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The purpose of this study was to attempt to understand some of the factors which contributed to British public opinion of the Greek war of Independence, 1821-1829. England was not directly involved in this war, but it nevertheless evoked an intense interest among the British people, particularly during the first five years. Selected newspapers and other periodicals were canvassed for the entire period of the war as a manner of checking the frequency of publication of opinion of the war. Other newspapers and periodicals were sampled for only a few years to determine the type of opinion expressed. In addition, reference was made to contemporary diaries, pamphlets, letter, and speeches for the purpose of discovering which political leaders held the various points of view. The study was divided into several periods: the early years of the war. When opinion was crystallizing; the period of rising enthusiasm, when groups formed to collect money to help the Greeks win their independence and volunteers went to Greece to help them fight; the period of rising doubts, when the Greek loans were discovered to have been badly handled by the London Greek Committee and when people began to doubt that the Greeks would ever be able to unite behind an able leader and win their was without interventions; and the Russian intervention, when the issue of Greek independence was settled by a war between Russia and Turkey. It was discovered that British opinion on the Greek War of Independence was influenced rather strongly during the entire duration of the war by the attitudes held toward Russia. Even the most ardent of philhellenes feared that independence from the Ottoman Empire might mean that the Greeks would quickly fall under the control of Russia. Many people feared that Russia would use the Greek Revolt as an opportunity to obtain a port on the Mediterranean Sea and challenge British naval supremacy. Factors which encouraged sympathy for the Greeks were respect for the ancient Greek heritage. A desire to liberate a Christian people from Moslem overlords, and a desire to keep the Greeks from being sold into slavery. Others, however, believed that the Greek War of Independence was an internal affair of another country in which the British ought not to interfere unless national interest became directly involved. Most of the sympathy for the Greeks was a manifestation of romantic liberal sentiment which was, in the beginning, a substitute for the less acceptable liberal sentiment which might have been directed toward British institutions. Near the end of this war, however, as progress began to be made toward the reform of Parliamentary representation, many of the people who had supported the Greeks began to turn their attention to this problem, and sympathy for Greek Independence declined in intensity.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Gunther Eric Rothenberg

Second Committee Member

Henry Jack Tobias

Third Committee Member

Barrett Lynn Beer



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