The introduction outlines the aims and content of the book. The book explores the notion of ‘the state’ and the place this concept occupied in British political controversy between 1880 and 1914. It argues that the decades before and after the turn of the century saw a significant change in the prevailing terms of political communication in Britain: it looks at the concept of the state — previously a little known or used concept. It examines a shift in the use and views on this concept, documenting the diverse ways in which the state was invoked in pre-war political argument and analysing the varying conceptions of the state to be found in the work of prominent theorists such as Herbert Spencer, Hugh Cecil, Bernard Bosanquet, L. T. Hobhouse, J. A. Hobson, and J. R. MacDonald.
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