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“Never really subdued nor reconciled to our rule”: The 1842 Retreat from Kabul

The massacre of Major General Sir William Elphinstone’s army and its auxiliaries in early 1842 while attempting to retreat from Kabul, Afghanistan, was a shock to British statesmen and the public. The expeditionary force, many of whom were sent there in 1839 to assert British control, was made up of roughly 700 British soldiers, 3,800 Indian troops, and 14,000 civilians and workers attached to lend it support. Lord Auckland, the Governor General of India, was so shocked upon learning of the disaster that he had a stroke.

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When America Avoided Entanglements: The Greek Struggle for Independence, 1821-1829

The Greek War of Independence (1821-1829) against the Ottoman Empire drew so much popular support in Europe that eventually Great Britain, France, and Russia were compelled to lend it military support. On the opposite side of the Atlantic, U.S. statesmen immediately petitioned the government to recognize the First Hellenic Republic despite a foundational tenet to avoid foreign “entanglements” by intervening in European affairs.

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The Last King of the New World

In 1810 during the Napoleonic occupation of Spain an independence movement broke out in Mexico. At the time, there were enough Spaniards there loyal to the crown to crush the rebellion. Rather than acquiesce, the rebels kept the revolutionary fire alive – an effort supported by U.S. leaders like Henry Clay who represented the American consensus that European monarchy had no place in the New World.

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