Imperial Policy and South Africa, 1902-10

Imperial Policy and South Africa, 1902-10

Imperial Policy and South Africa, 1902-10

Imperial Policy and South Africa, 1902-10

Excerpt

The grant of responsible government by Sir Henry Campbell- Bannerman to the two ex-Boer Republics in 1906-7 stands out as the major event of imperial policy during the period between the South African and First World Wars. The present inquiry is an attempt to discover, if possible, its significance as the link between Gladstonian imperial policy and the emergence of the Commonwealth idea in 1917; this trend should in no way be confused with the temporary phenomenon known as Liberal Imperialism, which was alien to the Liberal tradition. It can, I think, be maintained that there was one direct and continuous line of development between the time of Lord Durham, the Colonial Reformers, and the germination of the idea of self-government for our white settlements overseas, and the rise of the modern Commonwealth, Dominion status, and the Statute of West- minster. Gladstone contributed extensively in moulding this development, and Liberals under the leadership of Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith carried on the tradition after his active association with the party ceased.

To investigate in detail the broad range of imperial affairs is beyond the compass of the present work. The development of the dependent Empire would be a study in its own right, and all reference to that aspect of imperial policy has been omitted. Indeed, when inquiry was confined to the self-governing Empire, it was further found that the attitude towards not more than one 'Dominion' could be adequately surveyed.

The essay opens with an analysis on general lines of Liberal doctrine, together with a comparison of Liberal and Unionist ideas on the governance of empire. Succeeding chapters show how far the theories were put into practice; and in discussing policy South Africa is taken as the field of illustration because of its prime importance during the years under review. The conclusions are devoted first to problems of the South African settlement and their implications, secondly to relating these problems to imperial evolution as a whole during the period.

It would be impossible to acknowledge individually my indebtedness to the many people who in a variety of ways have assisted me in the writing of this book. For their thoughtfulness and their many . . .

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