The Historical Roots of British Imperial Thought
This collection of essays provides a unique statement of the latest thinking from internationally acclaimed political theorists and intellectual historians on the ways in which the intellectual history and political thought of modern Britain have been saturated with imperial concerns.
Recently there has been an explosion of academic and popular interest in the history of how Britons have thought about their Empire. This volume focuses on the ways in which the intellectual history and political thought of modern Britain have been saturated with imperial concerns. Chapters address thematic questions about size and scale, race, colonial emigration, and the ideological uses of the classical tradition, questions that are crucial for understanding the historical roots of British imperial thought. There are also studies of figures central to understanding the character of intellectual debates about the British Empire from the 18th to the 20th centuries: Edmund Burke, James Steuart, Adam Smith, and Harold Laski. This volume also shows how an awareness of these histories of the imperial past can provide numerous lessons for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of much contemporary political thinking about empire and imperialism.; In fact, whilst there are many studies of the British Empire, as well as innumerable volumes on the imperial cast of much modern history, the thematic and chronological coherence of this volume makes it a unique statement of the latest thinking about these questions from internationally acclaimed political theorists and intellectual historians.
Introduction; PART ONE: GENEALOGIES OF EMPIRE; Lineages of Informal Imperialism; The Social Question and the Problem of History after Empire; PART TWO: HISTORICAL DEBATES; 'Neither Masters nor Slaves': Small States and Empires in the Long Eighteenth Century; Virgil and the British Empire, 1760-1880; Edmund Burke and Empire; British India as a Problem in Political Economy: Comparing James Steuart and Adam Smith; Colonial Emigration, Public Policy and Tory Romanticism, 1783-1830; From Natural Science to Social Science: Race and the Language of Race-Relations in Late Victorian and Edwardian Discourse; Harold Laski on the Habits of Imperialism; Conclusion