Empires by Michael W. Doyle
Doyle uses Eisenstadt's requisites for Empire, which reduces the problem to psych / sociology: there's a difference between two peoples and one of them is politically mobilized to take advantage of the other.
This seems a) to punt on the complexity, and b) misses the effects on the periphery. Is a civil war an imperial act? What about the Mediatisierung of the German states? It seems to hinge on a difficult question of which "peoples".1
Peripheral states care about how much brutality and loss of freedom they can expect. Can we net out the effects of the five good Roman emperors vs the rest? What about British Empire before and after?2
When do the benefits of empire outstrip those of self-determination? International Relations people see this as a spectrum, while others tend to see it as binary. It seems that the more IR realpolitik enters the public mental space, the easier empires or coalitions can form.
That said, maintaining the political mobilization (narrative) of empire seems the crux. When the empire has a Disraeli / Gladstone split and respectable people are anti-empire, then the end is surely near.
Although such distinctions ate important, the study of empires shares much ground with the study of international relations, both in method and in conception. In the study of international relations one seeks the general causes of war and peace as well as the causes of particularly war-prone periods and specific wars, alliances, and foreign policies. Similarly, in the study of empires one wants to know the sources of empire and independence as well as the conditions that gave rise to especially im-perialistic ages and of monarchical or democratic empires, and the rea-~ ons for the growth, persistence, and decline of empires.
William Harris's recent discussion of the metropolitan sources of Roman imperialism, for example, specifically refers to this wider tradition of explanation through dispositional factors. Since it was necessary for a Roman aris-tocrat who wanted high office to demonstrate military skill, fortitude, and success, the repeated skirmishes between Gauls and Romans became forums for political ambition. A victory took a family one step closer to aristocratic status; a campaign was a crucial manifestation of fitness for higher office.1O The career ladders of Roman officers were thus festooned with the bodies of dead Gauls and Spaniards. By the end of the Roman Republic the senators had become the largest landholders, their massive estates worked by slave labor. Wars increasingly took on the character of massive slave-hunting expeditions.
Another variant of the pericentric approach is related to the imperi-alism of free trade, but it considers the special effects of an international boundary between different types of political societies. Nineteenth-cen-tury empires had, as Rome had, a "frontier problem": a border area was no sooner secured than a raid by a native chieftain would upset the delicate condition of law and order and require the taking of the next line of passes, the next oasis, or the next falls upriver.
In a most striking interpretation of Athenian imperialism, for example, Jacqueline de Romilly argues that motives and opportunities attributable to the anarchy of the international order are the root causes of imperial expansion.23 She discusses three laws that governed Athenian imperialism. The first two concern Athenian motives and help account for specific features of Athenian foreign policy. The third law, the philosophical law of the necessity of force, she holds to be both general and immutable. This is the law of the Melian Dialogue (5.84-116): The strong do what they will, the weak what they must.
Definitions of empire and imperialism remain important and contro-versial I favor the behavioral definition of empire as effective control, whether formal or informal, of a subordinated society by an imperial society. This definition follows popular usage. Neither popular nor .,p scholarly usage is, however, unambiguous about whether empire de-notes only territorial conquest and formal legal transfer of sovereignty or includes the informal rule of "effective sovereignty."
