Passion or indifference
Popular imperialism in Britain, continuities and discontinuities over two centuries
in European empires and the people
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The concept of popular imperialism in Britain has stimulated considerable controversy. Kathleen Wilson has charted the significance of aspects of popular imperialism in the eighteenth century and their close relationship with popular politics and the fortunes of administrations and their oppositions during that period. The visibility of empire in other cultural forms can also be presented as having ambiguities which can be stressed by those seeking to deny the existence of a popular imperialism. The whole business of emigration and the information and recruitment mechanisms associated with it have been largely ignored in the discussion of popular imperialism. Emigration statistics are notoriously slippery, but it has been estimated that in the classic age of migration from 1815-1930, the British Isles sent some 18,700,000 people overseas, over one-third of all migrants from Europe.

European empires and the people

Popular responses to imperialism in France, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Italy


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