the Emperor of Germany: ‘As Your Grandmother to whom you have always shown so much affection…I feel I cannot refrain from expressing my deep regret at the telegram you sent President Kruger’,107 and in which most diplomats shared a common language, a common culture and a common loyalty to the international system which set them apart from their domestic environment.


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Copyright information

© Government and Opposition 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Wallace
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ManchesterUK

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