By Bernard Porter
The British empire used to be an incredible company. To foreigners it kind of outlined Britain within the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its repercussions within the wider international are nonetheless with us at the present time. One may possibly count on this to were mirrored in her society and tradition. this can be the 1st ebook to envision this assumption seriously opposed to the wider heritage of latest British society. Bernard Porter, a number one imperial historian, argues that the empire had a much decrease profile in Britain than it did out of the country. He argues that even though Britain was once an imperial kingdom during this interval, she was once by no means a real imperial society.
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Additional info for The Absent-Minded Imperialists: Empire, Society, and Culture in Britain
This meant that part of the imperial relationship—arguably its essence—remained. The word often used to describe this was ‘neo-colonialism’, although it greatly resembled the much older ‘informal imperialism’ that was meant to have preceded the ‘formal’ stage. A third problem was that once the idea of informal economic imperialism came to be accepted, other ‘informal’ kinds of imperialism clamoured for consideration too. The most common was ‘cultural’ imperialism: a phrase Wrst used to describe the eVect of European religious proselytism in ‘Third World’ countries, and then American cultural expansion both there and just about everywhere else.
This is normal; the Jesuitical idea that early conditioning always sticks is demonstrably false in this Weld. In new situations people’s whole attitudes change. Britons who served in the colonies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were obviously aVected by this, in ways that often put them out of step with the metropole. Race attitudes—to give one example—were more often moulded by the relationships these expatriates were placed in with other peoples, than by any cultural baggage they brought with them from home.
It is also why she withdrew from as many colonial engagements as she persevered with, starting with America. 37 In very few cases—the Canadian rebellions and the Indian ‘Mutiny’ are the major 17 empire and society exceptions before the Wnal years of the nineteenth century—did she really put herself out. She did not need to None of this should prevent us from characterizing Britain’s foreign policy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as ‘imperialistic’ if we wish to, unless ‘imperialism’ is to be restricted to its narrowest possible deWnition; but it does mean that her imperialism was of a kind that did not need to involve her greatly domestically.