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From "Masterly Inactivity" to Limited Autonomy

Title: From "Masterly Inactivity" to Limited Autonomy: Afghanistan as a Catalyst for Liberal Imperialism.
Name(s): Laffer, Stephanie, author
Upchurch, Charles, professor directing thesis
Grant, Jonathan, committee member
Garretson, Peter, committee member
Department of History, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2005
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Afghanistan was both the site of an experiment in traditional imperialism, as well as the first area where the concept of Liberal imperialism was introduced. The end of the Second Afghan War was a catalyst for British foreign policy. The aftermath of this war would lead to a reassessment of the goals of British imperial policy, including the eventual changes in the definition of imperialism. This thesis seeks to establish the role of the British experience in Afghanistan in the creation of Liberal imperialism. The personal beliefs and experiences of the most important figure of the Liberal Party, William Ewart Gladstone, the Prime Minister of Britain at the conclusion of the Second Afghan War (1878-1881), will be used to examine the moral values espoused by the Liberal Party in Afghanistan. These values can be seen in many contemporary sources, such as newspapers and Gladstone's personal correspondence and diaries. As this thesis intends to prove the British experience in Afghanistan served as a catalyst for Liberal imperialism, the term must first be defined by a study of the historiography of British imperial policy. To further this understanding of the British policies, attention will be paid to contemporary newspapers' portrayal of Afghanistan and Gladstone's actions concerning the country. In addition to papers from Britain, one newspaper from India, The Times of India, will also be consulted to gain local citizens impressions on the war. Although newspapers serve as an excellent source of contemporary opinion, letters written by and to Gladstone show another side of the issue. In his personal correspondence and diaries, Gladstone reveals his own opinions on Afghanistan, and how his policies in the country are a part of the overall moral foreign policy he advocated for Britain. The changes in British imperial policy initiated by the Liberal Imperialists would last until the end of the British Empire. Although most historians see the beginnings of Liberal imperialism with the struggle for African dominance in the late 1880s and 1890s, the role of the Second Afghan War and the resulting changes in foreign policy marked this turn towards a new imperialism. The impact of the British experience in Afghanistan is overlooked in the historiography of liberal imperialism, yet its role as a catalyst for new ideas of imperialism for both the Conservative and Liberal parties is not one which can be forgotten.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-3321 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of History in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2005.
Date of Defense: March 25, 2005.
Keywords: Russia, Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone, Eastern Question
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Charles Upchurch, Professor Directing Thesis; Jonathan Grant, Committee Member; Peter Garretson, Committee Member.
Subject(s): History
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Laffer, S. (2005). From "Masterly Inactivity" to Limited Autonomy: Afghanistan as a Catalyst for Liberal Imperialism. Retrieved from