The Britain of the East: Liberalism, Darwinism, and British Perceptions of Japan, 1851-1914

Tags: Japan, Great Britain, Edwardian era, H.G. Wells, British History, Table of Contents, Japan Punch, Isabella Bird, Thesis Georgetown University, Rudyard Kipling, Reform Movement, Britain of Gladstone, Henry Dyer, Japan movement, national spirit, Alfred Stead, military alliance, Britain, Japanese armed forces
Content: The Britain of the East Liberalism, Darwinism, and British Perceptions of Japan 1851-1914 Matthew K. Giffin History Senior Honors Thesis Georgetown University, May 2010
Table of Contents
Chapter I Chapter II Chapter III Chapter IV Chapter V Bibliography
Introduction: The View from the Summit
The Evolving Darwinian Worldview
1. Darwinism and Liberalism
13
2. The Liberal View of Japan
21
3. The fin-de-siиcle and Degeneration Anxiety 35
The Edwardian Crisis
1. The Boer War and the Passing of an Era
46
2. The Co-Efficients and the Reform Movement 58
3. The Edwardian Crisis in British History and 71 Historiography
The Britain of the East: Japan in the Edwardian Era
1. Japan on the World Stage
76
!" "%earn fro, -a.an"
84
3. Japan and the Utopian Impulse
100
Conclusion: A Crisis Reconsidered
1. Image and Reality
106
2. The Strange Rebirth of Liberal England
111
"#$$#% & 2 13 46 76 106 117
Chapter 1 0 The View from the Summit
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Of the many national triumphs celebrated by Great Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria, one of the greatest and most memorable occurred nearly at the midpoint of a century in which British power and the example of British institutions stood astride the world. The Great Exhibition of 1851, housed in the grandiose glass-and-iron Crystal Palace in %ondon's 56de Park, ran from May to October and drew exhibitors and visitors from countries around the world. The Exhibition was many things 0 .ar7l6 a .ersonal a9:ie;e,en7 for and, Albert; partly a showcase of imperial splendor; partly a trades exposition; and partly a prototype for the ?orld's @air ,o;e,en7 A:i9: Ao=ld flo=ris: for more than a century thereafter in cities around the world. In retrospect, however, it became something far more significant: a portrait of a nation and an ideology at their apex. As Prince Albert, the moving spirit behind the festivities, declared near 7:e 7i,e of 7:e BC:i>i7ion's o.eningE i7 s7ood as an irref=7a>le 7oFen of :is ado.7ed 9o=n7r6's as9endan96E a "9onfir,a7ion of 7:e .la9e Bngland :as 7aFen in 7:e Aorld""1 Great Britain in 1851 stood at a .la9e rarel6E if e;erE a9:ie;ed in B=ro.e's :is7or6" Gin9e the final defeat of Napoleon more than a generation before, no country had approached the level of continental hegemony aspired to by revolutionary France. France itself was recovering from an 1848 revolution which had demonstrated yet again what appeared to be its inherent political instability; still viewed from across the Channel as a latent rival, it had nonetheless fallen behind Britain economically. The Russian empire, despite its immense size and looming geopolitical menace, remained backward and almost entirely pre-industrial. Only H=ssia's defeat in the Crimean War in 1853-1854 would be a major catalyst for its halting, painful process of modernization later in the century. Germany and Italy languished in political fragmentation,
& ()*% +, -./#01 The Great Exhibition 23)%4)%5 6778% 9:;;)%1 &<<<= >, "#$$#% @ while reactionary regimes in Vienna and Berlin evinced little interest in dislodging the status quo. Even the United States, which in later decades would loom as the greatest rival and partner of all for Britain, remained in the early stages of its headlong rush to industrialization. Still benefiting from the tremendous head start afforded by its status as the homeland of the Industrial Revolution, the Britain which hosted the Great Exhibition stood confidently without rivals in the economic world. ?i7: onl6 7Ao .er9en7 of 7:e Aorld's .o.=la7ionE Iri7ain's .rod=97ion and consumption of such resources as iron, coal, and cotton equaled or exceeded the combined total for every other nation.2 Buoyed by this economic strength and the unquestioned supremacy of its navy, Britain had pulled safely free from the rivalries and dangers of European politics, embarked on what Lord Palmerston would later call its .a7: of "s.lendid isola7ion""3 J:e BC:i>i7ion's organiKers in7ended Iri7is: ironAorFingE 7eC7ilesE and lo9o,o7i;es 7o i,.ress 7:e 9o=n7r6's ad;an9ed e9ono,i9 de;elo.,en7 =.on foreign ;isi7orsE but the displays were also intended as a powerful testament to the success of the na7ion's li>eral ;al=es" Liberalism never commanded an absolute consensus in Parliament or in the press, and its exact nature was as difficult to define in 1851 as it is now, but few observers at the time questioned that Britain was a liberal country, and a beacon to the rest of the world at that. In the aftermath of the 1848 revolutions 0 in which liberals and radicals throughout Europe had tried, and for the most part failed, to spearhead change towards constitutionalism and representative institutions 0 Britons could point with pride to their system of constitutional monarchy and gradualist reform. One newspaper account called the public behavior of Queen Victoria at the Exhibition a ",agnifi9en7 lesson for foreigners""4 Furthermore, the industrialists who displayed their wares at 7:e Lr6s7al Mala9e 9o=ld .oin7 7o 7:eir 9o=n7r6's e9ono,i9 ,agnificence as an eloquent argument ' A.:7 B8%%84C1 The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers 2D8E F)GH5 +.%4)I J):081 &, &L&, @ M,-, 9;88781 Palmerston and Liberalism 2D8E F)GH5 N.IOG#4P8 Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 &<<&= R -./#01 >, [email protected]@,
"#$$#% R for two other pillars of the liberal creed: individualism and free trade. It was private initiative (or at least so the myth went) which had given birth to the innovations of the eighteenth and nine7een7: 9en7=riesE and i7 Aas 7:e indi;id=al's li>er76 fro, :arass,en7 >6 :is oAn go;ern,en7E the "rig:7s of a free-born EnglishmanE" A:i9: :ad .ro7e97ed and in9=>a7ed Iri7ain's ;i>ran7 political and economic culture. International free trade, which Parliament had enacted at home and the Royal Navy had enforced around the world, had provided the raw materials for English factories and had spread the benefits of wealth around the Empire and the world. Many liberal optimists like Richard Cobden were able to see the Exhibition as another manifestation of Iri7ain's ,ission 7o enlig:7en 7:e Aorld through its progressive values.5 In the words of the commentator William Forster: We have the commission from that Providence, which made of one blood all the nations of the earth, to soothe down national animosities, to draw closer together national bonds, to interpret national interests, to forward national objects, and make other people feel we consider their prosperity ours, and that what will benefit them cannot be injurious to us.6 This was liberalism at its most confident and utopian, a mood matching the serenity with which Great Britain looked out upon the world. Without serious security concerns and without rivals, Britain could afford the luxury of such principles, the conviction that the international scene of the future would be dominated not by a zero-sum scramble for resources and survival, but by a rising general prosperity that lifted all nations and redounded to the even greater wealth of the home islands. There was another side to this outwardly magnanimous British view of the L N)O48% 2&KSRT&KUL= E.0 . 78.4#%P I#4TV8%;:GC >)7#;#V.7 .V;#/#0; E*)1 E#;* *#0 $877)E 7#O8G.7 ()*% WG#P*;1 08G/84 .0 78.48G0 )$ ;*8 6%;#TN)G% 3.E 38.P:81 E*#V* 0:VV800$:77C .4/)V.;84 $)G G8>8.7 )$ ;.G#$$0 #% $./)G )$ $G88 ;G.48 U (8$$G8C 6:8GO.V* .%4 A8;8G J)$$8%O8GP1 M4#;)G01 Britain, the Empire, and the World at the Great Exhibition of 1851 23)%4)%5 60*P.;81 'SSK= >, &S ,
"#$$#% L world, however; despite the international flavor of an event like the Great Exhibition, paternalism and insularity existed side-by-side with professions of international citizenship and optimism. Many British observers were disdainful of the presentations of other nations at the Crystal Palace, including those of the German states and the exhibits of the United States. Moreover, the rest of the world outside of Europe hardly had a place at the fair at all; the Ottoman Empire and China were among the few that participated, and even then their displays were of7en 7rea7ed as no ,ore 7:an :is7ori9al ar7ifa97s or "orien7al" 9=riosities.7 The distorted, heavily Eurocentric picture presented to visitors at the Great Exhibition was no anomaly, of course 0 nor was it a manifestation of any explicitly racist agenda or premeditated discrimination. It was the consequence of the heavy imbalance of military, economic, and political power in the world of the mid-nineteenth century; just as importantly, it was the faithful reflection of a liberal ideology which posited a single road to progress and an unabashed hierarchy of backward and progressive nations. One notable absence from the Exhibition, a country whose identity lent itself perfectly to prevailing theories of the wealth and progress of nations, was Japan. The Japan of 1851 was an almost perfect paragon of backwardness: feudal economy, arbitrary political rule, hostility to trade and the influence of Europeans 0 a country toiling in the perpetual night of the Middle Ages. So it seemed to a British public which had had virtually no contact with Japan since its legendar6 "9losing" in 7:e siC7een7: 9en7=r6E and soE in ,an6 res.e97sE i7 Aas" In 1851, Great Britain and Japan could hardly have stood farther apart from the perspective of a European observer 0 whether in power, wealth, or prestige. The portrait of the hierarchy of nations en9a.s=la7ed >6 7:e s=,,er's fes7i;i7ies a7 7:e Nrea7 BC:i>i7ion in 7:e ;er6 ,iddle of the nineteenth century would not, however, endure into the twentieth. In the half-century that lapsed ? XO#4, >, Y&"#$$#% U >e7Aeen 7:e Nrea7 BC:i>i7ion's :ig:-water mark of British pride and confidence and the death of Queen Victoria at the start of the twentieth century, a great deal of this British picture of itself 0 and of Japan -- would be transformed. The rise of the Japanese Empire from relative obscurity to world power was one of the great international developments of the late nineteenth century. In the fewer than forty years that elapsed between the Meiji Restoration in 1868 and its stunning triumph in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, Japan achieved a thorough transformation: the emerging economic and military powerhouse of the twentieth century bore little external resemblance to the isolated, feudal kingdom which had had minimal contact with European nations for more than two centuries before being brusquely re-introduced to world commerce by Commodore Oa77:eA Merr6's American warships in 1854. The pressures of contact with the West and fears of being overwhelmed by the economic might of foreigners helped force the restoration of imperial rule and 7:e end of 7:e 9o=n7r6's 7radi7ionalis7 fe=dal oligar9:6" J:e OeiPi go;ern,en7 eagerly absorbed the lessons of Western-style modernization 0 American higher education, British naval science, German scientific proficiency 0 while forcefully defending (and in some cases eCaggera7ing or eC.loi7ingQ 7:e 9o=n7r6's 7radi7ional 9=l7=ral ;al=es" With its newfound industrial strength, modern oceangoing navy, and straightforwardly imperial geopolitical ambitions, Japan had forced its way into the first rank of world powers by the eve of the First World War 0 the first non-Western nation to do so in the modern world. The club of Great Powers 0 Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and Austria 0 was slow to accept a rising nation like Japan into its fold, but by the eve of the First World War its progress towards elite diplomatic status was unmistakable. As late as the 1890s, a trio of European ambassadors retained the clout to force Japan to retreat from a portion of its conquests
"#$$#% ? in China; that intervention, however, was the last time that the West would presume to treat it as it had traditionally treated its non-Western friends and foes. By the turn of the twentieth century, Japan had joined the club; when the Powers marched on Peking in 1900 to thwart the Boxer Revolt, Japanese troops participated fully along with White Americans and Europeans. Japan impinged itself onto the consciousness of all the European powers, but it developed a particularly close bilateral relationship with Great Britain, with whom it concluded a military alliance in 1902. The Anglo-Japanese alliance was a key first step in integrating Japan into the global di.lo,a7i9 eR=ili>ri=,E >=7 i7 Aas :ardl6 s=ffi9ien7 7o 9on7ain 7:e firs7 ind=s7rial Asian e,.ire's growth or solve the puzzle which its rise presented to the Western powers. Along with the United States, Japan represented a new variable on the European scene around the turn of the twentieth century, and its newfound global importance had implications which resonated far beyond the narroA di.lo,a7i9 9ir9les of B=ro.e's 9a.i7als" Even as perceptions of Japan in the British official mind changed along with its rise to prominence, so did British views across the spectrum 0 from the lowest to the highest levels of society 0 evolve as well. In the High Victorian era, when the British picture of the world remained firmly dominated by the liberal framework of progressiveness and backwardness, and when representative institutions and embrace of economic free enterprise were taken as the twin hallmarks of modernity, expressions of admiration for a country such as Japan were a badge of dissent from the prevailing orthodoxy. In the 1850s and before, discussion of a country like Japan often took place along the lines taken by Montesquieu in his Persian Letters or by sixteenth-century commentators in eulogizing Native American societies; the country was representative of foreign simplicity, its "barbaric" customs contrasted ironically with those of the supposedly superior British. Such was the method taken by conservatives who lamented the
"#$$#% K headlong rush to industrialization and atomic individualism taking place in the Great Britain of the middle nineteenth century. To the extent that Japanese society was admired in these circles, it was precisely for its stubborn traditionalism; British conservatives like Matthew Arnold pointed 7o 7:e fe=dal "island e,.ire" as a .aragon of the cultural value of respect for the past. After the beginning of Anglo-Japanese trade relations in the 1850s allowed far greater opportunities for direct contact 0 and especially after the new Meiji government began aggressively cultivating Western ties 0 Japanese music, costume, and decorative arts became objects of great fascination in Britain. It was only around the turn of the twentieth century, however, during the so-called "BdAardian Bra" of Iri7is: :is7or6E that Japan started to become something else entirely in British perception: a nation to be taken seriously, one whose political and social achievements could teach something to Great Britain 0 and even threaten its future well-being. On the simplest level, this seismic shift in perceptions of Japan can be explained as a predictable response to the new facts of Japanese growth. In another respect, though, the sheer magnitude of the change was symptomatic of a contemporaneous crisis in British self-perception which transcended any concrete geopolitical changes. Furthermore, the terms of the discourse used to describe Japan in comparison with Britain 0 race, hygiene, obedience and control, "na7ional effi9ien96" 0 reflected the preoccupations of a British society whose elite had lost confidence in their 9o=n7r6's competitiveness. This change in British self-perception 0 which in turn was mirrored by an entirely new appraisal of a foreign non-Western nation like Japan 0 had its roots in the intellectual developments of the period leading up to the Edwardian era. One of the most far-ranging shifts in British thought in the late nineteenth century 0 at least among an elite of political and social
"#$$#% < thinkers 0 was the weakening of the traditional liberal worldview and its replacement by an ethos that owed much to social Darwinism. The seminal works of Charles Darwin himself, The Origin of Species in 1859 and The Descent of Man in 1871, set the stage for an acrimonious (and never fully resolved) debate in Britain over the scientific and religious implications of his natural sele97ion 7:esis" T7 Aas 7:e dis7illa7ion of DarAin's ideas in7o so9ial 7:eoriesE :oAe;erE A:i9: presented 7:e grea7es7 danger 7o 7radi7ional ;ieAs of so9ie76 and in7erna7ional rela7ions" "Go9ial DarAinis,E" fro, 7:e ;er6 >eginningE :ad ,=l7i.le fa9esV 5er>er7 G.en9er 9loaFed :is philosophy of laissez-faire individualism in Darwinian language, just as racial theorists like Houston Stewart Chamberlain and R. A. Fisher justified calls for eugenics and racial purity on 7:e >asis of na7=re's ines9a.a>le s7r=ggle for s=r;i;al"8 If Darwinism coarsened the domestic debate in Britain, it also played a fundamental role in the slow transformation of perceptions of 7:e 9o=n7r6's role in 7:e larger Aorld" Iri7ain's i,.erial ideolog6 :ad alAa6s 9on7ained a good deal of racism 0 both benign and virulent 0 but such thinking had frequently co-existed with the justifications of an ennobling mission and benevolent world leadership so deeply held by liberals. By the turn of the twentieth century, influential Britons of all public stripes 0 even those who would not have thought of themselves as such 0 had seen their thinking and their public language influenced by the idea that states, like individuals, were fated to struggle with one another in a zero-sum competition in which only the fittest survived. Under the influence of such a worldview, the health of the nation as a whole naturally took precedence over concern for the liberties of the individual, and other idiosyncrasies of British national life which had previously K N*.IO8G7.#%1 .% M%P7#0*I.%T;:G%84T/#G:78%;T!erman nationalist- was one of the forefathers of "Aryan supremacy" as a theme of !erman racialism- and his ideas- most famously embodied in his :;<< Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, E8G8 >)>:7.G .I)%P WG#;#0* 0V#8%;#$#V G.V#0;0 .%4 E*#;8 0:>G8I.V#0;0 .0 E877, +, 6, Z#0*8G E.0 $.G I)G8 )$ . 78P#;#I.;8 0V#8%;#0; ;*.% N*.IO8G7.#%1 O:; *#0 0:>>)G; $)G 8:P8%#V0 I.48 *#I )%8 )$ ;*8 $#P:G8*8.40 )$ . 0V*))7 E*)08 O87#8$ #% 0V#8%;#$#V OG884#%P 784 ;*8I ;) I:V* ;*8 0.I8 V)%V7:0#)% .0 ;*8 G.4#V.7 G.V#.7 >G)>.P.%4#0;0,
"#$$#% &S seemed historical strengths suddenly loomed as liabilities in the cold calculus of national efficiency. G=9: "na7ional Darwinis," Aas a do=>le-edged sword. It could supply yet another series of ideological props for a nation still confident in its superiority, but it could just as easily become the focus of profound anxiety once such blithe confidence had begun to wane. Such was the predicament of many British intellectuals in the Edwardian Era. Supplied with a philosophy of international relations far bleaker, far less humane in its precepts, than the comfortable liberal ideology which had come before, they became frantic to diagnose and correct the flaws of a British state which they saw as falling behind its peers. The greatest catalyst for this crisis of confidence was the disastrous early defeats of British troops in the Boer War in 1899-1900; the shock helped usher in a decade which seemed doomed to be dominated by transition and decline. Lo=.led Ai7: 7:e ;er6 real fa97 of Iri7ain's rela7i;e e9ono,i9 de9line 0 by the middle of the decade, it had been surpassed by both Germany and the United States 0 such a military shock 9rea7ed an =ns:aFea>le i,.ression 7:a7 a 7=rning .oin7 in 7:e 9o=n7r6's for7=nes :ad >een reached. @ro, 7:e .:6si9al :eal7: of 7:e na7ion's inner 9i7ies and working classes, to the deficiencies of the educational system and the inefficiency of the government, political debate during the decade 1900-1910 was dominated by a series of critiques which ransacked British society for flaws which suddenly seemed far more dire than they had in decades past. This succession of miniature crises did not ultimately tear British society apart, nor did it create the political realignment many of the most ardent reform advocates hoped for, but it did bring together a diverse group of politicians and writers united not by any traditional party alignment, but by shared commitment to the urgent need to remake Britain as a more efficient, more controlled state.
"#$$#% && Set against such a background, Japan, the ebullient newcomer on the world stage, offered fertile ground for comparison and undisguised admiration. For a broad-based group of British reformers and social critics, Japan by the 1900s had become the Britain of the East: a captivating d6na,o of a na7ion A:ose aggressi;e groA7: ,irrored 7:a7 of Iri7ain's oAn earl6 ind=s7rial golden age, at the same time as its radically different social organization seemed to position it as one of the powers of the future, better situated than a stagnant, declining Britain to compete in the Darwinian struggle for existence. The Japan that figured so heavily in the British discourse of the turbulent Edwardian era was more often a projection of domestic concerns than an objective reality; its example was co-opted by conservative imperialists, social Darwinists, and socialist reformers alike. Exploring the changed British views of Japan helps to throw light on a watershed era in British history, and it illustrates perfectly the influence of the intellectual trends which reached their culmination in the Edwardian Crisis. A well-educated British observer at the turn of the twentieth century looked out on the world 0 and on Japan 0 through a prism far different than that which had colored the vision of even his or her immediate ancestors. The pervasive influence of Darwinism had replaced old concepts of race and ethnicity with new 7:eories 9loaFed in 7:e ,an7le of "s9ien9e"" Mer:a.s even more importantly, many Britons by the 1900s had lost faith in the liberal institutions and political values which had once served as the pillars of national pride. It was only upon the contingency of these dramatic changes within Britain itself that such a dramatic reversal in .er9e.7ions of -a.an 9o=ld o99=r" -a.an's 7ransfor,a7ion fro, an o>Pe97 of .a7ernalis7 condescension to a mirror of national soul-searching must be understood not only as a product geopolitical change, but also as the manifestation of profound domestic crisis.
"#$$#% &' This essay will track the separate paths of domestic intellectual development and .er9e.7ions of Iri7ain's s7anding in 7:e Aorld 0 using the Remarkable Story of Japan as a case study in the evolution of views 0 until the two narratives converge in the events of the "BdAardian Lrisis" in 7:e firs7 de9ade of 7:e 7Aen7ie7: 9en7=r6" L:a.7er Two explores the interplay between the emerging theory of social Darwinism and the dominant liberal worldview. Chapter Three, in turn, discusses the 1901-1910 Edwardian Era as an intersection of theory and reality 0 a .eriod in A:i9: 7:e so9ial 9ri7iR=es of DarAinis, and "na7ional effi9ien96" 9a,e into their own. Finally, Chapter Four presents the radical changes in the British perception of Japan not only as the culmination of a distinct epoch in British intellectual history, but as a particularly acute portrait of the effects of a turbulent era on the most central elements of British identity.
