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Liverpool’s inconvenient imperial past

Liverpool occupies a prominent position in the contemporary popular imagination. In spite of decades of economic decline, urban decay and a name associated by some with poverty and crime, the city's reputation is by no means a negative one. The book is a collection of essays that focuses on the strength of Liverpool's merchant marine, representing both informal and formal empire over centuries. It discusses the interracial relationships in 1950s and 1960s Liverpool to demonstrate that many African and Afro-Caribbean sailors (and others) married or had relationships with white women. Given existing deficiencies in the historiographies of both Liverpool and the British Empire, the book aims to reassess both Liverpool's role within the British imperial system and the impact on the port city of its colonial connections. Liverpool's success has often been attributed to, and marred by, its being the leader in the slave trade after 1750. Napoleonic Wars were a period of great turbulence and difficulty for the Liverpool commercial community. Liverpool is perceived as a diasporic city, however, its ambiguous nineteenth-century identity reflected the tensions of its complex migrant connections. An analysis of Liverpool's business connections with South America reveals its relative commercial decline and the notion of 'gentlemanly capitalism'. The African ethnology collection of National Museums Liverpool's (NML) ethnology collections are displayed in the 'World Cultures' gallery of the World Museum Liverpool, which opened in 2005. Liverpool is perhaps not exceptional, though its networks are notable and striking.

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Keith Jeffery

and viable system was not always irrelevant to Irish people or Irish concerns, nationalist or Unionist. Ireland, as part of the metropolitan core of the Empire, supplied many of its soldiers, settlers and administrators. In modern times, Irish people have both sustained and undermined the British imperial system. While (as is noted below) some Irish nationalists came to see the Empire as a liberating

in ‘An Irish Empire’?
Imperial ideology in English gender politics
Diane Robinson-Dunn

therefore considered the model, on one hand, and what was Islamic and believed to be in need of reform, on the other. For anti-slavery workers, Christian missionaries and others, the Muslims in want of guidance existed at the peripheries of the British imperial system in places such as occupied Egypt. For the feminists and anti-vice activists, foreign or Islamic influences could be found in England itself

in The harem, slavery and British imperial culture
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Kate O’Malley

In modern times Irish people have both sustained and undermined the British imperial system, and in both colonial and post-colonial studies Ireland is presented as a unique phenomenon, as it can be viewed, paradoxically, as both ‘imperial’ and ‘colonial’. 1 This study, however, has concentrated on the latter characteristic as the ‘imperial’ has received more attention

in Ireland, India and empire
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David Brown

one. Ireland became part of the British imperial system, an important provider of labour and agricultural produce to England and to other countries, but with limited self-government and eventually none at all. In English history, this study of the Adventurers contributes towards the debates around several of the most perplexing aspects of the English Civil Wars: how parliament was able to challenge the king militarily in 1642, what finally caused Oliver Cromwell to eject the Rump Parliament in 1653 and the impetus behind the elected parliament’s invitation to

in Empire and enterprise
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The empire in one city?
Sheryllynne Haggerty, Anthony Webster, and Nicholas J. White

British imperial system is interpreted in its broadest terms in this collection to include parts of the globe which were not painted pink on the map, notably South America and China where Liverpool business interests were especially active throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Rather than analysing the engines behind imperial expansion and contraction, there has been a tendency recently for

in The empire in one city?
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Neville Kirk

proposal for Federation, for the establishment of a more ‘mature’ and ‘independent’ nation within the British imperial system, had to receive the formal approval of the imperial powers in London. Once this had been received, late nineteenth-century Australian republican and anti-British feeling declined in extent and importance, although the mainstream labour movement continued to seek more autonomy and respect for its country within the imperial framework. At the same time notions of race and racial sovereignty also became

in Labour and the politics of Empire
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‘No such deeds’: responsibility and remembrance
Lucy P. Chester

migration, in which hundreds of thousands died and millions more lost their homes. One might wish that the nationalist leaders had displayed greater political will, but the fact remains that they were operating within the constraints of the British imperial system. This is not to say that partition was a British conspiracy or that the British dictated the entire division. On the contrary, I have argued that

in Borders and conflict in South Asia
Sheryllynne Haggerty

and then sold in the colonies, in Britain and in Africa. 6 In addition, invisible income from Atlantic shipping helped the middle colonies to balance their books. 7 This interconnectedness and dependence continued even after the independence of the thirteen continental colonies, stressing the economic and informal, as opposed to formal, nature of the British imperial system in the Atlantic. 8

in The empire in one city?
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Police, people and social control in Cape Town
Bill Nasson

has called ‘the prime locus of power’ in the city, as embodied in the ‘legal monopoly of force and thus of life, death and corporal punishment’, derived ‘in the first instance from the strength of the Dutch and the British imperial systems’. It was in Cape Town, ‘if not on the frontier’, that vaulting imperial power was made a palpable reality. 5 Yet, while Cape Town was emphatically not a South African

in Policing the empire