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Connecting History

Explicit comparisons between Russia and Europe did not fit into this historiographical endeavour. However, this Marxist image of history made the history of Russia appear as a concept developed with reference to European examples. Over the past fifty years in Europe, the historiography has been heavily influenced by three approaches to the history of Russia when considering the Russian relationship with Europe: 1 social, economic, and everyday history Alltagsgeschichte ; 8 2 the history of ideas and 3 cultural history.

In individual cases, there was also a degree of overlap between these three approaches. Social and economic history viewed the history of Russia through the prism of its supposed backwardness in comparison with Europe and the west. Modernization theory provided the reference points of a capitalist economy, bureaucratic governance, a state based on laws and societal self-organization, milestones which the history of Russia had supposedly not yet reached. Thus, the history of Imperial Russia could be written as a history of state reforms, which almost invariably did not yield the desired results and most certainly did not close the developmental gap between European societies and Russia.

In this model, Russia, as an important exporter of raw materials and a great power, was viewed as an example of a semi-peripheral society. In the 20th century, the history of ideas worked its way through all of the historical-philosophical material which the reciprocal Russian and European discourses of self-reassurance in the 18th and 19th centuries had produced.

Since the s, cultural history has fundamentally changed the view of Russia and Europe. Research into cognitive maps has brought a new awareness of the cultural construction of concepts of space into historiography. The shifting of Russia from the north to the east of Europe in European perceptions of the other in the first half of the 19th century is a prime example of this. Transfers to Russia, but also the reception of Russia in Europe and the world are now central research topics. Once again, experiences in the present, such as the end of the Soviet Union and the transformation of cognitive maps which resulted from it, have demonstrated how much they can influence academic knowledge.

In the American academic system, Eurasia has increasingly emerged as a region in which the history of Russia is located. For about the last two decades, historiography has been dominated by a world and global history which seeks to counteract Eurocentrism. The imperative of provincializing the category of Europe, including the removal of its normative position with regard to other regions of the world, has also affected depictions of the long-running topic of "Russia and Europe".

There are obvious world and global historical contexts.

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This becomes clear when Russian elites appear outside Europe as proponents of a European civilizing mission, and, conversely, when in African and Asian perceptions Russia is categorized as belonging to Europe. The chronological depiction below of the relationship between Russia and Europe primarily attempts to examine popular concepts of Russia and Europe in a more nuanced way. Instead of drawing a hard distinction between the supposedly closed Muscovite Russia and the Europeanized empire ruled from St. Petersburg from the 18th century onward, I will attempt to point out multiple contrasts.

The central focus is placed on perceptions and interactions in the areas of politics, economics, religion and culture. In this, travellers also appear as important intermediaries. A number of transfer processes can be identified for Muscovite Russia of the 16th and particularly the 17th century, while many trends in the 18th century demonstrate how keen people were to experiment with European influences.

Finally, in the second half of the 19th century, Russia increasingly participated in processes of internationalization. For foreign travellers, it was no easy task to gain entry to Muscovite Russia and to travel around in it. Diplomatic missions had to be registered in advance in Moscow. Their delegations were met at the border of the Muscovite state and accompanied through the land and to the court by a servant of the grand prince from tsar. The travel route was set by Moscow. Contact with Muscovites and other foreigners was regulated and was often prohibited. Cultural misunderstanding in various areas such as diplomatic protocol, eating habits and the treatment of disease and death were very common occurrences for every traveller from Europe in Russia.

Encounters between Protestants and Catholics of the confessional period and members of the Orthodox Church tended to highlight religious differences. However, in spite of the marked cultural differences, the behaviour of Muscovite tsars towards foreigners from Europe was very pragmatic. While the Orthodox Church highlighted and defended the religious differences and official Russia did not seek to engage with European knowledge in any serious way, the Russian court nonetheless had no problem with employing foreigners as experts where this proved useful to the Muscovite state.

Consequently, physicians, architects, weaponsmiths and officers from Europe were a permanent fixture among the staff serving the Muscovite state in the 15th—17th centuries. While in the medieval period European trade with Russia had been under the control of the Hanseatic League , in the 16th and 17th centuries the English and the Dutch in particular succeeded in replacing the League in this regard.

Wood, hemp, potash, cereals, honey and precious sable furs from Siberia were among the goods exported from Russia. In exchange, Russia imported weapons and luxury goods. Transport along the Volga and across the Caspian Sea made Russia an important trade link between Europe and the Orient. For example, in the 17th century the European demand for leather resulted in an increase in cattle farming and leather production particularly along the upper and middle Volga.

Anyone who travelled to Moscow from a European country in the 16th and 17th centuries, did not do so for the love of travelling, but either to perform a specific task in the areas of politics, economics and the church or in search of riches, which were frequently lost as quickly as they were gained. In the 16th century, an ever increasing number of European travellers came to Russia. These also included Englishmen — no less than 32 travelogues on Muscovite Russia were written by Englishmen in the service of the "Muscovy Company".

Papal and Habsburg diplomacy in the 16th century was primarily interested in concluding an alliance with Moscow against the Ottoman Empire — but without success. The most famous European diplomat to travel to Russia in the 16th and 17th centuries was without a doubt Siegmund Freiherr von Herberstein — In , he was entrusted with the task of brokering a truce between Moscow and Poland-Lithuania. While Herberstein did not succeed in this, on his return to Vienna he succeeded in portraying himself as a seasoned expert on Russia, and Charles V —, Holy Roman Emperor — consequently entrusted him with another mission to Moscow in This time Herberstein was entrusted with the task of gathering enough information on his travels for a description of the Muscovite state.

Herberstein published the resulting work in under the title Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii. In , a German translation of the work was published under the title of Moscovia. In this work, Herberstein wrote a sentence which was to define western concepts of Russia for centuries. The civil war the Time of Troubles, in Russian smutnoe vremia that broke out after the Riurik dynasty came to an end in was followed from onward by the rule of the Romanov dynasty, which was a period of restoration and consolidation.

The sacrosanct nature of the autocracy and the role of the nobility as supporters of the state were central and continued to define the history of Russia. However, the attempted restoration of the Orthodox church proved to be considerably more complex. Patriarch Filaret —, patriarch — , who entered the office in and who had spent part of the Time of Troubles in Polish captivity, made every effort to protect his church against the supposedly deleterious influence of other religions, particularly Catholicism.

The Russian terra orthodoxa should be kept pure in his view. However, the 17th century did not conform to this Orthodox masterplan. It did not prove possible to shut the secular elite off from Europe in terms of its cultural orientation and the Russian Orthodox church failed to keep Russian religious life closed off from diverse connections with various external worlds. Additionally, the religious and secular aspects of the Europeanization of Russia became linked in the second half of the 17th century in the context of the Ukrainian question.

In the 17th century, the Russian Orthodox church was confronted with diversity of religious practice. After the Time of Troubles, people in some regions of Russia — for example the middle Volga region — claimed that the church was no longer a church. The upheavals of the civil war in the early 17th century had also called into question the authority of the institutional church.

As early as the s, contemporaries were talking about a split raskol in the church. There was a lack of clarity regarding which hymns and prayers should be performed in which order. The unification of Moscow and the Ukrainian Cossacks, who were also Orthodox, through the Treaty of Pereiaslav in made abundantly clear once more that the Orthodox church had adopted different forms among the East Slavs.

Patriarch Nikon of Moscow — decided to remedy this. He engaged churchmen from the Ukraine to correct the liturgical books with a view to making them more uniform. Nikon also attempted to make this liturgy binding for all East Slavs in the church reforms which bore his name Nikonian reforms. What at first glance appears to be a church matter proves on closer examination to be a fundamental process which contributed to the Europeanization of Russia in the second half of the 17th century.

In this way, educational concepts such as the seven liberal arts septem artes liberales made their way into Muscovite Russia. This increase in education had its own consequences and led to the first theological controversy in the Russian Orthodox church, in which the opposing parties debated the issue of transubstantiation in the Eucharist. The transfer of European knowledge primarily from Poland to Russia through the Ukraine was not limited to the religious sphere.