Chapter 2 0 The Evolving Darwinian Worldview Section 1 0 Darwinism and Liberalism
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The second half of the nineteenth century was a time of profound social and political flux, both in the wider European context and within Great Britain. Some shifts manifested themselves as the continued unfolding of the consequences of earlier landmark events in the 9on7inen7's :is7or6 0 the industrial economy continued to mature, and with it striking demographic changes which went hand-in-hand with economic development. Other factors were more purely ideological, most notably the growth of the political left, fed both by maturing Marxist theory and by the underlying material changes which widened its constituency. Some motors of change in Europe 0 perhaps the most important of all 0 had their origins outside the continent. The second wave of imperialism massively expanded the political sway of the great colonial powers like Britain and France; revolutions in communication and transportation like the telegraph, telephone, and railroad continued to shrink the world and expand the wealthcreating possibilities of trade; and the rise of non-European powers like the United States and -a.an finall6 >egan 7o 7:rea7en 7:e 9on7inen7's a>sol=7e .ree,inen9e in Aorld affairs" G=9: an eventful era practically demanded an intellectual framework with which to process its implications. Throughout Europe, but especially in Great Britain, the complex of scientific and social ideas known collectively as Darwinism took on an ever-increasing importance as the prism through which many observers 0 both intellectual and decidedly non-intellectual 0 viewed the world. As is often the case with scientific achievements retrospectively hailed as revolutionary, L:arles DarAin's 7:eor6 of na7=ral sele97ion Aas nei7:er en7irely new nor initially accepted in the
"#$$#% &R scientific community. Even before the publication of his most famous work, The Origin of Species, in WXYZE ideas of >iologi9al ada.7a7ion o;er 7i,e and of a na7=ral "s7r=ggle for existence" :ad >een >roa9:ed for de9ades and had even gained some currency. The Chevalier de Lamarck, a French naturalist and one of the most prominent scientific theorists of the late Enlightenment, had provided a blueprint for an alternative vision of evolution with a series of massive studies, including his 1815-1822 Natural History of Invertebrates.9 %a,ar9F's 7:eor6E which would prove to have surprising longe;i76 e;en af7er 7:e .=>li9a7ion of DarAin's AorFsE consisted chiefly of two assertions: that the external environment could have a direct and immediate effect on crea7=res' .:6si9al fea7=res, and that acquired characteristics 0 including even a taste for certain kinds of food or addiction to alcohol 0 were inherited by offspring.10 In BnglandE Ho>er7s L:a,>ers's Vestiges of Creation, though it posed nothing like the systematic theory provided by Darwin, was also an early statement of the concept of development over time.11 Such early efforts, however, were representative of decidedly minority views and served as the targets of heated invective both from the mainstream scientific community and from spiritual authorities. The dominant assumption, one which was deeply embedded in both mechanistic Newtonian cosmology and religious notions of the harmony of the universe, was 7:a7 7:e ear7:'s s.e9ies Aere ,ore or less fiCed en7i7ies and eCis7ed in a ra7ionalE .re-ordained hierarchy 0 the Scala Naturae, or the Great Ladder of Being.12 Even as the efforts of eighteenth- century science discovered a panoply of new species and the nascent science of geology began to < +)O8G; W.%%#0;8G1 Social Darwinism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ictorian Anthropology 23)%4)%5 N)77#8G ].VI#77.%1 &>, @'[email protected]@, &' W.%%#0;8G1 >, 'S,
"#$$#% &L come to grips with the manifest changes in the physical earth over the long term, the idea of the fixity of nature was remarkably stubborn. Faced with this reality, William Paley was one of several early nineteenth-9en7=r6 fig=res A:ose AorFs on "na7=ral 7:eolog6" Aere eC7endedE belabored efforts to reconcile new discoveries with received biological wisdom.13 At the same time, preconceived notions of a natural order of the biological world were also inextricably linked with prevailing ideas of race hierarchy and the stark divide between 9i;iliKed and ".ri,i7i;e" A:i9: 9:ara97eriKed earl6 an7:ro.olog6" Tn s=r;e6ing re9en7l6discovered peoples in places like the South Pacific and the interior of Africa, opinion as to the place of such communities within human history was divided: some viewed primitive civilizations as the decadent remnants of peoples who had lost touch with the mainstream of human progress, while others viewed the discrepancy as little more than proof of the inherent differen9es >e7Aeen 7:e ear7:'s ra9es" ?:ile 7:e for,er ;ieA 9oin9ided Ai7: emerging liberal (and evangelical) notions of the universality of potential for progress and with the legacy of Enlightenment ideals, crudely racialist views had wide exposure in the 1840s and 1850s. In his widely-read 1850 book, The Races of Man, race theorist Robert Knox presented a fixed hierarchy of races 0 culminating of course in the Northern European/Anglo-Saxon type 0 which closely ,irrored >iolog6's 9:ain of s.e9ies"14 Race, for Knox, was an all-important fact in the =nders7anding of Aorld :is7or6V "Ha9e is e;er67:ingV li7era7=reE s9ien9eE ar7 0 in a word, all 9i;iliKa7ion de.ends firs7 on i7""15 The author Thomas Carlyle, whose deep cultural conservatism went hand-in-hand with shocking racism, elaborated on the theme of the inherent inferiority of the non-white races in his now-infa,o=s essa6E "An O99asional Dis9o=rse on 7:e \igger [email protected] M,P, *#0 I)0; $.I):0 E)GH0 Natural Theology .%4 Evidences of Christianity. 9:V* N*G#0;#.% %.;:G.7 0V#8%V8 I.#%;.#%84 #;0 >)>:7.G#;C E#;* . 7.GP8 08PI8%; )$ ;*8 >:O7#V 7)%P .$;8G ;*8 0V#8%;#$#V .VV8>;.%V8 )$ -.GE#%1 )$ V):G08, &R "G8;. ()%801 Social Darwinism and English Thought 23)%4)%5 J.G/80;8G1 &, &SR, &L N*G#0;#%8 W)7;1 Victorian Attitudes to Race 23)%4)%5 +):;784P8 .%4 B8P.% A.:71 &, &,
"#$$#% &U ]=es7ion""16 Upstart pseudo-scientific pursuits like anthropometry and phrenology 0 the study of skull size as a key to racial differences 0 became ammunition in a serious academic debate which called into question the ages-old idea of 7:e =ni76 of 7:e :=,an ra9e" A s9:ool of ".ol6genis7sE" including a portion of the anthropological community, held by the time of Darwin that the gap between the races was not merely one of ethnicity, but of species. For proponents of scientific racism, it was the race of Europeans, unique among the representatives of the human species, which alone stood at the top of the biological ladder, and which alone had access to the higher fruits of civilization. From their very outset, then, the theories of Darwin, encapsulated in even more controversial form in his 1871 work on human evolution, The Descent of Man, had implications far outside the self-contained world of professional biologists and naturalists. The doctrine of natural selection, as laid down in the Origin, contained three propositions: that species evolve over time, that individuals of a species are involved in what amounts to a struggle for existence, and that the best-adapted individuals achieve propagation of their characteristics through greater success in survival and reproduction.17 Many scientists were slow to embrace the specifics of DarAin's 7:eor618, but the publication of his works marked an indisputable turning point in the acceptance of evolution as a general principle within the learned world. The impact of such a shift on the philosophy of science was nothing less than shattering 0 threatening, or at least gravely complicating, the picture of the universe as a beneficent, rational machine which had been the keystone of modern scientific thinking. In the words of the historian Robert Bannister, &U MG#H 9V*I8778G1 Perceptions of Race and Nation in English and American Travel Writers 1833M1914 2D8E F)GH5 =eter Lang- 200BC p. EB. Carlyle's basic thesis- offered in response to racial riots in the British protectorate of (.I.#V.1 E.0 ;*.; ;*8 O7.VH G80#48%;0 )$ ;*.; #07.%4 E8G8 #%*8G8%;7C #%V.>.O78 )$ 8^8GV#0#%P ;*8 G#P*;0 .%4 Gesponsibilities of citiIenship- and that previous decades' British efforts at blacK emancipation had been misguided. &? N*.G780 -.GE#%1 On the Origin of Species 2N.IOG#4P85 N.IOG#4P8 Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 'SS<= &K Even the man who would become perhaps Darwin's greatest eNponent in the British public debate- T.H. HuNley4#4 %); #II84#.;87C .VV8>; ;*8 Origins :>)% #;0 >:O7#V.;#)%,
"#$$#% &? "7:e Origin of SpeciesE fro, 7:e s7ar7E fa7all6 =nder,ined ^7:e ass=,.7ions of :ar,onio=sE mechanical, self-regulating laws of nature, which in one form or another had dominated AngloA,eri9an 7:o=g:7 sin9e \eA7on""19 Evolutionary doctrine spread its tentacles into every s9ien7ifi9 dis9i.lineE and i7 ;i7ia7ed ass=,.7ionsE >o7: ;enera>le and 9o,for7ingE of :=,ani76's .la9e in 7:e na7=ral Aorld and 7:e ra9e's .la9e Ai7:in 7:e Aorld of :=,ani76" J:is loss of >asi9 philosophical mooring had a powerful impact on the intellectual developments of the remainder of the nineteenth century and beyond. J:e .:eno,enon of "so9ial DarAinis," 0 the appropriation of themes of evolution or the struggle for existence for the analysis of human society 0 was no perversion of any original ".=ri76" of 7:e e,inen7 na7=ralis7's 7:eories" @ro, 7:e o=7se7E DarAin's AorF Aas Aidel6 understood to have immense social and political implications. In fact, a fierce controversy raged after 1859 in the British press, fought in both the pages of prestigious (and sparsely read) scientific periodicals and the mass-circulation newspapers and monthlies. While a large element of the scientific community took a stand against Darwin on grounds of methodology, either in defending the static model or the Lamarckian environmentalist approach, most of the popular controversy gravitated towards the implications for humans 0 the birth of the so-9alled "a.e R=es7ion"" ?ell >efore The Descent of Man for,all6 laid o=7 DarAin's ;ision of the human pedigree, the religiously-minded exploded in indignation at the theological implications of evolution. The Catholic Dublin Review flatly disavowed any intent to debate the merits of the 9aseE ins7ead 9r6ing 7:a7 "7:e sal;a7ion of ,an is a far :igher object than the progress of s9ien9e""20 The climax of the first wave of the debate occurred in a famous showdown at the Oxford Union in 1860; T.H. Huxley, newly converted to Darwinism, was widely perceived to &< XO#4, >, <, 'S Dublin Review RR1 &KLK1 V#;84 )G#P#%.77C #% 67/.G M778P.G41 Darwin and the General Reader 2N*#V.P)5 Q%#/8G0#;C )$ N*#V.P) AG8001 &<>, @?"#$$#% &K triumph over Samuel Wilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford.21 The theological debate was never resolved to the satisfaction of the more religious members of the British public, including the Anglican Church; the majority of the British public rejected the central thesis of The Descent of Man well into the twentieth century.22 Another elemen7 of DarAin's 7:eor6E :oAe;er 0 the muchrepeated theme of 7:e "s7r=ggle for eCis7en9e" 0 made deep inroads into to the consciousness of both opinion-makers and public alike. In the words of the middle-of-the-road Saturday Review, "Go ra.id :as >een 7:e :old 7:a7 i7 _The Origin of Species] has taken on the public mind, that the lang=age in9iden7 7o 7:e eC.lana7ion of 7:e `s7r=ggle for life' and 7:e grad=al e;ol=7ion of neA forms consequent thereon, has passed into t:e .:raseolog6 of e;er6da6 9on;ersa7ion""23 It is important to remember, however, that social Darwinism in the 1850s and 1860s lacked the sinister, anti-humanitarian cachet which it would acquire after the horrors of the twentieth century. Quite the contrary, in fact. Rather than immediately overturning the confident assumptions of mid-nineteenth-century British liberalism, Darwinism often served as its :and,aidenE lending 7:e a=7:ori76 of "s9ien9e" 7o 7:e .lain fa97s of Iri7is: aand B=ro.eanQ ascendancy in the world. In part, this was due to a persistent misunderstanding of the nature of 7:e e;ol=7ionar6 "arroA" Ai7:in 7:e 7:eor6b ra7:er 7:an a rando,E ;al=e-neutral process of ada.7a7ionE ,an6 li>erals insis7ed on reading na7=ral sele97ion as a "na7=ral laA of .rogress" in A:i9: "fi77es7" >e9a,e in7er9:angea>le Ai7: "grea7es7" or ">es7""24 Mostly, however, it was simply an updating of the old Whiggish faith in the power of free institutions and individualism, cloaked in language in which the modern, free-market, liberal society represented the highest '& XO#4, >, U', [*8 _^$)G4 Q%#)% #0 . >G80;#P#):0 48O.;#%P 0)V#8;C E*#V*1 ;*8% .0 %)E1 *)0;84 P:80; 0>8.H8G0 )% I)I8%;):0 >:O7#V ;)>#V0, '' XO#4, >, @&, '@ Saturday Review, 6>G#7 &&1 &KUK 'R ]#V*.87 W#44#001 The Age of the Masses: Ideas and Society in Europe Since 1870 2D8E F)GH5 J.G>8G .%4 +)E1 &, R?,
"#$$#% &< s7age of so9ie7al e;ol=7ion" Tn 7:e a..raisal of J"5" 5=Cle6E 7:e neA 7:eor6 Aas "a ;eri7a>le Whitworth gun25 in 7:e ar,o=r6 of li>eralis,""26 Karl Marx, who observed the Darwin controversy keenly while performing his research in London, noted to his chagrin that the theory Aas a .oAerf=l aid 7o 7:e li>eral Aorld;ieAb :is 9olleag=e @riedri9: Bngels agreedV "J:e A:ole Darwinian theory of the struggle for life is simply the transformation from society to organic nat=re of 5o>>es's 7:eor6^and 7:e >o=rgeois e9ono,i9 7:eor6 of 9o,.e7i7ion""27 More than any others, two mid-century intellectual figures spearheaded the assimilation of Darwinian thought into the prevailing liberal view of the nature of human societies; their writings are representative of the template by which foreign nations, including Japan, were viewed during the heyday of British self-confidence. The first was Herbert Spencer, a prodigious writer who was widely considered the greatest living British social philosopher, and a man who for modern readers often looms as the paragon of 7:e "so9ial DarAinis7"" J:o=g: :is .ri,ar6 reputation today is as a somewhat crude apologist for laissez-faire economics and brutal individualism, his views on economics were hardly more radical than those of his liberal peers. 5is life's AorFE as :e saA i7E Aas 7:e 9rea7ion of a "s6n7:e7i9 .:iloso.:6E" 7:e organiKing fea7=re of which was evolution, in all facets of life.28 His picture of evolution, though, remained s7=>>ornl6 %a,ar9Fian and 7eleologi9al e;en as :e ,i,i9Fed DarAin's lang=ageV .rogress Aas an almost universal feature of human history, driven inevitably by the continuing differentiation (liberalization) of society: "J:e in9rease in :e7erogenei76^,=s7 9on7in=e 7o go onb .rogress is 'L 6 `*#;E)G;* P:% O8#%P . OG88V*T7).4#%P G#$78 E*#V*1 .; ;*8 ;#I81 E.0 ;*8 I)0; .4/.%V84 ./.#7.O78, XG)%#V.77C1 ;*8 P:%0 E8G8 >7.P:84 OC ;8V*%#V.7 >G)O78I0 .%4 0))% O8V.I8 .% 8IO.GG.00I8%; ;) ;*8 WG#;#0* .GIC, 'U M778P.G41 >, ', 2Westminster Review, &KLS= '? W.%%#0;8G1 >, &R, 'K Qpencer's life's worK was the tenT/)7:I8 System of Synthetic Philosophy, E*#V* .>>8.G84 )/8G @L C8.G0 O8;E88% &KU'T&K"#$$#% 'S not an accident, not a thing within human control, but a benefi9en7 ne9essi76""29 Such differentiation, of course, was that which most characterized the idealized industrial society, in which individual energies had been liberated from the retarding forces of tradition or coercion. Walter Bagehot went even farther than Spencer in identifying progress with the particular cultural and historical features of Western societies. He, too, achieved his primary fame as an exponent of free-market economics; as an early editor of The Economist and as a popular analyst of the intricacies of the British constitution, Bagehot embodied the spirit of liberal British exceptionalism. Like Spencer, he sought in his most ambitious work to situate Britain within a comprehensive theory that explained its singular success in the world. In his 1872 book, Physics and Politics, Bagehot surveyed all of world history and concluded that the greatest jump in the story of civilization was the transition from the age of custom to the age of discussion 0 the growth of indi;id=al li>er76E de.enden7 on free go;ern,en7al ins7i7=7ions for i7s eCer9ise" "J:e change from the age of status to the age of choice was first made in states where the government was to a great and growing extent a government by discussion."30 Practically speaking, such a leap had only occurred in a few nations of the West, and the barriers holding back the peoples of 7:e "Bas7" AereE 7o Iage:o7E nearl6 ins=.era>leE 7o 7:e .oin7 7:a7 7:e ;er6 idea of 9:ange or progress >e9a,e in9on9ei;a>leV "Jheir own life in detail being regulated by ancient usage, they 9anno7 9o,.re:end a .oli96 A:i9: is >ringing so,e7:ing neA^ A:a7 .=KKles 7:e, is 6o=r _7:e Bnglis:,an'sc 9ons7an7 dis.osi7ion 7o 9:ange 0 as 6o= 9all i7E i,.ro;e,en7""31 Although Bagehot, like Spencer and most liberals, continued to profess faith in the transformational potential of modernity to overcome such cultural obstacles even outside the West, he warned '< Herbert Qpencer- "=rogress: Its Law and Cause-" from Herbert Spencer on Social Evolution: Selected Writings. M4, (,-,F, A887 2N*#V.P)5 [*8 Q%#/8G0#;C )$ N*#V.P) AG8001 &, L', @[email protected] `.7;8G W.P8*);1 Physics and Politics 2W)0;)%5 W8.V)% W))H01 &, &&R, @& XO#4, >, &SU,
"#$$#% '& British readers that progress in colonial projects like India would be slow, simply because centuries of evolutionary stagnation had woven deference and indolence into the Eastern character so deeply that generations would pass before learning by example could take root.32 In its first, liberal, phase, then, the Darwinian worldview envisioned the evolution of societies as a sort of grand teleological procession in which Western values were almost entirely congruent with the universal criteria for progress. The path to modern civilization for nonWestern countries was simple: importation, voluntarily or not, of Western forms and abandonment of stultifying tradition. Such paternalism 0 as old as Western civilization itself but 9loaFed noA in ",odern" DarAinian lang=age 0 dominated the British discussion of Japan in the earl6 6ears of 7:a7 9o=n7r6's 9o=rse of modernization from the 1850s onward. Section 2 0 The Liberal View of Japan More than nearly any other Asian nation, Japan remained a mystery to Britain until well into the nineteenth century. In the year 1600 the warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu consolidated his power over his rivals in the legendary battle of Sekigahara, ushering in the Tokugawa Shogunate which lasted the better part of three centuries.33 Since that date, Japan had been ruled as a centralized feudal state under the control of an exclusive oligarchy of noble families. The shogun, the de facto national overlord, held court at Edo (present-day Tokyo) and shared control with the heads of the leading daimyo in an intricate hierarchical arrangement which balanced local and national power bases. On one hand stood the leadership clique around the shogun 0 the bakufu 0 while large portions of the country were controlled directly by the han ! the heads of @' XO4, A>, KSTKL, @@ N)%G.4 [);I.%1 Japan Before Perry 2W8GH878C1 N65 Q%#/8G0#;C )$ N.7#$)G%#. AG8001 'SSK= >>, [email protected]?T&R',
"#$$#% '' the largest noble families.34 The Emperor, residing at the old capital of Kyoto, was a powerless figurehead, the object of religious obeisance but entirely cut off from the locus of real authority. After a series of bloody clashes with European traders and missionaries in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries excited widespread fears of barbarian encroachment, the Tokugawa government effectively closed Japan to outside contact, allowing only the Netherlands to conduct a token annual trade. Japan persisted in relative internal stability and isolation from the West for nearly 250 years; it remained a focus of speculation and exotic mythmaking, but in the eyes of nearly every foreign observer it was a land frozen in time. As such, it became an ideal subject for projection of traditional archetypes of the ">a9FAardE en9:an7ed Bas7" 0 and an object of fascination for Romantic-era Ari7ers 7o A:o, 7:e 9o=n7r6's eCo7i9is, Aas a 7:ing of grande=r rather than lamentable backwardness.35 Tales of Old Japan, usually featuring samurai romance or ritual suicide, were little changed in the early nineteenth century from the time of James I, when the skeptical king had heard them at court. One favori7e Aas 7:a7 of 7:e "for76-seven roninE" a sR=adron of Aarriors A:o 9o,,i77ed seppuku in a public square after committing an act of retribution to avenge the death of their master.36 More serious commentaries on Japan, when they appeared, ritually prefaced themselves with laments on the lack of first-hand information on the country. In an article for the liberal Edinburgh Review published a mere two years before Merr6's ;o6ageE AleCander dnoC .ain7ed a .i97=re of -a.an A:i9: en9a.s=la7ed 7:is ,iC7=re of intrigue and frustration: For upwards of two centuries, the internal constitution and social arrangements of the Japanese have been concealed in a well-nigh impenetrable veil by the jealous @R =erry Anderson- "Tapanese Feudalism-" The Making of Modern Japan 23)%4)%5 "G88%E#V* Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 &<>, , @S,
"#$$#% '@ policy of their rulers, and the ready obedience of their people, this Interdict agains7 :=,ani76^" -a.an re,ains 7o =s a ;ag=e and s:adoA6 idea"37 Starting in the 1850s, the reality of Japan began to change rapidly, even as perceptions lagged considerably behind, emerging from medieval enchantment only slowly. As the breakneck modernization of Japan gained notice in Britain, the Eastern empire lost a measure of its exoticism as it opened itself up to ever-greater contact with foreigners and came to be seen as a hopeful protйgй of the West. The transformation began with the two voyages of Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States Navy to Japan in 1852-1854; on his second voyage, after threatening the use of force if his requests were not considered, Perry signed a treaty with the G:og=n's go;ern,en7 A:i9: a=7:oriKed a 7rading rela7ions:i." J:is Aas 7:e >eginning of 7:e much-:eralded "o.ening of -a.an" 0 soon the other Western powers, including Great Britain, Aere s9ra,>ling 7o se9=re 9o,.ara>le 9on9essions" Oere ,on7:s af7er Merr6's de.ar7=reE a Iri7is: sR=adron :ad arranged a "@riends:i. Jrea76E" and 7:is Aas folloAed in ,ore s=>s7an7ial form in 1858 with the signing of a comprehensive Treaty of Amity and Commerce by British emissaries under Lord Elgin.38 British subjects were allowed residence in certain coastal cities, and traders labored 0 often with great initial difficulty 0 to open a Japanese market for their exports. Accelerating diplomatic pressure throughout the 1860s led to ever-increasing demands for treaty concessions from the beleaguered Tokugawa government, following a pattern set by Western interactions with other weakening non-Western powers like China and the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century.39 While the abrupt end of centuries of isolation was a tremendous boon for the trading powers, it set off a chain reaction of social unrest within Japan which would ultimately doom the @? AleNander VnoN- "Tapan-" Edinburgh Review , @R<, @K N)%G.4 [);I.%1 A History of Japan 2].748%1 ]65 W7.VHE8771 'SSR= >, 'K', @< XO#4,
"#$$#% 'R shogunate and the feudal system. The central govern,en7's fail=re 7o .re;en7 7:e ?estern onslaught 0 most appallingly the spectacle of so many foreigners trampling unhindered on Japanese soil 0 emboldened feudal rivals of the shogunal clan to open revolt. The bakufu faction struggled to stem the tide of discontent by undertaking any military reforms necessary to present a strong face to the outsiders, while han feudal lords in the provinces openly procured arms from Western sources in preparation for a bid to topple the shogunal government.40 The last shogun of the Tokugawa line, Yoshinobu, eventually resorted to the one source of authority which could compel national obedience: the long-neglected emperor. Yoshinobu tried in vain to preserve a modified role for the shogunate, but the rebel rival houses forced his hand, and the shogunate ended in 1868 with the restoration of full imperial authority. This epochal event, the so-called Meiji Restoration, was a turning point for Japan in more ways than one. In addition to marking an end 7o 7:e 9o=n7r6's an7iR=a7ed feudal government, it marked the transition to a wholehearted program of Western-style modernization, overseen by the young emperor and his advisory clique, the men who decades later would be known as the genro 0 wise old men.41 The break with the past undertaken by Japan in the decades after 1868 was by no means smooth, but it was undoubtedly decisive. Perhaps the most momentous step of all was completed by 1871, when the emperor summoned the heads of the daimyo families to the new capital of Tokyo and formally abolished the system of feudal land tenure.42 This step 0 resisted fitfully by nobles and samurai 0 at one stroke opened the way for modernization of Japanese land use and felled the major obstacle to centralized, European-style cabinet governance free of provincial interference. For the first twenty years of the Meiji period, the Japanese government openly sought Western counsel, and representatives of the country abroad willingly presented RS 6%48G0)%1 >, &<, R& Marius B. Tansen- "The Meiji Qtate-" The Making of Modern Japan, >, U?, R' [);I.%1 History of Japan, >, 'U',
"#$$#% 'L themselves as eager protйgйs. Once formally the throne, his advisors had the Emperor proclaim :is 9o=n7r6's readiness 7o learn in a "L:ar7er Oa7:" whose language was squarely directed at foreign a=dien9esb :e .ro,ised 7o "9ond=97 a sear9: for Aisdo, 7:ro=g:o=7 7:e AorldE" and 7o "dis9ard 7:e a>s=rd 9=s7o,s of 7:e .as7""43 On one extensive fact-finding tour from 1871 to 1879, imperial representatives visited the United States, Britain, and the newly formed German Empire in their quest for guidance. The emissaries on this voyage, known as the Iwakura Mission, were deeply impressed by the wealth and industry on such ready display in both the United States and Great Britain 0 they drew great inspiration from the American higher education system especially 0 but they noted in letters to Tokyo their dissatisfaction and bewilderment with the unwieldy parliamentary politics of the two democracies.44 Much more to their liking was the centralized Berlin government with its strong bureaucracy and disdain for excessive legislative interference, and Japan followed the German blueprint in its two most important reforms of the 1870s and 1880s.45 In 1873, the emperor decreed universal conscription, and the Japanese army began the explosive course of growth which would culminate in its successful invasion of China in the 1890s.46 The so-called Meiji Constitution, promulgated in 1890, also owed a great debt to the Prussian model. The emperor held undisputed final authority, delegated in an informal cabinet responsible chiefly to the crown; the Imperial Diet (parliament) held an important, but only consultative, role.47 The series of dramatic administrative and constitutional reforms was accompanied by rapid Economic Growth, as a small elite of family-owned industrial firms 0 the zaibatsu 0 took the lead in kick-starting a [email protected] (.%08%1 >, U?, RR Japan Rising: Diary of the Iwakura Embassy to the USA and Europe, 84#;84 OC N*:0*#V*# [0:a:H# .%4 +, (:780 F):%P 2N.IOG#4P85 N.IOG#4P8 Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 'SS<= >>, LKT?R 2)% `.0*#%P;)%1 -N= .%4 [email protected][email protected] 2)% 3)%4)%= RL XO#4, >>, ', ?L, R? XO#4, >, K&,
"#$$#% 'U manufacturing economy. The ruling slogan of the early Meiji era, repeated often in official prono=n9e,en7sE Aas a s=99in97 dis7illa7ion of -a.an's s7a7=s as a s7a7e in 7=7elageV 7:e government promised bunmei kaika, or "9i;iliKa7ion and enlig:7en,en7""48 Until well into the 1890s, the tone of published British accounts of Japan 0 from firsthand reports to travel narratives to newspaper editorials 0 reflected the predominant liberal attitude of mid-9en7=r6" ?i7: 7:e "o.ening" of -a.anE of 9o=rseE 9a,e a ,=9: grea7er floA of description and opinion. The most immediate impact of the renewed contact was a vogue for all things Japanese. The appearances of Japanese art at international exhibitions, London in 1862 and Paris in 1867, ushered in an aesthetic vogue, especially in Britain and France, known as "-aponism." -a.anese-style drawings, watercolors, and woodcuts, with their novel, clean lines and refres:ingl6 foreign s=>Pe97 ,a77erE >e9a,e =>iR=i7o=s as de9ora7i;e ,o7ifs" "-a.onis," eventually fed into the Aesthetic Movement in late nineteenth century art, and with respect to Japan it was an essentially conservative phenomenon, akin to earlier de9ades' ro,an7i9 .or7rai7s of the country. As the art historian Elisa Evett points out, aesthetic appreciation for Japan was inse.ara>le fro, 7:e era's >roader .a7ernalis,b in :er AordsE -a.onis, ".er.e7=a7ed the vision of 7:e -a.anese as a si,.leE inno9en7E .ri,i7i;e .eo.le li;ing in >lissf=l :ar,on6 Ai7: na7=re""49 Among other things, the fad provided the inspiration for Western musical offerings such as Madame Butterfly and, in Britain, the hugely popular 1885 Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Mikado, which played for a then-record 672 performances in London over two years.50 The tone of coverage of the transforming society of Japan itself was far less uniformly enthusiastic: outright condescension and sardonic paternalism continued to coexist with praise RK [);I.%1 >, ', &?, LS XO#4, >, &K,
