Emigrants and empire

British settlement in the dominions between the wars

Professor Drummond's two pioneering studies, British Economic Policy and the Empire 1919-1939, 1972, and Imperial Economic Policy 1917-1939, 1974, helped to revive interest in Empire migration and other aspects of inter-war imperial economic history. This book concentrates upon the attempts to promote state-assisted migration in the post-First World War period particularly associated with the Empire Settlement Act of 1922. It examines the background to these new emigration experiments, the development of plans for both individual and family migration, as well as the specific schemes for the settlement of ex-servicemen and of women. Varying degrees of encouragement, acquiescence and resistance with which they were received in the dominions, are discussed. After the First World War there was a striking reorientation of state policy on emigration from the United Kingdom. A state-assisted emigration scheme for ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen, operating from 1919 to 1922, was followed by an Empire Settlement Act, passed in 1922. This made significant British state funding available for assisted emigration and overseas land settlement in British Empire countries. Foremost amongst the achievements of the high-minded imperial projects was the free-passage scheme for ex-servicemen and women which operated between 1919 and 1922 under the auspices of the Oversea Settlement Committee. Cheap passages were considered as one of the prime factors in stimulating the flow of migration, particularly in the case of single women. The research represented here makes a significant contribution to the social histories of these states as well as of the United Kingdom.

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