Historians have argued that the moral imperative and co-operation in Europe were central to Gladstone’s plans for Britain’s foreign policy. In addition Gladstone did not want Britain to engage in frivolous issues that would entangle Britain’s resources elsewhere. This was viewed as a sly remark on Disraeli’s foreign policy, as he had deployed troops to Afghanistan and South Africa. Furthermore Gladstone disliked Disraeli scoring diplomatic success with regard to the Cyprus Convention and the Congress of Berlin 1878. As Gladstone believed Disraeli was using Britain’s political muscle to interfere with other nations, in order to suit the demands of the Empire. Disraeli’s actions were thus in direct conflict with Gladstone’s foreign political ideologies, especially with regard to diplomacy and a Concert of Europe whereby cooperation would be the key. Hence Gladstone’s support for the London Conference in 1871 and his opposition to the Suez Canal shares. Furthermore Gladstone’s Christian ethics came into play over the Bulgarian atrocities, which saw Gladstone attack Disraeli’s attempt at ‘Beaconsfieldism’. Disraeli on the other hand, can be argued to be a supporter of a more active and interventionist form of foreign policy, as outlined in his speeches of 1872, possibly an opportunistic attempt as Disraeli was seeking to take advantage of the unpopularity of Gladstonian initiatives towards foreign policy. Evidence of Disraeli’s actions can be seen in the British governments accumulation of Suez Canal shares, Disraeli’s anti-Russian stance and the Congress of Berlin, which all serve to support this view of Disraeli.
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