Jefferson's Rule" is that empire can be identified by a "long train of abuses" object is distinctly political even though the means of exercising influence may be economic or cultural. J
Patrick Henry's Rule" holds that "Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the first, his Cromwell; and George the Third ... may profit by their ~ :xample." Imperial tyranny often results in widespread political resist-ance. In formal empires resistance leads to police actions or the replace-ment of rebellious collaborators. In informal empires it leads to indirect constraints (threats of embargoes, blockades, etc.) or to military inter-vention
Imperial power is likely to be weighty. Challenged by the heavy demands of mastering the dedsion making of the peripheral polity, it acquires substantial advantages from its special domain-a transnational and asymmetrical influence wielded over individuals. If mastering con-trol over the political system of the periphery requires considerable resources, the peripheral society once mastered can generate substantial resources for the imperial metropole. -- must generate
Empire, then, is a relationship, formal or informal, in which one state controls the effective political sovereignty of another political society. It can be achieved by force, by political collaboration, by economic, social, or cultural dependence
captured cities, the populations were enslaved and the land colonized by Athenians-the leading though not yet dominating members of the league. Second, members of the league itself were coerced when they rebelled against Athenian exactions. Naxos was the first city to revolt and it was invaded and forced back the payment of tribute and to supervise, indirectly, the policies of the weakest cities. The Delian League thus became an empire
Hatred stemmed from economic exploitation and imperial restrictions on the political autonomy of the polis. The political restrictions were perceived as particularly irksome, though preferable to the external threat of Persia and the internal threat of oligarchy. Economic exploitation took the form of the substitute naval tribute, seizures ofland, and restrictions on trade that excluded nonmembers from the markets of the Delian Lea.;. gue.7 Conversely, the reverence and respect stemmed from an awareness that economic exploitation also conferred benefits, among them inte-gration into the Athenian market, Athens' suppression of piracy, and other imperially provided, international "collective goods." Athenian political restrictions on allied democracy were
Athenian envoys in Sicily explained this political necessity. "We say that in Hellas we rule in order not to be ruled; in Sicily we come as liberators in order not Cto be harmed; we are forced to intervene in many directions simply because we have to be on our guard in many directions ... " (6.87). To this end, Athens prevented its allies from defecting by interve
Athens' power stemmed from three sources. Athens drew on the collective resources of its free allies-Chios, Lesbos, and, m ost~,prom inently, Corcyra-which provided ships in time ofwar.21 S ign~lly add-ing to this allied source of power was Athens' empire. Unlike the allies, imperial subordinates provided continuous support, in peace and in war, for the expansion and security of Athenian commerce and colonies. They paid money into the central treasury to fund Athenian ships manned by Athenian sailors, thus financing their own subordination and sharing in the costs of Athens' security and public embellishment. (Some of the funds in the Delian treasury were used to construct the spectacular temples on the Acropolis. )22 This imperial source of power had previ-ously to be acquired, however, and then continuously sustained by metropolitan sources.
Political democracy finds its military parallel in democratic armed forces. The navy was both a motive for expansion and a means of imperial power. When naval power relies on oared galleys, a democratic navy is inherently superior to a nondemocratic navy since the latter is likely to employ slave rowers who in the heat of battle cannot be Called upon to fight.26 Athenian naval. dominance could be exercised relatively cheaply, and, as_,lloted above, commerce, the tribute, and the fleet sup-.. potted each o th~t synergetically. This near-Schumpeterian conjunction of those interested, those de-ciding, and those fighting was the institutional foundation that gave weight to the strong motives of material interest in Athenian expansion. The enlarged navy and the public buildings that the tribute made possible were literally theirs. So also were the colonies, the profits of coinage, and the pride and profit of judicial preeminence. In a d emoc~a,cy the imperial machine is the whole society, the process produces a substantive product, and atavism is realism.
