Despite the exponential spread of the British Empire by the late nineteenth century, there remained in England a continued indifference to “the Empire”. In 1883, J.R. Seeley, Regius Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge, had expressed concern because ‘we think of Great Britain too much and of Greater Britain too little’. People had to rethink their understandings of nation and empire, he suggested, and steps had to be taken to modify what he saw as a ‘defective constitution’. Seeley’s lecture series had prompted debate about ‘the imperial question’, but the ‘anomalous political arrangements’ and the reluctance of the people to think imperially persisted. Insularity was not exclusive to the people in Britain, however. Because of their preoccupation with their own local affairs, it was suggested, there had been little opportunity for people from other parts of the empire to devote much time to the larger questions of imperial and common citizenship.
Stephenson, M. (2010), "Learning about empire and the imperial education conferences in the early twentieth century: creating cohesion or demonstrating difference?", History of Education Review, Vol. 39 No. 2, pp. 24-35. https://doi.org/10.1108/08198691201000007Download as .RIS
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