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Castlereagh, Robert Stewart, Viscount


Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


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(1769–1822), British statesman and Foreign Secretary. Born in Dublin, Castlereagh was elected to the Irish House of Commons in 1790 and the Westminster parliament in 1794. Like his political opponent, canning , he abandoned his connection with the Whigs in response to the violence of the french revolution of 1789 and became a supporter of Pitt the Younger. As Secretary for ireland he handled the rebellion of 1798 and secured the passage of the Act of Union through the Irish parliament in 1800. Like Pitt and Canning, he resigned in 1801 over George III's refusal to countenance Catholic emancipation (see catholicism ), but returned to office as secretary of state for war in 1802. He proved a vigorous and capable minister, but Canning's criticisms led the pair to fight a duel in 1809 which relegated them both to the back benches. Castlereagh's greatest achievements came as foreign secretary (1812–22), a post he occupied alongside that of Leader of the House. He successfully held together the coalition which defeated napoleon i (see also Treaties of chaumont ), and at the vienna congress was a key architect of the congress system designed to maintain peace in Europe. However, unlike metternich and other participants in the project of quadruple alliance , he was against military intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states for the purpose of suppressing liberalism ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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