"#$$#% '? for 7:e 9o=n7r6's ,a7erial a9:ie;e,en7s" J:e single 9ri7erion for 7:e ;as7 ,aPori76 of Iri7is: commentators on Japan 0 the one factor which distinguished progress from backwardness 0 was 7:e 9o=n7r6's s=99ess or failure in emulating the British model as laid down by Spencer and Bagehot: private industrial enterprise, parliamentary government, and a culture of individualism. Opinion varied on the extent to which Japanese assimilation of such lessons was possible, and 7:e eC7en7 7o A:i9: 9=l7=ral .ar7i9=laris, Aas 7o .la6 a roleE >=7 7:e goal of ",oderni76" remained present always. In the pre-Restoration era, the years immediately following the first British treaties with Japan, British opinion turned decisively hostile on reports of anti-foreign violence against Western legatees and trade representatives. In 1861, a secretary to the newly-established British mission in Japan was attacked and killed on the road by a gang of bandits who were linked to the hereditary Lord of Satsuma, one of the chief daimyos in the realm.51 Other attacks followed, including some on Americans, and the struggling shogun replied to official complaints with protestations of his inability to control the feudal lords. In a scene the basics of which were played out countless times around the world in the nineteenth century, British gunboats shelled the "#$%&'()*possessions and forts with impunity, taking the upholding of treaty obligations and Iri7is: ":onor" in7o 7:eir oAn :ands"52 The British press responded with denunciations of -a.an's ">ar>aris,E" 9i7ing the violence as further proof that Japan shared in the characteristic Oriental attitudes of hostility to the forces of change and progress. In an editorial entitled, "What Are ?e Jo Do ?i7: -a.aneE" the Times of London53 opined that Japan, like a 76.i9al "Asia7i9 des.o7is,E" Ao=ld onl6 learn its lessons and start upon its evolutionary track the hard way, L& "The Outrage in Tapan-" The Times 2'K 98>;8IO8G &KU'= L' "Tapan-" The Economist D), &SL' 2_V;)O8G 'R1 [email protected]= [email protected] [*8%1 .0 %)E1 ;*8 WG#;#0* %8E0>.>8G )$ G8V)G41 G8>G808%;#%P .% 80;.O7#0*I8%;1 I)48G.;87C V)%08G/.;#/8 /#8E>)#%;,
"#$$#% 'K through a brute display of superior British force.54 The Economist, another bastion of centrist British wisdom, went so far as to wonder aloud whether the project of civilizing Japan was doomed to failure, considering t:e o>;io=sl6 "se,i-civiliKed" s7a7e of 7:e 9o=n7r6V "Tt may have >een 7:e >e77er .ar7 of Aisdo,^ 7o :a;e a>s7ained fro, for9ing o=r =nAel9o,e .resen9e =.on 7:e,""55 The impact of the initial outbreak of anti-British violence eventually faded, but the dismissive tone taken even by positive coverage of Japan remained for years. The short-lived satirical magazine Japan Punch, published by expatriates in Tokyo as a daughter publication to the famous London periodical, perfectly captured the prevailing attitude 0 paternalist indulgence, ,iCed Ai7: dee. sFe.7i9is, a7 7:e 9o=n7r6's .roPe97s" Tn an WXf! 9ar7oonE a 9o,i9al sa,=rai struts awkwardly in his new Western-s76le s=i7E eC9lai,ingE "T liFe onl6 9i;iliKa7ion!" J:e i,age was apt: Japan seemed to resemble nothing so much as a child, or an ape-like creature of a lower species, trying on for the first time the clothes of his betters.56 The Times also resorted to the use of terms which mixed the near-universal use of evolutionary language with simple, casual racism, proclaiming that 7:e Iri7is: .eo.le "reall6 :a;e no o7:er 7:an .=rel6 >ene;olen7 Ais:es 7oAards 7:ese odd 9rea7=resE 7:e -a.anese^ ?e Aill do o=r >es7 7o ,aFe a -a.anese Mrin9e as ,=9: liFe a Oan9:es7er ,ill oAner as 9ir9=,s7an9es Aill alloA""57 In the years following 1868, after signs of very real Japanese progress became unmistakable 0 flying in the face of so many earlier prognostications 0 the tone of the discussion began to become indulgent in tone rather than dismissive. Just as the 1870s saw increased European contact with Japanese representatives at exhibitions or on diplomatic tours, so the decade also saw a great increase in the availability of first-hand reporting from Japan by British LR "What Are We To Do With Tapan?" The Times, 38.4 M4#;)G#.7 2(:%8 '<1 [email protected]= LL "Dangers and Difficulties in the Far East-" The Economist, X00:8 &S'? 2].C '1 [email protected]= LU D#0*1 Contemporary European Writing on Japan, >, US, L? Times M4#;)G#.71 (:%8 &&1 &KU',
"#$$#% '< writers. Correspondents like Rutherford Alcock of the Times (who wrote in his capacity as British Minister to Japan) and A.B. Mitford of the popular periodical Cornhill enabled the reading public for the first time to attain something approaching real insight into the internal life of Japan; their enthusiasm for their s=>Pe97 of7en ,ade 7:e, =nAi77ing a99o,.li9es of JoF6o's .=>li9i76 9a,.aign" Oi7ford Aas .leased 7o re.or7 -a.an's grea7 .rogress in eli,ina7ing 7:e specter of violence against foreigners; he exhorted his readers to cast away their misconceptions of the in:eren7 "o7:erness" of 7:e -a.anese" TndeedE 7:eir :a>i7s of 7:o=g:7 Aere groAing 9loser 7o 7:e Iri7is: ,odel Ai7: e;er6 .assing 6earV "T7 is as7o=nding 7o find :oA 7:e ,inds of ,en :a;e :i7 =.on 7:e sa,e eC.ressions of 7:o=g:7^ T7 ,a6 >e 7:a7 7:e Old -a.anese, such as he was and :ad >een for 9en7=ries A:en Ae fo=nd :i, ^ Aill :a;e >e9o,e eC7in97""58Alcock, for his part, repeatedly marveled at the breakneck speed of Japanese change in which the country had "lea.7 fi;e 9en7=ries a7 a >o=ndE" looFing >a9F in WXhi on "7:e 7Aen76 6ears' s7r=ggle in A:i9: all the ancient landmarks of Japanese policy, statecraft, and administration have been thrown doAn""59 Tn line Ai7: :is 9onfiden9e in 7:e 7raPe97or6 of -a.an's de;elo.,en7E Al9o9F .er9ei;ed in what he was observing a 9lose .arallel of B=ro.e's oAn .as7b in o7:er AordsE -a.an Aas simply following a staggered evolutionary path, in much the manner described by Bagehot and Spencer: Anyone familiar with the history of the Middle Ages in Europe, and more especially perhaps in France, from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries, while the feudal system was in full development and formed the chief characteristic of the LK A.B.Mitford- "Tales of Old Tapan-" Fortnightly Review \ ]Tune :;\0C p. EE;- and "Wanderings in Tapan-" Cornhill 'L 2].GV* &K?'= >>, @[email protected]?, L< Rutherford AlcocK- "Tapan as it Was and Is-" Quarterly Review 2(:7C &K?R= >, &<&,
"#$$#% @S period, cannot fail to be struck with the curiously identical forms developed in like manner and during the same ages in these isolated isles.60 There is more at work, of course, than simple historical observation in such passages. They illustrate a liberal worldview not only comfortable with the language of social evolution, but often unable to escape the habit of seeing the non-West as a mere reflection, whether pale or vivid, of the master template provided by the Western, specifically the British, experience. The continued evolution of Japan in a direction compatible with British tastes was also, as The Economist >l=n7l6 re,inded i7s readersE good >=siness as Aell" ?:en 7:e edi7ors .ro9lai,edE "T7 is probably the destiny, it is even now the function, it is certainly the interest, of the English family of mankind, to guide and urge and control the industrial en7er.rises" of rising .oAers liFe Japan, it was merely restating the happy coincidence of economic self-interest and enlightening mission which characterized liberal optimism.61 A separate window into Japan for British readers was provided in these decades by the growing body of travel literature on the subject. Though a visit to the Far East remained a prohibitively expensive luxury, the opening of Japan had at last made travel there possible for a wealthy private citizen; the exotic glow which continued to surround Japan in the public mind furnished a hunger for first-hand accounts. British travel literature, even within the chauvinistic context of the genre throughout Europe in the nineteenth century, was exceptional in its insularity and cultural imperialism.62 British travelers in Italy and France became famous for their smugness, and this characteristic was only amplified when they moved further afield to the heretofore inaccessible Far East. In his 1866 Travel Sketches, Anthony Trollope poked fun at US Rutherford AlcocK- "Old and New Tapan: A Decade of Tapanese =rogress-" Contemporary Review @K 2D)/8IO8G &KKS= >, [email protected] U& "The Economic `alue of Tustice to the DarK Races-" The Economist [email protected] 2-8V8IO8G <1 &KUL= U' MG#H 9V*I8778G1 Perceptions of Race and Nation in English and American Travel Writing 2D8E F)GH5 A8;8G 3)%P1 'SSR= >>, UST?S,
"#$$#% @& what was already a well-established comedic theme: the English traveler with his mixture of myopic patriotism and naive wonder at the marvels of the wider world.63 Even Charles Darwin, in his own travel narrative of The Voyage of the Beagle, indulged himself in the thought of his s:i. as a ;essel of 7:e ",ar9: of i,.ro;e,en7" >ringing enlig:7en,en7 7o >a9FAard regions of South America and the Pacific.64 Although late-nineteenth-century British travel writing on Japan was seldom as overtly racist as the accounts of the past 0 in fact, writers were often at pains to emphasize the extent to which they were pleasantly surprised by the reality of Japan 0 it was nonetheless the product of observers confident in their cultural superiority. Far more than enthusiastic newspaper correspondents, travelers expressed ske.7i9is, a7 -a.an's ?es7erniKing .roPe97b 7:e firs7:and eC.erien9e of Parring 9=l7=ral differen9es ,ade JoF6o's s7ren=o=s effor7s seem comical, if nonetheless valiant. One of the most widely read travel authors of the 1880s and 1890s was Isabella Bird, a woman who inspired widespread wonderment for her insatiable appetite for exploration and her unwillingness to abide restraint or chaperoning. Like the maverick Bnglis:Ao,en in @ors7er's A Passage to India, despera7e for a 7as7e of 7:e "real TndiaE" Iird 9onsis7en7l6 so=g:7 7o es9a.e 7:e usual tourist path and revel in the deeper exoticism of her destinations. When in the United States, she insisted on hiking the then-wilderness of the Rocky Mountains unaccompanied; on her several visits to Japan, she spent significant time on the isolated northern island of Hokkaido. Though Bird considered herself an admirer of Japan, she nevertheless resorted to descriptions typical of the liberal Darwinist perspective. The ethnic minority Ainu people of the north she 9as=all6 la>eled "9o,.le7e sa;ages" -- "s7=.id" on 7:e A:ole and =n7=7ored in ,odern Aa6sE [email protected] W.GO.G. B)G;81 English Travel Writing: From Pilgrimages to PostMColonial Exploration 23)%4)%5 ].VI#77.%1 'SSS= >, KR, UR XO#4, >, K?1
"#$$#% @' despite their unusually large brain size.65 When appraising Japan in its entirety, she saw a people struggling mightily to rid themselves of cultural baggage, an effort that produced strains throughout society. The modern school system was impressive, but it was handicapped in ins7illing free 7:o=g:7 >6 7:e 9:ildren's :a>i7s of "=nR=es7ioning o>edien9e a7 :o,e""66 In observing 7:e af7er,a7: of 7:e 9o=n7r6's re9en7 A:olesale ado.7ion of ?es7ern >=siness dressE s:e saA 7:e res=l7s as a 9o,i9al ,e7a.:or for 7:e diffi9=l76 of ?es7erniKing 7:e Bas7V "Ba9: gar,en7 is a ,isfi7E and eCaggera7es"""7:e na7ional defe97s""67 Rudyard Kipling, a man even more blunt in his cultural judgments than Bird, was another frequent visitor to Japan; his stature as a writer lent his travel musings a still greater audience. Like the newspaper reporters and government officials, Kipling perceived in Japan an unusually apt and rapid mimicry of the ways of the West. More than the others, he, with his highly attuned aesthetic sensibility, noted the visual incongruity of such rapid change set against the background of such a deeply-rooted culture. To Kipling, the dominant visual metaphor of Japan was its tiny, highly landscaped bonsai 7reesb -a.an Aas a .6g,6 9o=n7r6E a "fragile and .re9io=s landE" A:ose centuries of isolation had made it into a kind of atrophied, but fetching, evolutionary relic.68 In a patronizing, heavily ironic declaration of dissent from the prevailing wisdom, Kipling intoned: "-a.anE A:en9e 7:e 9a,.:or and 7:e la9R=er and 7:e s:arF-skin swords come... [is] a nation of artists. The Japanese should have no concern with business 0 i7 doesn'7 >e9o,e 7:e,""69 di.ling's aes7:e7i9all6-rooted conservatism, harkening back to flattering portraits by Carlyle and other Romantic writers, was an exception to the dominant tone. By the 1880s, much of the mystery of Japan had been erased from its prevailing British perception, replaced by a new UL X0.O877. W#G41 Unbeaten Tracks in Japan 23)%4)%5 b#G.P)1 &>, 'U'[email protected], UU XO#4, U? XO#4, >, &L, UK +:4C.G4 B#>7#%P1 From Sea to Sea 2D8E F)GH5 -):O784.C1 &<'?= >, '<', 2)G#P#%.77C >:O7#0*84 &K<< U< XO#4,
"#$$#% @@ image: Japan as the initially reluctant but precocious pupil, in which the abrupt imposition of Western influence had accelerated the evolutionary process by centuries. It was a perception in which two strains existed in tenuous balance, revealing the contradictions inherent in the liberal worldview. On one hand stood the national and racial self-confidence of British observers, who processed their view of Japan through the lens of obvious, even comical, national differences which placed the Japanese people at a safe distance on a lower plane. Correspondents might be nearly unanimous in praise of the work ethic and frugality of the Japanese 0 might even detect in them, as the expatriate paper The Japan Times didE ,an6 "9:aracteristics of the sovereign Aryan ra9e" 0 but the fundamental gulf nonetheless remained.70 On the other hand, however, stood the prescriptions of liberal ideology. Liberalism, though it had assimilated Darwinian language to describe its particular brand of teleological historicism, theoretically offered an avenue to progress which was race- and culture-blind. As a matter of faith, liberals were committed to the proposition that Japan could, and eventually would, succeed if it continued on the correct path. It was this tension, as well as the transitional state of Japan itself during these decades, which gave Japan what historian Toshio Yokoyama called its ambivalent, ",agi9al" .la9e in 7:e Iri7is: mind. Straightforward praise of its development and genuine curiosity in its culture never wholly overcame the racial complacency which existed beneath liberal bromides.71 The discussion of the proposed Japanese constitution in the 1880s well illustrates the dual nature of views of Japan. While noting with regret 7:a7 7:e legisla7=re's .oAers Aere s7ill no7 "s=ffi9ien7l6 s7rong 7o eCer9ise an6 9on7rol o;er 7:e eCe9=7i;eE" The Times nonetheless hailed the Meiji constitution as a definite step in the right direction.72 Alcock perceived telltale signs of ?S D#0*1 Contemporary European Writing on Japan, >, L<, ?&[)0*#) F)H)C.I.1 Japan in the Victorian Mind: A Study of Stereotyped Images of a Nation 23)%4)%5 ].VI#77.%1 &G#7 &L1 &KKS,
"#$$#% @R progress towards parliamentary government: formation of parties, greater local government initiatives, a greater spirit of government responsibility.73 There was nothing inherently comical in such developments or the coverage they received; nonetheless skepticism remained that such changes were mere affectation, that Japan was too alien for such Western niceties to ever fully take root. H. M. Moore, offering British reviews a survey of Japanese politics in the New Review, 9on9l=ded 7:a7 "Joo ,=9:^ ,=s7 no7 >e eC.e97ed of 7:e -a.anese i,,edia7el6""74 F.V. Dickins, another freelance traveler to Japan who observed the country on the eve of the proposed changes, confidently asser7ed 7:a7 7:e 9o=n7r6 Ao=ld alAa6s >e "in reali76E in for, a si,.le des.o7is,E" in A:i9: ";as7 n=,>ers of ,en ,erel6 f=lfill 7:e f=n97ions of >eas7s of >=rden""75 Against such obstacles, the liberalizing intent of the emperor and his cabal would scarcely suffice.76 Kipling related that every time he encountered discussion of sweeping political reform, :e "grie;ed afres: 7:a7 s=9: a .eo.le s:o=ld :a;e a `9ons7i7=7ion'E" so in9ongr=o=s see,ed 7:e idea.77 British views ranged across the spectrum from sly derision to paternalistic pride but seldom strayed from the larger framework which assigned Britain and Japan separate places in the world. The Economist took to listing Japanese market prices and banking figures along with those of the European powers and the United States, but discussion of Japan the country rather than Japan the emerging economy never crossed the formidable psychological barrier which divided Britain and its select European peers from the other nations of the world. [email protected] "Tapan and Her Foreign Relations-" The Times, ].C @&1 &KK', ?R H.M. Moore- "The First !eneral Election in Tapan-" New Review @5&R 2(:7C &K, U?, ?L F.`. DicKins- "Narrative of a `isit to Tapan in :;\<-" Quarterly Review &LS 2_V;)O8G &KKS= >, @'@, ?U XO#4,1 >, @&U,X% ?? B#>7#%P1 >, @&&,
Section 3 0 The fin-de-siиcle and Degeneration Anxiety
"#$$#% @L
While British views of Japan continued to reflect a worldview born of the heyday of liberal self-confidence, the 1880s and 1890s were a time of transition in European thought. To the extent that it reflected changing political reality on the Continent, the intellectual ferment of 7:e era oAed ,=9: of i7s origins 7o 7:e .:eno,enon of7en FnoAn as 7:e "so9ial .ro>le,"" J:e maturing of industrial economies in much of Western Europe had led to explosive population growth and a syndrome of rising political and economic expectations which threatened the fabric of elite control which had underpinned even the most egalitarian proclamations of liberals. As the enfranchisement of the working classes proceeded 0 often as a prophylactic measure by conservative governments to forestall unrest 0 liberalism began to lose its status as the voice of the people. The increasing polarization of politics along economic lines left the purely political (in Marxist terms, bourgeois) aspirations of liberalism appearing irrelevant and the old liberal optimism for harmonious social relations based on personal liberty increasingly suspect. Even as the liberal intelligentsia lost some of its political footing, cultural elites projected their own anxiety that the bourgeois, materialist culture of the Industrial Age threatened the survival of traditional Western culture.78 The term fin-de-siиcle, used to define the cultural output of this period, functions as a figurative as well as literal description of the end of an era, a pervasive sense of impending decay. J:e 7er, "degenera7ion," which became one of the signature concepts of the fin-de-siиcle era, began its life in this cultural context, to describe a society whose collective intellect was either stagnating or under threat of being overwhelmed by the crass desires of the numerically- ?K 988 M7#8 J.78/C1 Classes and Elites In Democracy and Democratization, .%4 ]#V*.87 W#44#001 Age of the Masses: Ideas and Society in Europe since 1870
"#$$#% @U superior lower orders. In an intellectual environment inundated with discussions of biology, and in which the language of evolution proved its remarkable versatility in attaching itself to nearly every social scientific field, many commentators began to refer to the possibility of a degeneration that was physical as well as cultural. In continental Europe, especially France, the Lamarckian doctrine of evolution as driven by external environment had never been displaced by the true Darwinian theory of natural selection; though intellectuals all across Europe freely a..ro.ria7ed 7er,s liFe 7:e "s=r;i;al of 7:e fi77es7" and 7:e "s7r=ggle for eCis7en9eE" 7:ese 7er,s often bore little relation to the scientific theory, or to any legitimate science at all. In such pseudo-s9ien7ifi9 .rognos7i9a7ionsE 7:e o;er9roAding and a..alling :6giene of 7:e 9i7ies' loAer classes would result in physical and mental deterioration which would propagate itself through the generations. Moreover, the depraved moral habits of the lower orders such as drunkenness, licentiousness, and miscegenation 0 natural responses to the poor environment though they might have been 0 would nonetheless result in racial decay over time. Not only was the industrial environment uniquely productive of such dangers, but the new political potency of the working classes threatened that the elites would not only be displaced from power, but submerged in a mass of humanity which was degenerating in every sense of the word. One of the most popular exponents of such theories was the German author Max Nordau, whose manifesto Degeneration was widely read both in Britain and continental Europe. The degenerates, he said, betray their affliction in their very physiognomy, and what does not show on their faces shows in their a,oral >e:a;iorV "Jhat which nearly all degenerates lack is the sense of morality and of right and Arong" @or 7:e,E 7:ere eCis7s no laAE no de9en96E no ,odes76""79 Ana7ole D=rF:ei,'s studies on The Division of Labor in Society (1893) and Suicide (1897), accorded greater academic respect than the polemical works of Nordau, presented further arguments that ?< ].^ D)G4.:1 Degeneration 2D8E F)GH5 6>>78;)%1 &, &U,
"#$$#% @? European society was suffering from a wasting pathology whose symptoms were readily a..aren7 in 7:e de9a6 of i7s 9i;iliKa7ion and of i7s .eo.le's .:6siR=e"80 Even in Great Britain, where liberals had heretofore pointed with pride to the co=n7r6's success in mollifying the social pressures of industrialization through gradual reform, the advent of mass politics placed strain on the old faith in individualist doctrine and perpetual progress.81 J:e Hefor, A97 of WXXiE .assed Ai7: 9onsidera>le >i.ar7isan s=..or7 >6 ?illia, Nlads7one's Liberal government, was the third in a series of constitutional reforms which had gradually expanded male suffrage in Parliamentary elections, and the most sweeping in extent. Like the Acts of 1832 and 1867 before it, it was motivated partly by the interests of partisan maneuvering and partly to assuage working class interests. It produced no revolution in British politics; the dynamics of Liberal and Conservative party conflict in the House of Commons continued much the same for the next two decades. Its passage, however, coincided with a period of renewed labor unrest which shattered the relative calm which had prevailed in class relations since the 1840s. Major unemployment riots rattled London opinion in the mid-1880s, followed by dock strikes in London and the North in 1889. The labor constituency, politically dormant since the L:ar7is7 ,o;e,en7's fail=re earl6 in 7:e 9en7=r6E >egan 7o organiKe in7o .ar7iesV firs7 7:e OarCis7 Social Democratic Federation in 1881, followed later by the Independent Labour Party. The Fabian Society, organized in 1884, became the leading intellectual voice of left-wing ideology in Britain and at the same time maintained social respectability through its non-revolutionary politics and its elite membership.82 KS N*.IO8G7#%1 Degeneration: The Dark Side of Progress 2D8E F)GH5 N)7:IO#.1 &>, USTUR, K& The letters of Arthur Balfour are a good illustration of a liberal politician's slow journey from traditional faith in >G)PG800 ;) >800#I#0I )/8G ;*8 V):G08 )$ . >)7#;#V.7 7#$8;#I8, 6G;*:G W.7$):G1 Arthur James Balfour as Philosopher and Thinker 2D8E F)GH5 3)%PI.%1 &<&'= 80>, >>, , LR,
"#$$#% @K Perhaps the most important consequence of this gradual political realignment occurred not in the world of party politics, but in the intellectual sphere, as the heretofore strong link between social Darwinist thought and individualist liberalism began to disintegrate. The traditional liberals of the 1850s and 1860s, who had confidently asserted a Law of Progress based upon the model of gradualism and individual liberty, were thrown on the defensive by the possibility that a future mass political society, driven by demagoguery and the interests of class warfare, would be unable to sustain such values. Classical liberalism had always been ambivalent, at best, towards the creeping advance of democracy in Britain; in the 1880s many of the radicals of previous decades became de facto conservatives, warning that democratization or socialism could sow the seeds of the decline of British greatness. John Stuart Mill, the most famous British champion of individual liberty,83 made the elitism which undergirded his brand of liberalism more clear in his writings later in life. Striking a new variation on the theme of degenera7ionE :e Aarned 7:a7 >lind ",aPori7arianis," aA:a7 ,an6 Iri7is: a=7:ors referred 7o as the American Model) would erase the laborious progress that Britain had achieved. The liberal state, he intoned in language which evoked the scientific concept of entropy, was a fragile entity, s=>Pe97 7o de9a6 if i7s s7andards Aere relaCedV "?e o=g:7 no7 7o forge7E 7:a7 7:ere is an in9essan7 and every-flowing current of human affairs towards the worse, consisting of all the follies, all the ;i9eE all 7:e negligen9eE indolen9eE and s=.ineness of ,anFind""84 DarAin's old friend and supporter T.H. Huxley elaborated on the theme of entropy in a famous Romanes Lecture at OCfordE deli;ered in WXZj" Go9ie76's e7ernal fig:7 agains7 the decay of its proper values, he said, Aas liFe 7:a7 of 7:e "gardener's s7r=ggle agains7 en9roa9:ing Aeeds""85 Herbert Spencer, as committed to individualism as ever, warned that capitulating to labor demands would turn the [email protected] J#0 On Liberty E.0 >:O7#0*84 .; ;*8 *8#P*; )$ ;*8 7#O8G.7 .0V8%4.%VC1 #% &KL<, KR N*.IO8G7#%1 >, [email protected], KL W.%%#0;8G1 >, [email protected],
"#$$#% @< evolutionary clock backward; in an 1884 speech he lamented that the Factories Act 0 a scrupulously nonintrusive piece of regulatory legislation which did no more than mandate basic safety standards 0 was an "a.os7as6" fro, 7:e li>eral fai7:"86 Any kind of state welfare at all, he AarnedE "7ends 7o arres7 7:e in9rease of 7:e >es7E 7o de7eriora7e 7:eir 9ons7i7=7ionsE and 7o .=ll them down towards the level of the worst.87 Few, if any, liberals were as doctrinaire as the aging Spencer. Many coalesced, like the Tories had done decades before them, around a kind of rearguard reformism which made some concessions to the idea of greater government interference in the economy without abandoning the core ideology of liberalism. The Birmingham industrialist Joseph Chamberlain, one of the rising stars of the Liberal Party (see L:" jQE des9ri>ed 7:e %i>eral .la7for, of 7:e WXXks as "7:e ranso, .ro.er76 ,=s7 .a6 in eC9:ange for se9=ri76""88 Collectivist theories, whether of the political right or left, increasingly challenged the ascendancy of liberal individualism in British thought. Many critics of traditional liberalism buttressed their cases by relying on a new formulation of social Darwinism which stressed the collectivity of the state rather than the individual as the key variable which determined national .rogress or de9a6" @or a 9lassi9 li>eral liFe G.en9erE or =7ili7arian e9ono,is7sE "so9ie76" :ad >een little more than an aggregation of individual interests -- in G.en9er's ,e,ora>le .:raseE a collection of ">odies dis.ersed 7:ro=g: an =ndifferen7ia7ed Pell6""89The progress paradigm held that the advance of society was merely a convenient collective term denoting the advance of its individual components. Collectivist theorists, however, took advantages of the changing emphasis of social science at the end of the century which increasingly stressed the KU Herbert Qpencer- "The New Toryism-" Contemporary Review RL 2Z8OG:.GC &KKR= >, &US, K? Chamberlin- p. a; ]Qpencer's ItalicsC KK ()%801 >, LR, K< XO#4, >, US,
"#$$#% RS interconnectedness of individuals; biology, too, was moving away from the individualism of the early Darwinian analysis of natural history. The biologist Leslie G7e.:en's AorF The Science of Ethics, published in 1882, was a landmark text in this developing trend.90 Just as the jargon of biology and evolution had so readily attached itself to the dominant liberalism of mid-century, so did Darwinian language lend itself readily to political theorists with a radically different, distinctively anti-individualist agenda. The dominant rhetorical device was what subsequent :is7orians :a;e 9alled 7:e "organi9 analog6V" 7:e an7:ro.o,or.:iKa7ion of 7:e s7a7e as a li;ing being, which had its own health, its own diseases, and its own evolutionary fate quite apart from, and above, the life outcomes of its citizens. The Fabian Society, the dominant intellectual voice of collectivism in Britain, utilized the organic analogy as a running theme of its earliest manifesto, the F abian Essays in Socialism. Writing in the 1880s, Sidney Webb, one of the socie76's 9o-founders, reportedV "T7 Aas re9en7l6 dis9o;ered 7:a7 a so9ie76 is so,e7:ing ,ore 7:an an aggregate of so many individual uni7s^ 7:e neA s9ien7ifi9 9on9e.7ion of 7:e Go9ial Organis, has put completely out of countenance the cherished principles of the Political Economist and the M:iloso.:i9al Hadi9al""91 Webb went on to declare the old liberal optimism hopelessly out of date: Fifty years ago, it would have been assumed that absolute freedom in the sense of indi;id=al or ",anl6" inde.enden9eE .l=s a 9ri,inal 9odeE Ao=ld s.on7aneo=sl6 result in such an arrangement [social progress]; the effect was the philosophical , LK, <& Qidney Webb- "The New Qynthesis-" Fabian Essays in Socialism 23)%4)%5 "8)GP8 6778% .%4 Q%E#%1 &KK<= >, LR, WC "political economist-" Webb meant a classical political economist- i.e. a Benthamite utilitarian. By "=hilosophical Radical-" Webb meant a classical- utopian liberal along the lines of Cobden- Bright- Bagehot or Qpencer.