Commercial expansion required imperial expansion. The protection of commerce from the depredations of pirates and rival cities called for a patrolling fleet, which in turn required naval outposts. Opening up foreign lands and their resources to commercial penetration also de-manded an imperial presence when oligarchies (as did Sparta) sought to avoid commercial contact in order to prevent the mobilizatiGn of their democratically inclined middle and lower classes. Imperial expansion could also become necessary to break shipping or raw;material mono-polies, potential or actual. It was for this reason that Athens had to control the route to the Black Sea, and it may have been for this reason that Athens conquered Thasos, thereby gaining control of the Thracian mines. 29
The greatest source of Athenian strength, democracy, was also the greatest weakness in a protracted war. Athenian democracy mobilized the resources of a united and patriotic citizenry to protect liberty and empire. The citizens, having chosen Pericles for their leader, were even prepared to allow the government strategic control over their private resources. But a state that responds to popular demands both draws forth the best in its citizens and succumbs to their worst passions. John Finley described the course of Athens' downfall as a "vicious cycle whereby war produced suffering, suffering unrest, unrest political viol-ence, arid this violence a type of leadership which sacrificed the state to its own ends. ,,39 Thucydides clearly focuses on the internal causes of the collapse without attributing them solely to democracy: "And in the end it was only because they had destroyed themselves by their own internal strife that finally they were forced to surrender" (2.65). The stresses of war, beginning with the plague, compounded by the elite. and popular hubris that was the dark side of Athenian honor, brought Athenian leaders to appeal to the basest motives of their suf-fering followers rather than to their love of country and sense of pro-portion. The people meanwhile ceased to trust in the wisdom of the leaders they had elected, and the result was the confused, emotional, and corrupt appeals of the debate preceding the Athenian expedition to Sicily (6.8-32). As democracy deteriorated, the rich, oppressed by war-time taxation and the destruction of their landed estates outside the city walls (a direct result of Pericles' maritime strategy), deserted to the enemy or formed cabals. After the disaster in Sicily the rich staged a .,_ coup and turned Athens temporarily into an oligarchy (8.45-9 8). Nevertheless, it was no more oligarchy than it was
The subjection of Ionia thus becomes comprehensible. Though their population was politically mobilized and self-aware, it was politically divided and, because divided, politically dependent. Politically and eco-n omiq~Jly dependent, the Ionians, could not unite to resist Athenian domination and were absorbed into the empire
Rotne A rich enemy excites their cupidity; a poor one, their lust for power. East and West alike have failed to satisfy them. They are the only people on earth to whose covetousness both riches and poverty are equally tempting. To robbery, butchery, and rapine, they give the lying name of "gov-ernment," they create a desolation and call it peace. "Calgacus' Speech to the Assembled Britons," in Tacitus, The Agricola
Against the hard fate of the Jews and the Carthaginians, and the withering of Greek civilization, must be placed the progress of Gaul, Britain, North Africa, and Spain. Rome introduces to our examination of empire a challenging moral ambiguity-peace and material progress are now borne by the chariot of imperial domination. Rome demands the attention of scholars of empire for three qualities: its size, its successful integration of diverse peoples, and its duration. It is an empire of full cycle rising over cent1#'ies to Mediterranean scope, re-taining a Western predominance for at least 350 years, and declining and collapsing into ruins and memory.
The senators emerged as the largest landholders, their massive estates worked by slave labor. Some wars even took on the character of vast slave-hunting expeditions.15 The plebeian small farmers, unable to compete with the efficient commercial agriculture of the large plantations, became increasingly poor and fled to the city, joining a nascent urban proletariat. In between there developed a class of merchants and moneylenders
Roman society and economy imperialized itself by pursuing the wel-fare of its parts. The plebs became the population source of transnational colonies; the senators constructed transmarine agricultural enterprises; and the merchants formed commercial companies and tax-collection partnerships. The wealth of the Spanish mines flowed to Rome, cheap grain from Sicily lowered prices (and completed the ruination of small farmers), and provincial revenues permitted, in 167 B.C., the abolition of taxes for citizens. All helped bind together as an empire vv:hat oth-erwise would have been no more than a series of milltary adventures.
Rome's constitution was fit for empire. Itrested upon liberty (for nonslaves, of course) and thus freed the energies and ambitions of the people, who could safely be armed to guard the state. It opened its citizenship to outsiders. It relied upon the Senate for a stability of interest and as a source of high officials, educated in leisure and animated by the public concern that a life of material plenty can provide. For direction in peace and war, the consuls, nominated from the Senate and elected by the Assembly, provided the coordination indispensable to military strategy and civic emergencies. This combination of participation, pa-triotism, a public elite, and governmental coordination provided a strik-ing source of political strength.21 This was the constitutional order that Aristotle described as mixed and Machiavelli called perfect.
