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Imperial Sceptics
British Critics of Empire, 1850–1920

Part of Ideas in Context

  • Date Published: August 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107407091

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About the Authors
  • Imperial Sceptics provides a highly original analysis of the emergence of opposition to the British Empire from 1850–1920. Departing from existing accounts, which have focused upon the Boer War and the writings of John Hobson, Gregory Claeys proposes a new chronology for the contours of resistance to imperial expansion. Claeys locates the impetus for such opposition in the late 1850s with the British followers of Auguste Comte. Tracing critical strands of anti-imperial thought through to the First World War, Claeys then scrutinises the full spectrum of socialist writings from the early 1880s onwards, revealing a fundamental division over whether a new conception of 'socialist imperialism' could appeal to the electorate and satisfy economic demands. Based upon extensive archival research, and utilising rare printed sources, Imperial Sceptics will prove a major contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century political thought, shedding new light on theories of nationalism, patriotism, the state and religion.

    • A highly original analysis of the emergence of opposition to the British Empire
    • Gregory Claeys is a distinguished historian of nineteenth-century political thought: this book will shed fresh light on theories of nationalism, patriotism, the state and religion
    • Should become the standard text in courses on Victorian imperialism, a popular subject in many major research universities
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'An essential addition to the scanty existing literature on the 'other side' of the Imperial debate in Britain. It is good to see the subject moving on at last.' The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107407091
    • length: 356 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: audi alteram partem: imperialism and the moral imagination
    1. Positivist diplomacy
    2. Socialism and empire: from Little England to Socialist Commonwealth 1850–1920
    3. Contextualising Hobson: civilisation, utility and socialist imperialism
    Conclusion: the fruits of imperial scepticism.

  • Author

    Gregory Claeys, Royal Holloway, University of London

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