"#$$#% R& apotheosis of laissez-faire. Today, every student is aware that no such optimistic assumption is warranted by the facts of life.92 The Fabians' point, repeated throughout their literature, was that the organic whole of society needed to be tended through measures such as the creation of a national minimum of well-being, systematized state education, and national economic control. The old nostrums of economic liberty and non-interference simply would not suffice; what Britain needed was a radical social rearrangement. The new collectivist strain of social Darwinism also lent itself to reappraisals of the kinds of .:iloso.:i9al sFe79:es of Iri7ain's .la9e in 7:e Aorld offered in 7:e .re;io=s generation by Bagehot or Kipling. Rather than presenting Great Britain as the model end-state of the evolutionary arrow of progress, the new generation of social Darwinists painted a significantly darker picture. Benjamin Kidd, a sociologist and evolutionary theorist, published his most infl=en7ial AorF in WXZi's Social Evolution, a popularization of his evolutionary notions which was widely read in Britain and subsequently translated into nearly every European language. In didd's in7er.re7a7ion of :is7or6E e;ol=7ionar6 s=99ess Aas a9:ie;ed no7 >6 so9ie7ies A:i9: discovered the keys to differentiation and toleration, but by those whose citizens were most willing to subsume themselves in the larger interests of the group. For most of European history, the motivating force behind such self-abnegation had been religion, but Kidd perceived that an increasingly post-Christian British society faced a dangerous inspiration deficit. Laissez-faire individualism, of course, was positively destructive of the interests of social evolution. Echoing OarCE :e saA in =r>an Iri7ain 7:e "degenera7ion of 7:e working classes even as wealth and s9ien9e :a;e s7eadil6 ad;an9ed""93 Unlike Marx, he saw socialism 0 even Fabian-style moderate <' XO#4, <@ W8%c.I#% B#441 Social Evolution 23)%4)%5 ].VI#77.%1 &K, <,
"#$$#% R' socialism 0 as nothing more than a craven surrender to the selfish interests of the lower classes. Progress, he insisted, was onl6 .ossi>le 7:ro=g: 7:e effor7s of "7:ose A:o are a li77le s=.erior in so,e res.e97s 7o 7:eir felloAsE asser7ing 7:eir s=.eriori76^"T7 see,s i,.ossi>le 7o es9a.e 7:e conclusion that the progressive peoples have everywhere the same distinctive features: energetic, ;igoro=sE ;irile life""94 didd's >rand of so9ial DarAinis, Aas en7irel6 s:orn of 7:e ,oralis7i9 7one of i7s li>eral .rede9essorV 7:e Aorld of na7ions Aas li77le differen7 7:an 7:e .ri,ordial Aorld of na7=reE "red in 7oo7: and 9laA"" MrogressE for the new social Darwinists, had become devoid of its normative content, signifying nothing more than greater control, greater national cohesiveness, and greater evolutionary success. Charles Pearson, another amateur biologist and racial theorist, published one of the crudest statements of this philosophy in his 1894 book National Life and Character. Whereas Kidd had located the secret to national success in submission to higher authority, Pearson described the criteria, in Nietzschean terms, as possession of a catalogue of masculine virtues. The European nations had been great once, he announced, but they had lost their virility through a combination of racial and ideological degradation. Over-population had sapped the ?es7's s7reng7:E A:ile countries like Britain 0 once so aggressive and daring in the Elizabethan age 0 :ad >e9o,e ">=l>o=sE :ea;6-Ai77edE and ,a7erialis7""95 Equal damage had been done by the emasculating doctrines of liberalism, which had duped the British leadership class into sincere belief in international harmony and blinded them to the reality of the unceasing in7erna7ional s7r=ggle for eCis7en9e" "J:e dangerE" :e AarnedE "is 7:a7E A:ile 7:e loAer ra9es are , L<, , &SL,
"#$$#% [email protected] raising themselves to the material level of the higher, the higher may be assimilating to the moral and ,en7al de.ression of 7:e loAer""96 The arrow of progress, once so confidently thought to point resolutely towards Britain and the liberal paradigm of modernity, had all but disappeared. By the 1890s, the paradox of the liberal worldview had reversed itself in a way that was profoundly disconcerting for British elites who took such thinking seriously. At one time, liberals had proclaimed the possibility of progress irrespective of cultural differences, even as their racial and cultural assumptions left little doubt of Iri7ain's safe76 a7 7:e 7o. of 7:e Aorld :ierar9:6b 7:e se9ond genera7ion of so9ial DarAinis7s disclaimed the existence of any single morally-infused evolutionary path, while the unspoken conviction of Britain's .ossession of 7:e se9re7 7o s=99essE A:a7e;er i7 AasE Aaned signifi9an7l6" Social Darwinist theory was endlessly versatile, and by the end of the nineteenth century it presented a double-edged sword: it could grant pseudo-scientific legitimacy to the selfcongratulations of a confident world power, but it could just as easily cast a grim aura of evolutionary inevitability over the anxieties of a nation which perceived itself to be in decline. By the late 1890s, concern over domestic problems had been augmented with anxiety 0 fueled by the language of evolution and degeneration 0 o;er 7:e .re9ario=sness of Iri7ain's privileged position in the world. Such elite preoccupations were juxtaposed with a broader public discourse which in some respects reached new heights of self-congratulatory patriotism. While liberalism as a philosophical worldview encountered increasing intellectual resistance, largely inert doctrines of political liberalism continued to dominate a British scene which continued on tracks laid down much earlier in the nineteenth century. The last government of the elderly Liberal icon William Gladstone was followed in close succession by the Conservative government of Lord Salisbury which continued for nearly ten years; the parties differed more in , &S&,
"#$$#% RR rhetoric than reality, and the same issues 0 trade, imperial policy, Ireland 0 which prevailed in the late 1890s had dominated the debate decades earlier. Though intellectuals fretted that demographic and social pressures could result in the decay of the British body politic, the rhetoric of politicians betrayed little such worry. Joseph Chamberlain, the often-bombastic li>eral .oli7i9ianE 7old a ra=9o=s 9roAd of >=siness,en in WXZh 7:a7 "7:e 7enden96 of 7:e 7i,e is to throw all power into the hands of the greater empires, and the minor kingdoms 0 those which are non-.rogressi;eE see, 7o >e des7ined 7o fall in7o a se9ondar6 and s=>ordina7e .la9e""97 After that ambiguous Darwinian note, however, he re-affirmed, in classic liberal style, his belief that Bri7ain Aas P=s7 s=9: 7:e ,odel of a "grea7er e,.ire" A:ose 9on7in=ing des7in6 Aas 7o >e ass=red >6 7:e s7reng7: of i7s ;al=es" He;ieAing Ai7: sa7isfa97ion 7:e :is7or6 of Iri7ain's role in 7:e AorldE :e re.ea7ed 7:a7 "in al,os7 e;er6 ins7an9e in A:i9: 7:e rule of the Queen has been established and the great Pax Britannica has been enforced, there has come with it ever greater se9=ri76 7o lifeE li>er76E and .ro.er76""98 Precisely that message of universal beneficence was one of the great themes of Queen Victoria's la;is: Dia,ond -=>ilee in WXZhE 9ele>ra7ing Iri7ain's a9:ie;e,en7s in :er siC76 6ears on the throne. As it turned out, the Jubilee was one of the last and largest outbursts of classical British self-confidence, and even it was not without its discordant notes. Rudyard Kipling, the most popular poet of his generation and a man not always averse to such expressions of national pride, composed his poem Recessional as a counterpoint to the celebrations of the Jubilee. Kipling used the traditional moral language of warning against overweening pride and the transience of glory, but his message was strikingly close to that of the social theorists and the Darwinists 0 perpetual progress was not to be the rule of the future for Britain: , &R&, , [email protected]<
"#$$#% RL Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget 0 les7 Ae forge7^ If, drunk with sight of power, we loose Wild tongues that have not thee in awe, Such boastings as the gentiles use, Or lesser breeds without the law 0 Lord of hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget 0 lest we forget.99 It was only when the latent anxiety of the 1880s and 1890s matured into perceptions of an imminent crisis that the liberal worldview would begin to weaken, and narrative of decline would supersede that of progress. And it was only under the influence of such a shift in perceptions that a newly industrialized and aggressive Japan could emerge as a potential equal 0 even a model 0 for British observers. The Britain of the Edwardian era in the next decade experienced this catalytic crisis of elite perceptions, a crisis which was ushered in by the events of 7:e 9o=n7r6's 7ra=,a7i9 7ransi7ion 7o 7:e 7Aen7ie7: 9en7=r6. << Rudyard Vipling- "Recessional-" The Complete Verse 2D8E F)GH5 +.%4)I J):081 &, @'?,
Chapter 3 0 The Edwardian Crisis Section 1 0 The Boer War and the Passing of an Era
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The full implications of the revolution in social and political thinking sparked by DarAinis,E 9o=.led Ai7: 7:e 9=,=la7i;e effe97 of 7:e 9o=n7r6's rela7i;e decline in geopolitical .osi7ionE ,anifes7ed 7:e,sel;es in 7:e de9ade A:i9: ,arFed 7:e "BdAardian Bra" in Iri7is: history. The decade from 1900 to 1910 was not, in superficial terms, a time of tremendous social crisis in Great Britain. The British empire retained its grandeur and even increased in size; the country experienced no catastrophic economic decline or sudden loss of absolute material strength; the specter of class conflict, an ever-present concern of British elites in the not-toodistant past, remained firmly in the background as the rising Labour Party began the process of peacefully integrating itself into the Parliamentary system. Nonetheless, beneath the surface of a national life which seemed to persevere 0 even to flourish 0 in the status quo, however, a sense of .rofo=nd anCie76 eC.loded in7o 7:e 9ons9io=sness of a signifi9an7 .or7ion of Iri7ain's eli7e intellectuals, writers, and politicians. In simplest terms, the Edwardian Era produced a crisis of national self-9onfiden9eE A:en Iri7ain's future as a great, imperial power 0 even its survival against rising foes, real and imagined 0 seemed suddenly less assured. Troubling questions about the soundness of institutions which had once served as pillars of national identity 0 the army, the education system, the Constitution 0 reached a pitch which would have been unthinkable even de9ades earlierE A:ile anCio=s dis9=ssion of 7:e .:6si9al 9ondi7ion of Iri7ain's loAer-class population and the crowded cities which they inhabited became couched in the Darwinian lang=age of gene7i9 "degenera7ion" and 7:e na7ional s7r=ggle for s=r;i;al on 7:e Aorld s7age" Edwardian soul-searching was hardly a universal phenomenon, but for a vocal and largely self-
"#$$#% R? appointed elite, the crisis was real indeed, and it was triggered by two traumatic events which symbolically ushered in the twentieth century: the death of Queen Victoria and the fiasco of the Boer War.100 Queen Victoria died at her country home on the Isle of Wight on January 16, 1901, only days into the new century. She had reigned for sixty-four years and given her name to an era of unparalleled British ascendancy in the world, and by the time of her death she had become, quite literally, the matriarch of Europe. Her deathbed was attended by a devoted contingent of descendants from Britain and abroad, and her subsequent funeral served as a reunion for B=ro.e's ro6al76E nearl6 all of A:o, 9o=ld 9o=n7 ea9: o7:er as >lood rela7i;es 7:ro=g: 7:eir Poin7 descent from the dead Queen. The days of such intimate familiarity between the aristocratic elites of Europe 0 as well as the long century of unquestioned British supremacy symbolized by Victoria 0 were coming to an end, and contemporary observers detected a sense of passing and transition the significance of which grea7l6 7rans9ended 7:e .=>li9's ,o=rning for a >elo;edE aged ,o7:er fig=re" Tn 7:e Aords of one o>ser;er of 7:e ]=een's f=neral .ossessionE 7:e no;elis7 Blinor Nl6nE "T7 Aas i,.ossi>le no7 7o senseE in 7:a7 s7a7el6 .ro9essionE 7:e .assing of an e.o9:E and a great one; a period in which England had been supreme, and had attained to the height of :er ,a7erial Aeal7: and .oAer^T fel7 T Aas Ai7nessing 7:e f=neral .ro9ession of Bngland's grea7ness and glor6""101 In the House of Commons, the Conservative leader Arthur Balfour 0 a man not given to sentimentality 0 was voluble in expressing his sense of transition tinged with fore>odingV "Nrief affe97s =sE" :e ad,i77edE "no7 ,erel6 >e9a=se Ae :a;e los7 a grea7 .ersonali76E &SS [*8 9):;* 6$G#V.% V)%$7#V; )$ &K<)G.GC V:7;:G8 ­ as simply the "Boer War-" and for that reason I will refer to it as 0:V* ;*G):P*):;, [*):P* )%7C )%8 )$ . 08G#80 )$ 088I#%P7C #%;8GI#%.O78 V)7)%#.7 V)%$7#V;0 #% ;*8 G8P#)%1 #; >7.C84 OC $.G ;*8 O#PP80; G)78 #% WG#;#0* *#0;)GC .%4 *.4 .% ):;0#a84 #I>.V; )% >:O7#V )>#%#)% .%4 %.;#)%.7 V)778V;#/8 I8I)GC, &S& 9.I:87 JC%801 The Edwardian Turn of Mind 2AG#%V8;)%1 D(5 AG#%V8;)% Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 &, &?,
"#$$#% RK but because we feel that the end of a great epoc: :as 9o,e =.on =s""102 For British subjects of all classes, Victoria represented remarkable continuity and had persevered as a living symbol of the Pax Britannica which had characterized the mid-nineteenth century. Her son Albert Edward, who took the throne as Edward VII, survived only for a short reign, one which coincided almost eCa97l6 Ai7: 7:e 9en7=r6's firs7 de9ade" 5is a99ession Aas a .o7en7 s6,>ol of 9:angeE >=7 7:e most important catalyst for Edwardian anxiety had occurred two years earlier, when the shocking neAs of 7:e Ioer's ?ar's "Ila9F ?eeF" rea9:ed Iri7ain fro, Go=7: Afri9a" The outbreak of war between British South Africa and the two Boer republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State had been anticipated for some time in both London and the Cape Colony by 1899. When outright conflict finally began in October of that year, it marked a final failure (or unwillingness) to resolve the seemingly intractable tensions between the Boer inhabitants of the two republics 0 whose ruling class consisted of 7:e des9endan7s of 7:e region's original Dutch, Flemish, and German colonists 0 and the encroaching ambitions of the Britishgo;erned La.e Lolon6" B;er sin9e 7:e :ea;il6 ,67:ologiKed "Nrand JreF" ,igra7ion aAa6 fro, British control by some 14,000 Boers in the 1830s, the history of South Africa had been marked by a series of clashes over land and resources, both between the European settlers and against resisting indigenous African nations.103 The discovery of diamond fields in disputed territory provoked one round of conflict in the 1860s, and another was sparked in the 1880s by the discovery of the massive Rand gold fields in the very heart of the Boer Republic of the Transvaal. A loose coalition of British business interests 0 first among them the De Beers &S' Q%#;84 B#%P4)I1 Proceedings of the House of Commons (Hansard): Official Report, b)7:I8 K< 2(.%:.GC 'L1 &>, 'ST'', [*8 I)0; %);.O78 V)%$7#V; .P.#%0; 6$G#V.% G80#0;.%V8 E.0 ;*8 0)Tcalled "culu War-" including the disastrous British defeat at Isandlwana in &K?<, [*):P* ;*8 48$8.; E.0 EG#;;8% )$$ #% I)0; V#GV780 .0 . I8G8 I)I8%;.GC 08;O.VH )% ;*8 >.;* ;) )/8GE*87I#%P /#V;)GC1 #; E.0 .% 8.G7C V7.G#)% V.77 $)G .7.GI#0;0 .; WG#;#0* I#7#;.GC G8.4#%800,
"#$$#% R< diamond firm headed by the irrepressible Cecil Rhodes 0 began applying pressure to the Transvaal government for monetary concessions. When Transvaal president Paul Kruger proved unyieldingE and 7:e Ioer ,aPori76's refusal to grant political rights to the newly-arrived British immigrants in the two republics provided an added pretext for outrage, both the Boer governments and the British began to view armed conflict as inevitable. In London, Lord Salisbury, the Conservative Prime Minister, and Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain came around to the view that the only way to pacify South Africa was for Britain to re-assume sovereignty over the two Boer Republics. Accordingly the government dispatched 60,000 troops to the Cape Colony and brushed off the Boer ultimatum calling for demobilization. Salisbury, Chamberlain, and South African Governor Alfred Milner took the Boers (who were, after all, of European descent) seriously as a fighting force, especially considering that memories of the setback inflicted on imperial forces in the first Boer war of 1879-1880 0 when the Transvaal had re-secured its sovereignty 0 were still humiliatingly fresh. Nonetheless, few in London or Cape Town were prepared for the ferocity of Boer resistance or the military disasters 7:a7 s7r=9F a7 7:e :ear7 of 7:e B,.ire's self 9onfiden9e"104 In one week in early December 1899, the over-confident British invasion force suffered near-simultaneous defeats in three pitched battles against Boer forces; it was a sequence of disasters which went down in British :is7or6 as "Ila9F ?eeF"" A s7=nned British public, including a mortified Queen Victoria, read humiliating newspaper accounts of thousands of casualties (including a great number of officers from the flower of the upper classes) and key strategic cities such as Kimberly and Ladysmith left wide open to Boer advance. After further defeats in the opening weeks of 1900, it seemed for some time as if the entire Cape Colony could be overrun by the seemingly invincible enemy. The danger of final defeat was never great 0 a &SR XO#4, >>, @LTLL
"#$$#% LS s7ead6 s7rea, of Iri7is: reinfor9e,en7s soon s7e,,ed 7:e ini7ial 7ideE and 7:e na7ion's widespread panic subsided by late February 1900. Nevertheless, the tension produced at all le;els of Iri7is: so9ie76 >6 7:e Aar's =nexpected early setbacks, as well as the strain of continued heavy casualties throughout the campaign, were manifest in the outburst of cathartic celebration that greeted news of the relief of Mafeking in May 1900. The ordeal suffered by that tiny frontier outpost, which had been besieged since Black Week, had become a focus of a great deal of newspaper attention, especially in the pages of working-class organs such as the Daily Mail and Daily Herald, and its final delivery from danger became cause for celebration in cities 7:ro=g:o=7 BnglandV "%i;er.ool Aas ali;e Ai7: .arading 9roAds^ Iir,ing:a, s.read 7:e neAs liFe Aildfire fro, i7s 7:ea7res^7:e lorFs:ire dales re;er>era7ed Ai7: 7:e so=nd of s7rangel6 >loAn ,ill and fa97or6 sirens""105 Popular jingoism aside, however, not even the conclusion of the conflict in 1902 0 with an armistice that marked a nominal British victory 0 could erase the lasting effects of the war, especially for those who witnessed the British performance firsthand. In language which was surely a conscious echo of the eponymous Kipling poem, Times war correspondent Leo Amery de9lared 7:e Aar 7o >e "7:e na7ion's He9essional af7er all 7:e .o,. and s:oA of 7:e 6ear of jubilee. It has transmuted the complacent arrogance and contempt of other nations begotten of long 6ears of .ea9e and .ros.eri76 7o a 7r=er 9ons9io=sness^of o=r defe97s""106 Predictably, the ini7ial 9ri7i9is, of 7:e na7ion's "defe97s" fo9=sed on 7:e AeaFnesses of 7:e Iri7is: ar,6 laid so humiliatingly bare by the first months of war; this, too, was cued by passionate eyewitness a99o=n7s" J:e ,os7 9o,,on 9ri7iR=e Aas of 7:e Ar,6's unreadiness for modern warfare -- its &SU 38)>)74 6I8GC1 Times History of the War in South Africa, Volume I 23)%4)%5 9, 3)E1 ].G0;)% .%4 N),1 &, &:. The celebrations of that event also gave birth to a colloquial British verb- "mafficKing-" which originally 480VG#O84 ;*8 E#74 8^V800 )$ ;*8 $80;#/#;#80
"#$$#% L& reliance on outdated traditions of parade-ground formations and poor combat training. Winston Churchill, then a young war correspondent for the Morning Post1 described the vivid contrast >e7Aeen Iri7is: infan7r6,en and 7:eir ene,iesV "J:e indi;id=al IoerE ,o=n7edE in a s=i7a>le country, is worth four or five regular soldiers. The extraordinary mobility of the enemy protects :is flanFs^ Are all 7:e gen7le,en of Bngland off foC-:=n7inge"107 Writing for the Times, Leo A,er6 ,ade ,=9: 7:e sa,e .oin7E al>ei7 in less Ho,an7i9 lang=ageV "All T saA d=ring 7:ese weeks left on my mind an ineffaceable impression of the incapacity of our senior officers, the =selessness of o=r ar,6 7raining for 7:e .=r.oses of ,odern Aar^ a>o;e allE 7:e need of complete, revolutionary refor, of 7:e Ar,6 fro, 7o. 7o >o77o,""108 In one of his earliest ventures into direct political commentary, the novelist and polymath H.G. Wells submitted to the 9ri7i9al fires7or, a ,agaKine .ie9eE "J:e L69lis7 GoldiersE" in A:i9: :e ;i9io=sl6 .arodied a military culture so bureaucratic, so wedded to tradition, that it could not even assimilate the lowly bicycle into service without tying itself up in knots.109 Such hand-wringing about the fighting capacities of the British Army was far from unprecedented; in fact, it was merely the continuation of a long tradition of national post mortem dialogue in the aftermath of past setbacks such as the American Revolution, the Afghan Campaign, and the Crimean War of the 1850s. In fact, domestic outrage over the failures of the field hospitals 0 in which hundreds of soldiers died under poor conditions 0 mirrored the uproar which had given rise to the Red Cross movement in the Crimean era.110 Where the aftermath of the Boer War differed from all past crises, however, was in the presence of a Darwinian master narrative of national degeneration which gave entirely new &S? (:44 .%4 9:GG#4P81 >>, &', &&K, &S< H.!. Wells- "The Cyclist Qoldier-" Fortnightly Review UK 2-8V8IO8G &>, <&RT<'S, &&S ",+, 98.G781 The Quest for National Efficiency 2W8GH878C1 N65 [*8 Q%#/8G0#;C )$ N.7#$)G%#. AG8001 &, @?,
"#$$#% L' weight to discussions of British military failure. The embarrassments of the Crimean War, despite the outcry they produced at home, came near the absolute apogee of British material supremacy and self-confidence, a mere three years after the triumphant Great Exposition which had s:oA9ased Iri7ain's =n.aralleled e9ono,i9 ,ig:7 7o 7:e Aorld" I6 WZkkE :oAe;erE 7:e double-edged sword of the Darwinian worldview had made great inroads into British social and political thinking. Just as Chamberlain and Rhodes had almost seamlessly integrated the lang=age of 7:e in7erna7ional s7r=ggle for s=r;i;al in7o 7ri=,.:alis7 a99o=n7s of Iri7ain's =niR=e world-:is7ori9al 7raPe97or6E so noA 9o=ld 7:e ga7:ering e;iden9e of 7:e erosion of Iri7ain's position in the world feed speculation that the nation had become degenerate: that it was falling behind in the fierce global competition for survival. For some political radicals, the remnants of 7:e 9oali7ion of \on9onfor,is7 li>erals A:o :ad s=..or7ed Nlads7one's ,oralis7 foreign .oli96 in the 1870s and 18XksE Iri7ain's degenera96 Aas of a s7ri97l6 ,oral 9:ara97er"111 Indeed, the se9ond .:ase of 7:e Ioer ?arE in A:i9: 7:e Ar,6's fr=s7ra7ion Ai7: 7:e g=errilla 7a97i9s of 7:e Boer resistance had led to the confinement of civilians in camps and several atrocities, supplied ample fodder for a critique of the moral compass of the Empire.112 Henry Campbell-Bannerman, 7:e leader of 7:e o..osi7ion %i>eral Mar76 in Marlia,en7E fa,o=sl6 deno=n9ed :is 9o=n7r6's ",e7:ods of >ar>aris," in an ele97ion s.ee9:"113 Such sentiments, however, were strikingly out of touch with the tenor of the times. The anti-war wing of the Liberals 0 soon derisively labeled 7:e ".ro-Ioer" 9on7ingen7 in 7:e .ress 0 could count on no more than forty votes in Parliament; &&& D)%V)%$)GI#0;1 #% ;*#0 V)%;8^;1 G8$8G0 ;) ;*8 %)%T6%P7#V.% >G);80;.%; 08V;0 E*#V* *.4 ;G.4#;#)%.77C O88% 4G#/8% OC . 4#008%;#%P1 8/.%P87#V.7 0>#G#; .%4 *.4 O88% 8^;G.)G4#%.G#7C /)V.7 #% >)7#;#V0, `*8G8.0 ;*8 N)%08G/.;#/8 >.G;C V):%;84 )% . >G#I.G#7C 6%P7#V.% O.081 3#O8G.70 .;;G.V;84 ;*8 I.c)G#;C )$ D)%V)%$)GI#0;0, &&' The origin of the term is disputed- but it is liKely that the term "concentration camp" dates to the British #%;8G%I8%; V.I>0 )$ ;*#0 0;.P8 )$ ;*8 E.G, [email protected] ].G;#% A:P*1 State and Society: British Political and Social History 1870M1992 23)%4)%5 M4E.G4 6G%)741 &<, @K,
"#$$#% [email protected] ,oreo;erE 7:e Lonser;a7i;es' eC.loi7a7ion of .o.=lar Pingois, in calling a general election soon after combat ended ensured an electoral landslide for pro-Imperial, pro-war candidates. G=9: rePe97ion of "R=ain7E" .re-Darwinian moralism was hardly confined to the voting public; in intellectual circles as well as for the man in the street, the crisis induced by the Boer War was not one of conscience, but of strength. Writing for the periodical Nineteenth Century, the imperialist booster Harold Wyatt emphasized that in struggles like the Boer War, just one small theater in the global, zero-sum grea7 .oAer ga,eE "7:e 9:oi9e :as no7 lain >e7Aeen 7:e extension of our dominion and the maintenance of the status quo, but between such an extension and the abandonment of 7:e regions 9on9erned 7o a foreign ri;al""114 As the purest possible clash of rival powers, matching strength for strength, system against system, on the battlefield, war Aas "Nod's 7es7E" 7:e all-important tipping point which separated the rising powers from the static, the static from the declining.115 The Boer War was just such a tipping point in the minds of many observers; the Edwardian decade would be dominated by efforts to reverse the perceived incipient slide both at home and abroad. Even the socialist Beatrice Webb, nominally a pacifist and anti-imperialist, endorsed the conventional wisdo, arising fro, 7:e "lessons of 7:e AarE" confessing to her diary that such a sobering wake-=. 9allE "7o a r=ling ra9eE is 7:e :ardes7 :i7 of all^ Tf Ae fo=nd o=rsel;es fa9ed Ai7: real disaster, should we as a nation have the nerve and the persistency to s7and =. agains7 i7e J:a7 is 7:e R=es7ion 7:a7 :a=n7s ,e""116 Protecting the nation from foreign peril had been an afterthought through much of the nineteenth century, but the consequences for Britain of a potential great war between the European powers became the focus of preoccupation both within the army and without. The renewed sense of danger was not merely a fantasy creation of Darwinian ideology: by 1900, &&R Harold Wyatt- "The Ethics of Empire-" Nineteenth Century R&5'R' 26>G#7 &K, L&K, &&L Wyatt- "War as the Qupreme Test of National `alue-" Nineteenth Century RL5'UR 2Z8OG:.GC &K<<= >>, '&>, &"#$$#% LR Britain had lost much of its margin of security over European rivals. The root cause, of course, Aas 7:e a99elera7ion of Lon7inen7al B=ro.e's ind=s7rialiKa7ion in 7:e la7e nine7een7: 9en7=r6" On9e 7:e .rod=9er of o;er :alf 7:e Aorld's ind=s7rial o=7.=7E Iri7ain :ad seen i7s lead s7eadil6 decline and then disappear. By the first decade of the twentieth century, Imperial Germany had drawn even with Britain in economic might; a few years later, the United States had raced past >o7: 9o=n7ries and 7aFen i7s .la9e as 7:e Aorld's grea7es7 ind=s7rial .oAer" A7 a 7i,e in A:ich raw manpower was still considered as 7:e final ar>i7er of ,ili7ar6 .o7en7ialE Iri7ain's de,ogra.:i9 s7agna7ion Aas real and 7ro=>lingE as Aell" J:e :o,e islands' .o.=la7ion :ad nearl6 stopped growing, while Russia, Germany, the U.S.A., and even Italy experienced continued expansion. Only France, another power written off by many as :o.elessl6 "de9aden7E" :ad undergone similar population stagnation.117 Armed with evidence of these alarming trends, advocates of military reform waged ;igoro=s >a77le on Iri7ain's en7ren9:ed 7radi7ions of a ;ol=nteer army and minimal defense s.ending" J:e Blgin Lo,,issionE de.=7iKed >6 Marlia,en7 7o re.or7 on 7:e Ar,6's organizational failures, returned its judgments in 1902, nearly all of which were widely accepted.118 J:e ar,ed for9es Aere ",oderniKed" Ai7: 7:e addition of a general staff structure, while a quasi-governmental Committee on Imperial Defense was created to provide for greater strategic planning.119 For many of the most enthusiastic imperialists, however, the solution to the long-term problem lay not in the defense of Britain itself, but in the reconstitution of the Empire as a AorldAide 9o,,onAeal7: and >=lAarF agains7 foreign .oAers" I=ilding on 7:e "AngloGaConis7" r:e7ori9 A:i9: .osi7ed a na7=ralE indissol=>le >lood 9onne97ion no7 onl6 a,ong 7:e &&? B8%%84C1 The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, >>, &5eeEEE,48$8%V8,P)/,.:e6+]Fe6JQe4)V0e[*8fW)8Gf`.GfW8VH8;;,>4$g &&< -8%#0 (:441 Balfour and the British Empire: A Study in Imperial Evolution 1874M1902 23)%4)%5 ].VI#77.%1 &>, R'TRK,
"#$$#% LL dominions of the British Empire,120 but between Britain and the United States as kindred nations, many imperialists promoted the creation of greater ties of racial brotherhood outside the political bounds of the empire.121 Cecil Rhodes devoted much of the later portion of his life to the promotion of Anglo-Saxon unity, always with the implicit message that only through racial unity would the Anglophone peoples survive the coming global struggle; the Rhodes Scholarships of Oxford University owe their origin to his attempt to further Anglo-American brotherhood. Joseph Chamberlain, one of the most charismatic politicians of the age and an ideological chameleon whose allegiances shifted several times in his career, was nonetheless consistent throughout his life in harping on the theme of the English-speaking world beyond the sea as the ul7i,a7e sal;a7ion of :is .eo.le's small, surrounded island. In a speech after the Boer War, he Aarned :is a=dien9e 7:a7 "7:e 7enden96 of o=r 7i,es is 7o 7:roA all .oAer in7o 7:e :ands of the greater Empires, and the minor nations 0 those which are non-progressive, seem to be destined to fall in7o se9ond .la9e""122 With imperial unity, however, he projected a sunny future in which the stagnation of England itself would be perpetually rejuvenated by its younger, healthier offspring; Ai7: =ni76E "7:e Aorld Aill no7 >e >ig eno=g: for Iri7is: 7rade and 7:e Iri7is: flag 0 the operation e;en of 9onR=ering 7:e ,oon and 7:e .lane7s is onl6 so,e7:ing A:i9: is 6e7 7o >e FnoAn""123 In 1903, Chamberlain laun9:ed a 9a,.aign 7o >ring ra9ial =ni76 7o fr=i7ion 7:ro=g: "i,.erial .referen9e" 0 a s9:e,e 7o a>andon Iri7ain's long-held free trade dogma in favor of preferential tariffs creating an Empire economic bloc. This proposed return to the mercantile age never &'S In this conteNt- of course- the only relevant nations were the "White Dominions" ­ %.I87C1 N.%.4.1 6:0;G.7#.1 D8E h8.7.%41 .%4 ;*8 %8E Q%#)% )$ 9):;* 6$G#V. E*#V* .G)08 $G)I ;*8 V)%V7:0#)% )$ ;*8 W)8G `.G, X%4#.1 E#;* #;0 ;G8I8%4):0 I.%>)E8G1 )$;8% >7.C84 . 7.GP8 G)78 #% 0V*8I80 )$ #I>8G#.7 087$T48$8%08 2.%4 V)%;G#O:;84 PG8.;7C ;) ;*8 E.G 8$$)G;0 )$ O);* ;*8 Z#G0; .%4 98V)%4 `)G74 `.G0=1 O:; E.0 %); V)%0#48G84 87#P#O78 $)G . $:;:G8 >)0;T #I>8G#.7 V)II)%E8.7;* )$ ;*8 H#%4 8%/#0#)%84 OC +*)480 )G N*.IO8G7.#%, &'& A.:7 +#V*1 Race and Empire in British Politics 2D8E F)GH5 N.IOG#4P8 Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 &, &?, &'' Toseph Chamberlain- "The True Conception of Empire" ]speechC- The Fin de Siиcle: A Reader in Cultural History 2D8E F)GH5 _^$)G4 Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 'SSS= >, &R&, &'@ XO#4, >, &R'[email protected],
"#$$#% LU 9a=g:7 on Ai7: 7:e %i>eral Mar76's ranF-and-file, nor did it inspire much enthusiasm from the dominions themselves. An imperial conference in 1902 made it clear that Canada, Australia, and New Zealand desired more, not less, economic independence from the mother country. Though agitation for greater economic and political unity in the Edwardian era ultimately came to naught, intellectuals and politicians of all persuasions (socialists included) continued to cherish 7:e la7en7 .o7en7ial of Iri7ain's e,.ire as its greatest geopolitical asset.124 AnCie76 o;er Iri7ain's f=7=re se9=ri76 Aas >6 no ,eans 9onfined 7o 7:e :and-wringing of elites and military planners. The decade was rife with war scares real and imagined, and foreign policy crises from Morocco to the Sudan to the Far East were breathlessly reported and magnified by such staples of the yellow press as the Mail and Herald. As the decade wore on, the fo9=s of anCie76 in9reasingl6 >e9a,e 7:e Iri7is: na;6E 7:e na7ion's onl6 line of defense agains7 Continental powers whose armies were many times larger than anything Britain could muster for its defense. From the time of the first naval scare of 1903 onward, ambitious, rapidly arming ?il:el,ine Ner,an6 loo,ed e;er larger as Iri7ain's liFel6 an7agonis7 in B=ro.e's neC7 grea7 war. Advocates of naval expansion, chief among them Admiral James Fisher, masterfully manipulated popular fear of the German navy to set Britain on course for a naval building race which led admiralty spending to increase by an unprecedented fifty percent in little over a decade.125 Tn .o.=lar 9=l7=reE 7:e de9ade's se9=ri76 fears Aere dis7illed in7o an o=7>=rs7 of no;els and articles in a genre which experienced its greatest popularity since the time of Napoleon: invasion fantasy literature. Often imagined as retrospective histories of the decline and fall of the British Empire or as suspense novels of a race against time to thwart a sinister foreign plot, such &'R Bernard =orter- "The Edwardians and their Empire-" Edwardian England, M4#;84 OC -)%.74 +8.4 2D8E WG:%0E#VH1 D(5 +:;P8G0 Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 &>, &'KT&R', &'L XO#4, >, &LS,
"#$$#% L? works featured one dominant theme: the danger of a nation falling behind in the evolutionary race, an England gone soft. The most widely-read and impactful of in;asion fan7asies Aas BrsFine L:ilders's WZkj Riddle of the Sands, in which seafaring British young men discover a German navy amassing for invasion after they had strayed 7oo far fro, 7:e Bnglis: s:ore" J:e :eroes' ingen=i76 and 9o=rage (perennial English virtues) save the day, but the book nevertheless paints a picture of latent danger from a nation colder, more austere, more ruthless than vulnerable Britain.126 L:ilders's characters chide their nation for forgetting its ultimate vulnerability, and the virtues which had on9e ,ade i7 grea7V "?e';e >een safe so longE and go77en so ri9:E 7:a7 Ae';e forgo7 A:a7 Ae oAe i7 7o""127 Guy du Maurier, a former army officer who had seen the Boer War firsthand, tried to influence an ongoing naval spending debate in 1909 with his play, +,*-,./$(0%#,)(*1'%23* which drew upon the same psychological vulnerability. The play opens with a small English town suffering invasion at the hands of the tall, muscular, fanatically efficient troops of the "B,.ire of 7:e \or7:" aa 7:inl6 disg=ised Ner,an6QE onl6 7o >e dri;en offE as in nearl6 all s=9: books, by a belatedly mobilized British public. In reviewing the work, the Times spoke for much of the intellectual establishment by disparaging the crassness of 7:e .la6's eC.ression A:ile a7 7:e sa,e 7i,e affir,ing 7:e reali76 of 7:e na7ional danger 7o A:i9: i7 .oin7edV i7 Aas "s7ar7ling testimony to the hold which the great National Defence question has taken of the thoughts and i,agina7ion of 7:e Bnglis: .=>li9^A:a7 is signifi9an7 is 7:a7 7:e 7:ing s:o=ld :a;e >een _Ari77enc a7 all""128 Whether analyzed as mere popular hysteria or a deeper cathartic expression of top-to->o77o, na7ional anCie76E 7:e era's in;asion literature reflected with startling clarity the &'U MG0H#%8 N*#748G01 The Riddle of the Sands 2D8E F)GH5 _^$)G4 Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 &<, &SR, &'K The Times, (.%:.GC 'K1 &, RU,
"#$$#% LK amorality of a world scene viewed through the ever-.resen7 DarAinian .ris," J:e ";illains" of such works are seldom the ascendant foreign powers 0 L:ilders's 9:ara97ers refer 7o 7:e daiser as a "s.lendid 9:a." 0 but the unprepared British themselves. That a younger, stronger power such as Russia or Germany or Japan should invade and conquer was only natural; the moral condemnation, such as any existed, was leveled at the weak and unwilling rather than the strong and rapacious. Section 2 0 The Co-Efficients and the Reform Movement The Boer War served as a catalyst for a reassessment of British society which extended far >e6ond 7:e 9o=n7r6's eC7ernal affairs" J:e ,os7 .rofo=nd 9risis of 7:e BdAardian eraE in fact, was the transformation which became increasingly apparent in elite thinking about a range of domestic social and political issues. After all, the same all-embracing 0 sometimes crudely vulgarized 0 "na7ional DarAinian" Aorld;ieA A:i9: .osi7ed a glo>al struggle for existence also lent itself to a strong ideological analogy between evolutionary fitness in individuals and "na7ional fi7ness"" J:is fig=ra7i;e .ersonifi9a7ion of na7ional Aelfare :ad >een de9ades in 7:e making, of course, but with the onset of the twentieth century came a seismic shift in the tone of the discussion. Just as the particular greatness of elements of the British national character had been read into the concrete successes of the nation in the mid-nineteenth century, so did national health become the object of concerned scrutiny once the material bases of British power began to deteriorate and the events of the Boer War had tipped the balance decisively against the 9o=n7r6's for,er s,=g self-confidence. Writing in the 1880s, Rudyard Kipling could see the "geni=s of 7:e Anglo-GaCon" a7 AorF in s=9: 9:ara97eris7i9s as :is s7=>>ornness and 9o=rage 0 in
"#$$#% L< a AordE :is indi;id=alis,V "?:en :e s7ands liFe an oC in 7:e f=rroA Ai7: :is s=llen se7 e6es on your own / my son, leave the Saxon alone""129 In the years after the Boer War, commentators were far more likely to chide Britons for their national traits rather than salute them; if the race Aas indeed on 7:e .a7: 7o degenera7ionE 7:en i7 Aas all 7oo eas6 7o see 7:e na7ion's ad:eren9e 7o tradition as destructive stubbornness and its characteristic individualism as a lamentable barrier >lo9Fing 7:e Aa6 7o A:a7 Iea7ri9e ?e>> 9alled "7:e :ig:er freedo, of 9or.ora7e life""130 The Edwardian discussion of the supposed defects of the British state was dominated by a single 7er, A:i9: >e9a,e one of 7:e de9ade's Aa79:AordsV effi9ien96"131 The term owed its origin 0 and its unique currency in the era 0 both to the simplistic Darwinian analogy of the state 7o 7:e organis, and 7o 7:e .re;alen9e of 7:eories of "s9ien7ifi9 ,anage,en7" in >=siness and government. If the world arena was indeed marked by a struggle for material supremacy 0 and if the greatness of nations, like that of corporations or electrical generators, could be measured solely by output, then it was clear that what was wanting in Britain was a thorough reorganization, a clean slate, which stripped away old and inefficient ways of conducting the na7ion's >=siness" "Af7er allE" as 7:e %i>eral leader %ord Hose>er6 in7oned in WZkkE "7:e G7a7e is in essen9e a grea7 Poin7 s7o9F 9o,.an6^as in a >=sinessE 7ooE a .eriodi9al s7o9F-taking is ne9essar6 in a s7a7e""132 J:e 7er, "effi9ien96" 9a,e 7o 9onno7e far ,ore 7:an i7s 9o,,on.la9eE innocuous meaning; it became inseparable from the milieu in which it was most frequently used, frequently with a mix of both scientific and business jargon. In an anonymous article in &'< +)O8G; F):%P1 The Idea of English Ethnicity 2W)0;)%5 W7.VHE8771 'SSK= >, @<, [email protected] `8OO1 Our Partnership, >, ''', [email protected]& !.R. Qearle's The Quest for National Efficiency #0 ;*8 48$#%#;#/8 E)GH #% 480VG#O#%P ;*#0 4#0V:00#)%1 .%4 ;*8 >)7#;#V.7 G8T0*:$$7#%P E*#V* #; VG8.;84, [*):P* #; $)V:080 .7I)0; 8%;#G87C )% ;*8 political .0>8V;0 )$ ;*#0 >*8%)I8%)%1 #; .70) .VH%)E784P80 ;*8 #%$7:8%V8 )$ -.GE#%#0I )% ;*8 ;)%8 )$ ;*8 4#0V:00#)%1 #$ %); #% I:V* 48;.#7, Qearle's worK also gave me my first indication ]in passingC of a possible connection between the thoughts of the "efficiency group" about domestic British issues and perceptions of foreign countries liKe Tapan. [email protected]' 98.G781 >, K?1
"#$$#% US Fortnightly Review, .ro;o9a7i;el6 en7i7led "?ill Bngland %as7 7:e Len7=r6e"E one a=7:or gleefully pursued this scientific metaphor, asserting that Bri7ain ,=s7 >e "re-engined" or else s=ffer 9onseR=en9es of 7:e "r=ino=s de9aden9e" 7oAards A:i9: i7 Aas .lainl6 :eaded" 5"N" Wells was even more blunt, reminding his readers that the horizons of social reformers and visionaries had trimmed and re-oriented in a post-Darwinian age; no longer did the path to national greatness go through the kinds of historical virtues enumerated by Macauley or through pie-in-the-sF6 drea,ingE >=7 7:ro=g: rigoro=s 9ons7r=97ion of a ra7ionalE effi9ien7 s7a7e" "J:e utopia of a modern dreamer must needs differ in this one fundamental aspect from the nowhere and =7o.ias ,en .lanned >efore DarAin R=i9Fened 7:e 7:o=g:7 of 7:e Aorld""133 One of the works which did the most to set the tone for the efficiency movement 0 and one which, despite its often crude radicalism, reached probably the largest general audience 0 was journalist and provocateur Arnold ?:i7e's WZkW .ole,i9, Efficiency and Empire. White de.lored 7:e s.iri7 of "lassi7=de" A:i9: :ad 9o,e o;er 7:e 9o=n7r6E 7:rea7ening no7 only the international supremacy represented by global empire, but its national security itself. In a brief tour of recent history, he compared Britain to a nation asleep and catalogued the ideological follies which have historically stood in the way of the realization of the efficiency imperative: The British administrative system is like that of a prosperous man in advanced middle age who eats and drinks to repletion, takes no exercise, and is content to enjoy life while he may. We have had a start of eighty years in the international race to prosperi76^,a7erial Aeal7: :as .o=red in7o 7:e 9o=n7r6^ Ae .resen7 profound temptations to better armed and educated nations to strike a blow at our heart. Since the fall of Napoleon, and during the reign of machinery, the cult of [email protected]@ J,", `87701 A Modern Utopia ]Lincoln: NE: eniversity of NebrasKa =ress- :G#I.GC O7:8>G#%; $)G . society which mirrored that of the "New Tapan" ]see Ch. BC.
