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The Foreign Policy of Louis Philippe
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Aims, Pressures and Restraints
 LP took a prominent personal role in foreign policy matters frequently
intervening over the heads of his ministers and advisors
 He wanted to build o the achievement of the Bourbons in restoring France’s
position as a global power and the beginnings of a new empire in Algeria
 He knew that many Frenchmen wanted a glorious and aggressive foreign policy
– Bonapartists & Legitimists
 He knew that the middle class wanted free trade and prosperity and therefore
peace – especially with the dominant world economy Britain
 He was still restrained by the Vienna Settlement – technically being King at all
was a breaking of the Vienna Settlement and he risked intervention from the
Great powers .... Especially if the 1830 Revolt spread into their countries
 Republicans and liberals at home wanted Louis Philippe to stand up fort liberal
revolts abroad
Whose views was LP MOST likely to listen to?
1830 Revolts
 Events in Paris in 1830 quickly spread across Europe with
revolts in Poland, Belgium and Italy
Poland – Poles revolted against Russian rule (Vienna
settlement). French public opinion wanted France to help the
poles. LP chose not to intervene and the Poles were crushed
by the Russians
Did LP do the right thing?
1830 Revolts
Belgium: Belgians revolted against Dutch rule (Vienna
Settlement). Belgians and French share common culture and
language and had recently been united under Napoleon I.
Many Frenchmen wanted them to be reunited
Instead of attempting to annexe Belgium LP campaigned hard
for Belgian independence form the Dutch and thereby won
the support of Britain AND avoided other Great Powers
intervening to restore the Dutch – a diplomatic victory for
LP but seen as weakness and a missed opportunity by many
within France
1830 Revolts Italy
 Series of revolts in Austrian controlled central Italy against
the Austrians. Metternich sent troops to crush the revolts and
despite calls for LP to intervene on the side of the Italian
nationalists LP did nothing – again seen as weak by
comparison to other recent French leaders – loses
more support at home
 1832 a revolt by Papal States against Austrian rule gets some
French support as LP sends troops to be stationed nearby –
eventually Austria withdraws but not until 1838
Thiers
 In 1840 perhaps responding to public opinion LP appointed
Thiers as Foreign Minister
 Thiers was committed to a more adventurous, glorious and
aggressive foreign policy and quickly got the opportunity to
be all these things in the Near East Crisis 1839-40
Mehemet Ali
 In 1839 the Sultan of Turkey attacked his old ally Mehemet Ali in
Egypt and Syria in an attempt to get full Turkish control of those
territories
 France had developed close ties with Mehemet Ali in North Africa
through Trade, finance and culture. French public opinion very
much in favour of military action in support of Mehemet Ali as
was Thiers
 Palmerston however had other ideas and orchestrated an alliance
of Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia to support the Sultan and
drive Mehemet Ali out of North Africa.
 In the face of this Thiers threatened the 4 Powers with war. This
horrified Louis Philippe who dismissed Thiers, replaced him with
Guizot – an embarrassing climb-down but what was the
alternative?
The Affair of the Spanish Marriages
 1846 it was proposed that Queen Isabella of Spain should
marry LP’s son Montpensier. LP initially very keen to extend
his influence in the region
 However once again under British pressure LP backed down
and withdrew the suggestion and supported instead the
British plan to marry her off to her cousin Francis – again
LP seen to be weak and dominated by Britain
 Guizot however behind the other powers backs arranged for
Montpensier to instead marry Isabella’s younger sister which
delighted many French nationalists but enraged Britain and
damaged France’s relationship with Britain
Algeria
 Arguably the only bit of ‘glory’ in French foreign policy
1830-48
 Charles X had conquered the coastline of Algeria in 1830.
under Louis Philippe much of the interior was colonised and
a new French empire established
 Massively expensive for no obvious strategic or economic
benefit
 Didn’t bother any of the other Great Powers as none of them
wanted Algeria for themselves
Evaluation
 Pleased no one!
 Unable to support liberal revolts for fear of Great power
intervention and therefore angered liberals and republicans at
home
 Wanted to stay friends with Britain so frequently out
manoeuvred by more powerful neighbour
 Unable to satisfy Bonapartist and Legitimist demands for
‘glory’
 A cautious foreign policy which sought to keep the peace and
maximise trade ---- bourgeois interests?

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