Previous accounts of the British Foreign Office have left the impression that the diplomatic service was an insignificant appendage of the Foreign Office. Jones's study redresses the balance, demonstrating that the diplomatic service was an equal if not senior partner with the Foreign Office in the execution of British foreign policy.
After a brief introduction to the history of diplomacy, Jones follows the changes wrought in the service by the intense political and social pressures of the nineteenth century. Against the background of the growth of the Victorian Civil Service and the emergence of Great Britain as a world power in the age of the Pax Britannica, Jones traces the demise of the family embassy, and of a diplomacy deeply rooted in patronage, and the corresponding development of the professional, bureaucratic elite of the Edwardian era.
In case studies of the Near Eastern crisis of 1839-41, the Mason Sliddell Affair of the American Civil War, and the Dogger Bank Crisis of 1904, the volume sets forth the working environment of an embassy, both before and after the communications revolution following upon the introduction of the telegraph. Also examined are the social structures of the unreformed diplomatic service and the later, professional service.
The volume will be of interest to historians of diplomacy and foreign policy, to political scientists, and to students of social change.
Wilfrid Laurier University Press
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