The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World-System, 1830–1970

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-10-30
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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'The British Empire, wrote Adam Smith, 'has hitherto been not an empire, but the project of an empire' and John Darwin offers a magisterial global history of the rise and fall of that great imperial project. The British Empire, he argues, was much more than a group of colonies ruled over by a scattering of British expatriates until eventual independence. It was above all a global phenomenon. Its power derived rather less from the assertion of imperial authority than from the fusing together of three different kinds of empire: the settler empire of the 'white dominions'; the commercial empire of the City of London; and 'Greater India' which contributed markets, manpower and military muscle. This unprecedented history charts how this intricate imperial web was first strengthened, then weakened and finally severed on the rollercoaster of global economic, political and geostrategic upheaval on which it rode from beginning to end.

Table of Contents

List of mapsp. ix
Preface and acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: the project of an Empirep. 1
Towards 'The Sceptre of the WorldÆ: the elements of Empire in the long nineteenth century
Victorian originsp. 23
The octopus powerp. 64
The commercial republicp. 112
The Britannic experimentp. 144
'Un-British ruleÆ in 'Anglo-IndiaÆp. 180
The weakest link: Britain in South Africap. 217
The Edwardian transitionp. 255
'The great liner is sinkingÆ: the British world-system in the age of war
The war for Empire, 1914-1919p. 305
Making imperial peace, 1919-1926p. 359
Holding the centre, 1927-1937p. 418
The strategic abyss, 1937-1942p. 476
The price of survival, 1943-1951p. 514
The third world power, 1951-1959p. 566
Reluctant retreat, 1959-1968p. 610
Conclusionp. 649
Notesp. 656
Select bibliographyp. 789
Indexp. 795
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