In the second half of the 17th century, the court of the tsars was a prominent site in this regard and contributed to the acquisition of Polish-European culture. Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich —, reigned — had plays performed a court, much to the displeasure of the clergy. Baroque music was performed and Polish clothes were worn.

Some wealthy aristocrats — such as Vasilii V. Golitsyn — , the most influential advisor to the regent Sofia Alekseevna —, regent — in the s — also displayed a great openness towards Europe in the arrangement of their country residences, for example by accumulating libraries of western books. Contrary to the myth which portrays Peter the Great as the initiator of the Europeanization of Russia, from the Ukrainian perspective a phase in the Europeanization of Russia can be identified between and However, it would be going too far to ignore Peter the Great as a factor in the history of Russia and Europe.

During Peter's reign, the connections between Russia and Europe became closer and more diverse. Peter viewed the Protestant seafaring countries of Sweden , the Netherlands and England as particularly good models for Russia. Already in his youth, Peter spent a lot of time in the foreign district of Moscow, the district assigned to non-Orthodox Europeans, and his time spent there awakened his interest in things foreign.

Peter's victory over the Ottoman Empire in , through which he gained the Black Sea fortress of Azov , provided the motive for this journey. Peter was now prepared to give Europe something which European diplomats in Moscow had asked for in vain throughout the 16th and 17th centuries: the committed engagement of Russia in the Holy League against the Ottoman Empire. The original purpose of the journey, to conclude a grand alliance against the Ottoman Empire, was not achieved. On the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession, European diplomacy was completely preoccupied with the issue of succession on the Iberian Peninsula.

The Great Embassy proved nonetheless a big event in Russian history, which had far-reaching consequences in many respects — it was the first time that a Russian tsar had travelled to Europe. Peter was able to prepare the ground for future alliances with Denmark , Brandenburg-Prussia and Saxony , which would prove important during the Great Northern War against Sweden in — However, quite apart from the affairs of state which were pursued, Peter gained a decisive insight into the mechanisms of cultural transfer which was to prove very important.

On the journey, Peter came to the view that the passive use of European technology and the hiring of foreign experts would not advance Russia's cause in the long term. In the eyes of the tsar, Russia's status demanded that his subjects, including the aristocratic elite, should personally acquire the knowledge and skills of the Europeans in the sciences and the crafts, in order to then be able to independently develop them further for the benefit of Russia. With a mixture of enthusiasm and stoic commitment to duty, young Russian aristocrats made their way to Europe in the years and decades that followed to implement the will of the tsar.

In the Great Northern War — and in particular through his victory over Sweden at Poltava in , Peter impressively demonstrated the new military capabilities of Russia on the European stage. However, Peter's eagerness to bring about change was not limited to the military sphere. He drastically reduced the number of the old central institutions of administration in Moscow and he converted them into administrative colleges based on the Swedish model. Peter initiated a cultural revolution. During Peter's lifetime, the city that bore his name looked more like a giant construction site.

Peter broke with Muscovite Orthodox traditions in ceremonial court culture and re-orientated the latter instead towards baroque forms and the classical Greek and Roman system of symbols. European visitors to Russia identified a fundamental change. The Hanoverian ambassador Friedrich Christian Weber died ? Vasilii N. Tatishchev — suggested a new map of Russia, which divided the empire along the Urals into a European part and an Asian part: 40 Russia appeared to have arrived in Europe.

Of course, the successors of Peter the Great faced the question of how to accept this legacy and how to continue it. Overall, the 18th century in Russia appears as an imperial laboratory of Europeanization. The elites at the imperial court now began to notice in broad terms the difference between the Russian russkii — ethnic Russian nation and the Russian rossiiskii — Imperial Russian Empire. In the Grand Principality of Moscow and also in the Muscovite Tsarist Empire after , there had been a common practice of incorporating non-Russian elites into the Russian nobility as the need arose.

Loyalty to the grand prince, and subsequently the tsar, was the most important criterion when it came to membership of the elite, not ethnicity or language. This practice became a cause of conflict in the period after Peter the Great, as Germans became the most influential advisors at the court of Empress Anna Ivanovna —, reigned — , particularly Ernst Johann von Biron — This led Russian nobles to doubt the Russian character of the empire.

In the 18th century, the Ukrainian question also highlighted the tension between nation and empire. Under Elisabeth I —, reigned — , the number of Ukrainians among the episcopate of the Orthodox church and at court reached its highest. After she ascended to the throne, the Ukrainian Cossacks presented Empress Catherine II —, reigned — [ ] with a petition in in which they requested the foundation of a Ukrainian parliament.

The petition clearly employed the rhetorical style and political concepts of the Polish-Lithuanian republic of the nobility. Had it been granted, this would have significantly transformed the imperial structure of Russia. Catherine II denied the request. However, the Russian element increasingly demanded a more important role within the empire. In the area of foreign policy, it became apparent to Peter's successors that the status of a European great power could not be based solely on prestigious military victories, such as the victory at Poltava in Recognition as a great power was based on an intersubjective component and it was also dependent on decoding the rules of the system of European great powers and acting in accordance with them.

While Peter the Great had still perceived this system as an exclusionary mechanism which disadvantaged Russia, Russian diplomats in the subsequent decades succeeded in establishing Russia as an insider in the system. Panin — continued to employ an alliance policy which had already emerged at the time of Peter the Great. Alliances with states in the Baltic region and negotiations with England were used to give Russia security with regard to its eastern central European neighbours.

However, this continuity in approach regarding alliances was elevated into a change in terminology which reflected the increasing familiarity of Russia with the European model of the alliance system. Panin called his alliance concept the "Northern System". The negotiation of an international agreement on the subject seems far off but need not be viewed as utopian. Talk of an international criminal court seemed utopian only a very few years ago. Though economic activities at the local level that are illegal under international agreements and domestic law will inevitably occur in the struggle for survival that attends most civil wars and may not warrant much international concern , funding for war efforts based on large-scale criminal activity deserves further attention.

For example, the activities of Arkan and other Balkan warlords are widely reported to have been largely directed toward and otherwise funded by drug trafficking. The impact of such predatory warlords on civil wars is so overwhelmingly negative that the international community should better equip itself to combat their fund-raising activities. Building on existing norms and agreements, such efforts should focus on practical measures to combat large-scale and high-level criminality of this type.

Incentives and disincentives for peace available to international actors attempting to influence economic agendas in civil wars fall into several categories: the coercive e. Little comprehensive work has been done to catalogue and assess what these measures are and how effective they have proved in the past. In particular, are efforts aimed at addressing basic human needs in countries afflicted by civil strife effective in shaming or inspiring leaders to better care for those dependent on them, or do they merely in practice serve to absolve them from their responsibilities to local populations?

Here, regional differences may be significant. Several of the authors of ensuing chapters have argued, directly or indirectly, that in a world awash with weapons—many of them produced in countries with few other viable exports—the best means of choking off arms supplies to belligerents is to turn off the financial spigot. This volume illustrates how difficult this will be. Policy instruments could certainly be crafted to do so, but this prospect seems still distant, because knowledge is as yet scant, the motivations of key international actors conflict, the governments of major powers have often displayed a mercantilist bent even where conflict threatens or rages, and, there is understandable although excessive reluctance by leading governments to focus on the role of multinational companies in the drama.

We hope that this volume may represent a modest step in this direction. Martin's Press, , For a sophisticated discussion of the liberal view of globalization see also Andrew Hurrell and Ngaire Woods, "Globalisation and Inequality," Millennium: Journal of International Studies , 24, no. Hurrell, "Explaining the Resurgence of Regionalism," Stephen Ellis, The Mask of Anarchy , For an attempt to substantiate this assertion with respect to two particular areas of external support—the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of combatants after conflict, and the restructuring of the "security sector," see Mats Berdal and David Keen, "Violence and Economic Agendas in Civil Wars: Some Policy Implications," Millennium: Journal of International Studies , 26, no.