"#$$#% U& unfitness under the shibbolet: of free 7rade^ 7:e .=>li9 :as Aa79:ed 7:e decadence of our administrative system, under the influences of Party, Society, and a false view of education.134 White's >ooF is .ar7l6 a s=s7ainedE :ig:l6 .ersonal .ole,i9 agains7 indi;id=als in 7:e Jor6 administration at the turn of the century, but it also helped create the template for future discussions of reform for national efficiency, which would focus throughout the decade on three themes: social hygiene, education, and government reform. Efficiency and Empire concludes on a note which serves as a nearly perfect encapsulation of the Darwinian ethos which underlay the BdAardian de>a7es on so9ial refor,V "Bffi9ien96 is 7:e >asisE and .ro>a>l6 7:e reasonE of all ,oral laA^@a97s dis.el 7ranR=ili76""135 In some respects, White stood on the very fringe of respectable political debate in Britain; his alarmism was excessive, and his calls for the comprehensive gutting of British society along efficiency lines went too far for all but a few outcasts and utopians. Nonetheless, the battle cry of efficiency exerted a powerful effect on politics, and it transcended traditional party divisions for a di;erse gro=. of eli7es and in7elle97=als A:o s:ared 7:e sa,e 9on9ern for 7:e na7ion's decadence and goals for its ultimate revitalization through efficiency. In the aftermath of the Ioer ?arE 9alls for "regenera7ion of 7:e ra9e" e,ana7ed fro, .ress so=r9es >o7: res.e97a>le and ".o.=larE" and fro, a >i.ar7isan a7ri-partisan, including the nascent Labour Party)136 group of political figures and writers. In the short term, the most concrete expression of this widespread dissatisfaction was an all-purpose revolt against the political status quo 0 both the Conservative [email protected] 6G%)74 `*#;81 Efficiency and Empire 23)%4)%5 ]8;*:8% .%4 N)I>.%C1 &>, 'RT'L, [email protected] XO#4, >, @S<, [email protected] [*8 WG#;#0* 3.O):G A.G;C1 E*#V* E)% #;0 $#G0; A.G7#.I8%;.GC 08.;0 .; ;*8 ;:G% )$ ;*8 V8%;:GC1 8I8GP84 ;*G):P* 0>)%0)G0*#> )$ [G.480 Q%#)% N)%PG800 V.%4#4.;80 OC I8IO8G0 )$ 0I.778G1 I)G8 87#;8 )GP.%#a.;#)%01 V*#8$7C ;*8 X%48>8%48%; 3.O):G A.G;C 2X3A= .%4 ;*8 Z.O#.% 9)V#8;C, [*):P* %); %8V800.G#7C 0) #% )$$#V#.7 4)V;G#%81 ;*8 A.G7#.I8%;.GC >.G;C E.0 $G)I ;*8 O8P#%%#%P %)%T].G^#0; .%4 %)%T+8/)7:;#)%.GC,
"#$$#% U' government under Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour and the Parliamentary Liberal leadership under the ineffectual (and worse, anti-imperialist) Henry Campbell-Bannerman. The revolt by the majority of the intellectual leaders of the Liberal Party led to widespread conviction that the old party was moribund, and to the formation of a separate association 0 the Liberal League 0 and a separate political organ 0 the New Liberal Review 0 from which to advocate the gospel of efficiency at home and revitalized empire abroad. In a widely-noticed speech which was taken to inaugurate an official schism in the party, Lord Chesterfield in December 1901 called for a new s7ar7E a .ar76 A:i9: e,.:asiKed re,ed6ing "defen9eE 9o,,er9eE and ind=s7r6E >=7 Ai7: s.e9ial referen9e 7o 7:e .:6si9al degenera96 of o=r ra9e""137 For this ad hoc coalition of disaffected liberals 0 a group whose notable members included Leo Amery and Winston Churchill (both back from their reporting stints in South Africa), Sir Edward Grey, H.H. Asquith, and Richard Haldane 0 the ideology of efficiency was not only an imperative for the salvation of Britain, but for es9a.ing 7:eir oAn .ar76's ideologi9al dead endE A:a7 Nre6 :i,self 9alled i7s "nig:7,are of f=7ili76""138 Tn 7:e Aords of 7:e :is7orian 5"N"L" Oa77:eAE effi9ien96 Aas "a 9ri7erion for assessing national and imperial needs and for developing a positive, rather than a negative, li>eralis,""139 A clean new political start for the nation seemed to demand at its head a fresh leader, untainted by the morass of the two-party status quo; moreover, the ideology of control embodied in "effi9ien96" and na7ional DarAinis, see,ed 7o 9all for 9:aris,a7i9E fo9=sed leaders:i. unhindered by the obligations of deference to fussy party hierarchy and Parliamentary [email protected]? J,",N, ].;;*8E1 The Liberal Imperialists 2_^$)G45 _^$)G4 Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 &, ?<, [email protected] XO#4, >, KL, [email protected]< ].;;*8E1 V#;84 #% "8)GP8 W8G%0;8#%1 Liberalism and Liberal Politics in Edwardian England 2W)0;)%5 6778% .%4 Q%E#%1 &, @',
"#$$#% [email protected] ,ane=;ering" "?:a7 7:e e,.ire needsE" said Le9il L:es7er7onE140 "is no7 a .olitician and a talker, not a middle-aged gentleman without the zeal and courage of a reformer, but a man, if possible, who has thought, who has seen, who knows 0 a ,an Ai7: an iron Aill""141 For several years, Lord Rosebery provided just such a hopeful figure in the minds of many efficiency advocates. Briefly Prime Minister in the 1890s, Rosebery had artfully cultivated an aloofness from party life, and it was this characteristic, more than any truly charismatic qualities on his part, which endeared him to even a critic as radical as Arnold White.142 In the end, though, Rosebery refused to openly challenge the Liberal Par76 leaders:i.E and :is Aaffling on L:a,>erlain's 7ariff refor, crusade and other hot-button issues had irreparably damaged his credibility as a decisive leader by 1903.143 As 7:e idea of a 7r=e "effi9ien96 .ar76" :eaded >6 a fig=re liFe L:a,>erlain or Hose>er6 faded in the face of the entrenched two-party system, a group of dedicated reformists strove to fill the gap through informal associations which rose above petty party distinctions. The most famous such grouping was the so-9alled "Lo-Bffi9ien7s Ll=>E" fo=nded =.on 7:e ini7ia7i;e of 7:e Fabian socialists Sidney and Beatrice Webb in November 1902.144 A club composed of liberal imperialists, reformist conservatives (like former South African governor Alfred Milner) and socialists alike, it included such leading intellectual figures as Halford Mackinder,145 Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, and H.G. Wells. It was, in the words of Leo Amery, above all a ">rains 7r=s7E" a Find of >l=e.rin7 for 7:e 7e9:no9ra7i9 go;ern,en7 >6 eC.er7s so fer;en7l6 desired by nearly all its members. Indeed, such a coalescence of superficially incompatible political &RS WG);*8G )$ ;*8 I)G8 $.I):0 7#O8G.7 $#P:G8 ",B, N*80;8G;)% &R& 98.G781 >, >, @[email protected], [email protected] ].;;*8E1 >, LL, &RR 6I8GC1 My Political Life, >, ''@, &RL Z.I):0 .0 . >)7#;#V.7 ;*8)G#0; .; ;*8 ;#I81 0>8V#.7#a#%P #% ;*8 ;*8%Tpopular discipline of "geopolitics."
"#$$#% UR backgrounds was possible only by a shared faith in a future which belonged to efficient government and extra-political expert control; nowhere was such elitism more nakedly avowed than in the Fabian movement represented by Shaw, Wells, and the Webbs. From its very inception, Fabian socialism had been a curious anomaly among the parties of the European left 0 a hybrid of genuine economic leftism with a characteristically English utilitarian background. Staying true to the Darwinian language of their seminal manifestos in the F abian Essays and disdaining the humanitarian, emotive justifications for reform advocated by Christian socialists or genuinely working-class movements, Fabians tended to approach the question, in good DarAinian fas:ionE "s9ien7ifi9all6""146 As Sidney Webb said in an article advocating poor law refor,E "?e ,a6^9onsider 7:e na7ion si,.l6 as a n=,>er of asso9ia7ed ind=s7rial =ni7s A:ose :ig:es7 good lies in 7:e a9:ie;e,en7s of 7:eir ,aCi,=, .rod=97i;e 9a.a9i76b" on ano7:er o99asionE :e deno=n9ed .o;er76 on 7:e gro=nds 7:a7 i7 "Aas7ed .o7en7ial 9i7iKens""147 In other AordsE 7:e @a>ian Go9ie76's so9ialis, Aas of a ;arie76 .erfe97l6 in 7=ne Ai7: 7:e in7elle97=al climate of the decade, enabling them to find common ground with reformists from outside the Left on a great variety of issues, including the need for elite leadership. The importance of the Aelfare of "7:e .eo.leE" s=9: as i7 eCis7ed for 7:e effi9ien96 ,o;e,en7E Aas as a ;aria>leE a Fe6 indicator of national welfare. It was with this goal of the ideal, rational, efficient future Britain in mind that many of the reform efforts of the 1900s were pursued. The first reform preoccupation of the Edwardian era was one which touched most closely of all on 7:e DarAinian "organi9 analog6": the physical condition of the British population, particularly the working classes in the cities. Like so much else, this movement received its &RU 988 V*, ', &R? Qidney Webb- "The Economic Aspects of =oor Law Reform-" English Review 2_V;)O8G &>, LS&TLSU, [*8 Aoor Law was Britain's antiquated system of public welfare- which had last been overhauled in :;fB. ender its provisions- "indoor relief" was provided to the unemployment only on the fulfillment of frequentlyT*:I#7#.;#%P G8\:#G8I8%;0 E*#V* )$;8% #%V7:484 >))G *):08 G80#48%VC,
"#$$#% UL greatest impetus from the shock of the Boer War, when medical examination of recruits from urban areas such as Liverpool and Manchester revealed many to be in poor fighting shape. In reality, the physical condition of the working classes in Britain 0 including such variables as infant mortality, calorie consumption, and life expectancy 0 had improved steadily through the late nineteenth century, despite the persistence of economic inequality and the wretched living conditions of many northern industrial slums.148 Alarmism was widespread nonetheless; the specter of the physical degeneration of the British race was one of the most frightening of all elements in the national decline narrative. A Royal Commission on Physical Degeneration was s.eedil6 for,edE s.=rred >6 s=9: .=>li9a7ions as Neorge G:ee's fear-,ongering ar7i9leE "J:e De7eriora7ion of 7:e \a7ional M:6siR=e"" Tn i7E :e .=r.or7ed 7o draA on Ioer ?ar da7a and 7:e philanthropis7 Gee>o:, HoAn7ree's gro=nd>reaFing WZkW s7=d6 of =r>an .o;er76149to claim, a,ong o7:er 7:ingsE 7:a7 7:e Iri7is: AorFing 9lasses Aere >e9o,ing .:6si9al ".6g,ies""150 This anxiety about national health led, on one hand, to revived interest in the pseudoscientific field of eugenics, which reached its height of respectability in the early twentieth century.151 Most observers, however, subscribed to the more mainstream view that it was the physical environment, and not breeding, which presented the gravest threat to the 9o=n7r6's health 0 a revival in simplified form of the Lamarckian doctrine of inheritance of acquired characteristics. In 1905, Le9il L:es7er7onE A:o >6 7:en :ad 9as7 :is lo7 Ai7: 7:e "Lo-Bffi9ien7s" group, expressed the widely-felt sense of urgencyV "Tn 7:e las7 resor7E all .rogressE all e,.ireE all &RK ]#V*.87 W#44#001 The Age of the Masses: Ideas and Society in Europe since 1870 2D8E F)GH5 J.G>8G .%4 +)E1 &, @S, &R< [*):P* +)E%;G881 . $.I):0 V.%4CTI.H8G ;:G%84 i:.H8G *:I.%#;.G#.% .V;#/#0;1 E.0 . *:I.%#0; G8$)GI8G #% ;*8 traditional mold- his data were mined widely by Qhee and other "efficiency" activists. &LS William Thomas Qtead- "How the Other Half Lives-" Review of Reviews 2-8V8IO8G &>, UR'TURL 2)% Rowntree's dataC and !eorge Qhee- "The Deterioration of the National =hysique-" Nineteenth Century [email protected] 2].C &>, ?"#$$#% UU efficiency, depends upon the kind of race we breed." Later in the decade, a Parliamentary report s7r=9F 7:e o,ni.resen7 DarAinian no7eE Aarning 7:a7 "no 9o=n7r6E :oAe;er ri9:E 9an .er,anen7l6 hold its own in the race of international competition, if hampered by an increasing load of so ,=9: dead Aeig:7"" 152 It was the Fabian socialists among reformists who spearheaded the drive for a solution to the perceived physical crisis, in the form of a comprehensive National Oini,=,E in9l=ding refor, of Iri7ain's an7iR=a7ed Moor %aAE na7ional :eal7: ins=ran9eE and in some cases, national military service. Though the cautious Liberal governments of the middle of the decade managed to resist pressure for such far-ranging reform, measures such as the School Oeals A97 of WZkfE 7:e G9:ool Oedi9al Ger;i9e A97 of WZkhE and 7:e L:ildren's A97 of WZkX >ear the imprint of reformist activism.153 Fabian pressure bore its most wide-ranging fruit under the more radical Liberal govern,en7s af7er WZkZE A:en 7:e La>ine7's 7=rn 7o .o.=lis, 9o,>ined Ai7: 7:e logi9 of effi9ien96 7o dri;e %lo6d Neorge's \a7ional Tns=ran9e .rogra,"154 Advocates of social welfare legislation, of course, came from a variety of philosophical backgrounds; some were humanitarians or temperance advocates like Rowntree, and others were unapologetic political populists like the fiery Liberal leader David Lloyd George. For a significant group of efficiency enthusiasts, however, improving the lot of the masses was hardly a human calculation at all, but rather a means to halt the physical degeneration which threatened the health of the body politic. If the health of the working classes was a necessary provision for the satisfaction of the na7ion's "raA ,a7erials" in 7:e ,inds of many of the Edwardian reformers, then education 0 especially higher education 0 became all the more vital for the production of a true, efficient &L' 98.G781 >, U&, [email protected] Asa Briggs- "The =olitical Qcene-" Edwardian England 1901M1914 2D8E F)GH5 _^$)G4 Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 &>, K?T"#$$#% U? national elite. Even before 1900, many British pundits had looked with alarm on the rapidly developing German technical education system of the 1880s and 1890s; by the 1900s, it was a widely held assumption that German and even American universities provided a far more practical, modern education than their ancient counterparts at Oxford and Cambridge. In Efficiency and Empire, Arnold White reserved some of his most potent scorn for the "degenera7e" r=ling 9lasses grad=a7ing fro, Iri7ain's ;enera>le ins7i7=7ionsV Wealthy young men, who have been tended and valeted from their youth up, waited on by servants, driven by coachmen, and fed on dainties, sleeping on soft beds under watertight roofs all their days, learning the world mainly through >ooFsE A:i9: are >=7 7:e refle97ion of o7:er ,en's ideasE 9an ne;er >e9o,e real men, or the efficient rulers of real men^\o one 9an den6 7:e 9:ar, and gra9e of the finished product of our universities. The dead languages and the higher mathematics of the mind are to the modern statesman what masts and sails are to 7:e ,odern na;al offi9er^J:e fail=re of ,odern ed=9a7ion 7o give us an efficient governing class has been revealed in the failures of the Boer War.155 @eA o7:er .=>li9 fig=res s:ared in ?:i7e's 9all for a G.ar7anE .:6si9all6-based education for the upper classes, but Fabians and reform Liberals alike agreed that higher education must be re-engineered to produce a self-consciously elite governing class capable of forming the ;ang=ard of a neA "go;ern,en7 of eC.er7s"" Of 7:e ?e>>s' circle, no one was more vociferous in calling for a new philosophy of education than Richard Haldane 0 a man who was first and foremost a military expert and who would become War Secretary later in the decade. Haldane agreed Ai7: ?:i7e's 9on9l=sion 7:a7 "7:e 9o=rageE energ6E and en7er.rise 7a=g:7 7o Iri7is: ,iddle and upper classes were hopelessly out of date compared to the more scientific virtues of the &LL `*#;81 Efficiency and Empire, >>, 'KKT'"#$$#% UK A,eri9ans and 7:e Ner,ans""156 What was needed, instead, was emulation of the technical sciences training given in Germany, and perhaps even more urgently, training in the kinds of "s9ien7ifi9 ,anage,en7" .rin9i.les A:i9: :ad >e9o,e .re;alen7 in A,eri9an >=siness 9ir9les"157 In what was surely their greatest collective achievement, Beatrice and Sidney Webb contributed greatly to the realization of this vision with their founding of the London School of Economics, intended as a showpiece alternative to abstruse Oxbridge learning. The goals of efficiency in national education naturally extended beyond the universities to comprehend elementary and secondary education reform as well -- uniformity, secularism, and rigorous training in proficiency in modern skills being essential for the working classes as well as the new aristocracy. The battle-lines which formed around one of the greatest political controversies of the decade, the fight over the 1902 Education Act, demonstrates the distance that reformist Liberals, especially, had travelled from their nineteenth century roots. The Act, sponsored by the Tory government, sought to rationalize the tangle of British educational authorities by consolidating schools under regional government authority and bringing Anglican and Catholic schools under the umbrella of government sponsorship.158 Such implicit sponsorship of special privileges for the Church of England was anathema to the tradition of the Methodists, Baptists, and other Nonconformists who had made up the historical Liberal base, and indeed there was an outcry fro, 7:e .ar76's ranF-and-file in WZk!E one of 7:e las7 s=9: ,anifes7a7ions of 7:e "dissen7er s.iri7" A:i9: :ad f=eled so ,=9: refor, in .revious generations. For the new progressives, however, such confessional passions were little more than embarrassing relics of the past; for the rigorously secular Fabians, indeed, religious education would be better done away with entirely, &LU ].;;*8E1 >, ''K, &L? Ibid. The "Qcientific Efficiency" doctrine of FredericK W. Taylor being the most prominent eNample &LK `8OO1 >>, 'L'T'LL,
"#$$#% U< representing as it did a serious obstacle to efficiency. Beatrice Webb noted from her study of the mni7ed G7a7es 7:a7 7:e ,assi;e ne7AorF of La7:oli9 s9:ools in 7:a7 9o=n7r6 :ad .rod=9ed ">o7: 7ea9:ers and s9:ools disas7ro=sl6 >eloA an6 de9en7 s7andard of effi9ien96""159Almost all of the Co-Efficients 0 Rosebery, Haldane, Wells, and Webb included 0 supported the Conservative bill as a Fe6 s7e.E al>ei7 ,odes7E in >reaFing aAa6 fro, 7:e en9=,>ering >aggage of Iri7ain's .as7" The final great object of attention for Edwardian reformers was the British constitutional s6s7e, i7self" J:e na7ion's .arlia,en7ar6 go;ern,en7 Aas aand isQ no7orio=sl6 :is7ori9all6 contingent in its origins and conspicuously anti-rational in its structure; it represented the accretions and legacy of centuries of development, revolution, and piecemeal reform. For a differen7 genera7ion of Iri7is: in7elle97=alsE of 9o=rseE Iri7ain's =nAri77en 9ons7i7=7ionE i7s 7radi7ion of ",=ddling 7:ro=g:" a9ross 7:e genera7ionsE Aas one of 7:e na7ion's ,os7 endearing assets and one of the greatest sources of its historical strength. Set against the craze for rationalism and business-like efficiency in all facets of national life, however, such a patchwork constitutional system became the crowning embarrassment for a nation whose indebtedness to the past was leaving it behind newer, more energetic nations. The idea that the government system was fundamentally flawed had deep origins in the thought of the Fabian society since the 1880s. As a young socialist, H.G. Wells himself had pondered the dilemma that all reform would necessarily be limited and imperfect as long as it was driven through the unwieldy Parliament, Ai7: i7s Aind6 .os7=ring and narroAE OC>ridgeE .a7ri9ian .ers.e97i;e on 7:e 9o=n7r6's .ro>le,sV "?:o is 9o,.etent to speak for England?...having regard to the fact that we are no longer in a &L< XO#4, >, 'LR,
"#$$#% ?S horse-and-four world, the proper administration in a modern socialized community must be altogether differen7 in eC7en7""160 In the view of Wells and others, there were two overriding structural problems with the parliamentary system. The first, simply put, was the House of Lords, that bastion of dilettante, philistine conservatism, and the degenerate hereditary aristocracy which it represented. In an article which appeared in the journal Nineteenth Century just before the outbreak of the Boer War, Harold Wyatt went so far as to compare the pernicious influence of the landed families of Britain to the historical forces which had caused the decline of that evergreen paragon of degenera7ionE 7:e O77o,an B,.ire" J:e J=rFis: aris7o9ra96E on9e a "ra9e of soldiersE" :ad >e9o,e idle and =selessE and 7:e de9a6 in 7:e s6s7e,'s :ear7 e;en7=all6 dragged doAn 7:e fighting power of the empire as a whole; the same could easily happen in Britain if it continued to coddle its aristocrats.161 Reformists finally saw their campaign against the Lords partially ;indi9a7ed A:en 7:e m..er 5o=se's Jor6 ,aPori76 o;er.la6ed i7s :and in 7r6ing 7o >lo9F %lo6d Neorge's Aelfare .lan in 1909. Even King Edward VII stepped in to threaten punitive measures agains7 7:e re9al9i7ran7 9onser;a7i;e ">a9FAoods,enE" and 7:e %ords' .oAer Aas dra,a7i9all6 curtailed. The other great problem with parliamentary governance, however, was far less easily solved, for it was embedded in the very nature of the institution. Enthusiasts for reform like Milner, Wells, and the Webbs were continually frustrated by compromise, endless discussion, and deal-making embedded in the representative bodies; decisive reform by independent experts was possible in some limited spheres such as the Army and the Civil Service, but politics itself stood unhelpfully in the way of their ideal style of leadership, enough so that some longed for a re7=rn of 7:e ding's a=7:ori7arian .oAers" Tn :is no;el The Invisible Man, H. G. Wells presented &US J, ", `87701 Experiment in Autobiography: Discoveries and Conclusions of a Very Ordinary Brain 23)%4)%5 Z.O8G1 &, 'L?, &U& Wyatt- "War as the Qupreme Test of National `alue-" p. 2:<.
