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State and Civilization in Australian New Idealism, 1890-1950

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This paper explores the emergence and evolution of philosophical Australian New Idealism through an analysis of the writings of Francis Anderson (1858-1941), Mungo MacCallum (1854-1942), E.H. Burgmann (1885-1965) and G.V. Portus (1883-1954). Where their British Idealist contemporaries during and after the First World War were criticized for their putative 'Germanic' and authoritarian conception of the state, the writings of these Australian Idealists were centrally shaped by a concern with the categories of 'empire', 'humanity' and 'the international order', as much as they were with the state. This proved significant during the two world wars, for rather than being called upon to defend the German roots of their understanding of the state, they opted instead to present events in Germany as a necessary stage in the development of civilization and a world community.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Modern History, Humanities Faculty, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia., Email:

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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