Liberalism, Imperialism, and the Historical Imagination: by Theodore Koditschek

By Theodore Koditschek

This publication examines the ways that imperial agendas expert the writing of historical past in nineteenth-century Britain and the way ancient writing remodeled imperial agendas. utilizing the broadcast writings and private papers of Walter Scott, J. A. Froude, James Mill, Rammohun Roy, T. B. Macaulay, E. A. Freeman, W. E. Gladstone, and J. R. Seeley between others, Theodore Koditschek sheds new mild at the function of the historic mind's eye within the institution and legitimation of liberal imperialism. He exhibits how either imperialists and the imperialized have been interested in replicate again on Empire's previous due to the have to build a latest, multi-national British imperial identification for a extra economically expansive and enlightened current. via tracing the imperial lives and old works of those pivotal figures, Theodore Koditschek illuminates the ways that discourse altered perform, and vice versa, in addition to how the historical past of Empire was once consistently written and re-written.

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21 Although much of Owenson’s novel is overwritten, and her harpplucking princess is a foretaste of today’s Celtic kitsch, her historical consciousness enables her to penetrate dimensions of the Anglo-Irish encounter to which the more intellectually sophisticated Edgeworth had no access. This is because Owenson (in contrast to Edgeworth) is willing to acknowledge the unpleasant truth that conquest is the central fact of Anglo-Irish history. Mortimer (and later, it transpires, his father, as well) has been drawn to Ireland out of a recognition of English injustice and a personal desire to make amends for his own ancestors’ brutality.

A. Freeman, J. R. Green, and William Stubbs. All three were guardedly influenced by the new evolutionism, although they each maintained a studied ambiguity as to whether it was the Anglo-Saxon race or the English Constitution that was the fast-evolving entity. Freeman generally opted for the first, and Green and Stubbs for the second of these alternatives. At the end of the chapter I touch on the work of an Indian scholarimperialist, R. C. Dutt, who reacted to the anglocentric evolutionism of Maine et al.

And who drew on the work of H. T. Buckle to sketch an unfinished evolutionary analysis of his own. In Chapter 6, “Indian liberals and Greater Britain,” we return to the subcontinent. In the University of Calcutta and in minor government offices, a rising generation of middle-class intellectuals was creating its own variant of the liberal imperial romance, at the very moment when its metropolitan counterpart was giving its up. The first task for the Indians was to devise their own versions of the progress narrative – to escape from the status of racialized objects, in which they were being placed by metropolitan evolutionary science, and to re-position themselves as consequential actors in history-worthy events.

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