The debate sparked at the UN following Kofi Annan's advocacy, in a September speech to the General Assembly of greater international willingness to intervene in support of humanitarian goals, demonstrates how lively and serious the issue remains. For example, see Jackie Cilliers and Peggy Mason eds. Recent action by Canada somewhat breaks the mold. Its permanent representative to the UN, Robert Fowler, who chairs the UN Security Council's Angola sanctions committee, in May traveled to Africa and other venues relevant to the diamond trade in order to engage with those active in this trade and encourage better compliance with the sanctions regime against UNITA.

Academic and NGO research played a significant role in influencing Canadian thinking on sanctions. Those who wish to facilitate peace will be well advised to understand the nature of war. Yet the label war is one that often conceals as much as it reveals.

We think we know what a war is, but this in itself is a source of difficulty: Throwing a label at the problem of conflict may further obscure its origins and functions; and the label, moreover, may be very useful for those who wish to promote certain kinds of violence. The idea of war can confer a kind of legitimacy upon certain types of violence, given the widespread belief that certain kinds of war are just and legitimate.

This chapter attempts to throw some light on the nature of contemporary warfare by looking closely at some of its functions—notably, the economic functions, which are often partially obscured. The chapter challenges two common notions: that war is a contest between two sides, with each trying to win; and that war represents only a breakdown or collapse rather than the creation of an alternative system of profit, power, and protection.

A number of economic functions of warfare are outlined, and attention is given to the interaction of political and economic agendas. Partly in reaction to the perceived inappropriateness of the traditional model of warfare as a contest between two disciplined teams, analysts in recent years have often portrayed war as a kind of breakdown. Conflicts have frequently been explained as the result of intractable ethnic hatreds or a descent into tribal violence and anarchy. Although the demise of the Cold War has apparently facilitated progress toward peace in some areas like Central America, it has not significantly stemmed the tide of civil conflicts across the world.

Some conflicts have been born precisely from the demise of Communist regimes in Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Others—such as those in Angola, Burma, and Sudan—have simply refused to go away. Even the apparent "success stories" of conflict resolution—such as El Salvador, Mozambique, and most especially Cambodia—have shown signs that they may yet be mired in intractable conflicts. In these circumstances, one of the most urgent tasks is to gain a better understanding of the internal dynamics that appear to be generating and sustaining a range of contemporary civil conflicts.

Such an understanding will be necessary for anyone thinking of "policy prescriptions" that might facilitate a lasting peace: A good doctor will need to get some idea of the nature of the disease before rushing to the medicine cabinet to pull out a remedy. Discussion of internal dynamics tended to be minimal and unsophisticated during the Cold War, and unfortunately it has often remained so in the post—Cold War era. Many analysts have stressed the irrationality and unpredictability of contemporary civil warfare, portraying it as evil, medieval, or both. Contemporary civil conflicts often give the appearance of mindless and senseless violence, with a proliferation of militias, chains of command breaking down, and repeated brutal attacks on civilians.

In , Robert Kaplan famously claimed to have detected a "coming anarchy" in West Africa and beyond, a descent into mindless violence propelled by a kind of "witches' brew" of over-population, tribalism, drugs, and environmental decline. Kaplan is only one of a number of analysts who have pointed to an apparent resurgence in "tribalism. This was a major theme in Kaplan's Balkan Ghosts , sometimes seen as influential in persuading the Clinton administration that little could be done to resolve hostilities in the former Yugoslavia. The need to ensure peace between competing "tribes" or ethnic groups has also been an enduring theme in British policy—in both the colonial and postcolonial eras.

Another strand of the literature on contemporary civil wars, which we might call the "development" literature, emphasizes the negative consequences especially economic of war. Not unnaturally, war is portrayed as disrupting the economy, an interruption in a process of development that is seen as largely benevolent. From those adhering to this apparently common-sense perspective including many UN agencies and NGOs , it is common to hear appeals for a speedy transition from wartime "relief" back to "development," a transition that is sometimes urged even while conflict is still raging.

In the aftermath of a conflict, homage is habitually paid to a set of goals that appears to be self-evidently desirable. Significantly, these usually begin with the prefix "re": for example, rehabilitation, reconstruction, repatriation, and resettlement. Such interpretations should not be too readily dismissed. The economic devastation wrought by wars is all too evident and has been well documented. The importance of ethnic tensions is also clear in many countries.

However, the emphasis on war as irrational anarchy or as a dramatic setback to development tends to give a dangerous and in many ways misleading impression that war and perhaps particularly civil war is a disaster for almost everyone concerned. The resulting temptation is to turn away from warfare as quickly as possible, to put the madness of war into the past, and to get back to "normal" with the greatest possible haste.

Of course, it is quite possible to put forward a number of causes of the apparent futility of war, whether these are religious, political, ethnic, or whatever. But the habitual and natural emphasis on war as a negative phenomenon, the idea of war as breakdown, may ultimately induce in the observer a sense of puzzlement: How is it that a phenomenon so universally disastrous could be allowed, and indeed made, so frequently to happen—and very often to persist over years or decades?

And there is a further problem: One is likely to gain little sense, in the habitual enthusiasm to restore the prewar economy, of the way that war was generated by precisely this status quo ante. Those who point to "ancient ethnic hatreds" as a root cause of civil conflicts will need to explain why a variety of "hostile" peoples have been able to live peacefully alongside each other for long periods, or why, for example, the Baggara pastoralists of western Sudan have raided their fellow Arabs among the neighboring Fur and their coreligionists among the Nuba.

As David Turton 1 and David Campbell 2 have argued, the "ethnic hatreds" school has often failed to recognize that ethnicity—and the importance attached to it—is shaped by conflict rather than simply shaping it. More worrisome, those who are ready to use easy labels and to accept the inevitability of ethnic violence may actually play into the hands of local actors seeking to bolster their own power and privileges by forcing politics along ethnic lines and by presenting themselves internationally and domestically as the leaders of "ethnic groups.

The rigidity sometimes visible in academic disciplines has sometimes further muddied the waters. Disciplines like economics and political science usually focus on a restricted area that is ordered and predictable; and when messy phenomena like contemporary civil wars do not fall easily within the orbit of these systems of analysis, the temptation to wheel out the label of chaos is very great. Moreover, at both the national and international levels, there may be vested interests not only in chaos and ethnic strife but in the depiction of chaos and ethnic strife.

Rather than portraying war as irrational or as an aberration or interruption in development, I want to stress the importance of investigating how violence is generated by particular political economies, which it in turn modifies but does not destroy. Part of the problem with much existing analysis is that conflict continues to be regarded as simply a breakdown in a particular system rather than as the emergence of an alternative system of profit, power, and even protection.

Yet the problem of war should also be put in more positive terms. What use is war? What functions does it perform? The functions of violence in civil wars can be divided into two broad categories. First, violence may be oriented toward changing or retaining the laws and administrative procedures of a society. In a sense, this is political violence. Of course, much of this political violence centers on the long-term distribution of economic resources: For example, violence may be used to protect or undermine economic privileges such as landowner-ship that are cemented through control of the state.

Second, violence may be aimed at circumnavigating the law—not so much changing the law as ignoring it. This covers a range of functions that, rather than being concerned with rewriting the rules at the national level, are local and immediate. The local and immediate functions of violence are of three main types: economic, security, and psychological.

All of them suggest limitations in state-centric analysis. It may be safer to be in an armed band than outside one, particularly when the majority of attacks are being directed against civilians. And violence may provide a range of psychological payoffs, including an immediate reversal of relationships of dominance and humiliation that have sometimes prevailed in peacetime. Participation in armed groups may also offer excitement and a chance to revenge past wrongdoings. Even acts of revenge, vandalism, and ritual humiliation which appear to serve no economic, military, or political purpose should not always be seen as "mindless" or "senseless.

Where civil wars have not simply been dismissed as a form of madness or irrationality, they have traditionally been viewed as a political insurrection that is met with a counterinsurgency. This model appeared particularly applicable from the s to the early s, when anticolonial wars often ran alongside and sometimes gave way to a variety of revolutionary struggles.

Of course, traditional revolutionary and political struggles such as the struggle for land reform in Latin America have not simply gone away just because the Cold War era has drawn to a close. However, two characteristics have set many recent conflicts apart from this "revolutionary" model. First, much of the violence has been initiated not so much by revolutionaries seeking to transform the state as by a range of elites seeking to deflect political threats by inciting violence, often along ethnic lines.

