Skip to main content
A "Lasting Solution": the Eastern Question and British Imperialism, 1875-1878.
Schumacher, Leslie Rogne (2012)

A "Lasting Solution": the Eastern Question and British Imperialism, 1875-1878.

Issue Date

Thesis or Dissertation

From the late eighteenth century until the 1920s, one of the preeminent international issues in Europe was the so-called "Eastern Question," a term that refers to the events and dynamics related to the decline of the Ottoman Empire's political and economic power. European states were concerned about the Eastern Question because the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire held the potential to destabilize existing international relationships, which European leaders feared would lead to economic calamity, political strife, and war. There thus emerged a discussion about the ways Europe might manage Ottoman decline, whether in terms of reversing such decline or gaining from it territorially and politically. The relevance of the Eastern Question to European politics coincided with the rise of what scholars call the "new imperialism," a period of rapid territorial expansion that lasted from the second half of the nineteenth century until the First World War. In Britain the greatest wave of "new imperial" expansion began in the early 1880s, usually dated to Britain's occupation of Egypt in 1882. Yet few studies have explored how discourse about the Eastern Question may have influenced Britain's version of the "new imperialism." This dissertation explores the intersection between British politics, public discourse, and diplomacy during the Eastern Crisis of 1875-1878, a critical moment in modern European history. I argue that Britain's later imperial projects would not have taken the particular shape, or even had the scope, they did without Britain having experienced the Eastern Crisis as a domestic political and cultural event. Long considered a problem confined to traditional diplomatic history, I show how during the Eastern Crisis issues related to the Eastern Question (and "the East" at large) entered into and affected British politics and society, leading Britons to promote imperialism as providing a "lasting solution" to Eastern and, more generally, global disorder. I focus on the 1876 Bulgarian Atrocities, the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War, the 1878 Cyprus Convention, and the 1878 Congress of Berlin--all events that were widely discussed in both the public and governmental arenas of Victorian society.

Appears in Collection(s)
Dissertations [4539]

University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. Major: History. Advisor: Anna Clark, Ph.D. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 323 pages.

Suggested Citation
Schumacher, Leslie Rogne. (2012). A "Lasting Solution": the Eastern Question and British Imperialism, 1875-1878.. Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,

Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.