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By C. C. Eldridge (eds.)

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Additional info for British Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century

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This was the age of official investigations into the decline of British industrial efficiency and 'the deterioration of the race', of naval scares and invasion alarms, of jingo newspapers and anxious tariff reformers; and what was more, the underlying evidence suggests that such circles were right to be concerned. In sum, the 'new imperialism' of 1870-1914 witnessed various great powers, confident that the future was theirs, surging forward to take a share of the world's colonial possessions; but it also witnessed one very old great power, far less confident about the future, taking imperialist measures to ward off decline.

20 Thus, however Robinson and Gallagher's contributions to one's understanding of British imperialism are to be assessed, they seem to offer little to the evaluation of the policies of other states or to a general theory of the 'scramble'. Nevertheless, reference to the imperialism of other states is of some significance for the debate upon continuity in British CONTINUITY AND DISCONTINUITY 35 policy, since it reminds us again that the world of 1895 was quite different from that of 1825 or even 1865.

In West Africa especially, as experts such as C. W. Newbury, A. G. Hopkins, H. A. Turner 32 BRITISH IMPERIALISM IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY and many others have demonstrated, economic motives for the scramble were paramount. 15 But they were also in evidence elsewhere in Africa, in the Pacific, in Burma and especially in China; and even if the benefits which Britain derived from its annexations in those regions had not amounted to much by 1914, the researches of Platt, Hynes and U zoigwe especially show the marked shift in the mood of British merchants, manufacturers, newspapers and politicians when they realised that, if they did not take action, existing trade would be hurt and any potential economic benefits from the overseas world would be seized by others.

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