Many of these elites have been those who gained ascendancy in postcolonial states, and many others enjoyed privileges under Communist regimes. Pressure for democratization often internal and international has constituted a threat to such elites, and sometimes this pressure for democratization has been combined with outright rebellion. These threats, often combined with conditions of economic austerity, have created conditions for major "elite backlashes.

Although elites have often amassed considerable personal wealth, they have frequently presided over states that lack the means for effective and disciplined counterinsurgency not least because available revenues have been siphoned into private pockets. In these circumstances, and particularly in Africa, we have seen elites repeatedly recruiting civilians into unpaid or underpaid armies or militias.

Such recruitment has typically, but not always, been along ethnic lines. Very often, some combination of fear, need, and greed has created a willingness to be mobilized for violence among this civilian population. This brings us to the second deviation from the traditional conception of civil war: the fact that for many of those implementing violence and indeed for many of those orchestrating it , the violence has often served more immediate functions, often economic in nature. Conflicts have seen the emergence of war economies often centered in particular regions controlled by rebels or warlords and linked to international trading networks.

Members of armed gangs have profited from looting and other forms of violent economic activity. And chains of command have become notably weak in a number of countries, including Somalia, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. These developments add to the difficulties of bringing violence to an end, both because many may have a vested interest in prolonging violence and because "leaders" may be unable to control their followers.

Civil wars are not static over time. A growing proportion of civil wars appear to have started with the aim of taking over or retaining the reins of the state or of breaking away in a secessionist revolt and appear to have subsequently mutated often very quickly into wars where immediate agendas assume an increasingly important role. These immediate agendas notably economic agendas may significantly prolong civil wars: Not only do they constitute a vested interest in continued conflict, they also tend to create widespread destitution, which itself may feed into economically motivated violence.

It is helpful to distinguish between "top-down" violence and "bottom-up" violence. Top-down violence refers to violence that is mobilized by political leaders and entrepreneurs—whether for political or economic reasons. The existence of powerful groups mobilizing violence from the top will be sufficient to create large-scale violence where major coercion is used to get recruits. However, in practice violence has often been actively embraced by a variety of ordinary people either civilians or low-ranking soldiers as a solution to problems of their own.

This can be called bottom-up violence. Getting involved in violence may serve a range of psychological and even security functions as well as economic functions. Often, a regressive, top-down political function will combine with more local and immediate aims on the part of those at the bottom. In order to move toward more lasting solutions for the problem of mass violence, we may need to understand and acknowledge that for significant groups this violence represents not a problem but a solution. We need to think of modifying the structure of incentives that are encouraging people to orchestrate, fund, or perpetrate acts of violence.

The idea that violence may offer a solution —whether for some of those "at the top" or for some of those "at the bottom"—tends to get missed in human rights discussions. Here, the emphasis is often on condemnation rather than explanation, and violence may be labeled as inhumane or even inhuman, as if it were not human beings with all their diverse motivations of need, greed, fear, lust, resentment, and, indeed, altruism that were carrying out these acts.

Although violence is often projected as outside the normal human experience or as invading a country like an enemy virus, violence may also be actively generated by particular cultures, societies, and economies. The Oklahoma City bombing was perhaps a particularly startling example of a violence that was initially blamed on external factors—with local suspicions falling initially on Muslims in the area—but that was soon found to have sprung from the ideology of white extremists, a term that is more appropriate than we might think since followers had taken to an extreme certain elements of American culture, including a hostility to central government and a desire to defend the possession of guns.

If contemporary civil wars have been widely labeled as mindless, mad, and senseless, in some ways nineteenth- and twentieth-century Western notions of war may be closer to madness. When war is seen as an occasion for risking death in the name of the nation state and with little prospect of financial gain, it may take months of brainwashing and ritual humiliation to convince new recruits of the notion.

A war where one avoids battles, picks on unarmed civilians, and makes money may make more sense. Part of the allure of labels such as "ethnic hatred," "mindless violence," and "chaos" is that many contemporary civil wars have been seen to depart from the traditional model of two competing professional teams with civilians as bystanders.

However, a better reaction to problems with this traditional model would be to think again about the aims of warfare. A common assumption has been that parties to a civil war are only concerned with gaining or retaining control of the state. Another has been that the aim in a war is to win it. Yet both are open to question. Civil wars have usually been presented as a contest between government and rebel groups, with each seeking to "win the war" and "defeat the enemy. However, the image of war as a contest has sometimes come to serve as a smokescreen for the emergence of a wartime political economy from which rebels and even the government and government-affiliated groups may be benefiting.

As a result of these benefits, some parties may be more anxious to prolong a war than to win it. Civil wars have often, rather misleadingly, been discussed as if both government and rebel forces were homogenous: The tale, very often, is of rebel advances and government fight-backs or vice versa , as if these were two rival armies in World War II. A more sophisticated kind of analysis considers how the success of either side is influenced by its ability to garner support from a variety of groups in civil society.

This aspect of the problem was highlighted by Mao's famous analysis of the fishes and the sea, and it was to some extent taken on board by governments seeking to resist revolutionary movements as in U. However, an analysis emphasizing the need to garner support may not go far enough: In some circumstances, the most revealing question may not be which groups support a rebellion or counterinsurgency campaign but which groups seek to take advantage of a rebellion or a counterinsurgency campaign and for which kinds of purposes of their own. Just as this question can usefully be applied to those in a position to orchestrate violence from the top, it can usefully be applied to ordinary civilians.

The military historian von Clausewitz saw war as overwhelmingly waged by states, which were envisaged as possessing a monopoly on the means of violence. He famously said that war was a continuation of politics by other means. But states may not have a monopoly on the means of violence, and rebel groups may also find it hard to direct or control violence within their areas of operation. Particularly where chains of command are weak, war may be a continuation of economics by other means. In the course of a political struggle over the state, it may be necessary to harness the energies, violence, and grievances of groups who are not fully in your pay or your control—particularly in a weak state—that is, a state that is unable to extend security or basic services, including the rule of law, to its population.

This may have the effect of privatizing violence, with economic agendas assuming considerable importance. Elites are likely to try to harness economic agendas within civil society in order to fight civil wars on the cheap: Violent private accumulation at the local level can serve as a substitute for supplies from the center.

In addition, in weak states elites are likely to try to mobilize violence to carve out private profits from civil conflict. For rebels, the incentive to take over the state may not be all that great in circumstances where the state is unable either to monopolize violence or to tax economic activity.

In certain respects, the licensing of economically motivated violence represents a return to the past. In medieval Europe and well into the eighteenth century, before strong states had been established, conflict was funded to a large extent through plundering civilians, which compensated for inadequate provisioning and for pay that was generally low, late, or nonexistent. Particularly in a context where some states have come close to collapsing, the assessment of warfare in medieval Europe made by Contamine would appear to be relevant today.

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He noted that warfare could be deliberately spread from the top through a decision by official authorities or it could rise from below. Medieval conflicts were also characterized by a tendency to avoid pitched battles. Dangerous new elements have been added, however. The value of particular minerals, crops, and areas of land has been boosted by demand from abroad. The state has often been intentionally run down by international financial institutions. And the availability of cheap automatic weapons has risen sharply.

Whereas medieval patterns of warfare were eroded by the rise of modern, bureaucratic states in Europe, such states have still not been properly established in many parts of the world, and in Eastern Europe there has been something of a retreat from them. The weakness of states in many countries has reflected their weak economies often based primarily on agricultural production and the export of primary products as well as the limited ability of governments to capture this economic activity. This difficulty in raising revenue typically reflects the low pay of state officials which makes them susceptible to corruption and a shortage of capital which allows foreign investors to drive a tough bargain on the distribution of profits from primary production in particular.

If the institutions of the state such as schools, social security, police, and the army are eroded by international pressures for austerity or by economic crisis more generally, this state will find it hard to address the needs that may otherwise be met through a resort to violence. Government counterinsurgency and policing functions can all too easily break down into economic violence, in turn encouraging a surge in sympathy for the rebels that governments purport to be opposing.

