‘We don’t want a pirate empire’
Imperial governance, the Transvaal Crisis and the anxieties of Liberal rhetoric on empire
in Rhetorics of empire
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Historians have long recognized that the Transvaal Crisis of 1899 and the subsequent South African War can together serve as a useful case study for exploring the nature of the British Empire at the turn of the century. This chapter explores how Liberal rhetoric on the Transvaal Crisis made use of the wider anxieties of imperial governance. Specifically, it suggests that two competing Liberal rhetorics of imperial governance were deployed during the crisis: that of good government and that of self-government. As with the rhetoric of good government, the idealization of self-government was not simply applied to the Boer and Uitlander populations respectively, but was presented as a fundamental and exceptional feature of the British imperial model. Leading Liberals both supportive of, and opposed to, the conflict sought to deploy these two ideals in different ways so as to present their respective imperial policies in an essentially Liberal manner.

Rhetorics of empire

Languages of colonial conflict after 1900


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