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Look Inside The Quest for Security

The Quest for Security
Sovereignty, Race, and the Defense of the British Empire, 1898–1931


  • Publication planned for: October 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108498746

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • The British Empire entered the twentieth century in a state of crisis, with many in the legal establishment fearing that the British constitution could no longer cope with the complexity of imperial institutions. At the same time, the military establishment feared the empire was becoming impossible to defend from multiplying threats. In this innovative study, Jesse Tumblin shows how Britain and its largest colonies, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa, were swept up in a collective effort to secure the Empire in the early twentieth century. The hierarchy of colonial politics created powerful incentives for colonies to militarize before World War I, reshaping their constitutional and racial relationships toward a dream beyond colonial status. The colonial backstory of a century of war and violence shows how these dreams made 'security' the dominating feature of contemporary politics.

    • Argues for a colonial origin of contemporary security politics
    • Places older literature on politics and constitutional theory in dialog with new literature on race and power in colonialism
    • Recharacterizes the place of World War I in modern history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is the best work of its kind since Max Beloff's Imperial Sunset a full fifty years ago. But it goes further than that earlier study by grappling with the racial and nationalist dimensions of the many endeavours to establish a lasting British imperial federation throughout the storm-tossed twentieth century.' Paul Kennedy, Yale University, Connecticut

    'A brilliant work of original scholarship. Tumblin's theoretical approach and archival globetrotting provides a much-needed new perspective on the constitutional evolution of the British Empire. An important read for any student of colonialism and the First World War.' John C. Mitcham, Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit, Pennsylvania

    'A highly revealing exploration of the nexus between imperial security concerns and international sovereignty that ultimately led to the Statute of Westminster. The Quest for Security is especially valuable for its inclusion of Ireland and India alongside the white settler dominions. Strongly recommended.' John Beeler, University of Alabama

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: October 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108498746
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 3 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. Colonial federationism, security, and the South African War
    2. Lessons of South Africa: security and political culture in the British world, 1902–1906
    3. Security, race, and dominion status, 1907–1909
    4. The collapse of consensus and control, 1910–1914
    5. Race, conscription, and the meaning of sovereignty in war
    6. The sharp sickle: new realities of sovereignty in the British Empire, 1918–1926
    Epilogue – the Statute of Westminster: a once and future sovereignty

  • Author

    Jesse Tumblin, Boston College, Massachusetts
    Jesse Tumblin is Visiting Assistant Professor and Core Renewal Fellow at Boston College, Massachusetts. He is a past winner of the Saki Ruth Dockrill Prize for International History from the Institute for Historical Research, London.

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