The Aryan race and Comparative Politics (1873)
in History, empire, and Islam
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This chapter situates Freeman’s complex views on race and English nationalism in the context of his wider belief in Aryanism and narratives on European development. Through a study of his Comparative Politics – Freeman’s definitive work on race – I show that his racial theory was not idiosyncratic, but closely aligned with the scholarship of Thomas Arnold, Friedrich Max Müller, and Henry Sumner Maine. It is argued that Freeman defined the Aryan community in terms of political heritage and culture, rather than biology, and this led him to produce a narrative on Aryan development that was cyclical rather than unilinear. It is clear that, for Freeman, the success of a nation was determined by its ability to include all of its citizens in the processes of government. He demonstrates this argument by a consideration of the rise and fall of ancient Rome and ancient Greece. While the invention of representative government in modern Europe was an advance on the systems of the ancients, Freeman feared that imperial expansionism and over-extension jeopardised the stability of the modern nation-state.

History, empire, and Islam

E. A. Freeman and Victorian public morality

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