The Lion's Share: A Short History Of British Imperialism 1850-2004 (4th Edition)

The Lion's Share: A Short History Of British Imperialism 1850-2004 (4th Edition)

Bernard Porter

Language: English

Pages: 497


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This leading general history of British imperialism, from its Victorian heyday to present times, has been thoroughly revised and updated. As well as presenting a lively narrative of events, Bernard Porter explores a number of broad analytical themes, challenging more conventional and popular interpretations. He sees imperialism as a symptom not of Britain's strength in the world, but of her decline; and he argues that the empire itself both aggravated and obscured deep-seated malaise in the British economy. A refreshing look at one of the central aspects of British history.

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the more recent settlement of Lagos) had shown a tendency to extend their authority and influence inland, by what seemed to be a natural process of frontier encroachment. Governors found that in order to safeguard their settlements and protect the lives of traders who ventured out from them they had to reach some kind of modus vivendi with the adjacent African states. By a mixture of force and diplomacy they did so. On the Gold Coast the Fante and Ashanti were gently persuaded to accept a form of

industrial organisation, her new cheap products found ready markets almost everywhere, and her demands for food and raw materials eager suppliers. New markets were pioneered and old markets exploited more intensively. One of the factors which made this commercial expansion possible was the growth of British foreign investment. Very often when a foreign country bought British manufactures – particularly railway stock, machinery and the like – it was with money lent to it by the British. How much

modern and enlightened. But failing that it would have to be a corrupt Turkey – a [ 95 ] LION_C03.QXP 21/6/04 4:03 pm Page 96 CONQUESTS FORCED ON US: 1875–90 [ 96 ] Turkey which in fact contravened nearly every one of the Victorians’ criteria of international respectability. Until Gladstone in the 1880s started bringing extraneous considerations like ‘morality’ into foreign policy, this kind of thing never gave the Foreign Office many qualms. They already supported a ‘corrupt’ China and

political involvement, and the cost that this would entail. The China trade – actual and potential – was indubitably worth defending cheaply, which was how it was defended at present. It was another question whether it was worth defending expensively. British policy, therefore, was never very consistent or confident in China, because as in Turkey there was no way in which it could improve Britain’s position there short of resisting changes which seemed inevitable. In practice it pursued two lines

was very much weaker now than when Marchand had left, thanks partly to some clever diplomacy by Salisbury. When Marchand arrived, and while he sat at Fashoda waiting for the British to come, Delcassé in the French foreign ministry was fervently hoping that he had not got there at all, in case the meeting sparked off a war32. In the outcome he was grateful to avoid this, at least. The two officers met, LION_C05.QXP 21/6/04 4:04 pm Page 165 WEST AFRICA fraternised, agreed to differ, and then

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