|Abstract||This dissertation includes six total chapters, one devoted to annotations for the poems in Poems Before Congress by Elizabeth Barrett Browning first published by Chapman and Hall in London, 1860. The volume has not been reprinted since that time except in a few collected works but never with substantial annotation or critical attention. Chapter 1 includes a brief introduction to the volume, information on Elizabeth Barrett Browning;s (EBB) life in Italy, and a chronology of her years in Italy. Chapters 2-4 explore various aspects of her work as a political poet. Chapter 2 examines how she claims her place among poets of the Risorgimento, suggesting the risks she took for publication and her determination to speak on political issues. Chapter 3 explores the influence of Carlylean heroics on her response to Napoleon III, and in contrast, the responses of Alfred Tennyson, Coventry Patmore, Frederick Tennyson, and Robert Bulwer Lytton in an effort to contextualize the role she assumed as Hero-Poet. Chapter 4 compares the women EBB created for Poems Before Congress (PBC) in light of Germaine de Stael's famous character Corinne from Corinne, or Italy, a novel whose influence has been traced to EBB's verse-novel, Aurora Leigh. Chapter 5 includes a brief introduction to the poems, information on the order of poems based in manuscripts, head notes for each poem and substantial annotations. Chapter 6 follows the trajectory of reception from contemporary through modern critical and scholarly response and suggests a second edition of the volume with possible contents.