Imperial High Noon

  • Hugh Tinker
Part of the The Making of the 20th Century book series (MACE)


What is Empire but the predominance of Race?’, exclaimed Lord Rosebery the Liberal Imperialist in 1900 at the height of the war in South Africa: ‘How marvellous it all is! … Do we not hail, in this, less the energy and fortune of a race than the supreme direction of the Almighty?’1 Whether God or the white mystique was the prime cause, the expansion of Europe led to several different kinds of empire; all involved the reinforcement of white dominance. White immigrants sometimes entered lands declared to be virgin, empty, free for settlement, but these lands were the homes of hunters and pastoralists: the Bushmen of Australia, or the Indians of the American prairie. Other temperate lands where whites arrived to settle were already occupied by identifiable owners, such as the Maoris in New Zealand or the Zulus in Natal. In either case the whites displaced the indigenous people and reduced their status to that of primitive intruders, to be isolated in ‘reservations’ in the backlands.


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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    Charles Wentworth Dilke, Problems of Greater Britain (London, 1890) part vi, ‘Colonial Problems’, ch. 2, ‘Labour, Provident Societies, and the Poor’.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    R. A. Huttenback, Racism and Empire: White Settlers and Colored Immigrants in the British Self-Governing Colonies, 1830–1910 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1976) p. 141. Huttenback demonstrates how ‘the Natal formula’ was adapted by all the White Dominions.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    P. C. Campbell, Chinese Coolie Emigration (London, 1923).Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    For a detailed description of this emigration, see Hugh Tinker, A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labour Overseas, 1830–1920 (London, 1974).Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    The Kenya episode is narrated in detail in Hugh Tinker, Separate and Unequal: India and the Indians in the British Commonwealth, 1920–1950 (London, 1976) ch. 2, ‘The Claim for Equality’.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Gunnar Myrdal, ‘Biases in Social Research’, in Arne Tiselius and Sam Nilsson (eds), The Place of Value in a World of Facts (Stockholm, 1970) p. 157.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    The exposure of colonial exploitation was the work of intellectuals, not socialist party workers; see especially J. A. Hobson, Imperialism: A Study (London, 1902), andGoogle Scholar
  8. Paul Louis, Le Colonialisme (Paris, 1905).Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Graham Wallas, Human Nature in Politics, 4th ed. (London, 1948) pp. 107–8.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    R. A. Ferrell, American Diplomacy: A History (New York, 1959) p. 245.Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    Harold Nicolson, Peacemaking 1919 (London, 1933) p. 145.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Hugh Tinker 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugh Tinker

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