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Continuity of moral policy: a reconsideration of British motives for the partition of East Africa in light of anti-slave trade policy and imperial agency, 1878-96

Gjersø, Jonas Fossli (2015) Continuity of moral policy: a reconsideration of British motives for the partition of East Africa in light of anti-slave trade policy and imperial agency, 1878-96. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

In the century and a half since the days of the ‘scramble for Africa’ a vast body of literature has emerged attempting to disentangle the complexities of the ‘New Imperialism’. One of the most prominent and enduring theories was proposed by Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher in Africa and the Victorians, which linked the partition of East Africa with geo-strategic concerns connected to Egypt and India. Building upon John Darwin’s initial critique, this thesis will re-examine the partition of East Africa in an attempt at offering a comprehensive refutation of the Egypto-centric interpretation. The explanatory model will be exposed as a post-hoc fallacy, neither grounded in documentary evidence nor consistent with the sequence of events and policy-decisions. An alternative understanding will be proposed in which the partition of East Africa in successive stages from 1884 to 1895 formed part of a British policy continuum in the region, wherein protection of commercial interests and suppression of the slave trade were the principal determinants. By tracing the chronology of the partition it will be contended that its ultimate geographical scope was substantially determined at the very beginning of the colonisation process; whilst imperial agency were decisive in expanding the British sphere of influence to comprise Uganda in 1890 and similarly, public opinion was crucial for retaining it in 1892. In particular it will be argued that partition largely represented the cost-effective transplantation of British anti-slave trade policy from the maritime to the continental sphere, a shift enabled by the use of railway technology.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2015 Jonas Fossli Gjersø
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Lewis, Joanna
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3202

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