. 10
( 12)


The ˜greater Britain™ of Charles Dilke and later J. R. Seeley was based on
the English-speaking world and those of Anglo-Saxon descent, including
the United States but excluding India, as well as the Aborigines of
Australia, the Maoris of New Zealand, or the indigenous peoples of the
Dominions.80 The appeal to the unity of the Anglo-Saxon race blended
distinctions based on history, culture and biology.
On his return from travelling throughout the English-speaking coun-
tries in 1867, Dilke declared that the Anglo-Saxon was ˜the only extir-
pating race on earth™. While predating the ˜new™ imperial expansion, his
in¬‚uential Greater Britain anticipated the intensi¬ed Anglo-Saxonism and
social Darwinism of the late nineteenth century.81 Moreover, despite the
triumphal tones of cultural and racial superiority, Dilke™s work was suf-
fused with inconsistency (not least regarding his notion of ˜race™) and
doubt. ˜Are we English in turn to degenerate abroad™, asked Dilke, in
accord with ˜a great natural law?™ To ask the question was to confront the
possibility that ˜Englishness™ would succumb in its very triumph, that the
conquerors would be absorbed, amalgamated, transformed “ would cease
to be English. In his concluding chapter, Dilke predicted that racial
distinctions would in fact continue “ miscegenation would not produce
racial blending “ with the ˜dearer races . . . likely to destroy the cheaper
peoples, and that Saxondom will rise triumphant from the doubtful
struggle™. But the struggle was always ˜doubtful™. The Empire offered
some reassurance: ˜The countries ruled by a race whose very scum and
outcasts have founded empires in every portion of the globe™ that were
four and a half times larger than Rome™s empire.82 And yet the reminder
that the Empire™s own white settlers were themselves outcasts might
have troubled middle-class readers, particularly in light of the sudden
See Andrew Thompson, ˜The Language of Imperialism and the Meanings of Empire: Imperial
Discourse in British Politics, 1895“1914™, Journal of British Studies, 36 (1997), 147“77, and Imperial
Britain: The Empire in British Politics c. 1880“1932 (Harlow, 2000), ch. 1.
See Bernard Semmel, Imperialism and Social Reform: English Social-Imperial Thought, 1895“1914

(London, 1960); also Paul Kramer, ˜Empires, Exceptions, and Anglo-Saxons: Race and Rule Between
the British and United States Empires, 1880“1910™, Journal of American History, 88 (2002), 1315“53.
Charles W. Dilke, Greater Britain: A Record of Travel in English Speaking Countries during 1866 and

1867, 2 vols. (London, 1868), I, 310; II, 405.
expansion of the electorate at ˜home™. Indeed, at twenty-four, Dilke was
returned at the 1868 General Election, as a radical Liberal, for the huge
new constituency of Chelsea, which included the working-class districts
of Fulham, Hammersmith and Kensal Green.
Arguably, in Greater Britain Dilke displaced concerns about the purity
and well-being of Britain™s own working class. Fears of internal con-
tamination “ from Irish immigration into British cities or later from
eastern-European Jewish immigration into London™s East End “ and the
physical deterioration of the working class were rife.83 Moreover, from
the mid-century, as racist attitudes became more pronounced, and the
differences between race and class became more sharply articulated, not
only were ˜blacks™ deemed biologically inferior, but sections of Britain™s
labouring poor might be judged as biologically un¬t subjects, a ˜race™
apart.84 Colonial resistance to imperial authority “ the Indian ˜Mutiny™ of
1857, the Waikato War of 1863 against New Zealand™s Maori, the Morant
Bay ˜riots™ of 1865 in Jamaica “ marked turning points in the attitudes of
government, settlers and ˜home™ opinion. A recon¬guration took place
whereby a decline in ˜humanitarian liberalism™ fostered increasingly
punitive attitudes towards indigenous colonial peoples, while bringing the
metropolitan middle class and colonial settlers together on the basis of
shared racial superiority. This reformulation paralleled, as well as helped
to set the terms for, hardened attitudes towards the ˜undeserving™
domestic poor.85 By the 1880s, the imperial metropolis, the world™s largest
city and the Empire™s ¬nancial and cultural capital, was represented as
socially and graphically divided, suffering from an urban pathology and
subject to political disorder spilling out from working-class districts into
London™s fashionable West End. Gareth Stedman Jones argues that in
response to the social crisis of the 1880s a new style of middle-class
liberalism drew a sharper distinction between the respectable, ˜true™
working class who were to be trusted and wooed, and the residuum.

See, for example, Mary Poovey, Making a Social Body: British Cultural Formation, 1830“1864

(Chicago, 1995), ch. 2; David Feldman, ˜The Importance of Being English: Jewish Immigration
and the Decay of Liberal England™, in Feldman and Gareth Stedman Jones (eds.), Metropolis:
London: Histories and Representations since 1800 (London, 1989), 56“84.
Douglas Lorimer, Colour, Class and the Victorians: English Attitudes to the Negro in the Mid-Nineteenth
Century (Leicester, 1978), 12“13, 204“5.
Martin Daunton and Rick Halpern, ˜Introduction: British Identities, Indigenous Peoples and the
Empire™, in their co-edited Empire and Others: British Encounters with Indigenous Peoples, 1600“1850
(London, 1999), 12“13, and Andrew Bank, ˜Losing Faith in the Civilizing Mission: The Premature
Decline of Humanitarian Liberalism at the Cape, 1840“60™, 364“83; Alan Lester, ˜British Settler
Discourse and Circuits of Empire™, History Workshop Journal, 54 (2002), 25“48.
Taking class notes on empire 273
In a related development, missionary efforts shifted from foreign to
home work, as the Empire now returned in the guise of ˜social imperialist™
healing.86 Missionaries, journalists, novelists and sociologists frequently
mapped the urban jungle in terms of its African counterpart, drawing on
metaphors of race to characterise the marginalised segment of the working
class, which in turn became central to the era™s social imagination.87 Thus
in 1890, the Salvation Army™s ˜General™ William Booth published In
Darkest England and the Way Out in which he compared the ˜wooded
wilderness™ of Stanley™s ˜Darkest Africa™ to London™s slums and their
inhabitants. ˜As there is a darkest Africa™, he asked, ˜is there not also a
darkest England? Civilization, which can breed its own barbarians, does it
not also breed its own pygmies?™ Was the plight of ˜a negress in the
Equatorial Forest™, for example, really worse than that of an orphan girl in
London who must choose between starvation and sin, and once con-
senting to sell herself will be ˜treated as a slave and an outcast by the very
men who have ruined her™?88 The book™s sustained sensationalism, due
probably to W. T. Stead, who drafted much of the text from Booth™s
notes, de¬‚ected attention from its actual plan to rehabilitate London™s
˜submerged tenth™; it also helped to make In Darkest England a best-seller.
Gertrude Himmelfarb perceptively notes the connection of the Salvation
Army™s image of poverty to the earlier language of Henry Mayhew who
divided all societies into ˜nomadic and civilised tribes™ or ˜races™, com-
paring London™s street folk to the Bushmen and Sonquas among the
Hottentots, the Fingoes among the Ka¬rs and the Bedouins among the
Arabs, alike in their savage lusts and immorality.89
But Booth™s work re¬‚ected the new social and imperial context,
popularising strands of social-imperialist thought and schemes of social
regeneration, including settling the residuum in labour colonies.90 Booth
proposed the formation of self-sustaining communities, ˜a kind of
co-operative society, or patriarchal family™, based on the Salvation Army™s
˜principles of discipline™. The scheme called for society™s ˜ship-wrecked™ to
be rescued by ¬rst joining the City Colony. From here, those who did not
return regenerated to city life would move to the Farm community,
Thorne, Congregational Missions, ch. 4.
Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siecle (London, 1990), 5“6;
Seth Koven, Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London (Princeton, 2004), 237, 254.
General (William) Booth, In Darkest Africa and the Way Out (London, 1890), 9“13.
Gertrude Himmelfarb, Poverty and Compassion: The Moral Imagination of the Late Victorians (New
York, 1991), 221“6, and The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age (New York, 1984),
323“46, for Mayhew.
Stedman Jones, Outcast London, 303“12.
where they would be resuscitated by the same methods of religious, moral
and industrial discipline. Some might ¬nd employment in the country-
side, while the ˜great bulk™ would move on to the Overseas Colony.
Impressed with successful British settlement in South Africa, Canada
and Australia, he proposed to secure land and establish a colony ready
to receive the city™s most ˜depraved and destitute™ for reformation. Thus
the willing poor would move from the city to the country, ˜and then
pouring them on to the virgin soils that await their coming™, free men
and women under ˜strong government™ who were prepared to lay ˜the
foundations, perchance, of another Empire to swell to vast proportions in
later times™.91
Booth™s plan was not put into practice as conceived; the point, how-
ever, is to recognise its imaginative range and how the social space of
outcast London was re¬gured within that of empire. Booth™s aim was to
regenerate and thus incorporate the residuum within the family of greater
Britain. Yet a contradiction remained between the Empire™s capacity for
inclusion and opportunity for its white settlers and its association with
the outcast poor and racial ˜others™. The settlement colonies could not
entirely escape their image as a space for society™s recalcitrant poor. In the
emblematic works of Booth and Dilke, class is not an operative category
as such; Dilke™s Anglo-Saxonism subsumed or transcended class, while
Booth separated the ˜submerged tenth™ from the trustworthy majority of
British working people. Yet the terms of inclusion, within the nation, the
imperial family or Anglo-Saxon ˜race™, remained troubled. If the Empire™s
white settlers and the domestic working class had become ¬t for measured
inclusion, set off against indigenous peoples and the metropolitan resi-
duum, belonging and trust could never simply be taken for granted. Over
the long nineteenth century, con¬gurations of belonging varied greatly.
The constitutive impact of empire on class was at best uneven; going
beyond such generalisations requires analysing speci¬c contexts. It also
depends on one™s methodological approach to ˜class™, as well as decisions
about what constitutes historical evidence. However, I hope at least to
have done enough to indicate the bene¬ts of viewing class and empire
within the same historical frame.
Booth, In Darkest England, 90“3.
ch a p t e r t h i r t e e n

Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928
Keith McClelland and Sonya Rose

This chapter explores how Britain™s status as an imperial nation shaped
debates about and changes in the nature of citizenship between roughly
1867 when some working-class men were granted the parliamentary fran-
chise and 1928 when adult suffrage was made universal. It was during this
period that empire and nation became linked in new ways, marked by
Britain taking a ˜more consciously imperialist course™, especially prior to
World War I,1 and its empire becoming an increasingly visible symbol of
national worth. The chapter will explore how Britain™s status as an imperial
nation informed debates about political citizenship, in¬‚uenced responses to
the broadening of the franchise and, in turn, produced new understandings
of and concerns with the nature of citizenship. While both the meanings of
citizenship and considerations of Britain™s imperial project were contested
throughout the period, the chapter focuses primarily on those hegemonic
understandings and their various articulations that dominated public cul-
ture, both shaping political debate and infusing everyday life.
Between 1866 and 1928 the size of the electorate in Britain multiplied
by about twenty times, from about 1.4 million in 1866 to 28.5 million by
1929. Thus it was during this period that British liberal democratic citi-
zenship was consolidated.2 But this process of consolidation or devel-
opment was a highly contested one; throughout, those who had a political
stake in the nation guarded their prerogative jealously and it was as a
consequence of debate and struggle over the terms of political ¬tness that
new classes of individuals were enfranchised.
These changes in the franchise were part of a major transformation
in the role, practice and ideologies of the state.3 There developed a new

Dane Kennedy, Britain and Empire, 1880“1945 (London, 2002), 5.
Laura E. Nym Mayhall, The Militant Suffrage Movement: Citizenship and Resistance in Britain,
1860“1930 (Oxford, 2003), 12.
Ibid.; for a lucid account of the changing state, Stuart Hall and Bill Schwarz, ˜State and Society, 1880“
1930™, in Mary Langan and Bill Schwarz (eds), Crises in the British State 1880“1930 (London, 1985), 7“32.

understanding of its role “ as the ˜special institution that acts for the
general interest, and according to the principles of public service™.4 As
Charles Dilke put it in 1892: ˜The state represents the common good of its
citizens. It is the basis of their higher life. It secures to its subjects the only
possibility for the exercise “ for the full development “ of their faculties.
It supplies them with the ideal aim of a common good.™5
One variant of this revived notion of the ˜common good™ was
understood at the time as ˜collectivism™.6 There was no single version of
this; it was, rather, a discourse into which several strands fed, including
varieties of imperialist, conservative, liberal, labourist and socialist
thought. Taken together these variants of collectivism comprised the
˜principal political-ideological programme through which a variety of
social forces attempted to transform the state™ as Stuart Hall has put it.7
For Hall and his colleagues, ˜[c]ollectivism assumes that society consists,
not of ˜˜bare individuals™™ but of corporate classes, groups and interests.
The state should therefore plan and act on behalf of society conceived as
an organic whole “ a ˜˜collectivity™™.™8 There were two associated devel-
opments in the meaning of citizenship: ¬rst, a general concern with what
was termed ˜good citizenship™ “ the idea that citizenship was a practice
concerned with obligations; and second, a new understanding of the
state™s responsibilities for its citizenry that foreshadowed what was later to
be articulated as ˜social rights™ or ˜social citizenship™. This essay focuses
primarily on the former.
The development of collectivism has a complex history: this is not the
place to detail it. But within the spectrum of collectivist thought and
practice one ¬gure in particular was at the centre of much of the post-
1870 recon¬guration of politics and the state, Joseph Chamberlain.9
Rising to prominence in Birmingham in the 1870s, he was within the
orbit of radical liberalism, from which he took a concern with the social
conditions of the people, a realisation of the potential force of demos, an
emphasis upon the virtues of civic duty as well as the civic gospel, and a
Colin Gordon, ˜Governmental Rationality: An Introduction™, in Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon
and Peter Miller (eds.), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (Chicago, 1991), 32.
Charles Dilke and Spenser Wilkinson, Imperial Defence (London, 1892), 8“9.
See Hall and Schwarz, ˜State and Society™, 16“24; cf. the earlier and more comprehensive
assessment: Stuart Hall, ˜The Rise of the Representative/Interventionist State 1880s“1920s™, in
Gregor McLennan, David Held and Stuart Hall (eds), State and Society in Contemporary Britain:
A Critical Introduction (Cambridge, 1984), 7“49.
7 8
Hall, ˜The Rise™, 27.
There is a great deal of work on Chamberlain. But essential for an understanding of the context is
E. H. H. Green, The Crisis of Conservatism: The Politics, Economics, and Ideology of the Conservative
Party, 1880“1914 (London, 1995).
Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928 277
stress upon the political and social purchase of the pursuit of ˜Greater
Britain™ (partly derived from Charles Dilke). Forming Unionism in the
1880s following the crisis of the Liberal Party over Home Rule for Ireland,
the key imperial issue of its time, he pursued an aggressive imperialism
which focused on the white settler Empire and attempted to wed this to
the popularisation of imperialism. Concretely, this meant social imperi-
alism: a programme of social reform which sought to incorporate the
popular enfranchised constituency and those identi¬ed as the socially
excluded with a political economy centred on tariff reform. If Cham-
berlain himself was wrecked in the vain pursuit of tariff reform, part of
what he helped to make possible was a whole shift of the centre of gravity
of British political culture to one in which social imperialism became a
dominant element.10 Some of these elements are ones to which we shall
return; but for the moment it is necessary to outline in a little more detail
what we mean by citizenship in legal and political terms.

what is citizenship?
The concept of citizenship is one with a number of different meanings
and usages. In the modern era it signi¬es belonging or membership in a
nation state, and in this sense it is a synonym for nationality. At the same
time citizenship refers to the rights and duties of full membership in that
society. It is a legal concept and it also refers to ˜the moral and perfor-
mative dimensions of membership which de¬ne the meanings and
practices of belonging in society™.11
Needless to say every one of these elements has been contested; and
while we may suppose that citizenship is a set of more or less formal rights
and duties inscribed in law, claims by individuals for rights and demands
upon them for duties have always drawn upon a shifting discursive ter-
rain. It is useful, then, to think of citizenship not only in terms of
nationality and as a formal rights and obligations-bearing relationship
between individuals and the nation state, but also as a language by means
of which people can make claims on the political community concerning
rights and duties, political and moral or ethical practices, and criteria of
membership.12 These claims have concerned not only political rights but

