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Age Of Empire 1800 1914 Notes

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'Old' vs. 'New' Imperialism Classical Theories: What came before the 'New' Imperialism?
John Seeley, The Expansion of England (1883)
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Focus on: o o

Pax Britannica (1815)

o

North America, West Indies and India

o
-

Decades before the 'new imperialism'

Constitutional and political relations

'Anti-imperialism' and colonial retraction: o o

Congress of Vienna 1815 - French colonial losses

o

Iberian colonial losses/weakness

o

Repeal of Corn Laws (1846)

o
-

Abolition of the slave trade (1807) and slavery (1833)

'Responsible Government' in Australasia from 1855 & Canada from 1867

Implied that English expansion was not deliberate; more like accidental expansion

The 'Old' Historiography:
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1800-70 anti-imperial years and focus on colonial retraction

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1870-1914 emergence of 'new' imperialism o

Transition from 'anti-imperial' period to 'new' imperialism is the main focus of the debate

John. A. Hobson (1858-1940):
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Imperialism: A Study (1902)

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Liberal tendencies; critical of capitalism but not socialist

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Argued that Imperialism was the outcome of long term, large scale economic developments

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Industrialisation, combined with nationalism emerging in the 19th century, initiated the period of 'new' imperialism

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Hobson places sole significance on economics; neglects importance of international competition/military power & influence

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Argued that only a small section of society benefited from imperialism

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'New' imperialism was distinct because there was no extension of political systems: autocratic

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Noble aims used to justify imperial expansion (White-man's burden)

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Growth of production efficiency exceeded consumption potential; mal-distribution of consumption power (rather than increasing production efficiency) demanded the opening of new markets o

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Opening of new markets required overseas expansion

Influenced by second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and 'Great Depression' 1873-1896 o

Focus on role of 'sub-imperialists'

Cecil Rhodes, Nathaniel de Rothschild, Jameson raid

o

Dark side of the Boer War

o

Significant role of individuals in imperial expansion and conflict

Writing influenced by this; critical of imperialism

'Great Depression' 1873-96

Uneven economic growth and contraction, and under-consumption combined with a drop in prices led to a crash in the Vienna stock market; nations adopted protectionist measures and searched for new markets overseas

Imperial expansion

Transition from industrial to finance capital

Vladimir. I. Lenin (1870-1924):
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Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism: a popular outline (1916) o

Classical Marxist interpretation

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Massive influence from John Hobson

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Imperialism: o o

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'monopoly stage of capitalism' Beginning of the redistribution rather than initial distribution of the world would cause the inter-capitalist conflict that would eventually end in worldwide communist revolution

Territorial expansion was not initially imperialism; imperialism began in the 1900's o

Focus on redistribution

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Writing to explain to origins of the First World War o

Attempts to portray imperialism as the origins

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Colonialism needed because capital was not profitable in domestic markets due to uneven development

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Beginnings of investment of capital in potential

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Imperialism accelerated capitalist development through the expansion of existing economic disparity - uneven development caused decay o

More imperialism = quicker decay

Joseph A. Schumpeter (1883-1950):
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Imperialism and social classes: two essays (1919) o

Heavily influenced by the effects of WW1 alongside post-war colonial sentiment

Demise of German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires


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Widespread anti-Imperialist feelings

Democratisation, domestic reform, 'self-determination'

Economist and sociologist o

Focus on social effects unlike Lenin & Hobson

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Favours free trade and laissez-faire capitalism

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Imperialism o

An irrational and 'objectless' inclination towards war and conquest

o

The effect of atavistic social structures and psychological modes of thought stemming from pre-capitalist times

o
-

Aristocratic values of militarism, power politics and autocracy

Believed Imperialism was destined to disappear

Does not think that imperialism and capitalism are intertwined at all and that they should be treated as distinct notions

Classical theory conclusions:
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Focused on metropolitan impulses

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'New' imperialism begins in 1873? Or 1900?

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Focus on tropics and sub tropics

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Finance capitalism - completely focused on economics

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Atavistic (Schumpeter) o

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Imperialism the continuation of 'aristocratic' modes of behaviour

Nationalism and Jingoism prevalent

Challenges to traditional historiography: John Gallagher & Ronald Robinson:
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'The Imperialism of Free Trade' (1953)

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Africa and the Victorians: the official mind of imperialism (1961)

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Challenging 'New' Imperialism: o

Contest the partition of imperialism into phases

o

Continuity in imperial policies

Continuity found by considering the 'informal' empires

Free trade IS and CAN BE imperialism

o

There were no colonial retractions, just transformations in the nature of control

o

-

Self-governing provinces were still under the control of the metropole

Territorial annexations continued throughout the 19th century

o

China

Punjab, Singapore, Cape colony etc.

