‘A way out of our troubles’
The politics of Empire settlement, 1900–1922
in Emigrants and empire
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This chapter explains the 1922 Empire Settlement Act, which represents a major political achievement for the imperialist lobby. Social imperialist politics found a new lease on life during the war and by 1917 had all but captured the discourses of state policy-making in key areas. The encroaching statism characteristic of wartime politics between 1914 and 1918 and the post-war unemployment crisis in the early 1920s created the conditions for a dramatic revaluation of emigration within state departments. The debate about emigration was bound up with fears of pauperism, physical and moral deterioration, the political threat from 'the dangerous classes' and the challenge of foreign competition. J. R. Seeley's conception of 'Greater Britain' was a key ideological construction which fed into the self-image of the British as an imperial race. Land settlement was at the heart of the cause of 'Greater Britain' as a response to perceived external and internal dangers.

Emigrants and empire

British settlement in the dominions between the wars

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