The way that pursuit of local and immediate solutions to economic and psychological grievances can count against military success has been shown in Sierra Leone, where rebel Revolutionary United Front RUF atrocities against, and exploitation of, civilians have alienated civilians from their cause.

The same can also be said of the abusive and exploitative counterinsurgency in Sierra Leone, especially in the period — These "counterproductive" actions have often continued even beyond the point when it becomes clear they are inhibiting military and political goals, underlining the point that the aim of war is not necessarily to win it.

Abuses against civilians have usually been portrayed as an unfortunate deviation from the laws of war or as a means to a military end. However, such abuses may confer benefits that have little or nothing to do with winning the war and may actively impede this endeavor. The "point" of war may lie precisely in the legitimacy it confers on these abuses—in other words, the legitimacy it confers on actions that in peacetime would be punishable as crimes.

Whereas analysts have tended to assume that war is the "end" and abuses the "means," it is important to consider the opposite possibility: that the "end" is to engage in abuses or crimes that bring immediate rewards, whereas the "means" is war and the perpetuation of war. Various groups—including government officials, traders, and soldiers—may take advantage of conflict and conflict-related scarcities. Many short-term economic functions of violence do not depend on control of the reins of state.

One subcategory is pillage. The fruits of pillage have often been used to supplement—or even to replace—the wages and salaries of soldiers or other officials, a standard practice in medieval warfare that found echoes in former Yugoslavia and Zaire, to give just two examples among many. A second immediate economic function of warfare is securing protection money from those who are spared from having violence or confinement inflicted upon them.

A third immediate economic function is the monopolistic control of trade. War—like famine—may lead to price movements that are very profitable for some. And in the context of a war, it may be particularly easy to subject trading rivals to a variety of threats and constraints. Wartime trading restrictions imposed by governments may be very profitable for officials who allow breaches of these restrictions. Alternatively, a partial breakdown in state control may facilitate previously prohibited trade, for example in drugs.

In general, the distribution of resources may be governed less by market forces than by "forced markets. In northern Somalia, in the s, war was used by clans associated with Siad Barre as a means of divesting members of the Isaak clan of their property, jobs, and businesses. One specialized but particularly profitable aspect of trade may be in the procurement of arms.

A fourth short-term function of conflict is that it may facilitate the exploitation of labor. Threatening violence against an individual or group may be used to force the individual or group to work cheaply or for free. In extreme cases, such as in Burma and Sudan, conflict has facilitated the reemergence of forms of slavery.

A fifth short-term economic function of conflict—not quite immediate, but still relying on direct action rather than control of the state—is the prospect of staking a direct claim to land. Conflict may lead to the partial or near total depopulation of tracts of land, allowing new groups to stake a claim to land, water, and mineral resources.

These were some of the important economic benefits promised and to some extent delivered by warfare and related famine in Sudan in the late s. A sixth short-term economic function of conflict may lie in the benefits extracted from aid that is sent during the conflict. In some circumstances, the prospect of appropriating relief appears to have encouraged raiding, since raiding can create predictable suffering and a predictable windfall of aid.

Violence may serve a purpose, first, in precipitating relief and, second, in gaining access to this relief once it arrives. A final set of short-term economic benefits that may arise from conflict are those institutionalized benefits accruing to the military. Many of these processes may have a defensive component. In the case of pillage and gaining forcible access to labor and land, some persons may resort to violence as a way of protecting themselves from such forced transfers.

The need to defend oneself against economically motivated violence is one of the factors underpinning the growing role of private security firms during civil conflict. To some extent, both rebel groups and groups allied with the government may expropriate food, "taxes," and labor for the purpose of making war—in other words, they may exploit civilians in order to fight a war. But they may also fight a war in order to exploit civilians: A situation of "war" may provide, in effect, a license to take advantage of particular groups of civilians.

Civil conflicts have typically seen the emergence of groups often ethnic groups who can safely and, in a sense, legitimately be subjected to extreme exploitation, violence, and famine. Some groups fall below the law, and some are elevated above it. This process may take place in peacetime as well as wartime, and it can precipitate, as well as shape, outright conflict. Particular communities may experience a process of falling below the law and of losing the law's protection, eventually prompting outright rebellion—the experience of the Nuba and southern Sudanese is a good example.

Paul Collier has emphasized the importance of greed rather than grievance in driving civil wars. My own work gives a good deal of importance to economic motivations. However, this process of falling below the law underlines the continuing importance of grievances and not greed in contemporary conflicts. Indeed, we need to understand how the two interact. Rather than a traditional model of conflict as a contest between two sides trying to win, or a model that suggests political agendas have been replaced by economic agendas, I urge the importance of investigating how it is that particular groups can come to fall at least partially outside the physical and economic protection of the state, the exploitation or expropriation of these groups by those having superior access to the state sometimes in alliance with international capital , the generation of a sense of grievance and of rebellion among these exploited groups, and the hyperexploitation and hyperexpropriation of "rebel suspects" that typically take place under the cover of an outright conflict.

Or, to put it another way, we need to investigate how greed generates grievances and rebellion, legitimizing further greed. The first part of this dialectic is frequently labeled "peace," and the second, "war. Abuses against civilians frequently create their own justification—in Sudan, for example, abuses have stimulated support for the other side that was previously weak or absent. Even the scandals of failed to persuade her that marriage was a solution to her difficulties.

On 15 July ten days after Lady Flora's death she told Leopold that there was no prospect of her marrying Albert for at least two or three years: she had a ' great repugnance to change my present position' Letters , 1st ser. A visit from the Coburg brothers was nevertheless scheduled for the autumn, and on 10 October they arrived at Windsor. Watching them arrive from the top of the stairs, Victoria fell in love. On 15 October she undertook the somewhat awkward task of proposing to Albert , saying 'it would make me too happy if he would consent to what I wished to marry me ' ibid.

Albert accepted.

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Albert was far from a popular choice of consort. In some quarters he was viewed as a penniless foreign adventurer, coming to Britain to burden its taxpayers.

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Moreover, he was slightly younger than the queen, and part of the purpose of encouraging her marriage was to place the inexperienced, wilful girl under the tutelage of a more mature, masculine intellect. When the match was first raised with him, Melbourne objected on grounds of their consanguinity, adding 'Those Coburgs are not popular abroad; the Russians hate them.

Marriage changed everything for Victoria. Before the wedding, on 10 February in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace, she had been anxious to assert herself and her authority over her future husband. Albert was not permitted to select his own household apart from a few personal retainers ; his desire for an extended honeymoon in the country was rebuffed with a reminder that his wife had political duties in London; and in several ways Victoria made plain that politics were to be her preserve, not his.

Within two years Albert had moved from wielding the blotting paper on Victoria's official letters to dictating their content. He also changed her preference for the gaieties of London society to one for the relative rural quiet of Windsor, and was poised to remove from his wife's household the long-serving Baroness Lehzen whom he loathed and regarded as an evil, and countervailing, influence with his wife.

This transformation stemmed in part from Albert's determination to reshape his wife's character and to be the master in their relationship, and in part from Victoria embracing wholeheartedly the prevalent view of the correct relationship between the sexes, and especially between husband and wife: women were by nature inferior and dependent, and it was their duty to submit to and adore their husbands. Indeed, Victoria frequently expressed her regret at the unnatural order within her own household, in which the accident of her birth and position denied Albert his rightful place at the head of all her affairs.

Not that a submissive role came entirely easily. She was used to having her own way, and her fiery temper fitted uneasily with Albert's chilly rationality. There were frequent scenes: Albert preferred to deal with an argument by leaving the room, and the corridors could echo to the sound of his wife's fury. Victoria soon became accustomed to finding herself in the wrong, and blamed herself bitterly for disputing with her husband.

For his part, Albert keenly felt the anomalies of his position, and determined from the outset that although he could not officially assume the male role at the head of his family's public affairs, he would be master in his own house. Albert's dominance over Victoria became total; after his death she observed desolately that she had 'leant on him for all and everything—without whom I did nothing, moved not a finger, arranged not a print or photograph, didn't put on a gown or bonnet if he didn't approve it' Dearest Mama , This was the ideal of womanhood with a vengeance, and it was achieved by Albert breaking his wife's will.