Difference between the two 'phases' was the pace and quality of imperial expansion

Challenging 'Economic' Imperialism: o

Can economics explain the colonial scramble of the late 19 th century?

Was the scramble for Africa and subsequent annexations economically beneficial to the nations involved?

Lenin's point about investment in potential

o

New colonies in Africa and East Asia saw the least amount of trade and investment

o

Formal annexations were a reluctant, involuntary and defensive mechanism

o

Last resort

'Official mind' of imperialism determines nature and method of expansion

o
-

Official mind is the ideas, perceptions and intentions of those who had a bearing on British imperial policies

National interest in imperial expansion

Challenging 'Euro-centricity': o

'Formal' imperialism not the product of pressures from within European metropoles, but a response to 'local crises' in the periphery

o

Stress agency of indigenous society, settlers or 'men on the spot' in determining the nature of European imperialism

o
-

Communication still slow; impossible for London to make every decision regarding empire, especially those that arose out of dispute or conflict (which probably most often led to formal, military expansion in protection of economic interests)

Stress the nature and degree of 'collaboration'

Summarisation of the argument: o

Continuity between 'anti-imperialist' age and 'new' imperialism

o

Difference in nature & pace

o

The 'official mind'

o

'Local crises', breakdown of 'collaborative arrangements', or development of new ones

Peter Cain & Tony Hopkins:
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British Imperialism: Innovation & Expansion, 1688-1914 (1993)

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British Imperialism: Crisis & Deconstruction, 1914-1990 (1990)

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Return to metropolitan & economic explanations o

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Similar to classical theories & challenging Gallagher and Robinson

Emphasis on continuity & on Britain o

Similar to Gallagher and Robinson

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Onset with the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688

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Gentlemanly Capitalism o

Empire driven by 'gentlemanly capitalists':

Amalgam comprising landed aristocrats, bankers, financiers and the service sector; focused in the south and south-east of England (especially London); united by education, marital ties, cultural and ideological affinities

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Excluded (most) industrialists - industrial capitalism considered socially unacceptable to the elites because it was associated with the grind of hard labour; only 'non-industrial' capitalists can become 'gentlemen'

Link between Gentlemanly capitalists and British Imperialism: o

Gentlemanly capitalism the dominant force behind the British economy

o

Overseas expansion was a byproduct of the financial revolution not the industrial revolution:

Driven by the needs of the finance/service sectors

Secured returns on capital investments

Ensure servicing of foreign-held debts

Protected service industries

Seamless link between finance, service sector and Whitehall

Emphasis on a particular kind of unofficial imperialism

'Informal empire'

Conclusion:
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Legacy of the 'classical' theorists

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Robinson & Gallagher - challenge the classical theories

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Cain & Hopkins - attempt to incorporate them into their argument

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Are all these theories too mono-causal, simplistic, or Anglocentric?

From East India Company to the Raj: the transition from 'informal' to 'formal' empire Introduction:
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Some historians used to think that British rule in India exemplified all aspects of British imperialism

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Rule over India had a decisive effect on British expansion o

Utilisation of the Indian army (sepoys)

o

Expansion in order to protect rule of India

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E.g. Egypt & Sudan

E.g. Middle Eastern informal empire

Massive exploitation of 'coolies' throughout the empire for labour

The East India Company (Early):
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Founded on 31st December, 1600

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Single purpose of exploiting the spice trade in the East Indies

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218 London merchants combined their resources to form a private, state-backed enterprise o

State-backing provided a monopoly of English trade in Asia

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No domestic competition meant secure profits

Given the right to use fire power o

Significant because it gave the company the ability to protect itself independently of the crown and use force to its own benefit

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Risky venture - long shipping routes susceptible to piracy and disease

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Competition from the Portuguese and the Dutch (Dutch East India Company, 1602) o

Trade rivalries were based on spices

o

Britain was forced to 'settle' for India which was relatively worthless in terms of spices

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The textile market eventually outgrew the spice market transforming the English East India Company into the dominant economic power in Asia

The Mughal Empire had authority over the Indian subcontinent by 1707 o

They divided power between individuals who controlled regions with somewhat autonomy

o

It was easier for the EIC to negotiate with individual princes than with one Mughal emperor

o

Individuals with ambition could be used by the EIC to fragment the Emperors authority and promote their own

To be allowed to trade the EIC had to sign treaties to establish 'factories' on the subcontinent

Presidencies for tiny areas allocated to the EIC: Surat - 1613; Madras - 1630; Bombay (Mumbai) - 1661; Calcutta (Kolkata) 1690

The EIC (18th century):
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Evolves from being the dominant economic power to being the dominant political/military power on the subcontinent

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Peripheral Factors: o

Continuous wars and instability throughout the peninsula

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