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Imperial Sceptics British Critics of Empire, 1850-1920 by Gregory (Royal Holloway, University of London) Claeys

Imperial Sceptics British Critics of Empire, 1850-1920


Part of the Ideas in Context Series


Imperial Sceptics British Critics of Empire, 1850-1920 by Gregory (Royal Holloway, University of London) Claeys

Imperial Sceptics provides a highly original analysis of the emergence of opposition to the British Empire from 1850-1920. Departing from existing accounts, which have focused upon the Boer War and the writings of John Hobson, Gregory Claeys proposes a new chronology for the contours of resistance to imperial expansion. Claeys locates the impetus for such opposition in the late 1850s with the British followers of Auguste Comte. Tracing critical strands of anti-imperial thought through to the First World War, Claeys then scrutinises the full spectrum of socialist writings from the early 1880s onwards, revealing a fundamental division over whether a new conception of 'socialist imperialism' could appeal to the electorate and satisfy economic demands. Based upon extensive archival research, and utilising rare printed sources, Imperial Sceptics will prove a major contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century political thought, shedding new light on theories of nationalism, patriotism, the state and religion.


Review of the hardback: 'An essential addition to the scanty existing literature on the 'other side
of the Imperial debate in Britain. It is good to see the subject moving on at last

The Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

30th August 2012


Gregory (Royal Holloway, University of London) Claeys

More books by Gregory (Royal Holloway, University of London) Claeys
Author 'Like for Like'


Cambridge University Press


356 pages


Colonialism & imperialism

Political science & theory



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