The major work on social imperialism remains Bernard Semmel, Imperialism and Social Reform:
English Social-Imperial Thought, 1895“1914 (London, 1960).
James Holston and Arjun Appadurai, ˜Cities and Citizenship™, Public Culture, 8 (1996), 200.
For a similar conceptualisation see Frederick Cooper, Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge,
History (Berkeley, 2005), 24.
during the twentieth century have broadened to incorporate social and
economic entitlements and obligations. And it is on the grounds of the
discursive, as well as the legal, framework of citizenship that the nation
state can expect or demand various forms of reciprocity from its members.

subjects, nationals and aliens
At the most basic level, the government, informed by culturally sig-
ni¬cant civic ideals, de¬nes who can and who cannot belong to the nation
state. In Britain, until 1981 however, the of¬cial term for British national
was British subject, and British subjecthood was based on the principle of
jus soli (born in a territory under the British Crown). British subjecthood,
then, was an imperial form of belonging as well as a form of ˜nationality™.
Subjecthood denoted primarily a status of obedience and loyalty to the
Crown. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, empire was
to in¬‚uence in complex ways the variable meanings and prerogatives of
British subjecthood for those born outside the United Kingdom and the
ability of non-British subjects or aliens to reside in the metropole and
possibly become naturalised as well.
Economic depression from the 1870s, coupled with increasing public
attention to poverty and urban crowding, produced an undercurrent of
dissatisfaction with Britain™s ˜open door™ policy to asylum seekers, one that
had been in place since the end of the Napoleonic Wars. With the mass
immigration of Jews from eastern Europe in the wake of the pogroms
of 1881“2, popular opinion about alien immigration became increasingly
hostile. It took more than another twenty years, signi¬cant public protests,
several parliamentary commissions and a particular conjunctural context
for parliament to pass the Aliens Act of 1905, designed to reduce the
number of destitute Jewish immigrants. As David Feldman has suggested,
immigration became the focus of increasing political militancy as the
˜emphasis of debate . . . shifted from the domestic to the imperial con-
sequences of poverty™ and led to the passage of the 1905 Aliens Act.13
The problems exposed by the military failures of the Boer War,
increasing competition from other imperial powers, public debate about a
loss of ˜national ef¬ciency™ and the circulation of social Darwinist ideas,
fuelled anxieties that Britain would lose its imperial pre-eminence.
Immigrants were believed to be threatening to the nation™s physical health
David Feldman, ˜The Importance of Being English: Jewish Immigration and the Decay of Liberal
England™, in Feldman and Gareth Stedman Jones (eds), Metropolis: London: Histories and
Representations since 1800 (London, 1989), 57.
Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928 279
and moral ¬bre. Anti-alien discourse highlighted the idea that alien
immigrant men were incapable of masculine respectability because they
sent their wives to work, and their ˜unmanliness was further marked out
by their aversion to manual labour, and their incapacity for trade union
organization™.14 More important than the actual effectiveness of the 1905
Act in stemming immigration, was that it opened the way to future, more
restrictive Acts.15
Anti-alienism continued through to World War I amidst fears of
invasion, anarchism and subversion that heightened British concerns
about national and imperial decline. The Aliens Restriction Act of 1914
gave the Home Secretary discretionary powers to refuse entry and deport
people whom ˜he deemed not to be conducive to the public good™,16 and
it mandated that all aliens must register with the police. Subsequently the
Act was reinforced by an Amendment in 1919.
The imperial context was fundamental both to of¬cial rhetoric and to
various purportedly ˜race-neutral™ practices regarding non-white, colonial
British subjects. Through the late Victorian period, Great Britain™s of¬-
cial posture was that while the rights of British subjects might vary, a
British subject anywhere was a British subject without distinction based
on race or ethnicity. While this was the of¬cial stance, the actual import
of being a British subject and the meaning of British subjecthood
depended on race.17
Deploying particular race-neutral regulations was a time-tested way for
Great Britain, as well as the Dominions, to differentiate among British
subjects (as well as among aliens) without of¬cially sanctioning racial
discrimination. The white settler colonies adopted various ways to do
this. But it was South Africa through the Natal Act of 1867 that pioneered
a language test as a way of discriminating among British subjects and
aliens to control immigration.18
The Merchant Shipping Act of 1906 required such a language test for
seamen signing on to British ships (purportedly to assure safety at sea).
Ibid., 72“3.
David Cesarani, ˜ ˜˜An Alien Concept?™™ The Continuity of Anti-alienism in British Society before
1940™, in David Cesarani and Tony Kushner (eds.), The Internment of Aliens in Twentieth Century
Britain (London, 1993), 31.
Ann Dummett and Andrew Nicol, Subjects, Citizens, Aliens and Others: Nationality and
Immigration Law (London, 1990), 107.
Ibid., 113“27.
Ibid., 118“21. Importantly, Marilyn Lake has argued that Natal emulated the US in using literacy
˜to patrol racial borders™. See Marilyn Lake, ˜From Mississippi to Melbourne via Natal: The
Invention of the Literacy Test as a Technology of Racial Exclusion™, in Ann Curthoys and Marilyn
Lake (eds.), Connected Worlds: History in Transnational Perspective (Canberra, 2005), 213.
The Board of Trade™s instructions were that ˜[n]o Asiatic seaman or other
person of apparently foreign origin should be regarded as exempt unless
he produces a certi¬cate of nationality, a birth certi¬cate or other of¬cial
certi¬cate™.19 Such certi¬cates were not issued in most of the countries
from which non-white British seamen came and so non-European
seamen were generally required to take the test.
After 1918 the British government™s policies with regard to racial dis-
crimination were to become more explicit with the Special Restriction
(Coloured Alien Seamen) Order of 1925. The order allowed the Home
Of¬ce to exclude non-white or ˜coloured™ seamen from Britain.20
These attempts to exclude non-white British subjects and aliens who
were believed to be unassimilable would become critical to post-World
War II debates about immigration. However, in our period, the concept of
citizenship generally was used not as a synonym for nationality, but rather
referred to claims for and acquisition of political rights, and in discussions
concerning obligations to the imperial nation, to which we now turn.

political citizenship and the expansion of
the suffrage before world war i
Debates about franchise extension between 1867 and 1884 focused pri-
marily upon the respectable and independent working men, the core of
whom were married householders or single men with suf¬cient income to
pay substantial rent as lodgers. Cumulatively the Second and Third
Reform Acts enfranchised only about 60 per cent of adult men. After
1884“5 debates about suffrage within and without parliament largely
focused on the vital issue of enfranchising women. Further reform of the
parliamentary franchise for men living in the metropole became a much
less visible issue from the 1880s: those men excluded were generally the
unorganised and politically unrepresented “ sons living at home, lodgers
in humble dwellings, those men who were residentially mobile including
soldiers living in barracks.
Changes in the franchise in the metropole had an imperial dimension,
notably in the germination of nationalist politics in India. The year 1885
was not only the year that the male franchise was extended to house-
holders in the counties of Britain, but also saw the founding of the Indian

Ibid., 164.
Laura Tabili, ˜We Ask for British Justice™: Workers and Racial Difference in Late Imperial Britain
(Ithaca, 1994), 114.
Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928 281
National Congress. While in its early years the rhetoric of its leaders was
painfully conciliatory towards British rule in the subcontinent, Congress
politicians in the period prior to World War I emphasised the desirability
of some limited form of representative government. As W. C. Bonnerjee
put it in his presidential address to the ¬rst Congress meeting held in
Bombay in 1885: ˜All that they desired was that the basis of the govern-
ment should be widened and that the people should have their proper
and legitimate share in it.™21
More pointedly George Yule, the ¬rst non-Indian president and rev-
ered Calcutta businessman, addressed the Fourth Congress in Allahabad
in 1888. He considered what the so-called ˜quali¬cations™ might be that
Indians were supposed to attain in order to have the ˜political institutions
of the country . . . placed on a wider basis™. He wondered if the British
who talked of ˜quali¬cations™ were ˜thinking of the quali¬cations of
ordinary English constituencies at a somewhat more rudimentary stage of
their development than they are to-day?™ He suggested that India™s rulers
consult the Blue Book publications produced by the government to show
the ˜material, the moral, and the educational state of the country™. The
books, he argued, indicate that ˜there are large bodies of men in this
country ¬tted in every way for the proper discharge of duties connected
with a constitutional form of Government™.22
Yule went further, saying:
There are many thousands of Hindu, Mohammedan, Eurasian, Parsee and other
gentlemen in the country who, if they were to transfer their persons to England for
twelve months or more and pay certain rates, would be quali¬ed to enjoy all the
rights and privileges of British subjects. If you and I go to England we are quali¬ed.
If we return to India our character changes, and we are not quali¬ed. In England we
should be trusted citizens. In India well, the charitably-minded among our oppo-
nents say that we are incipient traitors! (Loud and prolonged cheers and laughter.)23
Yule used a potent symbol of racial solidarity to say that some form of
limited enfranchisement . . . would draw into closer connection the two extreme
branches of the Aryan race, the common subjects of the Queen-Empress; a
measure which would unite England and India, not by the hard and brittle bonds
of arbitrary rule which may snap in a moment, but by the ¬‚exible and more
enduring ligaments of common interests promoted, common duties discharged,
by means of a common service, chosen with some regard to the principle of
representative government.24

