Date of Award

Spring 1978

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Darwin Bostick

Committee Member

Patrick Rollins

Committee Member

Norman H. Pollock

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47H455


This thesis is an examination of the British Foreign Office's response to the Central American policies of the Franklin Pierce administration. When the Pierce administration came to power in 1853 the United States government abandoned the idea, contained in the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850, of an Anglo-American partnership in Central America and instead launched a diplomatic offensive designed to force Britain completely out of the area. The major source for this study is the Clarendon Manuscripts which contain the personal correspondence of Foreign Secretary Clarendon and his minister in Washington, John F. Crampton, as well as numerous intergovernmental memoranda and notes., The American correspondence between Secretary of State Marcy and his minister in London, James Buchanan, are also closely examined. The evidence shows that Britain's Central American policy between 1853 and 1856 was not motivated by opposition to the territorial expansion of the United States and that the British were ready in 1853 to reach a compromise solution to the disputes. They were prevented from doing so by the brash diplomatic method employed by the United States which made any settlement, consistent with British honor, practically impossible.


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