The Oxford History of the British Empire - Vol. 3

By William Roger Louis; Andrew Porter et al. | Go to book overview

14
Scientific Exploration and Empire

ROBERT A. STAFFORD

Throughout the nineteenth century Britain sustained a programme of scientific exploration linked directly with her Imperial and trading interests. It played an important role both in shaping and expressing her culture. Although official commitment to exploration remained sporadic and efforts were rarely systematic, the continuity of British exploration is striking, and its purpose and style remained remarkably consistent. Britain maintained a higher level of exploratory activity than any other Great Power, making the promotion and popularity of exploration a powerful indicator of the strength of Britain's expansionist drive from the 1790s to the First World War.

Exploration can be defined as goal-directed research that creates knowledge in the laboratory of the wilderness. The explorer plays the same role in this regard as the scientist or inventor, increasing the capital of whatever group gains access to the new information. Exploration is an act of intervention that alters perspectives, probabilities, and processes in its parent culture and those that become its objects. People on the receiving end usually felt this most acutely, but Europeans were also aware of their intrusive impact on alien environments and cultures and realized that they themselves were being ineluctably altered by contact. The explorer was the catalyst that started the reaction, the agent of Europe's inevitable confrontation with peripheral lands.

Since the fifteenth century European exploration and imperialism had developed in the same cultural milieu as science, technology, the extractive industries, and the arts, all of which expressed the drive for wealth, control, and knowledge of the natural world. By the late eighteenth century exploration was a self-imposed expectation of the Great Powers. Particularly after Cook's voyages, the Enlightenment's voracious appetite for facts provided a powerful stimulus to discovery.1 The comprehensive researches of Alexander von Humboldt added new rigour to this scientific enterprise by demonstrating that discrete data from different disciplines could be correlated to construct theoretical models with wide predictive

____________________
1
In Vol. II, see chap. by Glyndwr Williams.

-294-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Oxford History of the British Empire - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 780

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.