W. C. Bonnerjee (intro.), Indian Politics (Madras, 1898), part II, 5.
Presidential address of Mr George Yule, Fourth Congress, Allahabad, 1888, in ibid., 25“6.
Ibid., 7. 24 Ibid., 31“2.
Four years after Yule had made his powerful speech for extending poli-
tical rights within India, Dadabhai Naoroji, a Parsee, was elected as a
Liberal MP for Finsbury Central in London, becoming the ¬rst Indian to
serve in parliament.25
Further enfranchisement for British men was no longer a matter of
anxious debate after 1885. The issue of women™s suffrage, however, had
emerged in the 1860s and persisted with increasing vehemence thereafter.
Although from 1870 women in Britain were granted the rights of local
political participation, their attempts to gain the parliamentary suffrage
were continually rebuffed.
Prior to the turn of the twentieth century and the South African War
some suffragists adapted not only classic liberalism™s arguments about
rights and equality, but also stressed duty, civic virtue and the value of
political participation for individual development that was being articu-
lated in ˜popular liberalism™ and elaborated later in New Liberalism.
Signi¬cantly, Victorian feminists prioritised the nation and its needs in
arguing for the emancipation of British women. They forged a discursive
link between women™s emancipation and Britain™s moral progress as a
nation, building upon imperialist ideas viewing empire ˜as a means of
moral self-elevation™.26
A key argument against suffrage for women was the so-called ˜physical
force argument™. Thus F. E. Smith maintained in the suffrage debate in
July 1910: ˜Votes are to swords exactly what bank notes are to gold “ the
one is effective only because the other is believed to be behind.™27 Empire
was critical to the ˜antis™ physical force argument in very direct ways.
Although the overlap between imperialists and anti-suffragists was only
partial, leading imperialists were major ¬gures in anti-suffrage leagues.28
One of the most prominent, Lord Curzon, maintained that granting
votes to women would ˜weaken Great Britain in the estimation of foreign
powers™ and would be ˜a source of weakness in India™.29 A. V. Dicey
expressed a common fear about women becoming a majority of a greatly
expanded electorate: ˜Is this the body to whom any patriot is willing

Naoroji was not the ¬rst Indian to stand for election in the metropole. See Rozina Visram, Asians
in Britain: 400 Years of History (London, 2002), 130“5.
Antoinette Burton, Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women and Imperial Culture,
1865“1915 (Chapel Hill and London, 1994), 41.
Quoted in Brian Harrison, Separate Spheres: The Opposition to Women™s Suffrage in Britain
(London, 1978), 73.
Ibid., 75“6.
NLOS Fawcett Archives Box 298 cited in Lisa Tickner, The Spectacle of Women: Imagery of the
Suffrage Campaign 1907“1914 (Chicago, 1988), 155.
Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928 283
deliberately to con¬de the government of England and the destinies of
the British Empire?™30
Advocates for women™s suffrage also appealed to imperialist and
nationalist sentiments in their arguments for the vote.31 Suffragists
claimed that their campaign was international, with the Dominions
leading the mother country.32 Indeed Australian feminist Vida Goldstein
came to London to lend support to the movement in Britain. As Angela
Woollacott described her London visit in 1911, her stance was not that ˜of
a white colonial ˜˜coming to learn from the metropolitan power™™, but
rather that of an experienced woman voter from a progressive country
who could extend the bene¬ts of her knowledge to her beleaguered
English sisters™.33 The antis, however, were quick to point out that using
the Dominions™ lead to argue for the suffrage in Britain was pointless. As
a Times editorial put it in 1910: ˜what value have the precedents of . . . our
Dominions between the Paci¬c and the Indian Oceans when applied to
an Empire such as ours™?34
Even more critically, Victorian feminists maintained that women™s
moral in¬‚uence was signi¬cant for Britain™s imperial duties.35 In the late
nineteenth century, the rhetoric of imperial feminists emphasised indi-
genous women™s suffering and the need for reform and uplift, but did
˜little to critique British colonialism or to distance The Cause from it™.36
Millicent Fawcett wrote to The Times in January 1889, recalling ˜the work
of Englishwomen in India . . . who have given up their lives in order to
lift up even by a little the lot of women in India. The touching affection
and reverence felt by native women in India to the English women who
have been thus their friends, so far from being likely to . . . ˜˜set Hin-
dostan on ¬re™™ ™ would be of great ˜political value if periods of storm and
stress should arise for our Indian Empire™.37 This was a sharp rebuke to
Goldwin Smith who had cautioned the public that enfranchised women
might ˜commence a political crusade against the Hindoo zenanas which
would set Hindostan on ¬re™.38
A. V. Dicey, letter to the editor of The Times, 23 March 1909, 6.
Harrison, Separate Spheres, 76; Burton, Burdens of History, ch. 6.
Christine Bolt, The Ideas of British Suffragism (London, 2000), 46.
Angela Woollacott, To Try Her Fortune in London: Australian Women, Colonialism, and Modernity
(Oxford, 2001), 116.
34 35
The Times, ˜The Women™s Franchise Debate™, 12 July 1910, 13. Burton, Burdens, 48.
Antoinette Burton, ˜˜˜States of Injury™™: Josephine Butler on Slavery, Citizenship, and the Boer
War™, in Ian Christopher Fletcher, Laura E. Nym Mayhall and Philippa Levine (eds), Women™s
Suffrage in the British Empire: Citizenship, Nation and Race (London and New York, 2000), 19.
Quoted by Millicent Garrett Fawcett in her letter to The Times, 4 January 1889, 5.
The Boer War was a crucial period for the suffrage movement. When the
con¬‚ict started, pro-Boer War suffragists Millicent Fawcett and Josephine
Butler argued that the suffrage should be expanded to those women who
met property quali¬cations on the grounds of their service to the nation
and empire.39 The Boer War highlighted other arguments for the suffrage,
most importantly for the militant suffrage movement, the relationship
between consent of the governed and governmental legitimacy.40 The
issues of consent and the principle of resistance were central to suffrage
militancy up until World War I, earning the respect of Indian nationalists
including Gandhi until the militants engaged in violence.41 Some Indian
women resident in the metropole were members of the Women™s Social
and Political Union and were active as tax resisters in the Women™s Tax
Resistance League founded in 1909, an offshoot of the Women™s Freedom
League.42 The theme of ˜no taxation without representation™ was also one
central to leaders of the early Indian National Congress as it was to Henry
Sylvester Williams, a founder of the Pan-African Conference.43 Although
the principle of resistance continued to be a feature of some militants™
understanding of citizenship during World War I, service to the nation and
empire became critical to debates about franchise reform in the metropole
and self-governance in India, to which we shall return.