If she challenged him, he responded by threatening to withdraw his affection or even on occasion to withdraw entirely from the relationship; Victoria would respond with abject submission. Albert's patriarchy was thus achieved by treating his wife as a wilful child in the evangelical tradition of child-rearing, the child's will had to be broken in order for it to be remade as a Christian : the 'Beloved Victoria ' of his letters before their marriage soon became 'Dear Child' or 'Dear Good, Little One'.

The fatherless Victoria all her life needed a strong, masculine figure to lean on. Albert was only too happy to oblige. But no doubts can be entertained about the depth of Victoria's passion for her husband. Albert made up for her childhood; he became her moral guide and teacher as well as her lover, companion, friend. She idolized him, worshipped him, and sang his praises to all who would listen.

He was 'my beloved Albert ', an 'Angel' constantly , a 'perfect being' Letters , 1st ser. The strong-willed, stubborn, curious, sociable Victoria , whose character had been forged by the Kensington system, was transformed within years of her marriage not without some difficulty and rebellion on her part into a personally and intellectually submissive, almost reclusive wife by Albert's patriarchal insecurity. She loved him; she was diminished by him. If the transformation of Albert's position owed much to his wife's temperament, it owed as much to her fertility.

Within weeks of their marriage Victoria was dismayed to find herself pregnant. Although the queen was blessed with an iron constitution and her pregnancies were generally physically easy, custom—and memories of the death of her cousin Princess Charlotte in childbirth—required that she be treated as an invalid for their duration. She also suffered severely from what was later termed postnatal depression after the births of several of her children. It was during the weeks before the birth of their first child that Albert established himself de facto as the queen's private secretary she had no officially appointed private secretary until , and as a powerful, even dominant, voice in court politics.

Victoria Adelaide was born on 21 November ; 'Never mind, the next will be a Prince', Victoria told her disappointed attendants Weintraub , The queen suffered no miscarriage or stillbirth, and all her children survived to adulthood, a situation unusual even among the Victorian upper classes.

Victoria herself had been breastfed by her mother; her own children were promptly put out to wet-nurses. Victoria , who dreaded childbirth, recognized the political as much as the personal inconvenience of numerous offspring. The critics were in a minority. From the birth of the princess royal in the royal couple—now a royal family—were held up as an example of domestic felicity. The irony, however, was that although the Victorians placed a high premium on the role of the wife and mother in creating ideal family life, in the royal family this was Albert's province.

They consciously took the decision that, in their home life at least, Albert would have the authority and rights of a traditional paterfamilias. Hence it was he, not Victoria , who after some early arguments was the dominant voice in determining how the children were educated and brought up, who oversaw the modernization of the royal household managing servants was usually a female job , and who romped in the nursery with his children.

Victoria was by no means an archetypal Madonna-esque mamma, her world revolving around her children: she disliked small babies—'froglike', she thought—and children were a worry. Besides, they distracted her attention from Albert and, more importantly, they distracted Albert's attention from her. Being a wife ranked high above motherhood in Victoria's priorities, and she was jealous of anyone or anything that took his attention from her.

She was lucky in Albert's utter uxoriousness: his care to avoid even the semblance of interest in other women pleased Victoria , while alienating him further from British aristocratic society and the royal household. The apocryphal story of the lady in the audience at a performance of Antony and Cleopatra turning to her companion and saying 'How unlike, how very unlike the home life of our own dear Queen' represents something fundamental about the impact of royal domesticity.


George IV and William IV in their private lives had been bywords for lechery and irregular marital affairs; Victoria and Albert were their diametric opposites. And as the sons of George III symbolized the excesses of aristocratic behaviour, so his granddaughter came to symbolize middle-class virtue, with her family life—notably painted by Landseer —at its heart.

But although the queen shared some of the tastes and values of her most respectable subjects Lord Salisbury later declared that if he knew what the queen thought about an issue, he knew what the middle classes would think , and although in later life her deliberate shunning of the more ostentatious trappings of royalty made it easy to think of her as a bourgeois widow at the head of the family firm, she was in fact sui generis , one of a kind.

As Arthur Ponsonby put it, 'She bore no resemblance to an aristocratic English lady, she bore no resemblance to a wealthy middle-class Englishwoman, nor to any typical princess of a German court.

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Creating a suitable setting for this idyllic family life took up much royal energy in the s and s. Victoria had inherited three royal residences with the crown: Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Brighton Pavilion. All had disadvantages: Albert disliked London life, which made him ill; at Windsor there were no private grounds the public had admission to all the gardens and park, and the family were on constant display ; and the Brighton Pavilion was hedged in by suburban development.

Added to which, all three were, as crown property, under the control of the Office of Woods and Forests , which inhibited changes to the buildings that would make them suit their needs and taste. The need for a home of their own became pressing. The major role in imagining, designing, and executing the building of the royal houses most closely associated with Victoria —Balmoral Castle on Deeside in Aberdeenshire, and Osborne House, near Cowes on the Isle of Wight—was Albert's , with Victoria an uncritical admirer of his achievements.

Albert's taste in matters architectural inevitably dominated: he, after all, had travelled, had been in Italy as well as his native Germany, while Victoria's experience, even of her own country, was limited to the tours Sir John Conroy had planned, and the childhood trips to the south coast for her health.

In September the royal couple made their first visit to Scotland, keeping great state in Edinburgh but not on the scale of George IV's famous Scottish jaunt of , and then visiting in slightly less state some grandees of the lowlands and southern highlands. It was, ' Albert says very German-looking' Leaves from the Journal , There could be no higher praise, and Victoria's love affair with Scotland, which long survived her husband, began. A summer cruise around the south coast and across to France and Belgium in reminded Victoria of her pleasant seaside holidays as a child, and she and Albert began to look for a seaside retreat.

The Osborne estate near Cowes on the Isle of Wight was for sale, and after a preliminary visit in October they completed the purchase in November Even before this, Albert began an ambitious programme of building, and he and Victoria visited Osborne seven times in to familiarize themselves with their new home and to oversee progress on the building site. An Italianate palace replaced the original eighteenth-century Osborne House with remarkable speed: the old house was demolished in May , and Victoria and Albert moved in during September , although the building was not complete until Victoria was delighted with it: it offered distance from the annoyances of London and politics, privacy, serenity, space for family life.

More importantly, it was a 'place of one's own ' Letters , 1st ser. And it was all Albert's work: 'I get fonder and fonder of it, one is so quiet here, and everything is of interest, it being so completely my beloved one's creation—his delight and pride', she wrote Duchess of York , Victoria and Albert: Life at Osborne House , , Albert relaxed at Osborne, and occupied himself with estate improvement, building, and playing with the children while Victoria sketched and painted in watercolours and admired everything he did.

Courtiers and ministers were less enamoured of the domestic idyll on the island: there was no room in Osborne for a large entourage, and staff and courtiers were out-housed around the estate, while ministers found the distance from London inconvenient for the execution of public business. But the royal couple found that even a few miles of sea were insufficient protection from the intrusions of the curious and the demands of their position: Scotland called them.

Victoria and Albert returned to Scotland in to stay with the duke and duchess of Atholl at Blair Castle, Perthshire, and again in , this time as part of a yachting tour. Their pleasure was dimmed by wet weather, and on learning that the east coast, and Deeside in particular, had a better climate, Victoria and Albert decided to look there for a Scottish home. They purchased Balmoral, sight unseen, in August and rebuilt it between and Balmoral provided privacy in abundance and, for Victoria , a kind of freedom unavailable elsewhere: 'The Queen is running in and out of the house all day long, and often goes about alone, walks into the cottages and sits down and chats with the old women', Charles Greville reported Charlot , Victoria delighted in the frank conversation of the highlanders.