He elaborates the point, while revealing the brutal attitudes that colored Roman war against tribal peoples, in a comment on warfare among German tribes: The Bructeri were defeated and almost annihilated by a coalition of neighboring tribes. Perhaps they were hated for their domineering pride; or it may have been the lure of booty, or some special favour accorded us by the gods. We were even permitted to witness the battle. More than 60,000 were killed, not by Roman swords or javelins, but-more splendid still-as a spectacle before our delighted eyes. Long, I pray, may foreign nations persist, if not in loving us, at least in hating one another, for destiny is driving 'our empire upon its appointed path, and fortunes can bestow us no better gift than discord among our foes.2S
Warfare and Q.lle in the east was different. Just as expansion in the west reflected Roman behavior toward potential plantation slaves, so expansion toward the civilized east reflected Rome's domestic politics. Accustomed to the informal electoral alliances of city politics, the Ro-mans exercised a similarly informal control, like that of an electoral coalition, over the peoples subject to their growing influence in Italy. Montesquieu described this informal power in these words: When they allowed a city to remain free, they immediately caused two factions to arise within it. One upheld the local laws and liberty, the other maintained that there' was no law but the will of the Ro-mans. And since the latter faction was always the stronger, it is easy to see that such freedom was only a name. It was a slow way of conquering. They vanquished a people and were content to weaken it. They imposed conditions on it which undermined it insensibly. If it revolted, it was teduced still further, and it became a subject people without anyone being able to say when its subjection began. 27
Whert Roman arms removed the threats to Rome's security, the city-state mechanism of neighborhood politics broke down. The city-state constitution, sensitive in responding to particular demands, particular-ized policy and encouraged those less advantag!;9usly placed .to make further particularistic demands. The people demanded and were able to require the state to seize land and booty; the Senate demanded estates and interest payments since the urban proletariat threatened their prop-erty. There was no recourse but expansion. The expansion required in the first century B. C., however, rendered the constitution ineffective, for if policy is to respond absolutely to the demands of all, there will not be enough for any. It is for this reason that, Machiavelli argues, there is no crueler fate than being subject to a republic, for under a republic a multitude must be satisfied, under a monarchy only one man. 30
Rome in the first century B.C. was near collapse. The government had become the prize of warring factions, for reasons suggested above, and the empire and its riches were proving too great a spoil for the sensitive republican constitution to bear. The inefficiency of the r epub~ lican scheme of government, its rapid turnover of offices, made the rule of a growing empire erratic. Each governor attempted to enrich himself, his family, and his clients during a short term of office. So large a prize--the spoils of empire--combined with such poor administration made it seem to each leading politician, Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus among them, that to prevent the prize going to a rival he needs must seize it for himself. Each leader attempted to create the needed coordination as keystone for the crumbling republican arch
The Augustan revolution avoided the fate of Athens' empire during a similar breakdown of central authority. Augustus fundamentally changed the Roman constitution in two respects, and in so doing he established the conditions for persistent empire. S. N. Eisenstadt de-scribes these conditions: First, those "internal" conditions in the political sphere ... are the rul:rs' development of articulated political aspirations and activities which promote the development of autonomous political goals. Sec-ond, th: . "ex~ern~l" conditions ... are certain developments in the non-pohtical mstItutions, in the fields of economic and cultural ac-tivity or social organization and stratification. The major such ex-ternal ~ ondition is the development, within all the institutional spheres of SOCIety (albeit in differing measures), of certain limited levels of differentiation, together with what we call "free-floating" resources. 34
The transprovincial economy, another binding force, also contributed to the integration of the empire. Piracy was suppressed, military roads built, and with sea and land substantially secure, commerce spread throughout the Mediterranean. The pottery, bronze, and wine and oil of Italy were exchanged for African grain and eastern spices. 44 Economies of scale led to large productive enterprises scattered throughout what was otherwise an overwhelmingly agricultural world. These exchanges created ties of mutual interest to support the ties of mutual compliance under imperial administration. The flourishing economy, moreo".er,. produced a sense of general well-being which made ruling, and collectmg taxes, easier tasks. Commercial development was a particularly easy form of wealth to tax; harbor dues were easy to collect and since they could be passed along, not subject to great resistance. Rome revolu-tionized the commerce of the ancient world on a most extensive saJe, and in commerce lay much of the free-floating, imperially m obiliz~ble resources that fed and armed the legions and paid the administrators