good citizenship
From the 1880s the term ˜citizenship™ was increasingly used in public
debate and discussion to speak of duties that individuals owed to their
communities, the nation and the Empire. In the context of the expansion
of the suffrage, ˜New Imperialism™ and the spread of militarism, patriotic
leagues, religious associations, educationalists and youth groups became
preoccupied with ˜good citizenship™, a concern which ran across the
political spectrum.44
The values of good citizenship were most prominent in discussions
about educating the country™s youth in the years between the mid-1880s
and 1914. As Mangan argues, ˜the concept of imperial service was honed
Mayhall, Militant Suffrage Movement, 26. 40 Ibid. 41 Visram, Asians in Britain, 162.
Ibid., 163“8.
See, for example, Romesh C. Dutt, ˜Indian Aspirations Under British Rule™, in Bonnerjee, Indian
Politics, 49“58. On Williams and the Pan-African Conference, see Jonathan Schneer, London 1900:
The Imperial Metropolis (New Haven and London, 1999), 218. See also Schneer™s discussion of the
British Committee for the Indian National Congress, 188“202.
Bernard Shaw (ed.), Fabianism and the Empire: A Manifesto by the Fabian Society (London, 1900),
Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928 285
and rehoned by public school masters™ and ˜the beau ideal was the warrior
and the ultimate glory, sacri¬cial™.45 In an address, ˜Eton and the Empire™,
at the school in November 1890, Geoffrey Drage, an ˜old boy™, ended his
speech with a clarion call:
Strive to be ready when the call shall come, to whatever duty, to whatever
sacri¬ce, in whatever part of Her Majesty™s dominions. For you shall leave father
and mother and wife, and children for your Queen, your country or your faith.
You shall conquer and rule others as you have learnt to conquer and rule
Such addresses were symptomatic of a culture which was increasingly
militaristic (although not without substantial opposition), and in which
the association between militarism, empire and citizenship lent a decid-
edly masculinist tone to the language of citizenship.47 This was evident in
magazines for middle-class boys that equated citizenship with patri-
otism,48 while similar themes coloured children™s books and magazines.49
It was not just public schools that were concerned with empire and
citizenship. From the 1880s empire was also stressed in state schools. The
new voter, as Joseph Bristow has argued, ˜had to be trained not only to read
the right things . . . but he had also to meet the demands of becoming a
responsible citizen. Imperialism made the boy into an aggrandized sub-
ject “ British born and bred with the future of the world lying upon his
shoulders.™50 In 1886, Freeman Wills expressed the importance of educa-
tion about empire and citizenship for those boys, who might now as adults
be able to vote: ˜These are the future electors who . . . ought to be educated
with a view to the power they will wield . . . He cannot, with safety to the
empire, be allowed to be so ignorant as to be un¬t for his political trust,
like a loose ballast in a vessel, liable, in any agitation that may arise, to roll
from side to side and so destroy national stability.™51

J. A. Mangan, ˜Images of Empire in the Late Victorian Public School™, Journal of Educational
Administration and History, 12 (1) (1980), 37.
Geoffrey Drage, Eton and the Empire: An Address (Eton, 1890), 39“40.
Among others, see Kennedy, Britain and Empire, 26.
Robert H. MacDonald, ˜Reproducing the Middle-Class Boy: From Purity to Patriotism in the
Boys™ Magazines, 1892“1914™, Journal of Contemporary History, 24 (3) (1989), 519“39; Kelly Boyd,
Manliness and the Boys™ Story Paper in Britian: A Cultural History, 1855“1940 (Basingstoke, 2003).
Kathryn Castle, Britannia™s Children: Reading Colonialism Through Children™s Books and Magazines
(Manchester, 1996); Jeffrey Richards (ed.), Imperialism and Juvenile Literature (Manchester, 1989).
Joseph Bristow, Empire Boys: Adventures in a Man™s World (London, 1991), 19.
Quoted in ibid., 19. See Freeman Wills, ˜Recreative Evening Schools™, The Nineteenth Century,
20 (1886), 133. See also, for example, R. S. S. Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for
Instruction in Good Citizenship, rev. edn (London, 1908), 262“3.
Imperial nationalism infused elementary education in England from the
1880s.52 Books written on teaching methods advocated the importance of
teaching history so as to inculcate ˜patriotism and good citizenship . . . as
well as . . . moral training™.53 An array of voluntary associations, such as the
Victoria League, the Navy League and the League of Empire, actively
promoted and sponsored the publication of texts for elementary and sec-
ondary schools that would give students knowledge of the Empire and foster
a sense of citizenly duty to the imperial nation.54 Even if school boards
cautioned teachers not to adopt overtly political and/or ideological texts “
and some teachers were opposed to blatantly imperialist ideas “ textbooks
and readers generally were deeply engaged with imperialist ideas.55
Youth groups, with the Boy Scout movement being the most impor-
tant and popular, also stressed these virtues. The ¬rst edition of Scouting
for Boys (1908) was subtitled, ˜A Handbook for Instruction in Good
Citizenship™. Martial virility exempli¬ed by the movement™s founder,
Baden-Powell, the hero of Mafeking, was central to the image of
Scouting, although Baden-Powell himself attempted to distance his
movement from the contemporaneous debates about the military training
of youth.56 The movement grew rapidly in the years before World War I,
offering in its initial years an ideology that was ˜conservative and
defensive, seeking to ¬nd in patriotism and imperialism the cure for
an apparently disintegrating society . . . Its orientation was aggressively
masculine, its mission to save boys from the sapping habits of domestic
and urban life.™57 Baden-Powell also founded the Girl Guides Association
in 1909 to respond to the need to train girls to be responsible mothers in
England and in the Empire, but until World War I its popularity paled
when contrasted with the Boy Scouts.58
While the main thrust of education and training for citizenship was
aimed at young children, especially boys, voluntary associations concerned

Stephen Heathorn, For Home, Country, and Race: Constructing Gender, Class, and Englishness in the
Elementary School, 1880“1914 (Toronto, 2000).
John Mackenzie, Propaganda and Empire (Manchester, 1986), 177. For an insightful discussion of
English elementary education, see Pamela Horn, ˜English Elementary Education and the Growth
of the Imperial Ideal: 1880“1914™, in J. A. Mangan (ed.), ˜Bene¬ts Bestowed™? Education and British
Imperialism (Manchester, 1988), 39“55.
Mackenzie, Propaganda and Empire, ch. 6. 55 Heathorn, For Home, esp. 205“18.
Bristow, Empire Boys, 177.
Robert H. MacDonald, Sons of the Empire: The Frontier and the Boy Scout Movement, 1890“1918

(Toronto, 2003), 8.
Allen Warren, ˜˜˜Mothers for the Empire™™? The Girl Guides Association in Britain, 1909“1939™, in
J. A. Mangan (ed.), Making Imperial Mentalities: Socialisation and British Imperialism (Manchester,
1990), 101.
Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928 287
with education attempted to reach adults through, for instance, Frederick
Swann™s text, English Citizenship (1913), used in education classes held for
soldiers and written with ˜older pupils™ in mind or through Violet Mark-
ham™s work for the Victoria League, lecturing about empire to ˜working
men in the North of England™.59
These preoccupations with the inculcation of good citizenship among
boys and men were connected to wider concerns within the context of the
Boer War and after. There was a melding together of a concern with
empire, a din about national ef¬ciency and a challenge to gender relations
embodied in the suffrage movement.
There developed a new focus on the bodies of the working class and the
poor amid fears of physical and ˜racial™ degeneration and of the ¬tness of
potential recruits to the military. Further, there was an elaboration of social
policies and ideas of welfare that began to generate ideas about social rights.60
The Liberal reforms of 1906“14 carried the idea of bene¬ts commensurate
with the ˜contributions™ of individuals and groups to the society. They were
bounded by a concern with distinctions within the male working class, the
male breadwinner, and an effective demarcation between ˜native citizens™
who might be entitled to support and ˜aliens™ who were to be excluded.61
But if, at this period, men were to be physically trained and morally
educated to stave off fears of ˜degeneration™, it was particularly maternity
that became central. Fears of degeneration were tied to expectations of
reforming mothers who would ful¬l their duties to the imperial nation.
After the Boer War women were to be imperial mothers, just as men were
to be imperial soldiers,62 which was re¬‚ected in a ˜domestic™ bias in
the curriculum for elementary schoolgirls, evident as early as 1905 in the
Board of Education™s assertion that ˜girls must . . . be taught to set a high
value on the housewife™s position™.63
Violet Markham to Hilda Cashmore, 1 October 1911, repr. in Violet Markham, Duty and
Citizenship: The Correspondence and Political Papers of Violet Markham, 1896“1953, ed. Helen Jones
(London, 1994), 40.
These ideas and practices clearly pre¬gure the more elaborate articulations of ˜social citizenship™
and the elaboration of the ˜social democratic state™ from the First World War onwards. Cf. for
instance the discussion in Susan Pedersen, ˜Gender, Welfare, and Citizenship in Britain During
the Great War™, American Historical Review, 95 (1990), 983“1006. But this is a theme which we
cannot pursue here.
We are thinking here of the recommendations of the Report of the Inter-Departmental
Committee on Physical Deterioration (1904) and the subsequent policies introduced under the
Liberals (1906“14), including national insurance (1911), free school meals (1906) and grants for
maternal and child welfare. In the Old Age Pensions Act (1908), for example, pensions were to be
denied to ˜aliens or the wives of aliens™.
Anna Davin, ˜Imperialism and Motherhood™, History Workshop Journal, 5 (1978), 9“65.
Horn, ˜English Elementary Education™, 52.
While there certainly were differences in the way that ˜good citizenship™
was articulated, the omnipresence of the term re¬‚ects a major shift in how
the concept of citizenship was understood. It was part and parcel of a
transformation in ideas about the state, homed in on from radically dif-
ferent perspectives as the source of the imperial nation™s ˜common good™.