"#$$#% ?& a thinly-;eiled fa>le of :is 9o=n7r6's na7ional 7enden96 7o 7alFE and fre7E and nego7ia7eE ra7:er 7:an act. Section 3 0 The Edwardian Crisis in British History and Historiography That the entire constitutional framework of the nation could suffer such withering scrutiny from reformists 0 and that observers like H.G. Wells could in all seriousness perceive a "9an9er" ea7ing a7 7:e :ear7 of 7:e s7a7e 0 underscores the grave seriousness with which advocates of efficiency viewed the Edwardian crisis. From the outset, however, such a perspective has had to compete with an alternate narrative of British life during the era, one in which the brief interlude between the death of Victoria and the outbreak of the World War was no new epoch or 7=rning .oin7E >=7 an "Tndian s=,,er" 0 the twilight glow of the glorious Victorian age. Such a telescoped view of the past became almost inevitable after the trauma of World War I cast a long shadow onto what had come before, bathing the previous decade and its preoccupations in a nos7algi9 gloA" TndeedE o=7side 7:e narroA and anCio=s Aorld of 7:e .=ndi7sE 7:e na7ion's cultural life, together with its variegated class hierarchies and social traditions, was marked more by continuity than sudden change. If anything, the life of bourgeois Britain was marked by a sense of impending change: not just in increasing military tensions with Germany, but also in the class system flux allegorized in 1'4#5")(*-,"*and other Edwardian novels. This partially distorted view of the time backward through the prism of the War has >e9o,e a s7a.le of so9ial :is7ories of 7:e BdAardian era" @oreign Oinis7er BdAard Nre6's fa,o=s re,arF in A=g=s7 WZWi 7:a7 "7:e lig:7s are going o=7 all o;er B=ro.e" :as freR=en7l6 served as a template for wistful historical depictions, comparable to the treatment given by
"#$$#% ?' American social historians and novelists to the AnteBellum South.162 Andre Oa=rois's :is7or6, published in the 1930s, was one of the first such accounts, and a host of retrospectives and memoirs painted much the same picture.163 Even more recent histories have fallen into the trap of approaching the era from the point of view of the tranquil but endangered upper classes; Samuel 56nes's 1968 The Edwardian Turn of Mind , while noting the presence of strong forces of 9:ange =nder 7:e s=rfa9eE 9on7in=ed 7o .la6 Ai7: 7:e Tndian s=,,er 7:e,eV "T7 is eas6 7o feel nostalgia for that leisurely time, when women wore picture hats and did not vote, when the rich were not ashamed to live conspicuously, and the sun really never set on the British flag^9er7ainl6 i7 ,=s7 :a;e see,ed liFe a long garden .ar76 on a golden af7ernoon 0 to those A:o Aere inside 7:e garden""164 Among more serious political histories, there has been no consensus on whether the time was characterized more by its series of changes and reform efforts, or by its essential continuity. The prolific British historian Martin Pugh has consistently taken the latter view, rejecting the view that British society was in any meaningful sense falling apart or suffering from a systemic crisis in the years before the First World War; in his account, the conflicts of the era were "9oin9iden7al 9on7ro;ersies ra7:er 7:an s6,.7o,s of a 9o,,on ,alaise""165 A more common ;ieAE :oAe;erE is 7:a7 7:e long de9ade Aas a Find of 7=rning .oin7 in 7:e 9o=n7r6's .oli7i9al evolution 0 the age when the mass electorate first made its weight truly felt and organized labor began to find its voice through the growing Labour Party. It was also the stage for the beginning of the collapse of the Liberal Party, an organization which had lost its most vocal constituency, i7s =niR=e ;oi9eE and i7s a>ili76 7o s.eaF for Iri7ain's AorFing 9lassb i7 Aas a de9line .os7.onedE &U' +)O8G; ].00#81 Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War 2D8E F)GH5 +.%4)I J):081 &<<&= [email protected] 6%4G8 ].:G)#01 The Edwardian Era 2D8E F)GH5 6>>78;)%1 &<@@= &UR 9.I:87 JC%801 The Edwardian Turn of Mind, >>, RTL, &UL ].G;#% A:P*1 State and Society, >, &RR,
"#$$#% [email protected] but not ultimately prevented, by the populist movement represented by David Lloyd George and other "radi9al %i>erals"" J:e defini7i;e description of the political transformations of the time re,ains Neorge Dangerfield's 9lassi9E The Strange Death of Liberal England, an elegiac description of the death throes of old political institutions and habits. Liberalism, as he intoned, was dying: [England] was about to shrug from its shoulders 0 at first irritably, and then with violence 0 a venerable burden, a kind of sack. It was about to get rid of its liberalism. Liberalism in its Victorian plenitude had been an easy burden to bear, for it contained-and who could doubt it? -- a various and valuable collection of gold, stocks, bibles, progressive thoughts, and decent inhibitions. It was solid and sensible and just a little mysterious; and though one could not exactly gambol with such a weight on one's shoulders, it permitted one to walk in a dignified manner and even to execute from time to time those eccentric little steps which are so necessary to the health of Englishmen^" But somehow or other, as the century turned, the burden of Liberalism grew more and more irksome; it began to gi;e o=7 a dis,alE ra77ling so=nd^"As for 7:e %i>eral Mar76E i7 Aas in 7:e unfortunate position of having to run, too. It was the child of Progress, which is not only an illusion, but an athletic illusion, and which insists that it is better to hurl oneself backwards than to stand still. By 1910, the Liberals had reached a point where they could no longer advance.166 The crisis of liberalism identified by Dangerfield was very real, but for the conservative, reform liberal, and socialist elites who had subscribed so fully to the Darwinian ideology of na7ional effi9ien96E 7:e 9risis eC7ended far >e6ond .ar76 .oli7i9s" N"H" Gearle's The Quest for &UU "8)GP8 -.%P8G$#8741 The Strange Death of Liberal England 23)%4)%5 N.>G#V)G% W))H01 &>, ?TK,
"#$$#% ?R National Efficiency and Da;id MoAell's The Edwardian Crisis are important efforts to amplify and eC7end Dangerfield's 7:esis of .oli7i9al 9risis >6 lo9a7ing i7 in 7:e >roader 9on7eC7 of in7elle97=al and so9ial :is7or6" ?:a7 MoAell so=g:7E in :is AordsE Aas 7o "s6s7e,a7i9all6 reexamine the Dangerfield/Halevy thesis167^ in rela7ion >o7: to the short-term and the longer term .ers.e97i;es of Iri7is: :is7or6 in 7:e nine7een7: and earl6 7Aen7ie7: 9en7=ries""168 From the perspective of a modern historian, the self-.ro9lai,ed 9rises of 7:e era's .oli7i9ians and .=ndi7s 0 even their widespread subscription to radicalized Social Darwinism 0 stand in context as part of a continent-Aide .ro9ess of eli7es s7r=ggling 7o 9o,e 7o gri.s Ai7: 7:e i,.li9a7ions of 7:e "rise of 7:e ,asses" 0 the delegitimization of first the aristocratic, then the classic liberal meritocratic, .rin9i.les of r=le" G=9: 9on7eC7 >e9o,es 9lear in 7:e effor7s of ,an6 refor,ers 7o .resen7 "eC.er7 r=le" as 7:e 9o,ing of a neA 9as7eE a neA ,eans of legi7i,iKa7ionb ,an6E liFe ?ells and Haldane, were entirely unafraid to revive the term "aris7o9ra96"" Jo re7=rn 7o Arnold ?:i7e's AordsV "J:e .ri9e of .ri;ilege _Aill >ec effi9ien96" T7 is no7 onl6 ine;i7a>le >=7 desira>le 7:a7 real .oAer s:all res7 in 7:e :ands of a feA""169 For such men and women, of course, the larger context of their deeply-felt efforts was largely irrelevant. For them, the crisis was entirely real, and for many 0 even those who remained "%i>erals" in na,e 0 it entailed the rejection of the old liberal worldview entirely. Individualism, the sanctity of private property and personal liberty, religious non-conformism at home and religiously-infused moralistic foreign policy, free trade, and above all Whig optimism 0 all were >=ried or relega7edE rendered o>sole7e >6 7:e =rgen7 i,.era7i;es of 7:e neA era" "J:eir .rin9i.les were fres: on9e^ >=7 Ada, G,i7: is deadE and ]=een AnneE and e;en Gir Ho>er7 Meelb A:ile as &U? +8$8GG#%P ;) M7#8 J.78/C1 . >)0;E.G ZG8%V* *#0;)G#.% E*) I.48 . 0#I#7.G .>>G).V* ;) ;*8 >G)O78I #% E)GH0 #%V7:4#%P *#0 Elites and Masses. &UK A)E8771 The Edwardian Crisis, >, /### 2>G8$.V8=, &U< `*#;81 >, '<,
"#$$#% ?L to Gladstone, he is 7:e deades7 of 7:e, all""170The new-age apostles of efficiency, those for whom the Britain of Gladstone seemed a distant memory, surveyed the rest of the world through radically different eyes than had their antecedents, and they formed their opinions of the rising power of Japan through a new lens 0 one which had shed the facile assumptions of liberalism, even as it acquired an entirely new set of illiberal prejudices and distortions. &?S Webb- "Lord Rosebery's Escape from Houndsditch-" p. f\:.
Chapter 4 0 The Britain of the East Section 1 0 Japan on the World Stage
"#$$#% ?U
-a.an's rise 7o .ro,inen9e as a fo9=s for ad,ira7ion and 9o,.arison Ai7: Nrea7 Iri7ain was enormously assisted by its wide-ranging exploits on the international stage in the first decade of the twentieth century. Having handily defeated China in a war of expansion over the Korean Peninsula in 1894-95, Japan further enhanced its international standing with three diplomatic initiatives: in 1900, the Japanese army was an early and enthusiastic participant in the international expedition to relieve the besieged legations in Peking from the Boxer Rebellion; in 1902, Japanese diplomats secured a prestige-enhancing military alliance with Great Britain; and in 1904-1906, the Japanese Armed Forces secured a surprising victory in the Russo-Japanese war 0 the first time in which a non-European nation had defeated a traditional European power in a pitched conflict. In purely geopolitical terms, the victory over Russia confirmed what had begun to be apparent since the 1890s: that Japan was powerful enough to wield independent authority on the world stage, even to assert regional dominance over rival European powers. This explosion of military capability had been fueled since the 1890s by a government-led heavy ind=s7rialiKa7ion .rogra, A:i9:E in 7:e Aords of 7:e :is7orian Ma=l denned6E ".ro9eeded Ai7: a dirigisme and commitment which makes the efforts of Colbert or Frederick the Great pale by 9o,.arison""171 The most salient feature of the Japanese advance in terms of its effect on international politics 0 and the factor which most motivated Britain to seek an alliance 0 was the na7ion's s=ddenl6 for,ida>le na;6" Tn WXXkE -a.an .ossessed virtually no modern ships; by 1910 7:e i,.erial na;6's Ma9ifi9 flee7 Aas a s7a7e-of-the-art, battle-tested unit, and in the ensuing &?& A.:7 B8%%84C1 The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers 2D8E F)GH5 +.%4)I J):081 &, 'S?,
"#$$#% ?? de9ade -a.an's na;al s7reng7: do=>led again"172 Though its economy remained heavily dependent on imports of high-technology goods and on Western capital investment, the Japanese go;ern,en7's g=ided de;elo.,en7 and genero=s ,ili7ar6 s.ending ens=red -a.an an =n=s=all6 rapid rise to the upper echelons of world politics and a correspondingly greater visibility on the front pages of European newspapers and periodicals. Japan's foo7:old in the British public mind, in particular, was enhanced by the new diplomatic contacts which grew out of the 1902 alliance. Soon after the conclusion of the RussoJapanese war in 1906, the Garter MissionE led >6 ding BdAard's son Mrin9e Ar7:=rE ,ade a highly-publicized journey to Tokyo to award the Japanese Emperor the Order of the Garter, a gesture intended to connote a new measure of official respect for Japan as an equal and ally.173 The following year, the Japanese Crown Prince embarked on an equally lavish return visit to Britain, giving the British public their first up-close view of the legendarily remote and mysterious Japanese imperial family.174 In the summer of 1910, the Japan-British Exhibition, a project heavily promoted both by the Tokyo authorities and British supporters of Japan ranging from enthusiastic newspaper columnists up to King Edward VII, opened to large crowds in G:e.:erd's I=s: o=7side of %ondon" J:e BC:i>i7ionE in7ended >6 >o7: governments as a s:oA9ase of -a.an's neA ind=s7rial 9a.a9i76 and 7:e .o7en7ial >enefi7s 7o 7:e Iri7is: .eo.le of continued alliance and economic partnership, presented a vivid illustration of the changes which :ad 7aFen .la9e in -a.an's s7a7=s in the sixty years since the Great Exhibition. Once both unable and =nAilling 7o .ar7i9i.a7e in a 9ongrega7ion of 7:e Aorld's ind=s7rial na7ionsE -a.an >6 WZWk was eager to publicize itself abroad; moreover, Japanese industry, Japanese craftsmanship, and Japanese military might had grown to the point that such ambitious self-promotion was seen not &?' XO#4, [email protected] X.% D#0*1 The AngloMJapanese Alliance 23)%4)%5 Q%#/8G0#;C )$ 3)%4)% AG8001 &, @RU, &?R XO#4, >, @LR,
"#$$#% ?K merely as the vain pretense of a developing state, but also as display of legitimate pride in undeniable material progress. The Scarborough Post, a northern regional newspaper, spoke for many other mouthpieces of public opinion throughout Britain when it exclaimed in the summer of WZWkV "?eE for o=r .ar7E :a;e 9er7ainl6 learned 7o respect 7:e %and of 7:e Hising G=n""175 Japan was thus bound to loom larger in British consciousness than it had in the past by the sheer force of its own development. British interpretation of the nature of Japan and the significance of its rise to prominence, however, did not follow such a neat trajectory. Japan in the first decade of the twentieth century was seen through the prism of the Edwardian crisis. The beleaguered standard-bearers of traditional liberal sensibilities, while gradually coming to grips Ai7: 7:e reali76 of -a.an's neA roleE 9ontinued to view the Eastern Empire as fundamentally a land apart, judged according to its progress towards approximating the traditional political and .:iloso.:i9al s7andards of 7:e ?es7" @or ,ore 7radi7ionalis7 li>eralsE des.i7e 7:eir 9reed's pretentions to universality and the level playing field, Japan never escaped the invisible stigma which marked it as an Oriental land; paternalism, though less overt than in the days of Queen Victoria, was never far from the surface of such discussions by traditional liberals 0 and traditional nationalist Tories, as well. The tone of the coverage given by bastions of the oldschool sensibility such as the Times, the Daily Telegraph, and the Economist to Japanese issues in these years illustrates the attitude of middle-brow liberals. An examination of newspaper and periodical coverage reveals, above all, a growing ambivalence about the implications of Japanese growth. Once ardent enthusiasts of a nation whose rapid development along Westernizing lines flattered the liberal worldview and seemed to promise the bright future of a friendly, free-trading &?L The Scarborough Post, (:%8 '@1 &<&S1 V#;84 #% 6C.H) J);;.T3#0;8G The JapanMBritish Exhibition of 1910: Gateway to the Island Empire of the East 2+#V*I)%41 9:GG8C5 (.>.% 3#OG.GC1 &<<<= >, [email protected], 670) 088 The British Press and the JapanMBritish Exhibition of 1910, M4, J#G)H#V*# ]:;0:, 2+#V*I)%41 9:GG8C5 N:Ga)% AG8001 'SS&= $)G 0#I#7.G G8.V;#)%0 $G)I );*8G WG#;#0* >G800 ):;78;0,
"#$$#% ?< Far East, liberals by the 1900s perceived potential menace as well. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Ner,an6 s.oFe for ,an6 of B=ro.e's =na.ologe7i9 9onser;a7i;es and 9:a=;inis7s A:en :e be,oaned 7:e .ossi>ili76 of a -a.anese "lelloA Meril" in 7:e af7er,a7: of 7:e IoCer He;ol7E >=7 the sentiment was hardly confined to the ideological fringes. The image of Japan as eager Western protйgй increasingly contended with the threatening specter of -a.anese "o7:erness" A:ose i,.a97 s=ddenl6 >e9a,e ,ore .rono=n9ed Ai7: 7:e 9o=n7r6's s7ar7ling ,ili7ar6 s=99esses" Japan itself contributed to the atmosphere of uncertainty in mainstream liberal opinion by consciously and publicly distancing itself from the Western blueprint it had embraced in the early Meiji era. As the old generation of genro leaders 0 including Ito Hirobumi, the guiding spirit behind the 1890 Constitution and a voice of moderation 0 died or retired in the 1900s, they were replaced by a new cohort of decidedly more nationalistic, more politically ambitious imperial advisors.176 J:e neA a77i7=de >ore fr=i7 in -a.an's 9onfron7a7ional s7an9e 7oAards L:ina and H=ssia >=7 also in a reneAed e,.:asis on "7radi7ional" anon-Western) values. In his later years on the throne, the Meiji Emperor was made the centerpiece of a revitalized system of Shinto worship which was to serve as a focus of patriotic sentiment. In a further effort to drive :o,e 7:e =niR=eness of -a.an's :is7ori9al .a7:E 7eC7>ooFs in the national school system were rewritten to place greater emphasis on the uniting role of the imperial family and the glorious history of the armed forces.177 Though Japan continued to rely on both Western technical expertise and European capital, the Tokyo leadership was anxious to make clear that Japan had >e9o,e nei7:er a ,ere "de;elo.ing s7a7e" nor a .=.il a7 7:e fee7 of ?es7ern ed=9a7orsb a7 7:e &?U [);I.%1 History of Japan, >>, @[email protected]&S, &?? 3,], N:778%1 A History of Japan: 1582M1941 2N.IOG#4P85 N.IOG#4P8 Q%#/8G0#;C AG8001 '[email protected]= >>, ''&T''R,
"#$$#% KS London Exhibition of 1910 and in the numerous diplomatic contacts between the two nations, projecting an image of equality and independence was a paramount concern.178 Many mainstream discussions of Japan hovered between continued assessments of -a.an's ".rogress" and ,ore a>s7ra9t speculations about its potentially illiberal trajectory. In a series of articles concerning the ongoing 0 and slow 0 transition to more genuine party government in the Japanese parliament in the years 1901-1904, Times correspondents exemplified the fine line between approval of tentative steps towards liberalization and growing skepticism that the Japanese environment was congenial to true parliamentary democracy. In July 1901, the Times noted with disapproval the resistance to popular government by members of the parliamentary upper house but gave its blessing to the efforts of the newly formed Katsura cabinet to overcome such obstructionism from entrenched interests.179 By January 1903, the editorial opinion had taken an even graver tone; though describing Japan, in classic liberal terms, on 7:e .a7: 7oAards "e;ol=7ion of 9ons7i7=7ional go;ern,en7E" 7:e Times noted with distress the 9o=n7r6's a=7:ori7arian 7enden9iesV In Japan the transition from bureaucracy to party government is far from 9o,.le7e^" 5alf a doKen 6ears ago i7 Ao=ld :a;e s9ar9el6 >een 7r=e 7o sa6 7:a7 conservatism was strongly represented in Japan. But to-day it certainly is true, in the sense that many men of education and position wish to postpone to the last possible moment the transfer of governing power to politicians whose character they distrust and whose administrative qualifications they deem far inferior to 7:ose of 7:eir oAn "elder s7a7es,en""180 &?K JapanMBritish Exhibition, >, ??, &?< "Evolution of Constitutional !overnment in Tapan-" The Times 2(:7C &&1 &"#$$#% K& Notice of progress mixed with implicit alarm in other areas as well. Regarding education, a Professor Wertheimer from Bristol noted with some alarm in a letter that not only had Japanese technical education caught up with t:a7 of Nrea7 Iri7ain aa res=l7 of "folloAing 7:e Aise eCa,.le of 7:e A,eri9ans"QE >=7 7:a7 7here were probably more active vocational students in Tokyo alone than in all the United Kingdom.181 As for the moral implications of the Japanese triumph over the Russians, old-fashioned belief in the moral power of Westernization was often outweighed by frank discussion of the racial elements of the conflict and the alien culture of the Japanese. An editorial in 1905, after the major victories of the Russo--a.anese AarE r:e7ori9all6 asFedV "Jo 7:e extent to which the qualities referred to [Japanese military discipline] may be attributed to contact with the Western nations, may we not regard them as the expression even of Christian sen7i,en7e"182 The dominant tone struck in the aftermath of the war, however, was one of unease. The victory of an Asiatic power over Russia 0 even as illiberal and unpopular as the Jsar's go;ern,en7 Aas 0 was not an omen to be taken lightly.183 The Daily Telegraph, whose editorial opinion was still more traditional than The Times, ad;ised 7:e H=ssians 7o "sAalloA 7:e unfathomable truth" and s=e for .ea9e 0 and i7 .redi97ed 7:a7 7:e "9lan s.iri7" of 7:e -a.anese would introduce a new element to international warfare.184 Many government officials, as well as editorialists, were especially troubled by the riots which followed the announcement of armistice terms, as demonstrators on the streets of Tokyo and other cities showed a rare public rage that the peace had denied Japan the full, sweeping fruits of its victories. The vehemence of the reaction surprised reporters habituated to the image of the docile Japanese citizenry, and it seemed to signal that nationalism and anti-Western sentiment could grow out of hand. &K& "Commercial Education in Tapan-" The Times 2].GV* &S1 &, &R<, &KR "The Military Qituation-" Daily Telegraph ]2 May :<0BC and "Tapanese and Chinese-" The Daily Telegraph 2&U ].C &"#$$#% K' The Economist, perhaps the most unapologetic of major British periodicals in its traditionalist liberalism, was even more skeptical in its stance towards Japan, though it, too, had once shared in the general liberal enthusiasm of the 1860s and 1870s.185 On news of the alliance treaty with Japan in 1902, The Economist intoned : "O=r 9o=n7r6,en areE Ae 7:inFE a li77le :as76 in 7:e en7:=sias7i9 Ael9o,e A:i9: 7:e6 :a;e gi;en 7o 7:e neA allian9e""186 The editorialist did not question that Japan had acquired the military strength necessary to be a worthwhile ally; it was the moral significance of the move for Britain, as a white power, which rankled: it re.resen7ed 7:e a>andon,en7 of "7:e =nAri77en allian9e of A:i7e na7ions agains7 9olo=red^7:e :o,ogeneo=sness of 7:e A:i7e ra9es :as >een an i,.or7an7 fa97or in Aorld :is7or6""187 By the ti,e of Mrin9e @=s:i,i's 9ere,onial ;isi7 7o Iri7ain in WZkhE 7:e .a.er Aas read6 7o ad,i7 7:a7 i7s Aors7 fears a>o=7 7:e "6elloA .eril" re.resen7ed >6 -a.an :ad >een =nP=s7ifiedV "T7 :ad >een feared that the Japanese were still barbarians, that they would dominate China, would organize the Yellow Peril, and that Great Britain would be constrained to assist them, and to turn traitor to ?es7ern 9i;iliKa7ion^Mrin9e @=s:i,i's ;isi7 ,aFes =s realiKe :oA 9o,.le7el6 s=9: fears :a;e >een eCaggera7ed""188 Neither the traditionalist liberals nor any other serious observers doubted the achievements of Japanese developments or denigrated its growing importance on the world stage; for a large segment of British opinion, however 0 from the staid pages of The Economist or the Times to the works of bigoted alarmists like the author Meredith Townshend 0 -a.an's racial and philosophical differences with Britain rendered it at best an aspiring work-in-progress, and at worst, a threat.189 &KL 988 N*, ' &KU "The Treaty with Tapan-" The Economist 2Z8OG:.GC &L1 &"#$$#% [email protected] As far as public opinion from the first decade of the twentieth century can be gauged, it appears that popular views on Japan 0 those held by the large majority outside the political and journalistic classes 0 continued to hew to a curious skepticism about the exotic Far Eastern nation. In his survey of late Victorian public attitudes towards Japan, the historian Toshio loFo6a,a des9ri>es :oA 7:e "fan7as6 -a.an" of 7:e Mikado and travelers' tales enjoyed a long life even as Japan itself steamed headily into modernity.190 As was generally true of popular perceptions of non-B=ro.ean .eo.les in 7:e .eriodE 7:e "9o,,onsense" ;ieA re7ained 7:e s=>7le paternalism of the liberal worldview while largely disregarding its loftier beliefs in progress.191 The Japanese success against Russia muddled this picture somewhat 0 one writer in 1905 des9ri>ed 7:e "=ni;ersal Aa;e of ad,ira7ion for -a.an" a,ong 7:e Iri7is: .eo.le for 7:eir sAif7 success; respect for Japanese proficiency, however, never erased the intangible reality of its foreignness.192 If anything, the continued popularity of Japanese aesthetics in the arts in this period, which was actively en9o=raged >6 -a.an's effor7s a7 self-promotion in the 1910 Exhibition and elsewhere, only reinforced the perception of a cultural chasm between East and West.193 The key divide which emerged between conventional opinion and elite thought 0 between liberal assumptions and illiberal alarmism 0 was in the evaluation of a Japan which seemed to have struck out on its own course. The average Englishman of 1910, like the mainstream newspapers and periodicals which buttressed his worldview, was likely to view Iri7ain's all6 in 7:e @ar Bas7 Ai7: so,e ,iC7=re of franF ad,ira7ion and lingering ra9ial anCie76" Regardless of whether he considered Japan as a valued ally or a potential foe 0 or whether he &0*#G85 ].VI#77.%1 &G808%;0 . 4#$$8G8%; $.V8 ;*.% ;C>#V.7 .;;#;:480 ;)E.G40 %)%T`80;8G%8G0, &<' `#77#.I01 #O#4, &<@ For eNample- A.L. Baldry- "The TapanTBritish ENhibition-" Art Journal 23)%4)%=, 98>;8IO8G &<&S,
"#$$#% KR followed the news of Japan at all 0 he was likely to approach the subject with a worldview which was still more firmly rooted in traditional political and cultural assumptions than was that of many elements of the intellectual class. Section 2 0 "%earn fro, -a.an" It was for a distinct segment of the British elite, however, that Japan assumed an outsized role as a model, the screen upon which their preoccupations with the deficiencies and potential degeneracy of Great Britain were projected. Starting in the late 1890s and accelerating throughout the Edwardian era, an outpouring of commentaries on Japan demonstrated a transformed view of the country. No longer a junior power or pupil, it was celebrated as a civilization sui generis, one whose cultural traditions and systems of social control had garnered for it a strong position in the international struggle for survival and dominance. The remarkable 9:ara97eris7i9 of 7:e "learn fro, -a.an" ,o;e,en7E as i7 ,a6 loosely be called, was the identity of its most vocal proponents: almost without exception, they were drawn from the same stratum of British society which had abandoned traditional liberalism, and which gave weight to the second generation of social Darwinist theories which warned of a struggle of anthropomorphized nations and the possibility of national degeneration. They were drawn from the same coterie of politicians and intellectuals who saw in the Edwardian crisis a consummation of Darwinian anCie7ies a>o=7 Iri7ain's f=7=re and who called urgently for a new national order based on efficiency. These reformists looked elsewhere for inspiration as well 0 primarily to Imperial Germany and the United States, the other rising giants of the world stage 0 but Japan had a special hold on the imagination precisely because it was so relatively new, so culturally
"#$$#% KL foreign.194 At a time when the exponents of Darwinian efficiency were almost desperate to cast away the stultifying elements of Iri7ain's :is7ori9al in:eri7an9eE -a.an offered fer7ile ground for counterfactual fantasy, the blueprint of a new power chained to an entirely different past and possibly bound for an entirely different, and brighter, future. Japan in this context was an image rather than a reality 0 albeit an image powerfull6 infor,ed >6 -a.an's real-life development. As such, the cult of Japan which developed during the Edwardian era must be understood primarily as one of the more peculiar culminations of the same intellectual trend which had seen the decline of liberal confidence and the rise of Darwinian pessimism since the late Victorian era. The beginnings of the new perception of Japan which would underlie this movement first became apparent in the 1890s in a new sensibility among travel writers and correspondents. The earlier generation of commentators on Japan -- even those, like Rutherford Alcock or Isabella Bird -- who counted themselves great enthusiasts of the country and its charms, nevertheless presented a narrative of a land overcoming its past in the rush to modernity. For Kipling, such an effort was vaguely comical; for other correspondents it was inspiring; in either case, writers focused on the transition rather than the continuity. As doubts both within and without Japan about the desirability of pure Westernization began to take hold, some British commentaries on Japan began to reflect the new tone by describing Japanese civilization to their readers as an intact whole rather than a shattered remnant. The foremost of such writers was Lafcadio Hearn, an Irish emigrant whose all-consuming interest in Japan led him to spend the later portion of his life dedicated to an exploration of the country; by the time of his death, he had published fourteen major works on the subject of his adopted home.195 His reflections, read widely in both the United States and Britain, tapped into a &>, @LTRS, &.% 3#OG.GC1 &<<'=