During the golden age of the Antonines, in the second century ~ . D:, years could pass betweensightings of a soldier in provincial towns wIthm the borders of the empire. Rome developed an imperial bureaucracy and army and thus crossed the Augustan Threshold to persistence. Rome's signal accomplishment, however, lay in not needing administrative coer-cion in much of the day-to-day life of the empire. The trans provincial economy and the empirewide loyalties of a socially and politically in-tegrated community made coercion exceptional rather than ordinary
To some extent international factors-the barbarian attacks-can be seen as an explanation for, and not just the agent of, Rome's fall. Without these external attacks, even a deteriorating empire might have continued to exist almost indefinitely, or until rebellions broke it into separate states. More importantly, its chances of eventual renewal, a return to original or new principles, would have been preserved. The barbarian attacks that swept aside the imperial edifice in the fifth century ended this possibility, and no western Justinian could restore Rome to imperial power. International strategic position also helps account for the fall of the west and the survival of the east. The northern frontier, Britannia, lay exposed to the Picts and, from across the North Sea, to the Saxons and Jutes. The entire Rhine frontier of Gaul and Rhaetia was easily bridged, opening the heart of the western empire--southern Gaul, Italy, Spain, North Africa-to further attacks. The eastern e! mpire had only to defend itself along the Danube frontier; Egypt was protected by deserts, Asia Minor by the Black Sea and the Caucasus. Of course, Parthia fronted on Syria, but Parthia was another civilized power, dou-bly dangerous in war but amenable to negotiated peace. If Byzantium did suffer defeat on the Danube front, the imperial heartland of Asia Minor and the Middle East would still be secure behind the defenses of the Bosphorus
The strength of the permanent empire had rested on Rome's bureau-cratic and military reorganization under Augustus. Now this strength became the germ of decay. Rome's political bases of persistent power lay in the political autonomy of the emperor and in participation in government. By the third century the emperor was encroaching upon urban self-government. The legions discovered that emperors could be made outside Rome, and in the post-Antonine age the army began to playa self-interested role, demanding spoils from its own political sys-tem. Rome became the army's conquered province, the emperors its tax collectors.
The reasons for its decline and fall need to be sought in competing forces. First, there was a deterioration in the efficiency and honesty of the bureaucracy. Particularism, as in Rome, led to a quasi-feudalization of bureaucratic posts as offices were sold to creole elites in order to raise immediate revenue and new offices were created to reward peninsular Spaniards with colonial spoils. The autonomy of imperial direction suf-fered; fewer resources could be mobilized or made available for economic development. Moreover, every attempt at reform became regarded as an attack on creole America, igniting hostility and stirring up sentiment in favor of independence. Second, the economy of some colonies tended toward ruralization and concentration of property, dissolving ties of economic reciprocity with Spain and leaving only the economic tie of taxation-a chain of servitude.45 Third, other colonies, among them Cuba, Argentina, and Venezuela, were economically much more dy-namic! , and as Spain's own economy declined, the constraints of the mercantilist system proved increasingly irksome to colonials. Fourth, the creole elite perceived itself as caught between resentment of Spanish domination and fear of a slave, peasant, or Indian rising. 46
Reflecting back on the experience of Rome, one must ask why the English and Spanish empires both fell as soon as they did. Why did not a colonial emperor arise, reunite Spanish America, and claim the overall imperial throne of Spain, as frequently occurred in Roman history? Geographical factors produce a partial explanation, but geography is relative to technology and transport and they too had changed. The real difference appears to lie in integration. Approximately one century after Spain was conquered by Rome there were senators of Spanish extraction in the Roman Senate; fifty years later there was a Spanish emperor, Trajan. How many creoles, how many North American colonials re-turned to become leaders or rulers of their metropoles? In economic terms Rome had enforced mercantilistic trade restrictions on wine and olives in the early years of its growth, but with the stable establishment of its empire, Rome allowed its economic technology to spread freely throughout the Mediterranean. The root difference is hard to pinpoint, but the operative definitions of community are important. Romans may have despised barbarians, but the colonials, whether Spaniard, African, Greek, or Gaul, were not necessarily contemptible. Once they accepted Roman law and classical civilization, they would be politically integrated into Rome. By way of contrast, a Spanish governor of Milan, a city technically and culturally as civilized as any in Spain, commented in 1570: "These Italiams, though they are not Indians, have to be treated as such, so that they understand h d h h f "51 that we are in charge of them and not they in charge of us.
