Empire as the Triumph of Theory: Imperialism, Information, and the Colonial Society of 1868

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Psychology Press, 2005 - History - 216 pages
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Who were the first people to invent a world-historical mission for the British Empire? And what were the constituencies behind the development of the imperialistic thinking in mid-Victorian England? These questions are vital for understanding where the New Imperialism of the late nineteenth century came from. Empire as the Triumph of Theory takes as its sample the more than two hundred earliest members of the first major pro-imperial pressure group: the Colonial Society (founded in 1868, it is now the Royal Commonwealth Society).
The book goes on to a careful and well-written tour of the different parts of the Victorian world, putting the founders of the Colonial society into their social contexts. Empire as the Triumph of Theory concludes that imperialism was developed less by investors and office holders than by people who, whatever their other activities, had written books or articles about the cultures of the world. Victorian activities around the globe were multitudinous and varied, and general ideas about England's imperial mission were, in fact, constructed by members of the Colonial Society, in order to make sense out of information flowing in from this teeming world.
This is the first work to explore the social and intellectual origins of the Colonial Society. It brings the mid-Victorians to life, and should become a standard work for specialists on imperialism.
 

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Contents

The founding of the Colonial Society
14
The usual suspects
29
Businessmen
51
Travels and ideas
70
the empire of democracy
85
Adderley discovers the pattern of the world
108
Conclusion
132
Notes
146
Bibliography
196
Index
211
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About the author (2005)

Edward Beasley is lecturer in history at San Diego State University, where he also teaches in the Liberal Studies Program.

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