"#$$#% KU rich vein of public curiosity. Hearn had little interest in modernization, constitutional theory, or 7rade .a77ernsb ins7eadE :e so=g:7 7o i,,erse :i,self in a sear9: for 7:e "dee. roo7s" of what he 9onsidered a =niR=el6 .oAerf=l 9=l7=reE a "9i;iliKa7ion of geni=s""196 Unlike earlier Romantics and peddlers of exotic tales, however, Hearn approached his subject as one to be taken entirely seriously 0 his volumes on mythology and fairy tales were his own attempt to raise Japanese folklore to parity with the better-known European legends of the Greeks or the Norse. Whereas the liberal model had consistently downplayed the width of the divide which separated Britain and Japan, Hearn positively celebrated it, and he openly speculated 0 in keeping with the intellectual angst of the times 0 whether it was not the West, after all, which represented the deviant historical path.:"T li;e a life 7:a7 for9es one so,e7i,es 7o do=>7 A:e7:er 7:e 9o=rse of o=r >oas7ed ?es7ern .rogress is reall6 in 7:e dire97ion of ,oral de;elo.,en7""197 5earn's friend and mentor, Iasil 5all L:a,>erlainE a .rofessor a7 JoF6o's T,.erial mni;ersi76 and ano7:er respected authority on Japan at the turn of the twentieth century, followed a similar course in treating Japan as a self-contained civilization. In his popular one-volume encyclopedia, Things Japanese, which went through several editions and served as one of the basic sources for the -a.an 9raKe of 7:e WZkksE :e .raised -a.an's unique evolutionary position; it was a country which had had the great advantage of assimilating some of the technical innovations of the West, all the while retaining at its core its own powerful, radically independent culture. Playing with the idea of organic national character then current among social Darwinists and degeneracy theorists in Europe, Chamberlain speculated that Japan the organism was firmly on the upward evolutionary &>, KST<&, &, ^7##, 2_G#P#%.77C >:O7#0*84 #% &K"#$$#% K? 7ra9FV "J:e na7ional 9:ara97er .ersis7s in7a97E ,anifes7ing no 9:ange in essentials. Circumstances :a;e defle97ed i7 in7o neA 9:annelsE 7:a7 is all""198 The writings of Hearn and Chamberlain, as well as other noted Japanophiles like Earnest Satow and W.G. Aston, provided the template for much of the language used by efficiency ad;o9a7es 7o des9ri>e -a.an in 7:e BdAardian BraV i7s "dee." 9=l7=reE .rofo=nd :is7ori9al wisdom, and strong national cohesiveness. That template was exploited in full during the years after the Anglo-Japanese alliance and then the Russo-Japanese war catapulted Japan into an entirely new level of fascination among the British pundit class. When Lord Lansdowne, the Tory Foreign Secretary, announced the signing of the Anglo-Japanese alliance in January 1902, many traditionalists (including Lord Lansdowne himself) viewed the pact as, at best, a necessary evil. To a genera7ion for A:o, Iri7ain's inde.enden9e of foreign .oAers and a>sol=7e na;al supremacy was a point of pride, it was an exercise in humility for Britain to consent to a strategic partnership Ai7: an Asian .oAer" @or ,an6 of 7:e "%i>eral T,.erialis7s" s=rro=nding %ord Rosebery and the members of the incipient Co-Efficients club, however, the alliance was the brilliant first step in the courtship of a rising star. In the pages of the journal The Nineteenth Century, A:i9: >e9a,e 7:e .re,ier o=7le7 for 7:e o.inions of 7:e "effi9ien96 s9:ool" and 7:eir allies, the glorification of the military potential of Japan began as early as 1895, when R.K. Do=glas .=>lis:ed an ar7i9le 9onfiden7l6 7i7led "J:e Jri=,.: of -a.an"" ?ri7ing in 7:e af7er,a7: of -a.an's s=99ess in i7s Aar Ai7h China, Douglas presented the Far Eastern conflict as a realworld cautionary tale of the consequences of a collision between a degenerate nation and a fit oneV "J:e si9F ,an of 7he East will be obliged to march on the lines of civilization and &, K, 2Z):G;* M4#;#)%=
"#$$#% KK improvement, and the present torpid empire with its industrious population and internal wealth, Aill >egin a neA .age in B=ro.ean :is7or6""199 H=ing 7:e 9onseR=en9es of 7:e ?es7ern .oAers' efforts to restrain Japan from overwhelming China in that war, the Fortnightly Review rejoiced in 1902 that Britain had finally s7o..ed >a9Fing "7:e Arong :orse"" Tn a rebuke to the fussy bigotry of The Economist, the Review provided a brilliant, succinct sketch of the new international calculus which sought to replace quaint li>eral ,oralis,V "Gelf-.reser;a7ion is 7:e laA of 7:eir _-a.an'sc .oli96E and self.reser;a7ion is 7:e grea7 9o,,on deno,ina7or" T7 is no7 onl6 5ea;en's firs7 laAE i7 is 7:e firs7 laA of ear7: as AellE and .er:a.s 7:a7 of 7:e de;il also""200 Sir Archibald Hurd, a naval expert and one of the most vocal proponents of naval reform and national service, saw in Japan a nation of =nri;aled "self-sufficiency and efficiency" -- a nation which he repeatedly called "The Britain of the East." Hurd and others, most famously the 6$%2()*special war correspondent Charles Repington, saw in Japan an echo of the raw energy and daring which had characterized the seagoing British of folklore; the new alliance was thus justified not only by the calculus of material self-in7eres7E >=7 in 7:e :o.es of re;i;ing 7:eir oAn na7ion's dor,an7 AarliFe ins7in97s 7:ro=g: -a.an's sal=7ar6 eCa,.le" J:e ,ili7ar6 refor,ers dared 7o :o.eE as 5=rd .=7 i7E 7:a7 7:e "in:eri7ors of 7:e Nlor6 of Jrafalgar" 9o=ld Poin :ands Ai7: 7:e as9endan7 ";i97ors of 7:e -a.an Gea""201 If the Anglo--a.anese allian9e s.=rred Aides.read .raise of -a.an's ,as7erf=l na;al strategy and spirit of military efficiency, the shocking news from the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-05 lifted the tone of praise of Japan to new heights that frequently bordered on absurdity. From the very beginning of the war 0 a conflict which started with a Japanese surprise attack on &<< RV Douglas- "The Triumph of Tapan-" Nineteenth Century @? 2(.%:.GC &K, &UR, 'SS "ceta" ]AnonymousC- "The AngloT(.>.%808 677#.%V8 ­ And After-" Fortnightly Review ?& 2].GV* &, @??, 'S& Archibald Hurd- "The AngloTTapanese Fleets in Alliance-" Foortnightly Review ?K 2D)/8IO8G &, [email protected],
"#$$#% K< the Russian stronghold of Port Arthur 0 the British press gave generally favorable coverage to the Japanese cause. Even liberal sources were attracted to the story of the daring underdog Japanese fight against a Russian Empire which the British public had always viewed unfavorably as a traditional enemy and a menacing, anachronistic despotism. Despite the continued flow of decisive Japanese victories throughout 1904, however, the common-sense view held that the vastly greater might of Russia would eventually wear down Japan 0 a view reinforced, of course, by the old disbelief that an Asian power could defeat over a European one. After the Russian Baltic Fleet sailed all the way around the world only to be destroyed by the waiting Japanese in May 1905, however, the reality of the Japanese triumph began to sink in.202 Leo Amery, the reform advocate who had made his name criticizing the British logistical failures of the Boer War, recorded in his diary that Japan presented the very opposite image of what he had seen and lamented in South Africa from his own country. He la7er re9alled 7:a7 "Ae all na7=rall6 applauded in those days the bold masterstroke of attacking and crippling the Russian Navy Ai7:o=7 de9lara7ion of Aarb" perhaps unconsciously echoing Hearn, he speculated that subsequent Japanese success in battle must :a;e 9o,e fro, 7:e "s=.er:=,an 9on7e,.7 of dea7:" bequeathed by the samurai tradition.203 In the years immediately after the war, the twin narratives of Japan as the holder of a uniquely powerful culture and Japan as a ruthlessly efficient military power coincided in a series of portraits of the country which painted it as the very ideal of the efficient, organically whole state, a nation primed to advance above all others on the evolutionary ladder. Beyond the mass of coverage in the newspaper and periodical press, two works stand out as exemplars of this -a.an ,o;e,en7V 5enr6 D6er's Dai Nippon and Alfred G7ead's Great Japan: A Study in 'S' [*8 V7#I.V;#V O.;;78 E.0 ;*8 W.;;78 )$ [0:0*#I. 9;G.#;0Y 48$8.; I)/84 ;*8 +:00#.%0 ;) >8.V8 ;.7H0 '[email protected] 38) 9, 6I8GC1 My Political Life, Volume I: England Before the Storm 23)%4)%5 J:;V*#0)%1 &, '&K,
"#$$#% er6's lang=age ,ade it clear where the real significance of the fulsome praise for Japan lay: the damning comparison with Britain, a perfect piece of ammunition for the passionate advocates of domestic reform. In Hose>er6's AordsV 'SR 988 N*, @
"#$$#% <& Not a hundred books or a thousand prefaces will bring this lesson home to our oAn na7ion^ ?e Aon o=r e,.ire and o=r li>er7ies >6 geni=s and daring in an inefficient world. Now that one or more nations are keenly striving after efficiency, it will not be easy to maintain our heritage, for the inefficient nation ,=s7 sooner or la7er go 7o 7:e Aall^J:ree 7:ings ,a6 ,o;e =sV o>;io=s de9lineE sudden catastrophe, or some stimulating example. This last, at the least, is furnished by Japan.205 These Edwardian profiles of Japan took up the existing conventions of Japanese exceptionalism and constructed a full-fledged fantasy of a nation whose strengths corresponded al,os7 eCa97l6 Ai7: Nrea7 Iri7ain's .er9ei;ed AeaFnesses" Tn 7:ree res.e97sE a>o;e all elseE 7:e6 presented Japan as a mirror image of British shortcomings: its physical and moral hygiene, its national system of education/indoctrination, and its efficient methods of elite control. The stereotype of Japan as a painstakingly clean, industrious land, of course, dated from far before the twentieth century. When earlier travelers praised the tidiness of the Japanese village or the work ethic of the Japanese peasant, however, they did so as a way of conveying vividly to their readers 7:e 9o=n7r6's =n7o=9:ed >a9FAardnessb >el9:ing s,oFes7a9Fs and 9oal soo7E no7 untouched landscapes, were the hallmarks of mid-nineteenth-century supremacy, a truth underscored by the undisguised admiration the Iwakura Mission's ,e,>ers dis.la6ed for 7:e .aradoCi9al ">ea=76" of Iir,ing:a, and %i;erpool.206 One of the first efforts to convert this image of Japan into the language of Darwinism 0 and to connect it with the quasi-mystical cultural traditions which so fascinated Western readers 0 was made by the Japanese йmigrй Inazo Nitobe in a book aimed at promoting his home country to British and American readers. His 'SL 3)G4 +)08O8GC1 >G8$.V8 ;) 67$G84 9;8.41 Great Japan: A Study in National Efficiency 23)%4)%5 ()*% 3.%81 &, ', 'SUDiary of the Iwakura Embassy, >>, &@KT&LL,
"#$$#% <' Bushido: The Soul of Japan, published in 1905, held that the ancient warrior code, far from being extinct, so permeated Japanese society that it provided the secret to the physical strength and moral rectitude of the common people. Though the order of samurai had been formally abolished in 1870 (a move that the older generation of observers hailed as a step away from medieval darkness), Nitobe was convinced that the aristocratic spirit of the order was the secret behind -a.an's ",oral e;ol=7ion""207 "J:o=g: 7:e6 Fe.7 7:e,sel;es so9iall6 aloof fro, 7:e .o.=la9eE 7:e6 se7 a ,oral s7andard for 7:e,E and g=ided 7:e, >6 7:eir eCa,.le""208 As a result, the lower classes of Japan, unlike the rudderless working masses of Britain with only individualism to guide them, lived and died by the code that held together the larger organic whole of their nation.209 For Nitobe, bushido was the volksgeist whose disciplinary force prevented the drunkenness, slovenliness, and hygienic degeneracy which so dismayed British observers of their own cities.210 Henry Dyer used a variation on the same theme in seeking the source for the supposed greater physical health of the Japanese. On his account, it was the practice of the martial art of jiu-jitsu, coupled with the organic cohesiveness of a society which prohibited individual deviousness, whic: .rod=9ed A:a7 :e 9alled 7:e "Aonders of .:6si9al end=ran9e" that he claimed to have witnessed in even the humblest villagers.211 Tn G7ead's fan7as7i9al ;isionE 7:e physical purity of the people was the fruit of an intentional plan on the part of the leaders of Japanese society, to whom he attributed an acute long-term vision of the evolutionary adaptations necessary to achieve victory in the coming international struggle:"M:6si9al 7raining 'S? X%.a) D#;)O81 Bushido: The Soul of Japan 23)%4)%5 ",A, A:;%.I1 &, &?', 'SK XO#4, >, &R?, 'S< D#;)O81 0)I8E*.; 0:G>G#0#%P7C1 E.0 .V;:.77C . 48/):; N*G#0;#.%, J8 >G)$80084 ;*.; %); )%7C E.0 ;*8 0.I:G.# 8;*#V V)I>.;#O78 E#;* *#0 /#0#)% )$ N*G#0;#.%#;C1 O:; ;*.; I)48G% M:G)>8 *.4 P)%8 .0;G.C #% 7)0#%P 0#P*; )$ #;0 )G#P#%.7 N*G#0;#.% 8;*)0, '&S XO#4, >, &LS, '&& -C8G1 >, @?<,
"#$$#% <@ is ,ade ,=9: ofE" :e ;en7=redE ">e9a=se 7:e f=7=re .:6si9al 9ondi7ion of the Japanese race must be efficient and able to support the nation in the ever-increasing physical struggle for eCis7en9e""212 The sexual regulations of Japan, in which prostitution was more openly acknowledged but strictly regulated, were part of the same benevolent conspiracy, in this case to ".re;en7 7:e ra9ial eCis7en9e >eing sa..ed >6 7:e fr=i7s of i,,orali76""213 The image of Japan as a land of worker bees 0 gross, myopic cultural generalization though it was 0 had become by the 1900s a vehicle for breathless praise rather than fodder for amusing paternalist anecdotes. A nation of physically clean, industrious, and obedient citizens provided excellent raw material, after all, for the efficient state. A second key piece in the blueprint for any efficient state was a national scheme of ed=9a7ion in A:i9: 7:e s7a7e's values and the principles of obedience and patriotism could be taught systematically. Education reform, of course, was not exclusively the province of radical Darwinists and efficiency advocates; liberals had been advocating it in Britain, and urging it on developing countries like Japan, throughout the nineteenth century. As elsewhere, however, the change in tone which occurred near the turn of the century is crucial and instructive. Writing in the liberal Edinburgh Review in 1890, Robert Kennaway Douglas offered .raise for -a.an's progress in its educational methods.214 "J:e OiFado .ra97i9all6 a9FnoAledged 7:e inferiori76 of 7:eir 9i;iliKa7ion >6 ado.7ing A:olesale 7:e learningE s9ien9eE and ar7s of B=ro.eE" :e Aro7eb e;en though the schools paid partial tri>=7e 7o 7:e "dis9arded" Lonf=9ian e7:i9s A:i9: :ad do,ina7ed s9:ooling in 7:e JoF=gaAa eraE 7:e6 .ro,ised a >rig:7 f=7=re for -a.an's s7=den7s >6 7ea9:ing 7:e, Bnglis:E geogra.:6E %a7inE and "7:e .:iloso.:ies eC.o=nded >6 5er>er7 G.en9er and -"G" '&' 9;8.41 >, &'L, '&@ XO#4, >, @KK, '&R Edinburgh Review, .; ;*8 0;.G; )$ ;*8 %#%8;88%;* V8%;:GC1 *.4 O88% ;*8 0;.%4.G4TO8.G8G $)G ;*8 $):%4#%P $.;*8G0 )$ WG#;#0* :;#7#;.G#.%#0Ie7#O8G.7#0I5 (8G8IC W8%;*.I1 O);* ]#7701 .%4 [*)I.0 W.O#%P;)% ].V.:78C, WC &K"#$$#% imperial government, starting in 1890 with the Imperial Rescript on Education, did make a concerted effort to build more fervent patriotism in the school curricula at all levels.216 J:e di;or9e fro, reali76E :oAe;erE 9a,e in 7:e Iri7is: .ro.agandis7s' A:olesale acceptan9e of 7:e -a.anese offi9ial fi97ion 7:a7 7:e neA .ri,a96 of 7:e .rin9i.les of "lo6al76 7o e,.eror and an9es7ors" s.rang organi9all6 and 9on7in=o=sl6 fro, -a.an's .as7b 7:e6 9oll=ded Ai7: 7:e B,.eror OeiPi's ad;isors in 9olle97i;el6 forge77ing 7:e era in 7:e not-too-distant past when Japan had seemed eager to distance itself from the cultural legacies of its medieval heritage" Gaid D6erV "7:e6 :a;e e;ol;ed an organiKa7ion of 7:eir oAnE A:i9: is ;er6 Aell s=i7ed to the particular requirements of their country""217 In marked contrast with the British =ni;ersi7ies' R=ain7 .reo99=.a7ion Ai7: 7:e li>eral ar7s and 7:e .=rs=i7 of .=re FnoAledgeE Alfred Stead found in Japan a refreshing focus on the real, practical purpose of education: producing useful workers, skilled at performing real-Aorld 7asFs" "J:e -a.anese ed=9a7ional s6s7e, s7ri;es first to develop the character of the children and to ensure their development into good citizens; it being thought far better to make members of the state sound in body and clear in mind than to en9o=rage ,ere in7elle97=ali76""218 A mere half-decade after activists like Arnold White had '&L Robert Vennaway Douglas- "=rogress in Tapan-" Edinburgh Review &?' 2(:7C &K>, USTUR, '&U (.%08%1 >>,KSTK@, 670) 088 .O)/8, '&? -C8G1 Dai Nippon, >, K@, '&K 9;8.41 Great Japan, >, &'L,
"#$$#% , ', ''S XO#4, >, ?R,
"#$$#% , &R? 2\:);#%P ].77)VH=, `#77#.I J:GG877 ].77)VH1 .% :%.>)7)P8;#V V)%08G/.;#/8 .%4 0>#G#;:.7#0; .77C )$ Matthew Arnold- found his worKs defending aristocracy quoted approvingly by "liberals" and socialists only ;*G):P* ;*8 O#a.GG8 O8%4#%P )$ #48)7)P#V.7 #48%;#;#80 $)0;8G84 4:G#%P ;*#0 >8G#)4 )$ #%;8778V;:.7 VG#0#0 #% WG#;.#%, ''' ]Qee Chapter 2C Vidd's Social Evolution >)0#;84 ;*.; N*G#0;#.%#;C *.4 >G)/#484 ;*8 P7:8 %8V800.GC ;) #%0>#G8 V8%;:G#80 )$ `80;8G%8G0 ;) 0.VG#$#V8 E#;*):; E*#V* >G)PG800 V):74 %); *./8 O88% I.48, ''@ Archibald Colquhoun- "The Qecret of Tapanese =atriotism-" Monthly Review 'U 2Z8OG:.GC &, ?&,
"#$$#% =7ions" 7o 7:e AarE for "i7 see,s as if 7:ere :ad >een :ere onl6 one individual 0 -a.an i7self""224 Just as had occurred in nearly every other aspect of the British dialogue on Japan, the dedi9a7ed en7:=sias7s dreA fro, 7:e indis.=7a>le fa97s of 7:e 9o=n7r6's re,arFa>le a9:ie;e,en7 in the war to reach entirely unverifiable, implausible conclusions. Henry Dyer complained that the custom of seppuku ritualized suicide had received unfair criticism from Westerners 0 in fact, it was e,>le,a7i9 of 7:e 9=l7=re's a9:ie;e,en7 in rea9:ing a ra..or7 Ai7: :onora>le dea7: A:i9: was unimaginable elsewhere.225 Ignoring evidence to the contrary, Stead concluded that the na7ional e7:i9 of "Fio-koku-i79:i" 0 the United Action of the Nation 0 was so powerful that it led citizens to reject with one voice the divisive spirit of party politics.226 In a similar vein, he reached into the innermost recesses of the minds of the Japanese peasantry, asserting that the =niR=e :ar,on6 of -a.anese life no7 onl6 re,o;ed 7:e s7ing fro, 7:e "e9ono,i9 s7r=ggle for eCis7en9eE" >=7 it also rendered the people positively enthusiastic about compulsory military ser;i9eV "J:e -a.anese looF =.on i7 as a .ri;ilege 7o >e alloAed 7o re9ei;e s=9: 7raining""227 One British traveler to Japan neared the limits of such fulsome, unreflective praise when, in 1909, he enthused that he had visited something very near to a paradise on earth: "?onderf=l country! Wide-awake, lovable, joyful people! How old, exhausted, and grey life is in other ''R Hugh Fraser- "=atriotic QelfTQacrifice in Tapan-" The Times, Z8OG:.GC 'U1 &, @<, ''U 9;8.41 Great Japan, >, 'U, ''? XO#4, >>, ''< .%4 'LL,
"#$$#% >s' Lo-Efficients dining club. As early as WZkjE Gir Hi9:ard 5aldaneE one of 7:e gro=.'s =noffi9ial eC.er7s on educational reform, used re.or7s of -a.an's .rogress 7oAards in7egra7ed "na7ional" ed=9a7ion in fra,ing :is arg=,en7s for 7:e ere97ion of ins7i7=7ions liFe -a.an's T,.erial mni;ersi76 a7 :o,e"229 The application of a Japanese-style ethic of self-abnegation, he thought 0 rather than the complacent intellectualism and hedonism he found at the great British schools 0 could help those institutions produce an elite worthy of the coming struggles of the twentieth century.230 The idealized portrait of the Japanese military regime, too, found immediate favor. In an oft-cited remark, the conservative imperialist Philip Lyttelton Gell wrote to his friend and fellow army reform advocate Lord Milner that: ''K Dr. Qven Hand- "Impressions of Tapan-" letter published in The Times, (.%:.GC @S1 &)0#;#)%1 E.0 >:O7#0*84 #% &, L< 2V#;#%P J.74.%8=,
"#$$#% << I shall turn Japanese, for they at least can think, and act and be reticent!... I fail to see any Western people in a position to set the Japs an example in their diplomacy, their organization, their strategy, their virile qualities, their devotion and self-control. Above all, their national capacity for self-reliant self-sacrifice and their silence.231 An a;id reader of ,ili7ar6 9orres.onden7 L:arles He.ing7on's dis.a79:es fro, 7:e H=ssoJapanese war zone, Leo Amery later recalled that he had been captivated by the rise of a new international star which suffered from seemingly none of the organizational defects of older powers like Britain or Russia.232 For Sidney and Beatrice Webb themselves, and for other likeminded Fabians, what seemed most attractive about Japan was the gratifying prospect of a s6s7e, in A:i9: 7:e "s9ien7ifi9" ,anage,en7 of ,aPor fa9e7s of national existence 0 education, religion, the military 0 was playing out in real life. Beatrice Webb, in particular, became an unabashed enthusiast of this imagined Japan. Riveted by the reports of Japanese military 7ri=,.:sE s:e refle97ed in :er diar6V "T Aa79: in ,6self and o7:ers a groAing na7ional shamefacedness at the superiority of the Japanese over ourselves in capacity, courage, self9on7rol""233 Some months later, in 1905, she insisted that: Japan is proving the superlative advantage of scientific methods in the in7erna7ional s7r=ggle for eCis7en9e^@or ,an6 a long da6E 7:e refor,er Aill >e able to quote on his side the innovating collectivism of the Japanese. [The example of Japan] will tell in favor of organization, collective regulation, '@& 38*I.%%1 The Image of Japan: From Feudal Isolation to World Power 2W)0;)%5 6778% .%4 Q%E#%1 &G)>.P.%4.1 E*#V* *8 7.;8G characteriIed as "myth." Winston Churchill was another prominent British politician who would have occasion to retract his initial receptiveness to the "learn from Tapan" movement. '@@ W8.;G#V8 `8OO1 Our Partnership, >, '"#$$#% &SS scientific education, physical and mental training 0 but not in favor of democracy!234 Webb found herself, perhaps to her own lingering surprise, struck by admiration for the very features of the newly aggressive Japanese empire which were the most antithetical to liberalism, 7o 7:e 7radi7ional Iri7is: idea of .rogress" J:a7 s:e Aas a>le 7o read a Find of "so9ialis," in7o 7:e Japan of Alfred Stead and Henry Dyer, despite the manifest lack of any such ideological content in the Japanese measures, is all the more remarkable; it shows again the extent to which the deeply felt imperative of efficiency transcended more conventional political boundaries. Section 3 0 Japan and the Utopian Impulse At the heart of the Japan movement of 7:e WZkks la6 7:e i,age of -a.an as 7:e "Iri7ain of 7:e Bas7"" J:e no7ion Aas no7 ne9essarily ideologically loaded. As an island nation, traditionally isolated from its geographic neighbors, which had risen to international prominence through sea power, Japan almost inevitably invited comparisons to Great Britain. In earlier years, such a title would have been a badge of approval; by the Edwardian era, it was taken by many as either a cue for either wistful reminiscence of past glories or a blueprint fit for emulation. For Darwinians concerned with the unified national spirit as the motor of states' e;ol=7ion 0 for whom latter-day Britain seemed rudderless and degenerate 0 it summoned up a painful comparison with the fierce, conquering spirit which they imagined their country had possessed in its own youth during the Elizabethan Era. To their eyes, the Japan of the 1900s was producing its own heroes like Francis Drake and its own underdog triumphs like the victory over the Spanish Armada -complete with its own daring, aggressive sovereign along the lines of Iri7ain's BliKa>e7: T" '@R XO#4, >>, '<"#$$#% &S& Modern British heroes of such stature, however, were lacking. To those members of the Efficiency School of a more technocratic bent like the Fabian Socialists, on the other hand, to whom efficiency was a matter of policy and scientific management more than of Volksgeist, Japan was more significant as a harbinger of the future than as a throwback to the British past. From an o=7looF so dee.l6 9ri7i9al of 7:eir so9ie76's oAn ad hoc institutions and stagnation, cherishing the thought of Japan as the Britain of the East was not a statement of reality, but of aspiration. One member of the Co-Bffi9ien7s' inner 9ir9leE 7:e no;elis7 and ;isionar6 5"N" ?ellsE was notable in incorporating the nearly utopian imagery of Japan presented by British writers in7o 7:e li7erall6 =7o.ian ;ision of one of :is 7rade,arF f=7=ris7i9 no;els" ?ells' rela7ions:i. 7o 7:e @a>ian Go9ie76's .oli7i9s Aas no7 en7irel6 :ar,onio=sE >=7 :e s:ared 7:eir singleE 9en7ral faith: that the power of scientific, rational thinking could redeem the disorderliness and failure of society. Like so many other intellectuals of his era, he was also fully immersed in the imagery of the state as a biological entity engaged in an evolutionary struggle.235 ?ells' rela7ions:i. 7oAards science itself was similarly ambiguous. His novels When the Sleeper Wakes, The Invisible Man, The Time Machine, and The Island of Dr. Moreau all explored the horrible ramifications of untrammeled technology; at the same time, however, his conviction of the dangers of the future only heightened his belief in the necessity of leadership by a scientifically-trained elite.236 His writing thus marked him both as a full-fledged inheritor of the British utopian tradition as a science-fiction writer and at the same time as an effective political propagandist. In his '@L ()*% J:%;#%P;)%1 M4,1 Critical Essays on H.G. Wells ]Boston: !.V. Hall- :<<:C p. :f0. Wells' junior colleague- the great British historian A.T.=. Taylor- tooK him to tasK later in life for having "taKing all that anthropomorphic clapT ;G.> 08G#ously" during the Edwardian era. '@U A8;8G B8I>1 H.G. Wells and the Culminating Ape ]New gorK: Qt. Martin's =ress- :<;2C
"#$$#% &S' Anticipations, published in 1902, Wells gave voice to the kind of social organization which he >elie;ed 9o=ld fos7er ,anFind's s=99essf=l e;ol=7ionV As the result of forces which are practically irresistible, a world-wide process of social and moral deliquescence is in progress, and a really functional social body of engineering, managing men, scientifically trained and having common ideals and interests, is likely to segregate and disentangle itself from our present confusion of aimless and ill-directed lives.237 National efficiency doctrine, with its emphasis on social hygiene, educational reforms, and decisive leadership, was geared towards the creation of precisely such an enlightened elite; Wells, like so many of his colleagues, saw a prototype of such a society in contemporary Japan. Tn WZkYE a7 7:e :eig:7 of 7:e Iri7is: in7elligen7sia's infa7=a7ion Ai7: -a.anE ?ells .=>lis:ed ano7:er one of A:a7 :e 9alled :is "fan7asias of .ossi>ili76E" A Modern Utopia. He conceived it explicitly as a post-Darwinian answer to Thomas More, a utopia which reflected the unique preoccupations of the early-twentieth-century scientific mind: "J:e =7o.ia of a ,odern drea,er must needs differ in one fundamental aspect from the nowhere and utopias men planned before Darwin quickened the 7:o=g:7 of 7:e Aorld""238 Wells envisioned a world state in which the common people lived orderly lives free of misery and moral degeneracy, education was rigorously practical and geared to societal needs, and benign governmental intrusion into private lives and property had become a matter of routine. Though professedly humane, his utopia fully e,>ra9ed 7:e DarAinian no7ion of a :ierar9:6 of 7alen7 and =sef=lness" "J:e >e77er sor7 of .eo.le '@? J,", `87701 Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought 23)%4)%5 J.G>8G .%4 WG);*8G01 &, &L?, '@K J,", `87701 A Modern Utopia 23#%V)7%1 DM5 Q%#/8G0#;C )$ D8OG.0H. AG8001 &, L,