citizenship and empire, 1914À1928
During the First World War the concept of ˜good citizenship™ meant
service to the nation. In the context of the horri¬c loss of life the con-
sequences of this emphasis were profound. In 1918, manhood suffrage
became universal and the vote was extended to women over thirty who,
on their own, were entitled to vote in local government elections, or were
married to men who were so entitled. Whereas militant suffragists had
emphasised the notion of ˜consent™ in arguing for the suffrage after the
Boer War, many of them as well as others in the larger movement
refashioned the idea of service. They publicly demonstrated their patri-
otism emphasising their own sacri¬ces for the war effort. Christabel and
Emmeline Pankhurst along with Millicent Fawcett and other suffragists,
using ˜the spectacle of female patriotism that featured a condemnation
of paci¬st male cowardice, disrupted a notion of citizenship based on
manhood alone™.64 The prominence in wartime culture of the notions of
service and sacri¬ce, including mothers sacri¬cing sons and the war ser-
vice of those soldier-sons who before 1918 would have been excluded from
the vote because of residency requirements, led to a widespread trans-
formation of political sensibility and a massive expansion of the electo-
rate. As Gullace has argued, ˜Instead of vindicating the ˜˜physical force™™
argument, war ironically revealed its two fundamental ¬‚aws: ¬rst, that not
all men able to bear arms were willing to do so and, second, that women™s
contribution to making war was far from negligible.™65
Although the vote for women™s suffrage in both Houses of Parliament
was overwhelmingly positive, diehard antis continued to press the idea
that women were un¬t to participate in the imperial parliament.66 In the
House of Lords debate on 9 June 1918, which approved the clause for
women™s suffrage by a large majority, the dedicated anti, Earl Loreburn,
argued that he wouldn™t object to women™s suffrage if parliament only
Nicoletta F. Gullace, ˜The Blood of Our Sons™: Men, Women, and the Renegotiation of British
Citizenship During the Great War (New York, 2002), 6.
Ibid., 9.
Harold L. Smith, The British Women™s Suffrage Campaign, 1866“1928 (London, 1998), 68.
Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928 289
dealt with domestic issues, but the House of Commons decided issues
relating to Crown colonies and India. The Earl asked rhetorically, ˜was it
desirable in the interest of the Empire that feminine in¬‚uence should be
very powerful at once, and most probably predominant in the very near
future of questions of peace and war?™67 Lord Crewe, in his response to
such arguments and in supporting the clause for women™s suffrage,
˜recalled that women had taken a far greater share in the service of the
nation and the Empire during the war than anybody had previously
thought possible™.68 While suffragists like Millicent Fawcett had always
touted women™s positive role in the Empire as a reason for their being
deserving of the suffrage, people such as Lord Crewe became convinced
by the dramatic enactments of patriotism, love of country and loyalty to
the Empire that suffragists had displayed during the war.69
Indian nationalists in Britain and in India were keenly interested in the
debates on the Women™s Suffrage clause of the Representation of the
People Bill. The British Committee for the Indian National Congress, in
its weekly newspaper published in London, India, commented on Tory
MP Sir Frederick Banbury™s rejection of the clause in a 1917 debate
because of the ˜effect which would be produced upon the Oriental mind
by the admission of women to the franchise™. While the MP argued that
˜Orientals would distrust government by women™, India retorted, ˜We do
not know what authority [he] has for his statement . . . But we can assure
him that Indians will most certainly want to know why men in India are
to be denied a ˜˜right™™ which is conceded to women in England.™70
Importantly, in the special session of the Indian National Congress held in
Bombay in 1918 to formulate demands for Home Rule, Mrs Sarojini Naidu
introduced Resolution VIII, Women™s Franchise. The speech by Shrimati
Ansuya Sarabar seconding the resolution is especially relevant to this essay:
If women™s rights as citizens of this land . . . are not granted now, the time will
surely come when they will secure them by their own efforts. You cannot but be
acquainted with the struggle of the English women for justice. Such a struggle is
not wanted in this country . . . You are all assembled here to preserve your self-
respect, to free yourselves from the fetters of dependency. You have fully realized
what it is to submit to injustice and tyranny . . . I, therefore ask you “ my
countrymen, whether you will deny to your sisters the rights you demand for
yourselves? India™s heart is not England™s.71
67 68
As reported in The Times, 10 January 1918, 10. Ibid., 7.
This point is made forcefully by Gullace, ˜Blood of Our Sons™, 188“91.
India, 22 June 1917, 236.
Report of the Special Session of the Indian National Congress, Bombay 29 August“1 September
1918, reprinted in K. C. Sankarakrishna (ed.), India™s Demands for Home Rule (Madras, 1918).
A majority carried the resolution.
Wartime propaganda in Britain had especially highlighted imperial
contributions and the cooperation of the dependencies and the Domin-
ions in the war effort. Books, pamphlets and speeches praised the con-
tributions of the various members of the Empire, doing so in ways that
underscored Great Britain™s benevolence and predicting that as a con-
sequence of the war, the Empire would be made stronger. Basil Mathews,
writing in 1917, for example, spoke of ˜the ¬‚aming response of a world-
wide Empire to the need of the Mother-country. The secret of the
rally . . . lies hidden in that word ˜˜Mother-country™™. Our men from the
dominions, the Crown Colonies, and the Dependency of India are sons,
not subjects of the Home-land.™72 Sir Harry H. Johnston, former First
Commissioner and Consul General in British Central Africa, wrote in the
same year of ˜the principle that the dark-skinned races of every degree of
civilization have come to the assistance of the (British and Belgian and
French) White peoples because our recent treatment of them has, in the
main, won their gratitude™.73 He also interestingly insisted that Great
Britain would have an obligation, after the war, ˜to recognize and af¬rm
his [the black man™s] rights as a citizen of the Empire™.74
While the war may have been a high point of imperial unity, it also was
a turning point in British imperial relations.75 As a consequence of their
wartime contributions, the Dominions and colonies began ˜to claim with
greater vigour new rights and privileges™.76 Thus at the thirty-¬rst meeting
of the Indian National Congress, Pandit Jagat Narain, Chairman of the
Reception Committee, argued that India should have the same status as
the Dominions and that Britain should announce that ˜Self-Governing
India is the goal of her policy and grant us a substantial instalment of
reform after the war, as a step towards that goal™.77 He argued:
[T]he assistance rendered by India during the War has ¬red her
imagination . . . She has acquired a new spirit of self-reliance and dignity, and
Basil Mathews, Three Years™ War for Peace (London, 1917), 37.
Sir Harry H. Johnston, GCMG, The Black Man™s Part in the War (London, 1917), 9“10.
Ibid., 9.
On wartime tensions within the Empire see Stephen Constantine, Maurice W. Kirby and Mary B.
Rose (eds.), The First World War in British History (London, 1995), 264“70.
Quote from George Robb, British Culture and the First World War (Basingstoke, 2002), 6. See also
Robert Holland, ˜The British Empire and the Great War, 1914“1918™, in Wm. Roger Louis (ed.), The
Oxford History of the British Empire, 5 vols. (Oxford, 1998“9), vol. IV: The Twentieth Century, ed.
Judith M. Brown and Wm. Roger Louis (1999), 114“37; Judith M. Brown, ˜India™, in ibid., 421“46,
esp. 429“30. Especially relevant and helpful on this is Richard Smith, Jamaican Volunteers in the First
World War: Race, Masculinity and the Development of National Consciousness (Manchester, 2004).
Quoted in Sankarakrishna, India™s Demands, 6.
Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928 291
realised her own worth by coming to Britain™s help at a critical juncture. The
battle¬elds of Europe, Africa and Asia bear witness to the ¬ghting qualities of her
sons, and their deeds of heroism, written in characters of blood, have thrilled
every Indian heart.78
Although the demands for representative institutions in India had grown
louder in the years just prior to the war, the war accelerated their pace and
the principle of Home Rule was ¬rst articulated by Congress in 1914.79
Following the very limited reforms of the Government of India Act of
1919 and the Rowlatt Bill curtailing civil liberties, there was widespread
disaffection and protest, including the Amritsar massacre and the
beginnings of Gandhi™s satyagraha movement in Bombay.80
Predictably, one response to the expansion of the electorate in the
metropole was once again to insist that voters needed to be educated for
citizenship, and that with rights came duties: ˜democracy meant active
participation in citizenship and that in consequence adult education was
not a luxury, but a permanent national necessity inseparable from citi-
zenship, and should be both permanent and life long™.81
The message sounds similar to the pre-war one. Indeed, many of the
same history texts that had been taught in schools as part of the effort to
teach citizenship and imperial responsibility continued to be used. But there
was a shift in the larger political culture of the time that affected how
empire was represented and how the meanings of citizenship were articu-
lated. Dominating public and political culture in the postwar years was the
Russian Revolution and rising fears of Bolshevism in the metropole and in
the Empire which shifted the framework in which empire was understood.
Social divisiveness and rising nationalism in India were widely feared to
be inspired by communists.82 This fear was critical to reshaping the
meanings of citizenship. The Primrose League couched its mission to
keep women ˜on . . . the side of Imperial thought and Imperial Action™
within the horror it called ˜the Bolshevik Bacillus™.83 The British Empire

