‘The grit of our forefathers’
Invented traditions, propaganda and imperialism
in Imperialism and Popular Culture
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Imperialism as a period ideology of late nineteenth-century England, was described in 1899 by Lawson Walton, the Liberal Imperialist, as a formula for interpreting the duties of government in relation to Empire. The last quarter of the nineteenth century saw a close relationship established between the system of secondary schooling, propaganda and the concept of imperialism. It was a relationship substantially restricted to the British public school. Prior to the Balfour Education Act of 1902, and in reality for a long time after, Britain was a nation of two educational systems: the wealthy and well-developed state-subsidised grammar schools. The chapter considers two ostensibly autonomous, but, in reality, linked attempts at establishing late nineteenth-century British traditions both associated with the English public school system: the socio-psychological 'tradition' of martial sacrifice and the socio-political 'tradition' of Empire Day.


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