Political decisions are never taken in a vacuum but are shaped both by current events and historical context. In other words, long-term developments and patterns in which the accumulated memory of what came earlier, can greatly (and sometimes subconsciously) influence subsequent policy choices. Working forward from the later seventeenth century, this book explores the ’deep history’ of the changing and competing understandings within the Tory party of the role Britain has aspired to play on a world stage. Conservatism has long been one of the major British political tendencies, committed to the defence of established institutions, with a strong sense of the ’national interest’, and embracing both ’liberal’ and ’authoritarian’ views of empire. The Tory party has, moreover, at several times been deeply divided, if not convulsed, by different perspectives on Britain’s international orientation and different positions on foreign and imperial policy. Underlying Tory beliefs upon which views of Britain’s global role were built were often not stated but assumed. As a result they tend to be obscured from historical view. This book seeks to recover and reconsider those beliefs, and to understand how the Tory party has sought to navigate its way through the difficult pathways of foreign and imperial politics, and why this determination outlasted Britain’s rapid decolonisation and was apparently remarkably little affected by it. With a supporting cast from Pitt to Disraeli, Churchill to Thatcher, the book provides a fascinating insight into the influence of history over politics. Moreover it argues that there has been an inherent politicisation of the concept of national interests, such that strategic culture and foreign policy cannot be understood other than in terms of a historically distorted political debate.

chapter 1|20 pages


ByJeremy Black

chapter 2|12 pages

Toryism and the World in the Later Stuart Era, 1679–1714

ByTony Claydon

chapter 3|36 pages

Foreign Policy and the Tory World in the Eighteenth Century

ByJeremy Black

chapter 4|14 pages

The Tories and France, 1714–60

Faith and Foreign Policy
ByNigel Aston

chapter 5|20 pages

Edmund Burke in the Tory World

ByIain Hampsher-Monk

chapter 6|18 pages

Lord Liverpool

Alliances, Intervention and the National Interest
ByWilliam Anthony Hay

chapter 7|28 pages

The Tory World View

Sea Power, Strategy and Party Politics, 1815–1914
ByAndrew Lambert

chapter 8|18 pages

From Country Party to Conservative Party

The Ultra-Tories and Foreign Policy
ByRichard A. Gaunt

chapter 9|18 pages

‘A Calm, Temperate, Deliberate, and Conciliatory Course of Conduct’

Mid-Victorian Conservative Foreign Policy
ByAngus Hawkins

chapter 10|2 pages

Disraeli and Foreign Policy

ByDouglas Hurd

chapter 11|16 pages


The Genesis of a New Conservative World?
ByAdrian Brettle

chapter 12|26 pages

‘We are part of the community of Europe’

The Tories, Empire and Foreign Policy, 1874–1914
ByT.G. Otte

chapter 13|14 pages

Winston Churchill – Conservative or Liberal Imperialist?

ByRichard Toye

chapter 15|28 pages

Is There a Tory Strategy?

ByBrian Holden Reid

chapter 16|18 pages

Conservatism Obscured, 1935–1939

ByGeoffrey Hicks

chapter 17|20 pages

The Conservatives and Radical Reform

The 1971 Industrial Relations Act and North America *
ByRichard Whiting

chapter 18|40 pages

The European Question, the National Interest and Tory Histories

ByJeremy Black