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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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What About the Workers?

What About the Workers?

(p.194) 9 What About the Workers?
The Absent-Minded Imperialists

Bernard Porter

Oxford University Press

Britain's imperial policy did not need an imperial culture to support it, save among a small elite; nor was it bound to impact significantly on the culture of the non-elite majority. What happened after 1880, then, does not simply represent the surfacing of feelings that had been there all along. Around the turn of the century, it was natural for anti-imperialists to fear the rise of popular imperialism, signs of which were appearing in their streets, in the form of the demonstrations that celebrated the ‘reliefs’ of Mafeking and Ladysmith during Britain's most imperial war, the violent break-up of their own meetings, and the pro-war bricks that came hurtling through their windows. It looked as though the propagandists, aided by events, had done their work well. But this impression was misleading as this chapter discusses.

Keywords:   Britain, imperial policy, culture, elite, imperialism, demonstrations, war

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