Ibid., 4“5.
Harish P. Kaushik, Indian National Congress in England (Delhi, 1991), 98.
Derek Sayer, ˜British Reaction to the Amritsar Massacre 1919“1920™, Past and Present, 131 (1991), 135.
Ministry of Reconstruction: Adult Education Committee: Final Report, PP1919 (321) XXVIII, 453.
The Indian Political Intelligence ¬les held in the Oriental and India Of¬ce Collections, British
Library, contain extensive material bearing on this. For a guide see A. J. Farrington (ed.), Indian
Political Intelligence (IPI) Files, 1912“1950 (London, 2000), available at http://www.idc.nl/pdf/
˜The Bolshevik Bacillus™, Primrose League Gazette, 26 No. 106 (August 1918), 4, cited in Matthew
Hendley, ˜Constructing the Citizen: The Primrose League and the De¬nition of Citizenship in the
Age of Mass Democracy in Britain, 1918“1928™, Journal of the Canadian Historical Association,
7 (1996), 136.
Union, founded in 1915 originally named the Anti-German Union,
shifted its focus to the Labour Party and the threat of socialism, issuing a
series of pamphlets from 1918 denouncing the party as an ˜internal peril™
and lambasting Russia.84 As they put it in 1928, they opposed ˜all those
who by word or deed do anything against the interests of the British
Empire “ Our Motherland “ by . . . undermining the loyalty of our
people, by fomenting and encouraging strikes or sedition, by attempting
to overthrow the Constitution of the country™.85
In the tumultuous years of the immediate postwar period contemporary
perception focused on fears ˜that the barbarism of war had left an indelible
mark on British society™.86 As a consequence, Jon Lawrence suggests, by
1921 militarism ˜had been banished to the margins of political life™.87
Some historians have argued that along with the fading of militarism,
the late Victorian and Edwardian imperialist creed fell out of favour as it
became ˜identi¬ed with war and came under attack from the growing
paci¬st element in British society™.88 Additionally, a refurbished con-
struction of masculinity came into prominence “ one with echoes of the
mid-nineteenth-century middle-class manly ideal that emphasised
domesticity. This new home-loving, family-oriented quintessentially
middle-class and conservative vision of masculinity promised to heal the
dislocations of war and return the nation to normalcy.89
A new or modi¬ed discourse of masculine citizenship centred on a
reimagined ideal of respectable manliness and focused on the necessity
of behaving in a ˜constitutional™ manner and exercising ˜responsible™
citizenship. This revised version of masculine citizenship was constructed
in opposition to those ˜unconstitutional™ working-class militants pro-
testing against unemployment or engaged in events such as the General
Strike of 1926. This conception of masculine citizenship was promulgated
with extraordinary effectiveness by Stanley Baldwin, Conservative Prime
Minister for much of the period, who continually reminded his audiences
of the disaster of war and the need to avert con¬‚ict and ˜elided in his

For the World War I period, see Panikos Panayi, ˜The British Empire Union in the First World
War™, in Tony Kushner and Kenneth Lunn (eds.), The Politics of Marginality: Race, the Radical
Right and Minorities in Twentieth Century Britain (London, 1990), 113“30.
British Empire Union, Annual Report, 1928, 51.
Jon Lawrence, ˜Forging a Peaceable Kingdom: War, Violence and the Fear of Brutalization in Post
First World War Britain™, Journal of Modern History, 75 (2004), 557“89, quotation at 558.
Ibid., 557.
James G. Greenlee, Education and Imperial Unity, 1901“1926 (New York and London, 1987), 178.
Alison Light, Forever England: Femininity, Literature and Conservatism Between the Wars (London,
Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928 293
speeches the violence of the trenches with the violence of domestic social
Along with his focus on ˜constitutionalism™, Baldwin underscored the
equation between citizenship and service that had been reinvigorated
during the war, especially when he spoke of the Empire. Men™s respon-
sibility lay in helping to spread ˜the peoples of our Empire, the ideals of
our Empire, the trade of our Empire from one side of the world to the
other™.91 He tied this to a theme that peppered his speeches and radio
broadcasts “ the Englishman™s ˜love of home . . . that makes our race seek
its new home in the Dominions overseas . . . They go overseas, and they
take with them what they learned at home: Love of justice, love of truth,
and the broad humanity that are so characteristic of English people.™92
Baldwin™s emphasis on service and respectful behaviour was echoed in
publications such as Scouting for Boys. In the twelfth edition of the book,
published in 1926, Baden-Powell emphasised that the aim of Scout
training was to ˜replace Self with Service, to make the lads . . . ef¬cient,
morally and physically, with the object of using that ef¬ciency for the
service of the community . . . I don™t mean by this the mere soldiering
and sailoring services; we have no military aim or practice in our
movement; but I mean the ideals of service for their fellow-men.™93
According to Williamson, Baldwin™s pronouncements on empire had
three goals: to reinforce the aim of domestic stabilisation and
consolidate support for the Conservative Party; to persuade voters to
support the continuance of empire, being concerned that postwar popular
prejudice might mount against imperial defence; and to help convince
the Dominions and India that their future lay with the Empire.94 With
the formal bonds of empire loosening, Baldwin found it necessary to
distance himself and his party from an ˜imperialist assertiveness™. Empire
was no longer to be associated with militarism and aggression.95
When Baldwin spoke of empire he generally referred to the white, self-
governing Dominions, and during the 1920s he repeatedly expressed his

