The Emergence of the Modern Indonesian Elite

By Robert Van Niel | Go to book overview

Chapter II
THE ACCELERATION OF CHANGE, 1900-1914

The Ethical Colonial Policy in Theory and in Practice

In the Netherlands the vital issues of the Ethical Colonial Policy seemed to be less concerned with humanitarian and moral principles, upon which practically everyone was agreed, than with financial arrangements between motherland and colony. Van Deventer's debt of honor had envisioned not only support for the needy colony but had also called for separation between metropolitan and colonial finances. This latter issue met opposition more on method than on principle. With H. van Kol, the colonial authority for the Social Democrats pushing from within the parliament,1 and Van Deventer, who upon his return to Holland in 1897 had joined the Radical Democrat Party, exerting pressure from the outside, the East Indies was finally relieved from its share in the Netherlands' national debt in 1903. This was, of course, only one facet of the new policy, yet an important one, for money was the key to its implementation.2 The following year, 1904, the financial position of the East Indies was somewhat improved when the motherland granted a credit of forty million guilders -- this was a much watered-down honor payment -- in order to cancel some of the colony's debts.

The elections of 1901 changed the political picture in the Netherlands. The Liberal Party which had controlled politics for fifty years found itself out of power. Concern with the pocketbook (the Liberals had undertaken social projects), and with religion (the last half of the 19th century had been devoted to maintaining a religious neutrality), had brought to power a coalition of rightist and religious groups which were determined to return to Christian principles of government. Van Deventer, the

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The Emergence of the Modern Indonesian Elite
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter I - East Indian Society in 1900 4
  • Chapter II - The Acceleration of Change, 1900-1914 31
  • Chapter III - Rampant Radicalism and Steady Growth, 1914-1920 101
  • Chapter IV - Syncretism and Conservatism, 1920- Ca. 1927 196
  • Notes 253
  • Index 303
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