Gladstone and Disraeli had strongly contrasting views of the role of Empire. Disraeli was motivated by upholding and preserving Empire, he was principally concerned with maintaining Britain’s routes to India and he took great pride in purchasing the Suez Canal shares in 1875 and gaining control of Cyprus, a key strategic point along Britain’s trade route, three years later. Gladstone viewed Disraeli’s obsession with the route to India as absurd and he bitterly attacked Disraeli’s acquisitions of various territories. Gladstone believed in the rule of international law and he supported the cause of self-determination of nations, yet he remained conscious of the need to protect British interests.
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