Bill Schwarz, ˜The Language of Constitutionalism: Baldwinite Conservatism™, in Formations of
Nation and People (London, 1984), 7.
Stanley Baldwin, ˜Democracy and the Spirit of Service™ (speech given at Albert Hall, 4 December
1924), in On England (London, 1926), 84.
Stanley Baldwin, ˜On England and the West™ (speech at the annual dinner of the Royal Society of
St George, 6 May 1924), in On England, 8.
R. Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys, 12th edn (London, 1926), 5“6.
Philip Williamson, Stanley Baldwin: Conservative Leadership and National Values (Cambridge,
1999), 262“3.
Ibid., 264.
desire for a ˜uni¬ed Empire “ with one home and one people™ with ˜one
citizenship™.96 In his Empire Day broadcast of 1927 he said, speaking of
the Dominions, ˜we must devote our best energies in the years to
come . . . to make our unity such a reality that men and women regard
the Empire as one, and that it may become possible for them to move
within its bounds to New Zealand, to Australia, to South Africa, to
Canada, as freely as from Glasgow to London or Bristol to Newcastle™.97
Then he spoke of the ˜direct responsibilities™ that the British had for the
˜Colonies, Protectorates, and Mandated Territories™, and with regard to
India talked about Britain™s policy of ˜progressive realization of responsible
Government™.98 In closing he talked of the ethic of service: ˜In a world still
suffering from the shock of war, the British Empire stands ¬rm as a great
force for good . . . It invites and requires some service of us all.™99
Although certainly trade within the Empire had been central to debates
in the late Victorian and Edwardian era with Chamberlain™s Free Trade
Association, ˜buying empire™ without a change in tariff laws became a major
focus of imperial advocates both in and out of government in the 1920s
leading to the establishment of the Empire Marketing Board in 1926.
The Primrose League, while supporting Britain™s imperial role,
increasingly focused its efforts on encouraging women to purchase empire
products. The British citizen was someone who supported the Empire as
a citizen-consumer,100 a theme echoed by the British Women™s Patriotic
League that established in 1922 an annual Empire Shopping Week to
encourage trade with the Dominions.
Perhaps the most important event bringing the Empire home in these
years was the 1924 Wembley British Empire Exhibition. Over twenty-
seven million people visited it “ equivalent to over half the British
population “ with some going several times. It was staged again in 1925.
According to Denis Judd, the exhibition was partly ˜a celebration of the
imperial achievement, partly a gigantic advertisement for the
Empire . . . and partly an exercise in reassurance™.101 As he put it, it was
staged to ˜promote and reinterpret the imperial ideal amid the fresh
challenges of the postwar world™.102 The organisers promoted the ˜Fel-
lowship of the British Empire Exhibition™ which, like a museum
Ibid., 261, 272.
Stanley Baldwin, ˜The Privilege of Empire™ (Empire Day Broadcast, 1927), in Our Inheritance:
Speeches and Addresses (London, 1928), 68“9.
98 99
Ibid., 71. 100 Kennedy, Britain and Empire, 5.
Ibid., 70“1.
Denis Judd, Empire: The British Imperial Experience, from 1765 to the Present (London, 1996), 275.
Ibid., 276.
Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928 295
membership, allowed members unlimited access to the exhibition for its
duration. With the proceeds from the Fellowships being used for imperial
education, membership was advertised as ˜a certi¬cate of active citizenship,
neither more nor less. It [the Fellowship] proclaims the men and women
who realise that the British heritage was not won and cannot be sustained
without effort, and this effort must not be limited to the few who in every
generation sacri¬ce their lives for the Empire.™103
Importantly, the displays of imperial products, like those in depart-
ment stores, were addressed to women, especially to middle-class women,
as consumers.104 Men at the exhibition were speci¬cally addressed in the
Palace of Engineering and His Majesty™s Government Building as
builders and developers of the Empire. The exhibition also advertised the
raw materials produced in the Empire for British manufacturing ¬rms
and, like a gigantic and spectacular Empire Shopping Week, it promoted
food and consumer products from Great Britain and the Empire to
British women.105
The themes of women citizens as consumers of empire and men as
producers and builders of empire were also to shape the promotional
material produced by the Empire Marketing Board established in 1926.
Chaired by Colonial Secretary Leo Amery, it aimed ˜to project an image
of the British Empire to the general public in order to stimulate empire
trade™.106 The Board was disbanded in 1933 after Britain and the
Dominions adopted a tariff-driven ˜imperial preference™ scheme. Until
then its primary efforts had been educational, producing material for
schools along with posters, ¬lms and radio broadcasts for the general
public, and it organised Empire Shopping Weeks in over two hundred
towns.107 The posters put out by the EMB depicted men as ˜Empire
Builders™ and showed women buying empire products, especially food.108
The idea of women as citizen-consumers was spread further by the BBC™s
1924 Of¬cial Guide, 105 cited in Emily Klancher, ˜Consuming the British Empire at the Wembley
Exhibition, 1924“1925™ (unpublished paper, 2004).
Interestingly, Judith Walkowitz has suggested that the ¬rst department stores in London
emulated colonial exhibitions. Judith Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual
Danger in Late Victorian London (Chicago, 1992), 48.
We are indebted to Emily Klancher for permitting us to draw from her as yet unpublished work.
David Meredith, ˜Imperial Images: The Empire Marketing Board, 1926“32™, History Today,
37 (1987), 3.
For a brief discussion of the EMB, see Thomas G. August, The Selling of the Empire: British and
French Imperialist Propaganda, 1890“1940 (Westport, CT and London, 1985), esp. 74“9.
Stephen Constantine, ˜˜˜Bringing the Empire Alive™™: The Empire Marketing Board and Imperial
Propaganda, 1926“33™, in J. M. MacKenzie (ed.), Imperialism and Popular Culture (Manchester,
1986), ch. 9; Stephen Constantine, Buy and Build: The Advertising Posters of the Empire Marketing
Board (London, 1986).
Household Talks in 1928 in collaboration with the EMB to encourage
and instruct women in the use of empire materials and goods. These
Talks were published with notes by the EMB, proclaiming ˜Empire
buying offers to us all an opportunity of national service. To us and to
our fellow-citizens overseas the task is entrusted of securing the happiness
and prosperity of a quarter of the world.™109
While women were being drawn into the project of imperial consump-
tion, the mid-1920s witnessed a revival of pre-war agitation for universal
suffrage on an equal basis for women and men although a variety of feminist
groups had been active since 1918. Lady Rhondda™s Equal Political Rights
Demonstration Committee organised a mass march from the Embankment
and rally in Hyde Park on 2 July 1926 with 3,500 women participating while
Mrs Eliott Lynn ¬‚ew over the marchers in an aeroplane.110 The press por-
trayed it as a revival of the spirit of pre-war militancy.111
A primary concern of those who were chary of extending the suffrage
to women over twenty-one was that women would be a signi¬cant
majority of the electorate. While there was no large-scale opposition to
equalising the franchise in the bill™s second reading of 1928, Conservatives
had earlier expressed considerable hostility to adding younger women to
the registers. Anxiety that women, as a majority of voters, would ˜swamp™
the elections became entangled in some sectors of public opinion with the
threat of socialism.112 But it was the idea that women would be a majority
of electors that was at the basis of the opposition to the 1928 franchise bill,
especially as women rather than men would determine the fate of the
Empire. As the Tory MP, Colonel Applin, said:
We are governing a great Empire . . . and that Empire comprises not only
our . . . Dominions, but the largest Mohammedan population in the world. We
are the greatest Mohammedan power in the world . . . What will be the effect on
the great Mohammedan population of the world of granting the franchise in this
country “ the governing country “ to a majority of 2,200,000 women over men?
[Laughter] . . . We are trying to give India Home Rule, but we are asking the
people not to be in a hurry . . . If this Bill becomes law, what a weapon we will
put into the hands of the agitators if we tell the Hindus of India that they are to
be ruled by a majority of women!113

BBC Household Talks, 1928: Extracts . . . with Notes by the Empire Marketing Board (London,

1929), 172.
Johanna Alberti, ˜ ˜˜A Symbol and a Key™™: The Suffrage Movement in Britain, 1918“1928™, in June
Purvis and Sandra Stanley Holton (eds), Votes for Women (London, 2000), 283.
Smith, British Women™s Suffrage, 77. 112 Alberti, ˜A Symbol™, 274.
Parliamentary Debates, 5th ser., vol. CCXV, Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Bill
(2nd reading), col. 1391, 29 March 1928.
Citizenship and empire, 1867“1928 297
The Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson responded:
really, are British women to be kept down to the level of any backward races that
happen to be under the British Crown? Mohammedans may not be backward
culturally, but they are certainly backward, or were backward “ they have come
along astonishingly in the last year or two “ in their treatment of women, and we
hope that the example set in this country will bring them along still more . . .
India was governed with apparently great success by a woman ruler, namely the
late Queen Victoria, and, as a matter of fact, in every Province of India to-day,
women already have the vote.114
At the end of the debate Stanley Baldwin encouraged parliament ˜to fall
in line with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of
America, to mention only the English-speaking countries™ because
women™s part in the war made it seem ˜to be something almost ridiculous
in refusing her [woman™s] claim to equal citizenship™.115 There were but
ten votes opposing the bill. Universal suffrage was now a fact.
The domestic debates about citizenship did not, of course, end with
the granting of universal suffrage. The rights and duties of citizens were of
primary concern to political parties and others in the 1930s and beyond.116
At the same time, Ellen Wilkinson™s tortured response evokes themes
which both reach back into the domestic debates about citizenship and
look forward to later discourses. Here is an advocate of women™s rights,
the defender of the right to work for working-class men “ she was
associated above all with the Jarrow marches of the 1930s “ and a leading
¬gure in the claims of Labour to create a wider, more participatory
citizenship within the nation. Yet her placing of ˜Mohammedans™ within
a hierarchy of race in the context of a discussion of citizenship rights
could only be possible because of the shifting terrain of discourses of race
and nation, class and gender. Far from the expansion of citizenship being
a more or less unproblematic widening of rights within Britain, the
shaping of the meanings of citizenship was always, as we have shown in
this paper, entwined with questions of empire.

Ibid., col. 1403. 115 Ibid., cols. 1472, 1474.
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