This set focuses on the influential economic and political commentators who saw weaknesses in the infrastructure of the British Empire at the turn of the twentieth century. Dubbed Idealists of Empire, they saw that the British Empire seemed to have no governing principles, no structure and no guiding ideals. Sir John Seeley's famous quote of 1883 sums up this view: 'we seem to have conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind'. The mission of the idealists was to find an Imperial solution to this problem.
The idealists of Empire documented their findings as they looked more systematically at the Empire's external challenges and internal workings, in terms of politics, economics and strategy. The texts published in this collection represent their most important contributions to the early twentieth-century debate on the fate of the Empire.