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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century$
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Andrew Porter

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.001.0001

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Defence and Imperial Disunity

Defence and Imperial Disunity

Chapter:
(p.320) 15 Defence and Imperial Disunity
Source:
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century
Author(s):

Peter Burroughs

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.003.0015

Safeguarding a global Empire posed British governments with intractable problems and agonizing choices throughout the nineteenth century. In addition to balancing the often-conflicting demands of home defence, protecting scattered colonies against external aggression and internal lawlessness, and ensuring the security of interconnecting routes and communications, policy-makers had to decide whether these imperatives should be treated separately or knitted together in a seamless strategy of ‘Imperial defence’. Over the years, the course of the Empire's defence and governance frequently converged but never exactly coincided. The defence of the nineteenth century British Empire is specifically explained. The only principle that could be agreed by all parties was that the naval defence of the Empire had to remain a British responsibility. Any departure from this safe common ground exposed Imperial disunity.

Keywords:   internal lawlessness, Imperial defence, naval defence, Imperial disunity, communication routes, home defence

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