Influenced by her love of Walter Scott's novels, she saw highlanders as noble peasants, with none of the cringing servility, corrupted manners, and predatory impertinence of southerners. They seemed to stand outside the usual British class structure: she thought them a colourful feudal remnant rather than an agricultural proletariat, enjoyed their theatricality, and granted them a licence not permitted to any others of her subjects. Victoria and Albert embraced Scottishness wholeheartedly.

Balmoral was bedecked in tartan, the children were dressed in kilts, and the whole family took to highland pursuits. They made expeditions some in transparent incognito to local beauty spots, climbed and rode in the mountains, attended the local highland games, and rowed on the loch.

Albert studied Gaelic, hunted, shot, and fished; Victoria followed, often taking her sketchbooks with her. When even Balmoral seemed too crowded, too urban, Victoria and Albert retreated to the remodelled shiels stone huts , formerly used by the gillies, at Alt-na Giuthasach, some 5 miles from the castle, for greater solitude and simplicity. The annual autumn train journey to Balmoral Victoria first travelled by train in was eagerly awaited by the royal family; the royal household were less enthralled at the prospect of weeks of isolation in the chilly north, while the ministers required to be in attendance, far from Westminster, seldom comfortable, and often unwelcome, tended to greet news of their duty with dismay.

The fall of the Melbourne government in was a personal and political blow to the queen. Under Melbourne she had developed from an isolated, quietly rebellious child into an eager, imperious young woman. She had thoroughly established her independence from her mother and her mother's agents: by she was beginning to forgive the duchess of Kent for her childhood, and to establish a more amicable relationship with her.

Albert's arrival at her side in ensured that the lessons of her early errors did not go unheeded: that gossip leads to slander, and too much fraternizing with courtiers endangered the dignity of the queen; and that while the ministry served at the queen's pleasure, the queen was to find her pleasure in accordance with the will of the electorate.

Even before the return of a tory majority in the House of Commons in September , Melbourne began preparing the ground for his inevitable departure, offering sound advice to Victoria on her constitutional duty towards her ministers, of whatever political complexion. It was arranged that three ladies would offer their resignations without being asked and would be replaced with less overtly political women, thereby saving face all round. But, despite the months of careful preparation, Victoria was desolated by Melbourne's departure, and Melbourne similarly distressed agreed to continue their correspondence.

Although Melbourne's letters urged the queen to have confidence in Peel and to comply with the ministry, the correspondence was strictly unconstitutional, as it meant that the monarch was secretly receiving information and advice from the opponents of her ministers. Had it become widely known, the exchange would have amounted to a public declaration of her lack of confidence in her government.

Despite intervention from Baron Stockmar the correspondence continued unabated through , and diminished only when Melbourne's health collapsed and the queen thoroughly let go of the past. The constitution, according to Stockmar , gave ' the Sovereign in his functions a deliberative part ' Letters , 1st ser. Her prerogatives were to be observed rigorously, and in return she would support her ministers publicly and endorse their decisions. Stockmar doubted whether the queen possessed the means to carry out this deliberative role, an assessment which belittled both Victoria's intellect and her character.

Certainly the queen needed political advisers, yet the constitution hindered her from obtaining them, as theoretically the monarch should be advised only by her ministers, and particularly by her prime minister. From her ministers she would hear only one side of an argument, restricting her capacity to deliberate on the issues. If she could not receive advice from the opposition, where was she to turn? A king might expect his court to provide an additional source of political information, from among the lords-in-waiting with seats in parliament , and the great officers of his household, or from friends of his youth.

And she had no friends from her childhood. Educated in isolation, and a girl to boot, she had no network of acquaintances in the political world and restricted contacts even with aristocratic society: when she came to make appointments to her household, she was forced to rely on hearsay accounts of the agreeable qualities of different ladies or, as time passed, to select her attendants from among the families of people already in her service. So the queen had a small pool of resources on which to draw: King Leopold and Stockmar , Albert and his secretary Anson , and ultimately her own judgement.

Her judgement generally found that reliance on Albert in all political matters would produce the best results. An account of Victoria's political opinions and actions from her marriage until Albert's death, then, is largely an account of Albert's. Slowed down by her frequent pregnancies and constrained by her acceptance of the inferiority of women's capabilities and her own education and intellect, she gave the function of deliberation to Albert.

Fitted by sex, by temperament, and by training, Albert was king in all but name. It was the one thing she could not do for him. The years between and have often been described as a period of 'dual monarchy': Albert took on the executive, deliberative role, while Victoria took the more dignified part to use Bagehot's term and provided legitimacy for Albert's executive. She worked hard at the official papers, discussing them with Albert every morning and corresponding with and interviewing her ministers always with Albert present ; but Albert often drafted the responses, which Victoria copied out to send.

In Albert summed up his interpretation of his position to the duke of Wellington : he was 'the natural head of her family, superintendent of her household, manager of her private affairs, sole confidential adviser in politics, and only assistant in her communications with the officers of the Government, … the private secretary of the sovereign and her permanent minister' Martin , 2. Unlike Melbourne , Albert was not subject to the vagaries of the electorate, and he had no political interests to serve that were not Victoria's. The monarchy, in Albert's and Stockmar's formulation, was to be politically neutral.

Neutrality meant not taking sides in party-political disputes; it meant considering a question from all sides and promoting the national interest, not the short-term interests of political parties bent on gaining and retaining power. It did not mean forgoing a political function for the monarchy. If anything, it elevated the importance of the monarch's political voice: 'Is the sovereign not the natural guardian of the honour of his country, is he not necessarily a politician?

In the early Victorian state Albert was the politician in the royal family. Victoria's conversion to Albert's way of thinking was nowhere clearer than in the transformation of her feelings about Sir Robert Peel , whose assumption of office in she had so dreaded. By his own resignation was a matter of profound regret, for he had become 'our worthy Peel … a man of unbounded loyalty , courage , patriotism, and high-mindedness ' Letters , 1st ser.

Peel was a man after Albert's own heart: hard-working, earnest, reserved, dedicated. Through Albert's eyes Victoria came to see the merits of her prime minister, and, in his resignations over the corn laws in and , recognized a disinterested service to herself and the nation that rose above the interests of party.

Above all, the domestic political agenda for Victoria and Albert was defined by a quest for political stability. Men and measures that upset the equilibrium of the country were to be deplored, and the highest praise they could heap on a minister was that he was 'safe'.

A safe minister placed the needs of his country above the demands of party politics; a safe minister headed a government with a firm, controllable majority in the House of Commons, thus obviating the need for frequent, potentially tumultuous elections; a safe minister was considerate of Victoria's and Albert's feelings and position, and upheld the constitutional privileges of the monarchy. All government business passed across Victoria's and Albert's desks; Albert's conscientiousness ensured that it all received due attention.

Victoria involved herself wholeheartedly less often. The issues which caught her attention and seemed to her to be of paramount importance fell broadly into two categories: matters concerning British security and prestige, and matters concerning royal authority, prestige, and security.

In the substantive domestic debates of the s—over the corn laws, the effects of industrialization, the implications of organized working-class radicalism—she expressed little interest. Neither Lord Ashley's Ten Hours Act which reduced working hours for women and children in factories nor the agitations of the Chartists could expect sympathy from the queen. It was not that Victoria lacked compassion. But like most of the upper classes, she regarded charity as an individual, religious duty, not a matter for government or collective action, which could damage trade and industry.

She used her position to encourage others to be charitable, and became patron of some institutions. But her sympathy with the sufferings of the Irish peasantry waned rapidly when they turned to political action to improve their lot, threatening the security of her realm. The agitation in Ireland and the murders of landlords in —8, coinciding with the year of revolutions on the continent, filled Victoria with foreboding for the safety of her throne; the Chartists' Kennington Common meeting of 10 April , though ultimately a damp squib, sent the royal family scurrying from London to the safety of the Isle of Wight.

Foreign affairs were Albert's greatest preoccupation, and he drew Victoria along with him. His vision was for Europe to be led by a united, liberal Germany in alliance with Britain—constitutional monarchy triumphing over the despotic monarchies of Russia, Austria, and Prussia for the general good and in the interests of international peace. Ironically, it was with Britain's hereditary enemy, France, that Victoria and Albert developed their first ties in the s.

