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The Absent-Minded ImperialistsEmpire, Society, and Culture in Britain$
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Bernard Porter

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299591

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299591.001.0001

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Recapitulation and Conclusion

Recapitulation and Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.306) 13 Recapitulation and Conclusion
Source:
The Absent-Minded Imperialists
Author(s):

Bernard Porter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299591.003.0013

To recapitulate: the empire, huge and significant as it was, did not require the involvement of any large section of British society for it to live and even grow. So long as a minority of men (and their female helpers) was committed enough to actually ruling it, the rest of the population could be left to concentrate on other things. It would not do for too many people to oppose imperialism on principle. This was easily secured, at a time when the idea of one people ruling another was not quite the anathema it became later — it was happening in Britain after all; when the ‘national’ alternative did not seem to be so clear-cut — there were no true nations, for example, in many of the parts of the world that Britain colonized; and when people realized anyway that one could have tyrannical nations as well as liberal ones, just as with empires.

Keywords:   empire, society, minority, imperialism, Britain, nations

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