From empire to Empire: Benjamin Disraeli and the formalization of the British Imperial Social Structure

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Title: From empire to Empire: Benjamin Disraeli and the formalization of the British Imperial Social Structure
Author: Underwood, Jonathan Allen
Advisors: Joe A. Mobley, Committee Member
David Gilmartin, Committee Chair
Owen J.M. Kalinga, Committee Member
Abstract: Throughout the last century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's influence and reputation as an imperialist has been praised, demonized, and denied. Though always a target of considerable political criticism, Disraeli's advancement and, some might even say, invention of British imperial nationalism was celebrated by contemporary politicians, academics, and the general population who considered him "inextricably entwined" with the notion of empire. However, twentieth century historiography largely downplayed and discounted Disraeli's influence on late nineteenth century imperial British expansion by focusing not on imperialism as an ideology, but as a phenomenon of economics and power; aligning its genesis with the Industrial Revolution, and the socio-economic theories of Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Atkinson Hobson. But, since the publication of Edward Said's Orientalism in 1978, which reevaluated the cultural and social relationships between the East and the West, Disraeli's impact on Britain's colonial century has yet again come to the forefront of imperial British historiography. Disraeli's rhetoric and political acumen regarding Britain's eastern empire directly (through the proclamation of Victoria's title Empress of India in 1876) and indirectly (through his assertion of Conservative Principles at the Crystal Palace in 1872) established a significant hierarchical social structure and consciousness that still pervades British culture today.
Date: 2006-11-08
Degree: MA
Discipline: History
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1236


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