To say that Britons did not particularly take to their empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries — or took to it less enthusiastically, at any rate, than is often assumed — is not the same as saying that they were unaffected by it. However, the very fact of having an empire was bound to impact on Britain's broader society in ways that none of these people, even the imperialists, planned or desired. That is the way of empires. So much is incontestable, even obvious. This chapter explores some of the British empire's more direct possible repercussions. It argues that one could have a widespread imperial legacy which did not embrace a widespread imperialism, in any sense. This was Britain's situation both while she possessed her empire, and afterwards.
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