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Joseph·Chamberlain and His Age

Author: WangZuo
Tutor: QianChengDan
School: Nanjing University
Course: World History
Keywords: Tariff reform Social reform Empire Idea Chapter II Kruger Household income Environment for economic development Empire policy Plan Socio-economic issues City size Gladstone Industrial development Distribution of wealth Imperialist countries Protection of property Part III Development trend Theoretical basis Public resources
CLC: K561
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 83
Quote: 0
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The last thirty years in 19th century witnessed an important transitional period in the history of Britain, when the laisser faire capitalism peaked with the appearance of various problems. These problems embodied in three aspects:socially, due to the governmental failure of macroscopic readjustment and control, the increased inequality and the dated public administration emerged; economically, the faire economic policy resulted in periodic economy crises and the industrial and agricultural crisis "Great Depression" during the last thirty years in 19th century seriously challenged the world economic hegemony status of Britain; meanwhile, from the viewpoint of colonialism, facing the scramble of colonies from other new colonist powers, the British government began to adjust its colonial policies so as to maintain its colonial interests. These problems constituted the background of political activities launched by Joseph Chamberlain, a middle-class politician. What he did epitomized the characteristics of development at that moment of the history.This dissertation consists of three parts:introduction, the main body and conclusion. The first part involves a brief introduction to the origin of the research and a literature review of studies on Chamberlain at home and abroad. The second part, as the main body, discusses the characteristics of Chamberlain’s age and his main political activities in four separate chapters.In Chapter One, the author describes the characteristics of Chamberlain’s age. It was an age when the laisser faire capitalism reached its peak in Great Britain and many problems emerged as well. Those problems mainly embodied in society, economics and the empire. The Great Britain met an important transitional period when problems were prominent. Confronted with the ever-increasingly severe socioeconomic problems, many people began to seek way out. Some liberalism ideologists emphasized individual liberty while starting to revise the Laisser faire theory and proposed positive freedom in place of negative freedom. Classical liberalism began to turn into modern liberalism.Chapter Two relates Chamberlain’s social revolutionary practice. As a typical statesman from middle-class, Chamberlain defended the interests of propertied class, maintained social stability, protected the social property by stressing government’s power on social management to solve the social problems which became more and more serious. He applied public resources of all kinds to carry out reforms on burning problems like education, poverty, old-age. Social instability caused by increasingly prominent social problems could be a great suffer to propertied class, which was the reason to push Chamberlain to take the reforms. Also we can view his sympathy for lower class in his speech. Generally, his reform measures did have some positive effect on the deteriorative social problem and social contradictions to some extent. Compared with Chamberlain’s emphasis on government’s power on social administration, it was a strike to classical liberalism’s assertion that incapable government be the best government. Chamberlain and his reform point out the development tendency for the following British governments.Chapter three discusses Chamberlain’s imperialism thought. In the late nineteenth century, facing the threat of economic development and the pressure of colonial expansion from other imperialist countries, Britain rose a "Victoria imperialism" boom to maintain the development of its own. New imperialists asserted the adjustment of British Empire policy. They insisted on the expansion and unity of the empires and the world hegemony of British. Chamberlain is the representative of this new imperialism.Chamberlain held the opinion that British government should scramble for colonies actively to capture more colonies. He thought that a British-led political alliance, jointing British self-governing territories of the white should be established to replace the previous "Free Empire Policy" which manages the colonies freely and loosely. He also thought that British government should stop the indulgent management of the colonies but take effective measures to exploit the resources and markets of these areas. Chamberlain’s imperialist thought reflected the colonial problem that Britain was facing in the late nineteenth century. It was a kind of parochial imperialism which was totally unaware of the feelings and requirements of development of colonies, only pursuing the interests of Britain itself. However, Chamberlain’s imperialist thought did not grasp the current situation of Bitain and the trend of future clearly. It was strongly opposed by colonies. And in Britain, it also failed. It was proved that Chamberlain’s thought of empire expansion and unity was doomed to just a dream which strayed from the direction of history.The fourth chapter deals with the tariff reformation initiated by Chamberlain who felt that the free trade policy carried out for a long time in British had been out of time due to the change of the economic development environment and the need to realize great dream of the British Empire unification. In order to protect the benefits of British itself and to meet the calls of reciprocal tariff form self-governing colonies, Chamberlain suggested the British government the necessity of modifying the free trade policy which had been carried out for a long that began the tariff reformation. He hoped that by means of imposing a retaliatory tariff on foreign products while the preferential duties on domestic products to build the empire economic union, to work out together the great challenges from the outside, to realize the empire unification and further to maintain the prosperous economic development of British in 20th century. This tariff reformation reflected the problems of the British economic development in 19th century, which is in line of the need of the future British development trend. However, because of the overwhelming opposition, this reformation did not succeed at last.The third part is conclusion, which summarizes Chamberlain’s social reform, his imperialism thought and practice and tariff reform as well. Chamberlain’s main political activities focused on various problems which happened in Britain in the late 19th century and illustrated what characteristics Britain possessed in such an important and crucial period.

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CLC: > History, geography > European History > Western Europe > Britain
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