Liberalism and Empire: A Study in Nineteenth-Century British Liberal Thought

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University of Chicago Press, 1999 - History - 237 pages
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We take liberalism to be a set of ideas committed to political rights and self-determination, yet it also served to justify an empire built on political domination. Uday Mehta argues that imperialism, far from contradicting liberal tenets, in fact stemmed from liberal assumptions about reason and historical progress. Confronted with unfamiliar cultures such as India, British liberals could only see them as backward or infantile. In this, liberals manifested a narrow conception of human experience and ways of being in the world.

Ironically, it is in the conservative Edmund Burke—a severe critic of Britain's arrogant, paternalistic colonial expansion—that Mehta finds an alternative and more capacious liberal vision. Shedding light on a fundamental tension in liberal theory, Liberalism and Empire reaches beyond post-colonial studies to revise our conception of the grand liberal tradition and the conception of experience with which it is associated.

 

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Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
28
Section 3
29
Section 4
36
Section 5
46
Section 6
51
Section 7
62
Section 8
77
Section 14
153
Section 15
157
Section 16
166
Section 17
167
Section 18
169
Section 19
180
Section 20
183
Section 21
187

Section 9
104
Section 10
106
Section 11
115
Section 12
134
Section 13
144
Section 22
190
Section 23
201
Section 24
210
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