Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of History

Committee Chair

John Eglin

Commitee Members

Linda Frey, Louis Hayes


George Canning, Greek Revolution, Independence of Latin America, Spanish Revolution


University of Montana


This paper is an examination of British foreign policy under the guidance of George Canning. As foreign minister from 1822-1827, Canning pursued a conservative and traditionally British policy. Canning was loved by liberals across Europe for achieving several liberal goals. Yet Canning himself was not interested in promoting liberalism, he sought only to further the interests of Britain. Canning worked to disentangle Britain from the Congress System, and pursue goals in the British national interest. The major focus of this work is to examine Canning’s policy during three major crises of his tenure. Each crisis involved revolution and ideology. Yet Canning promoted non-interference in the domestic affairs of other states. Canning tried to co-operate with the other powers over solutions to these problems, but was willing to forego his allies when they threatened policy objectives. By the end of his life, he had altered the balance of power in Europe to Britain’s favor. The first major crisis was over Revolution in Spain. Canning’s allies wanted to put down the revolution and restore the king. The Congress of Verona approved French intervention, over British objections. Canning successfully managed to protect British interests while preventing the war from escalating. Canning also worked to stabilize Portugal, as it faced its own political reform and civil war. The Spanish Empire in the Americas was reaching the end of a long process of gaining independence. Canning moved slowly but surely to recognize these new republics, and worked to prevent other European powers from seizing them. Canning recognized these new states and normalized relations with them. More importantly for Britain, Canning helped to ensure British commercial access to Latin America, helping to ensure a century of British economic control of the region. The final crisis centered on the Greek uprising against their Ottoman rulers. Canning remained neutral for much of the conflict. Yet when Russia seemed on the verge of war, Canning worked to intervene with Russia and France to impose a settlement on the Ottoman Empire. Ultimately, Canning’s treaty led to naval intervention and left the door open for Russia to go to war.



© Copyright 2008 Andrew Montgomery Endorf