A metropole is constituted from three determinative elements: first, a strong, united, central government; second, a thorough sense of public legitimacy or community, widely shared among the governing popu-lation, whether elite or mass; and third, a substantial degree of differentiation. Social differentiation helps create resources. Community ensures that citizens or subjects regard resources as (at least potentially) public. But the most important factor is strong central government. The metropole has to be capable of reaching concerted policy decisions and of mobilizing the resources that imperial policies call for
True imperialism, in the nineteenth century and earlier is the product of a "war machine," warlike instincts, and export monopolism. Schum-peter's typical example--Egypt-is also his oldest, for here the first war machine developed. Before the invasion of the Hyksos, Egypt was a peaceful agrarian society of peasants dominated by a provinciallandloid nobility that owed loose allegiance to the pharoah. To expel the invaders Egypt needed an army, and the social changes required to support it "militarized" Egyptian society. Under the leadership of the pharoah a caste of professional soldiers evolved, organized into a military aristoc-racy. The pharoah and the soldier caste formed a war machine that would conquer the entire Middle East in order to maintain its social and professional position: "Created by the wars that required it, the machine now created the wars it required. "39 The very success of the Egyptian war machine in achieving national liberation destroyed its "objectfu! l" function, and it became atavistic and pursued objectless expansion
Dear W. Gladstone, We both your servants have met this afternoon to write you these few lines of writing trusting it may find you in a good state of life as it leaves us at present. As we heard here that you are the chief man in the House of Commons, so we write to tell you that we want to be under Her Majesty's control. We want our country to be governed by British Government. Weare tired of governing this country ourselves, every dispute leads to war, and often to great loss of lives, so we think it is best thing to give up the country to you British men who no doubt will bring peace, civilization, and Christianity in the country. Do for mercy sake please lay our request before the Queen and to the rulers of the British Government. Do, Sir, for mercy sake, please to assist us in this important undertaking. We heard that you are a good Christian man, so we hope that you will do all you can in your power to see that our request is granted. We are quite willing to abolish all! our heathen customs .... No doubt God will bless you for putting a light in our country. Please to send us an answer as quick as you can. King Bell and King Acqua of the Cameroons River, West Africa 6 November 18811
Illuminating examples of the functioning of political order in tribal societies are widely reported. When among the Kuikuru of the Amazon Basin a number of huts were struck by lightning, a local shaman was called in to divine the criminal. After a lengthy ritual that included a tobacco trance, the shaman singled out a particularly asocial member of the tribe as the guilty party. This public indictment resulted in the tribesman's death at the hands of a gang of enraged young men
Very limited differentiation and relatively high integration character-ize tribal societies. Typically, the member of the tribe leads a life in which his social roles are interlocked: certain economic functions are attached to special authority positions and likewise to religious roles and ritual. In the least differentiated bands the tribal assembly is simulta-neously the religious synod, the board of directors, and the committee of public safety. These small social units, like their larger but similar tribal counterparts, are closely integrated, share common values and technology, and depend closely upon each other for the performance of economic and political tasks.
