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REPUBLICAN IMPERIALISM: J.A. FROUDE AND THE VIRTUE OF EMPIRE

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Abstract:

In this article I pursue two main lines of argument. First, I seek to delineate two distinctive modes of justifying imperialism found in nineteenth-century political thought (and beyond). The 'liberal civilizational'li model, articulated most prominently by John Stuart Mill, justified empire primarily in terms of the benefits that it brought to subject populations. Its proponents sought to 'civilize'lthe 'barbarian'. An alternative ‘republican’ model focused instead on the benefits - glory, honour and power above all - that accrued to the imperial state. Less concerned with spreading civilization, its proponents concentrated on fortifying the imperial polity. Second, I offer a 'republican' interpretation of the writings of the historian and public moralist J.A. Froude (1818-94), arguing that he both diagnosed the problems of modern Britain and prescribed imperial solutions to those problems, based on his reading of the fate of the Roman republic.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Christ’s College, Cambridge, CB2 3BU.

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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