The Alabama Arbitration illustrated Gladstone’s true nature in terms of where he saw Britain’s geo-political position; in addition to this it showed that he was afraid of conflict. When the Americans demanded compensation for the sinking of one of their ships, Gladstone capitulated to the pressure from America. Gladstone justified his actions by claiming that it was morally right that Britain should pay up: the British public as a result were dissatisfied, not because of the compensation itself but because Gladstone appeared too quick to reach such a demeaning solution. Gladstone’s act also seem to destabilise the balance of power, by making Britain appear to be an inferior country to America as a result of so readily catering to it’s demands. Disraeli was equally as critical of Gladstone’s actions for not standing up for British prestige and by undermining Britain’s standing in the world.
Part 5 Part 7