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Sidney Webb and the common good: 1887-1889

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Sidney James Webb (1859-1947) was one of the most famous and authorially prolific of that small group of late-Victorian intellectuals who developed the set of political doctrines and approaches known as Fabian socialism. Given this fame, it seems reasonable to assume that readers of this journal have some familiarity with Webb's career, and in particular with his intellectual collaboration with his wife Beatrice (1858-1943), which began in 1891. However, the extensive secondary literature on ‘the Webbs' has tended to ignore (or gloss over and oversimplify) the process by which Webb arrived at the views expressed in his 1889 contribution to Fabian Essays in Socialism, and also frequently misinterpreted the content of those views. This article has been written in the hope of correcting this tendency, and is based on extensive reference to Webb's writings between 1887 and 1889; most notably ‘The Basis of Socialism: Historic’ .
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: London Guildhall University.

Publication date: 1993-04-01

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