Hobson and Imperialism: Radicalism, New Liberalism, and Finance 1887-1938

Synopsis

The year 2002 sees the centenary of J. A. Hobson's Imperialism: A Study, the most influential critique of British imperial expansion ever written. Peter Cain marks the occasion by evaluating, for the first time, Hobson's writings on imperialism from his days as a journalist in London to his death in 1940. The early chapters chart Hobson's progress from complacent imperialist in the 1880s to radical critic of empire by 1898. This is followed by an account of the origins of Imperialism and a close analysis of the text in the context of contemporary debates. Two chapters cover Hobson's later writings, showing their richness and variety, and analysing his decision to republish Imperialism in 1938. The author discusses the reception of Imperialism and its emergence as a 'classic' by the late 1930s and ends with a detailed discussion of the relevance of the arguments of Imperialism to present-day historians.