Essays in the Public Philosophy

Essays in the Public Philosophy

Essays in the Public Philosophy

Essays in the Public Philosophy

Excerpt

Writing in 1913, just before the outbreak of the war, and having in mind Queen Victoria and King Edward the VII, Sir Harry Johnston thus described how foreign affairs were conducted in the Nineteenth Century:

In those days, a country's relations with its neighbors or with distant lands were dealt with almost exclusively by the head of the State -- Emperor, King, or President -- acting with the more- or-less dependent Minister-of-State, who was no representative of the masses, but the employé of the Monarch. Events were prepared and sprung on a submissive, a confident, or a stupid people. The public Press criticized, more often applauded, but had at most to deal with a fait accompli and make the best of it. Occasionally, in our own land, a statesman, out of office and discontented, went round the great provincial towns agitating against the trend of British foreign policy -- perhaps wisely, perhaps unfairly, we do not yet know -- and scored a slight success. But once in office, his Cabinet fell in by degrees with the views of the Sovereign and the permanent officials (after the fifties of the last century these public servants were a factor of ever-growing importance); and, as before, the foreign policy of the Empire was shaped by a small camarilla consisting of the Sovereign, two Cabinet Ministers, the permanent Under-Secretary of State for . . .

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