Perhaps in consequence, Victoria was in visited by no fewer than three reigning sovereigns: the king of Saxony , Tsar Nicholas I of Russia , and Louis Philippe paying a reciprocal visit, the first such since The crown prince of Prussia also visited Windsor in , and in Victoria made her first journey to Germany, to see Albert's homeland of Coburg and also to visit the Prussian court in Berlin. In consequence, Victoria came increasingly to feel herself part of an international brotherhood of monarchy.

She and Albert felt that their personal ties with the ruling houses of Europe gave them a special knowledge and authority in foreign affairs, an opinion which brought them into regular conflict with Lord Palmerston , who in returned to the Foreign Office. Palmerston took a thoroughgoing whig view of the relationship between crown and parliament , and had no time for the royal couple's inflated idea of their own role. For their part, Victoria and Albert found Palmerston's policies often rash and inflammatory, and they found his unpopularity in the courts and embassies of Europe personally embarrassing.

His support for liberal, constitutional causes abroad and his hostility to French interests seemed to Victoria and Albert the very opposite of desirable—not least because they undermined the position of monarchs abroad—and his habits in the matter of the dispatches, which he often sent to the royal couple only after they had been sent abroad, were at best discourteous and at worst unconstitutional. While the queen repeatedly called on her prime minister, Lord John Russell , to dismiss Palmerston , and even threatened to do so herself, Palmerston , secure in popular approval and parliamentary ascendancy, carried on blithely, though he bowed to proprieties and pulled back from the brink of open confrontation with the queen.

Great were the rejoicings at court in December when Palmerston brought about his own downfall by expressing support for the new emperor of France , Napoleon III , contrary to the government's stated policy of neutrality. Palmerston's fall crowned for Victoria a triumphant year which had been dominated by the realization of Albert's plans for the Great Exhibition. Her total faith in her husband's vision for the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park was triumphantly vindicated.

The opening was, Victoria thought, 'the greatest day in our history, the most beautiful and imposing and touching spectacle ever seen' Letters , 1st ser. Albert still had no official status in Britain, a situation the queen considered intolerable and which she regularly pressed her ministers to remedy, to no avail.

Two events overseas engaged Victoria in a way that no peacetime incident had: the war in the Crimea, and the mutiny in India in As the first troops departed for the Crimea in , she became fervently martial in spirit. Regarding herself as head of the army, and the soldiers peculiarly her own, she watched countless soldiers depart, and when the navy set sail for the Baltic, she was aboard the royal yacht Fairy at Spithead: 'Navy and Nation were particularly pleased at my leading them out ', she reported to King Leopold Letters , 1st ser.

Victoria was not called on to be another Elizabeth , but she became engrossed in the distant war, seizing on dispatches and news, writing constant encouragement to her generals and to the widows of fallen officers, instigating the casting of the Crimean campaign medal, and bestowing it personally on hundreds of returning soldiers; the first such ceremony was on 18 May She helped to design the Victoria Cross, suggesting its famous motto, 'For Valour', and instituting it by royal warrant.

More warlike, if that were possible, than her prime minister, Palmerston , she reluctantly acquiesced in the peace concluded in March , recognizing that 'no glory could have been hoped for us' ibid. She followed with interest and approval the activities of Florence Nightingale at Scutari, and presented her with a brooch on her return as a mark of approbation for her work among the soldiers 'whose sufferings you have had the privilege of alleviating in so merciful a manner' ibid.

The queen herself visited countless wounded and sick soldiers on their return to Britain, and urged on the government the need to provide adequate hospital facilities. On 19 May she laid the foundation stone for the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, Hampshire, and for the rest of her life she took a keen interest in it, visiting it regularly.

Victoria paid a reciprocal visit in August to her ally in Paris, where she was ' delighted , enchanted , amused and interested , and think I never saw anything more beautiful and gay than Paris' Letters , 1st ser. The visit sealed the alliance, and had longer-term importance as the origin of the prince of Wales's love of France which in a new century brought the entente cordiale. The country had scarcely recovered from the Crimean War when news began filtering back to Britain of a mutiny by sepoys serving in the East India Company's army. Victoria was shocked by the accounts of the massacres: 'Altogether, the whole is so much more distressing than the Crimea—where there was glory and honourable warfare, and where the poor women and children were safe', she observed Letters , 1st ser.

She received regular reports from the governor-general, Lord Canning , and from his wife, Charlotte , who had been one of her own ladies-in-waiting. The rebellion suppressed, the queen put herself firmly behind Canning's policy of relative clemency towards Indians not directly involved in the insurrection. Palmerston's government fell in February , and it was Lord Derby's second short-lived ministry which brought India under direct British rule.

Victoria required that the proclamation made in India to inform the people of the change should 'breathe feelings of generosity, benevolence, and religious feeling', and was especially insistent on the inclusion of a message of religious toleration ibid. The fluid state of party allegiances in the s meant that changes in administration were relatively frequent and threatened changes more so. The royal prerogative of appointing ministers had not yet fallen into abeyance, and Albert in particular was active in negotiating the formation of cabinets.

Palmerston's return to cabinet office under Lord Aberdeen in December effectively set the limits on royal power. He could not be kept out of the cabinet , but he accepted the Home Office rather than the Foreign Office. This became a standard approach for Victoria : rather than objecting to an individual tout court , she would suggest he was inappropriate for a particular office. When Aberdeen's coalition government was brought down in January , Albert unsuccessfully attempted to broker new coalitions with Derby or Russell at the head, but the royal couple were forced to concede defeat and ask Palmerston to form a government.

In the context of the Crimean War, Victoria became more sympathetic to Palmerston's aims and methods: his belligerent stance enhanced British and Victoria's prestige. With Clarendon as foreign secretary in the new ministry she had the additional reassurance that foreign affairs were in the hands of 'an able, sensible, impartial man' Charlot , Although Victoria and Albert softened their view of Palmerston during his period as prime minister, they attempted to prevent his return after the fall of Lord Derby's minority Conservative administration following the general election in June By then the European situation was critical, as Austrian rule in northern Italy came under challenge, and the court, fearing that Palmerston would be anti-Austrian, invited Granville to form a ministry.

On Granville's failure to do so, Palmerston was unavoidable, as was Russell , his foreign secretary. Victoria and Albert subsequently expended much energy in mediating between Russell and Palmerston , and in insisting that Britain should not be drawn into war over Italian affairs. While politics, government, and foreign affairs dominated Victoria's and Albert's official, but largely unobserved, life, the affairs of their family dominated public perceptions of the royal couple.

The public image of a domestic family enjoying bourgeois pursuits albeit on a regal scale belied the reality of the long periods of separation of the parents from their children, whose regular companions were tutors and governesses, as in most upper-class families. Victoria was not a cold, distant mother: like many mothers, she had mixed feelings towards her children. Once past babyhood, if they were attractive, moderately intelligent, and above all, well behaved, she responded well to them.

She loved the idea of family life which she had not herself experienced as a child , and was proud of her collective brood; individually, she could find them trying. In Vicky , the princess royal, their eldest and most intellectually promising child, Victoria and particularly Albert felt a special interest, and the education of their eldest son, Albert Edward, the prince of Wales , was planned in minute detail. An inappropriate educational programme, unfavourable comparisons with his elder sister, and constant hectoring from both his parents drove the prince in precisely the direction his parents had sought to avoid.

Victoria wanted Bertie , as he was known, to be the image of his upright, dutiful, morally austere, intellectual father, to become a model king, liberal, just, pure. Bertie , as soon as the opportunity presented itself, kicked over the traces and threw himself into a life of pleasure. Affie Alfred , as the second son and heir presumptive to the dukedom of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha , also caused his parents concern, showing too much inclination to follow Bertie's example: wanting to be a sailor, he joined the navy at thirteen, and spent most of his formative years away from home.

Alice , the third child, shared in some measure the interest bestowed on the elder children, but the children who followed later Helena , Louise , Arthur , and Leopold were unlikely to succeed to the throne, and were all too aware of their secondary importance, a position which, ironically, left their parents more freely affectionate towards them.