"#$$#% &S@ ,=s7 :a;e 7:e f=lles7 o..or7=ni7ies of .aren7ageE" one go;ern,en7 offi9ial Aarnsb "7:e >reed of fail=re ,=s7 no7 in9reaseE les7 7:e6 s=ffer and .eris:E and 7:e ra9e Ai7: 7:e,""239 At the apex of the societal pyramid stood an elite caste called the samurai, whose name and ethical code drew obvious inspiration from their Japanese namesakes. In place of bushido, ?ells' sa,=rai are >o=nd >6 "J:e H=leE" a 9ode A:i9: .res9ri>es a s.iri7 of a>sol=7e ser;i9e 7o the state, personal self-a>nega7ionE and "o.7i,al .:6si9al :eal7: and effi9ien96""240 Like a hybrid between the samurai class of the Tokugawa era and the genro clique of ,odern -a.anE ?ells' samurai governed a society which made some obeisance to the general principle of popular rule but kept 7:e le;ers of real .oAer in i7s oAn :andsE realiKing 7:a7 =7o.ia "de,ands ,ore .oAerf=l and effi9ien7 ,e7:ods of 9on7rol 7:an an6 ele97oral ,e7:ods 9an gi;e""241Wells viewed A Modern Utopia as one of the most satisfactory visions of the future he ever created; on its completion he forwarded it to his fellow efficiency advocates as a useful concrete realization of their shared reform priorities.242 Jo :is friend Iea7ri9e ?e>>E :e PoFingl6 Aarned 7:a7 7:e AorF Ao=ld "9a7er 7o :er Aors7 ins7in97s" of al,os7 >lind ad,ira7ion for 7:e -a.anese"243 The picture of Japan as the Britain of the East also contained an effort to diagnose a larger trend in geopolitical history. The cycle of the rise and fall of nations and empires was an ancient theme in the writing of history, but the Edwardian era saw it infused with evolutionary language to the extent that the ebb and flow of political history presented itself as almost a biological phenomenon, lending declinism an even grimmer aura of inevitability. Quite suddenly, Britain had begun to appear a spent force, suffering from a complex of ills which could '@< XO#4, >, &@L, 'RS XO#4, >, 'KS, 'R& XO#4, >, 'LK, 'R' J,", `87701 Correspondence of H.G. Wells, 84#;84 OC -./#4 N, 9I#;*1 b)7:I8 XXX 23)%4)%5 A#VH8G#%P .%4 N*.;;)1 &<"#$$#% &SR conveniently be attributed to nothing less than a national syndrome of degeneration. The world of the 1900s was crowded with new competitors, to the extent that the margins of the British Empire in every corner of the globe seemed threatened by rising and vigorous peoples. None, however, had risen faster or created a more powerful impression than Japan, whose very racial exoticism and newness made it seem the very paragon of national vigor. According to the most pessimistic of the British elite, Britain and Japan were two nations on opposite, intersecting evolutionary paths 0 for the moment, they were eR=als and alliesE >=7 s=rel6 -a.an's s.e97a9=lar growth would continue to the point that Britain itself would become the junior partner. Alongside ?ells' =7o.ian ;ision of a s7a7eless f=7=reE ano7:er AorF of self-styled prophecy appeared in 1905. Provocatively entitled The Decline and F all of the British Empire, it was a pamphlet by the freelance writer Elliott Mills which detailed, in sixty pages, the irredeemable weaknesses of his country as it faced the twentieth century. The flaws which he enumerated were the standard fare of Co-Efficients and reformists throughout the decade: physical weakness, educational defects, parliamentary indecisiveness, the death of moral fervor and patriotism. Mills made his most provocative statement, however, in the narrative conceit around which he framed the work; it was addressed to young schoolchildren in 2005, studying history in an academy in the new world imperial capital of Tokyo. There had come a point, the author cautioned the students, when the once-proud British nation had simply lost the will to survive. Too AeaF 7o "sall6 for7: and en9o=n7er 7:e for9es of na7=reE" Great Britain had simply gone extinct at the hands of its stronger, more virile neighbors.244 That such imagery had become plausible, even respectable, in the first decade of the twentieth century is a powerful testament to the changes undergone by the worldview of a large segment of the British elite 0 and to the intellectual developments which had made such a radical shift in perspectives possible. 'RR M77#);; M, ]#7701 The Decline and Fall of the British Empire 2_^$)G45 W)V.G4) AG8001 &, ?,
Chapter 5 0 A Crisis Reconsidered Section 1 0 Image and Reality
"#$$#% &SL
J:e B,.eror OeiPiE 7:e 7i7=lar s7eAard of -a.an's age of ,oderniKa7ion, died at the age of sixty on July 30, 1912; it was a landmark in Japanese collective memory almost as significant as the death of Queen Victoria had been more than a decade earlier. Among its other effects, the imperial succession set in motion a brief period of political crisis which perfectly illustrates the collision between the British myth of Japan and its more prosaic reality. By 1912, the majority in -a.an's AeaFE 9ons=l7a7i;e .arlia,en7 0 the Diet 0 was held by the moderately liberal Seiyukai party, a mouthpiece of business interests which had long called, without much effect, for greater government responsibility to the elected representatives. Frustrated by parliamentary delay in its request for the creation of two new Army divisions, and dead-set on its program of relentless military growth, the military high command simply bypassed parliament and convinced the pliant new Emperor Taisho to issue a personal edict.245 Long pliant and dormant, the liberal parties in the Diet were provoked to outrage, taking a united stand against the government under 7:e >anner of 7:e "Oo;e,en7 for 7:e Mro7e97ion of Lons7i7=7ional No;ern,en7"" Tn a .=>li9 ,anifes7oE 7:e defian7 .arlia,en7arians .ro9lai,ed 7:a7 "7:e ar>i7rariness of 7:e ,ili7ar6 9liR=e has reached such a pass 7:a7 9ons7i7=7ional go;ern,en7 is endangered^Ae are fir,l6 resol;ed agains7 go;ern,en7 >6 7:e oligar9:s""246 Mobs appeared in the streets of Tokyo and other major cities in support of the liberals, and the government of Taro Katsura was forced out of office 0 an unprecedented exertion of popular will over the government. The moment did not last, however. 'RL +)O8G; 9V.7.>#%)1 Democracy and the Party Movement in PreMWar Japan: The Failure of the First Attempt 2W8GH878C1 N65 Q%#/8G0#;C )$ N.7#$)G%#. AG8001 &, &<', 'RU J:P* W)G;)%1 .a/an'1(5'%*rn(6*n3ur8-(9r':(;*rr8(3'(<=>?(2D8E F)GH5 +)%.74 AG8001 &, 'KU,
"#$$#% &SU In early 1913, hand-picked supporters of the genro oligarchy created a sham party to regain control of the Diet, 7:e "Lons7i7=7ional @elloA-Thinkers Associa7ionb" 7:e neA 9a>ine7 9on7ained so,e 7oFen li>eral re.resen7a7i;es >=7 re,ained fir,l6 =nder 7:e 9on7rol of 7:e "Aise old ,en" who had retained the levers of power throughout the Meiji era. Popular dissent, despite its brief efflorescence, was effectively quelled.247 As the story of the political crisis of 1912-1913 so amply demonstrates, the physical reality of Japan was never as utopian as the fantasies elaborated by Arthur Stead, Henry Dyer, or H.G. Wells. Meiji Japan was never nearly so liberal as the most optimistic British had hoped, and by the same token the Japan of the 1900s was never the harmonious engine of firm leadership and docile obedience that the efficiency enthusiasts imagined.248 The reality of Japan fell short of the image in other respects, as well. The extent of its economic and military progress, while nonetheless impressive, was rendered deceiving by the fortuitous circumstances of the 1890s and 1900s. It won its first signature military victories through predatory moves against a Chinese e,.ire A:i9: :ad >e9o,e 6e7 ano7:er "si9F ,an" 7o >e 9ar;ed =. >6 7:e grea7 .oAers" Tn WZki05, it succeeded in achieving local supremacy over a Russian Empire which was on the brink of its own social breakdown, and whose center of power was nearly 3000 miles away from the Sea of Japan. The shock value of the victories was undeniable, but the amazing spectacle of an Asian nation behaving as a great power helped conceal the extent to which Japan was still a developing nation. Despite flattering reports of the cleanliness of its city life and its national hygiene, Japan by 1910 still trailed far behind the weakest of European powers like Italy or Austria-Hungary in 'R? 9V.7.>#%)1 >, &<@, 'RK Robert Qcalapino's Democracy and the Party Movement in PreMWar Japan #0 . V)I>G8*8%0#/8 >)G;G.#; )$ *)E )7#P.GV*#V $)GV80 4#G8V;7C 480V8%484 $G)I ;*8 $8:4.7 *):080 )$ [)H:P.E. (.>.% 8$$8V;#/87C ;*G);;784 ;*8 PG)E;* )$ >.G;C P)/8G%I8%;1 8/8% .$;8G ;*8 &KK< >G)I:7P.;#)% )$ ;*8 ]8#c# N)%0;#;:;#)% E*#V* 088I84 ;) >G)/#48 $)G . I)4#$#84 >.G7#.I8%;.GC 48I)VG.VC, "8%:#%87C 7#O8G.7 (.>.%808 #%0;#;:;#)%0 E):74 %); 8^#0; :%;#7 .$;8G &)#%;1 (.>.% G8I.#%84 .% 8$$8V;#/87C )%8T>.G;C 0;.;8 $)G 48V.480,
"#$$#% &S? its basic standard of living. Moreover, and despite the glowing predictions of the value of the Anglo--a.anese na;al allian9eE -a.an's 7o7al ,ili7ar6 s7reng7: Aas i,.ressi;e onl6 rela7i;e 7o i7s immediate neighbors. Its navy had grown phenomenally in only three decades, but its total tonnage even at the end of the era had barely reached one-sixth that of Great Britain.249 Japan Aas indis.=7a>l6 a rising .oAerE .er:a.s e;en 7:e in9i.ien7 "Iri7ain of 7:e Bas7E" >=7 7:e reali76 of its position in the 1900s belied the exaggerated assumptions of imminent parity with the West.250 J:e >enefi7s of Iri7ain's ,ilitary relationship with Japan, too, suffered greatly from long-term scrutiny. The Tokyo riots of late 1905, which had come in response to the perceived shortcomings of the Russo-Japanese peace agreement, could be explained away as an overexuberant eruption of patriotism. Even as the British government continued in negotiations for the renewable and expansion of the Japanese alliance, however, opinion in Britain grew steadily more troubled at the increased militancy of the Japanese government and its continued expansionism. The formal annexation of Korea, completed in 1910, served as a sobering 9o=n7erAeig:7 7o -a.an's .=>li9 rela7ions effor7s a7 7:e -a.an-British exhibition and elsewhere. The disillusionment of the collision between image and reality played out on a more personal scale when husband and wife Sidney and Beatrice Webb visited Japan in 1911-1912. The first flush of excitement on the heels of the Japanese victories in 1904-05 had worn off, but the Webbs remained as ever faithful to their ideologi9al 9on;i97ionsb 7:e Aord "effi9ien96" as a kind of shibboleth recurs again and again in their diaries. To some extent, the society they saw matched their expectations: they even declared themselves wholly impressed with the efficient 'R< B8%%84C1 >, 'S@, 'LS (.>.% 4#4 .V*#8/8 %./.7 0:>G8I.VC )/8G WG#;.#% in the Pacific OC ;*8 ):;08; )$ ;*8 98V)%4 `)G74 `.G1 O:; E.0 0;#77 %); 8\:.7 ;*8 ;);.7 8V)%)I#V V.>.V#;C )$ WG#;.#%1 78; .7)%8 ;*8 Q%#;84 9;.;80,
"#$$#% &SK organization of the Japanese ship which conducted them across the Pacific.251 Once landed in Japan, they were duly impressed with what they expected to be impressed with: disciplined classrooms, social deference, government-sponsored factories. They also, however, saw sobering reminders of the reality of a developing nation" "GR=alor" in =r>an areasE drear6, despoiled industrial landscapes, even starving children in villages.252 In the longer perspective of history, the enthusiasm of key elements of the Edwardian intelligentsia for Japan had exceptionally shallow roots; it was nonetheless more significant than other, more purely aesthetic passing fads for foreign cultures in Britain. It was one of the more absurd outgrowths of a feverish, multilayered critique of British society 0 but it was a profoundly revealing episode nonetheless. This essay has been concerned primarily with perceptions rather than hard realities, with intellectual rather than material history. At the same time, however, it is useless to pretend that such phenomena as illiberal social Darwinism and the changed perceptions of both Britain and Japan during the Edwardian era grew up out of a vacuum, confined solely within a small circle of thinkers and social critics. The very elasticity of Darwinism, discussed in the second chapter, is a striking example of the coexistence of intellectual history with broader social trends. It is clear 7:a7 7:e e,ergen9e of ,ass .oli7i9s and 7:e "so9ial .ro>le," in 7:e la7e nine7een7: 9en7=r6 0 which not only threatened the social standing of the European elites who had been the strongest supporters of liberal doctrine but also left them outflanked in their claim to speak for the people by growing socialist movements 0 played a crucial role in the political realignment of social Darwinism. It not only weakened confidence that individual liberties and free enterprise would suffice to keep social order, but helped spawn a new kind of Darwinian language which codified elite anxieties about control and national hygiene into a respectable pseudo-scientific creed. 'L& 9#4%8C .%4 W8.;G#V8 `8OO1 The Webbs in Asia: The 1911M1912 Travel Diary, M4#;84 OC "8)GP8 Z8./8G 23)%4)%5 ].VI#77.%1 &<<'= >>, '>, '?T&SL,
"#$$#% &S< Other anxieties, too, were at least partially connected with elements of truth. Britain truly did have a serious problem with income inequality and slum conditions in its cities 0 though, as noted before, the crisis when it made headlines in the 1900s was actually less acute than it had been in the earlier years of industrialism. The Boer War was indeed an organizational disaster, and perhaps more importantly it pointed to worrying signs of imperial overreach. Finally, of course, the reality of Japanese growth played a significant part in fostering the inflated perceptions of Japan which emerged from British writers. It was only because Japan had made itself a plausible candidate for reification through its conquests and economic progress that the "learn fro, -a.an" fad A:i9: s7r=9F Iri7ain Aas .ossi>le" Tn fa97E 7:is essa6's 9ase s7=d6 of Japan serves not only to illustrate the powerful effects of intellectual trends, but the complex relationships between such trends and reality on the ground. If the social developments of the West helped create Darwinism as it was known to the Co-Efficients and Liberal Imperialists of the 1900s, then it is equally true that the same doctrine, in turn, served as the intellectual lens which created an alternate picture of the reality of Japan for those observers. It is always important to remember the limited scope of intellectual history in this context; after all, the ideas discussed in this essay prevailed only within an exclusive stratum of British society. It is equally important, however, to note the complexity of the interactions between the realm of ideas and the alternate streams of economic, political, and social history. National Darwinism, efficiency, and Japanophilia ultimately declined, just as they had earlier risen, hand-in-hand with the changing dynamics of British history. Although perceptions of British decline, too, were rooted distantly in reality, the Edwardian Crisis was proven by subsequent history to be a fleeting phenomenon, reflective not of permanent degeneracy but by a fortuitous confluence of intellectual history and the catalyst
"#$$#% &&S .ro;ided >6 7:e Ioer ?ar" J:e fa,o=s WZki "He.or7 on M:6si9al De7eriora7ion" .rod=9ed a scare chiefly because it was among the first generation of government reports to systematically measure such population metrics; reports of decline from the strength of the hearty English yeoman of an earlier era were purely anecdotal. When the pamphleteer Elliott Mills, in his fictional look backward from the year 2005, related that the diminished strength of the British man had required the Army to institute lighter field rifles, he was indulging in a typical hysterical generalization 0 the new, lighter rifles were simply a technical improvement over those they replaced.253 ?i7: regard 7o 7:e "so9ial R=es7ion" and 7:e s=..osed ineffi9ien96 of Iri7ain's venerable forms of government, predictions of collapse were similarly premature. The constitutional struggles which occurred in Parliament near the end of the period 0 whose chief result was the curtailing of the power of the House of Lords 0 turned out in the long view of history to have been yet another of the seemingly endless series of incremental changes which :ad defined 7:e Iri7is: s6s7e,'s sloA e;ol=7ion towards modern democracy. Despite the pressures of the rise of the Labour Party, the First World War, and the long-awaited 1918 Reform Act which granted female suffrage, the British constitutional system emerged from the Aar ,ore or less in7a97" Iri7ain's relative power had indeed begun to decline from its height by the turn of the twentieth century, but the fall from global supremacy was far less traumatic than the declinists of the 1900s had imagined, cushioned above all by victories in two world wars and Iri7ain's neA .la9e in 7:e mG-led Western postwar order. As for the strand in intellectual history which culminated in the changed perceptions of Japan and of domestic crisis, it too did not enjoy prominence long after its heyday in the first decade of 7:e 7Aen7ie7: 9en7=r6" J:e BdAardian era's endingE =nliFe i7s >eginningE is diffi9=l7 7o define. King Edward VII, already an old man when he had come to the throne in 1901, collapsed 'L@ ]#7701 The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, >, &S,
"#$$#% &&& from a lung ailment in March 1910 and eventually died in May of the same year. His death, unlike that of his mother, did not provoke widespread reflections on the end of an era.254 BdAard's reign :ad >een 7oo s:or7E and ,ore i,.or7an7l6 7oo 7e,.es7=o=sE for 9on7e,.oraries 7o easily define its essence while it lasted or pronounce a fitting eulogy for it once it had ended. Both within and without the school of efficiency and reform, it was an era of transition; its aftermath came to be defined more and more by the looming threat of European war. The years between 1910 and the outbreak of war in August 1914 saw continued frantic political reform, as the Liberal government struggled to position itself between indignant conservative interests and the ever-more vocal Labour partners in its coalition; in many ways, a continuation of the political atmosphere of the 1900s. War with Germany, when it came, relegated the social concerns of the era to secondary importance; if the Edwardian era did not end in August 1914, then it certainly ended before the Armistice four years later. Section 2 0 The Strange Rebirth of Liberal England If there is a single grand narrative traced in the course of this essay 0 a theme which unites the growth of national Darwinism, theories of efficiency, and elite anxieties over social control 0 it is that of the decline of traditional liberalism in elite British intellectual culture. The liberal paradigm had no monopoly on British thought even at the mid-nineteenth century apex of the Victorian order, and its hold had been even less secure in the decades and generations which had come before. Individualism, civil libertarianism, and free market capitalism were certainly not 0 the teachings of Whig history notwithstanding 0 eternal building-blocks of the English national character, handed down from ancient Anglo-Saxon traditions and strengthened with 'LR JC%801 >, US,
"#$$#% &&' each succeeding century of gradual progress. Liberalism was, in fact, a relatively new phenomenon, with some deep roots in the Middle Ages but its primary origins in the seventeenth and eig:7een7: 9en7=ries" ?:e7:er i7 :el.ed dri;e Iri7ain's rise 7o Aorld .ree,inence in the nine7een7: 9en7=r6 or ,erel6 rea.ed 7:e >enefi7s of 7:e ind=s7rial re;ol=7ion and 7:e 9o=n7r6's military victories is an open question, but what is indisputable now is that its moment in the sun was the product of a particular time and place in history rather than the inevitable unfolding of a =ni;ersal laA" O7:er na7ions :ad 7:eir "li>eral eras" 0 post-1860s Italy, belle йpoque France, and even Weimar Germany 0 but in no other country did circumstances conspire to make liberalism a core element of national ideology for so long as they did in Great Britain. Even the United States, despite its founding commitment to the political principles of individual rights, was never a consistent proponent of either true laissez-faire economics or free trade in the nineteenth century. Britain was the spiritual homeland of the ideology preached by Bentham, Mill, Cobden, and Gladstone, and was recognized as such worldwide; its disavowal in the Edwardian era, especially by many of the political heirs of its greatest exponents, is thus all the more remarkable. Ultimately, however, liberalism proved far more resilient and adaptable than its eulogists had imagined. The conventional view, held by contemporary observers as diverse as Winston Churchill, Joseph Chamberlain, and H.G. Wells, was simple and stark: the old creed had outlived its usefulness, and its confident worldview was hopelessly out of touch with the changed social situation and the new climate of international competition. Many twentieth century historians agreed with that verdict. In 602*642,8&*;2#5()*<5$($(3*his famous account of interwar in7erna7ional rela7ionsE 7:e realis7 :is7orian B"5" Larr :eld 7:a7 7:e "=7o.ianE" self-serving nostrums of British liberalism, having survived the First World War and embedded themselves in
"#$$#% &&@ institutions such as the League of Nations, were finally discredited by their utter failure to keep the peace in the interwar era.255 Dangerfield's Strange Death of Liberal England advanced a similar theory regarding domestic history. Liberalism in its classical form, he maintained, was ultimately a luxury, tenable only so long as Britain remained on top of the world, with its eC.e97a7ions for 7:e f=7=re >o=ndless" "%i>eralis,E" :e saidE "Aas a 9:ild of .rogressE and i7 died A:en `.rogress' died""256 It is certainly true that the more utopian precepts of nineteenth century liberalism died a hard death in the cold light of the twentieth century; in that much, at least, the doomsayers of the Edwardian era were justified. The notions that free trade and open borders could break down international rivalries, that the guaranteeing of individual rights would obviate the need for collective action, and that parliamentary institutions represented the lone road to progress were unquestionably obsolescent, relics of an age of over-confidence. The crisis atmosphere of the 1900s, despite its excesses of anxiety, was if nothing else a useful corrective to these exuberant facets of traditional liberalism. The core doctrine of liberalism 0 the basic philosophical stance of tolerance and individualism 0 was never truly discredited, however. In fact, the next phase of British history ultimately reinforced its status as a centerpiece of national, and ultimately Western, identity. World War I drove a wedge into the reformist, efficiency coalition of the previous de9ade" J:e ,ore 9onser;a7i;e ,e,>ers of 7:e gro=.E 7:e "%i>eral T,.erialis7s" and 7:e o=7rig:7 Tories, supported the war effort wholeheartedly and as a matter of course. For the Fabian Socialists, the decision was far more wrenching. For dedicated pacifists like Bertrand Russell or grassroots socialist activists like Keir Hardie, the doctrinal socialist commitment to peace 'LL M4E.G4 J.778;; N.GG1 @h*(@B*n38(C*ar1'(6ri1i1-(<=<=M1939 2D8E F)GH5 A8G8%%#.71 'SS&= 'LU -.%P8G$#8741 >, K,
"#$$#% &&R dictated a principled stand against a war for empire and European supremacy. For the majority of Fabians, however, including the Webbs and H. G. Wells, there was no inherent conflict between their brand of collectivism and an imperialist foreign policy; after all, as Wells reminded his readers, an orderly world with clear leaders was far more efficient than a chaotic multilateral one.257 Even as many of the efficiency advocates supported war with Germany, however, the resonance of their views with the general public declined precipitously. German efficiency and technical prowess, which had been admired in the same circles as had praised Japan so effusively, became sinister rather than admirable in wartime. Government propaganda placed a reneAed e,.:asis on "7radi7ional" .illars of Iri7is: s7reng7: s=9: as free ins7i7=7ions and 7:e Crown, and the struggle against Germany, under the added influence of American participation, became nothing less than a battle for freedom and democracy, those formerly passй terms. The collective experience of the 1930s and the Second World War only further eroded the allure of "effi9ien7" do97rines of 9on7rol and o>edien9eE A:e7:er fro, 7:e lef7 or rig:7" J:ere re,ained holdouts, of course. Even while most British socialists came to reject Stalinism, Beatrice and Sidney Webb notoriously allowed themselves to be taken in by the grandeur of the Five Year Plans, pronounced themselves awed at the organizational capacity of the Soviets just as they had been in the 1900s by that of the Japanese.258 The British system continued to muddle through as if by default, and political liberalism saw its stature greatly enhanced simply by the thorough discrediting of the extreme alternatives presented in the first half of the twentieth century. The authoritarian oligarchy of Japan in the 1890s and 1900s, though different in crucial respects from the military dictatorship which carried the country into the Second World War, could never be 'L? `8770 >7.C84 . $.#G7C I.c)G G)78 #% ;*8 E.G 8$$)G; .0 4#G8V;)G )$ >G)>.P.%4. 4#G8V;84 .; "8GI.%C, 'LK 6%);*8G Z.O#.% E*) E.0 #%#;#.77C E.GI7C 4#0>)084 ;)E.G40 ;*8 9)/#8; Q%#)%1 "8)GP8 _GE8771 E.0 4#0.O:084 )$ *#0 P))4 $#G0; #I>G800#)% OC ;*8 I#4 &<@S0,
"#$$#% &&L evaluated again without reference to the eventual consequences, real or imagined, of such a system. Just as political liberalism helped rejuvenate itself after World War I through comparison with the absurd extremes reached by systems once touted as its competitors, so did the humanistic philosophy at the heart of liberalism benefit from the moral bankruptcy of social Darwinist thought. The ideal of the efficient state, and of expert social planning as a universal panacea, was an outgrowth of a European culture which throughout the nineteenth century had grown increasingly intoxicated with the boundless possibilities of science. Nowhere was the "s9ien9e of ,an" :eld in :ig:er es7ee, 7:an in Iri7ainE 7:e :o,eland of .oli7i9al e9ono,6 and of ,odern e;ol=7ionar6 7:eor6" ?:en 7:e so9ialis7s' dog,a7i9 fai7: in s9ien9e fell 7oge7:er Ai7: 7:e prejudices of traditional elitism, the resulting coalition was unabashedly illiberal, even antiliberal. The horrors of 1914-1918 shattered the faith of thinkers of nearly all stripes in science as an agent of progress. Moreover, the appearance outside of Britain of futurism and fascism, doctrines which drew from Darwinian language and which exalted the machine over the indi;id=alE f=r7:er dis9redi7ed 7:e "organi9 analog6" and 9olle97i;is, a,ong res.e97a>le Iri7is: figures. Faced with the example the monstrous extremes of social planning in the Soviet Union and of social Darwinism in Nazi Germany, it was only natural that liberalism saw something of a return to fashion. H.G. Wells to the end of his long life continued to proclaim his faith in the kind of scientific elitism portrayed in A Modern Utopia and so exemplified by the fantasy Japan of the 1900s, but his ideas grew out of vogue even among his former intellectual colleagues.259 Fabian 7ra97s in 7:e .os7Aar era dis9arded 7:e 7alF of .eo.le as "f=n97ional =ni7s" and of so9ial .lanningE instead couching their calls for wealth distribution in the language of basic rights and 'L< ()*% J:%;#%P;)%1 M4,1 Critical Essays on H.G. Wells, >, &@S,
"#$$#% &&U freedoms.260 The tone of British political philosophy after the experience of the two world wars was set by men like Isaiah Berlin and Friedrich Hayek, whose greatest ambition was to rehabilitate liberalism for the new era as a creed worth fighting for; their arguments relied on the slippery slope 0 A:a7 5a6eF 9alled 7:e "road 7o serfdo," 0 presented by Darwinism, 9olle97i;is,E "effi9ien96E" and 7:e o7:er illi>eral o=7groA7:s of 7:e la7e nine7een7: 9en7=ry. In defending what he thought was a dying philosophy, the British politician C.F. G. Masterman in 1905 gave eloquent voice to the dim uncertainty of the future he saw facing his country and its traditional liberal creed. Like so many others, he perceived that Britain had reached a turning point, and a landmark moment whose import was clear but whose ultimate resol=7ion la6 =nde9ided" "BC.e97an96E" :e saidE "belongs by nature to a time balanced uneasily >e7Aeen 7Ao grea7 .eriods of 9:ange^"On 7:e one :and is a .as7 s:oAing fain7 ;i7ali76 0 on the other is the future but hardly coming to birth . The years as they pass still appear as years of preparation, a time of waiting rather than a time of a97ion""261 At least for the circle of politicians and thinkers discussed in this essay, the crisis of the liberal order began not with the world wars, as presented in the conventional account, but at least a decade earlier, in what they thought was a decisive confluence of social problems which could no longer be ignored. They were ultimately mistaken. The uncertainty and the sensation of transition were real, but the decade was one of the innumerable turning points of history which failed fully to turn. Both the British state and the philosophies which had accompanied its period of world preeminence survived into the twentieth century, and beyond, far better than the alarmists of the Edwardian era would ever have predicted. 'US 6%;*)%C NG)07.%40 The Future of Socialism 2&G#%; )$ >)0;E.G 3.O):G >*#7)0)>*C1 .%4 *.4 #;0 0;.G; .0 . Z.O#.% V)II#00#)%, 'U&JC%801 >, &R,
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