Settlers, who played a very important role in transnational relations with tribal society, are much less significant in relations with patrimonial and feudal societies. What settlement does take place in the initial stages of interaction with a patrimonial regime tends to be urban and on terms dictated by the indigenous society. These temporary settlers include merchants, bankers, petty clerks, and assorted providers of seaport serv-ices (nowhere better portrayed than in Conrad's Lord Jim). Relatively secure, they play a lucrative role in the economic development of the local society, fitting into it as the foreign contacts of local merchants and clerks. They do not fundamentally challenge the basis of that society, which is sufficiently differentiated to accommodate their additional di-versity. Although patrimonial differentiation has reached a point where foreign settlers do not of and in themselves threaten the entire fabric of society, however, politics and the private interests of rulers direct the legal system and economic transactions in a fashion incompatible with the independent working of market forces
The Suez Canal route to India was both commercially valuable and strategically valuable (as experience during the Indian Mutiny had shown). 51 The traditional policy of informal influence was coming unhinged, however; no "inn" could stand a powerful military onslaught. Egypt had been protected by the Ottoman empire from what the British saw as a concerted campaign of Russian intrigue from the Near East to the Far East (a campaign centered on the "Great Game" for India). With
the Ottoman defeat in Bulgaria at Russian hands, Britain shifted its Middle Eastern strategic pivot south-first to Cyprus and second to Egypt itself, which seemed to be coming apart at the political and fi-nancial seams. Added to this, the Liberals did not freely share the Con-servatives' sense of the Great Game in Asia; Gladstone was committed to national self-determination. His Liberal government was, however, prepared to enforce the international legal obligations of the Egyptian regime-the free passage of the canal and the safety of British interests from expropriation
In 1875, however, the War Scare illuminated the landscape of European international politics. In an attempt to isolate France as well as to safeguard his domestic ppsition, Bismarck instituted the Kultur-kampf, a campaign designed to reduce the influence of the papacy in Germany and in Europe. (Catholicism was the religion of Germany's separatists-the Poles, the Bavarians, and Alsace-Lorrainers-and its main political support was French diplomacy.) Bismarck's scheme back-fired and ignited a diplomatic coalition against Germany
The personal motives of the king of the Belgians do not appear to have been noticeably internationalistic (or humanitarian).49 But Leopold's International Association of the Congo was initially accepted by the French, . British, Germans, Americans, and Belgians as an organization for the provision in the Congo Basin of such international collective goods as security of trade, exploration, and the suppression of the slave trade. This elfort came, however, at the end of the containment of Germany. Leopold formally established his orga-nization in 1876, but following the War Sc:,tre of the previous year 46
Bismarck had accelerated his colonialization of the diplomatic sys-tem,making a cooperative collective goods solution among Germany's "containers" quite unlikely. The Congo association was the swan song of the collective goods approach. Instead, the empires of the late nine-teenth century were shaped by quite a different diplomatic system-Bismarck's management of the international system
A diplomatic system <:perates (in ideal-typical terms) within the realm of necessity, reflecting the underlying relationships offorce and tension between major states. A range of freedom can also exist in which the course of events can be affected. The task of diplomacy consistS in recognizing the operation of overwhelming and long-term necessity while attempting to exploit the range of freedom. Few diplomats have been more effective than Bismarck was between 1879 and 1890.51 His achievement lay in exploiting the non-national, nonfoundational aspects of the international system for his diplomatic constellations. He dredged up the Conservative Entente, which he him-selfhad rejected in order to found Germany, and made of it an ideological entente against both the political new socialism that the tzars feared and the ethnic old nationalism that threatened Austria. On this shaky,foun-dation he combined Austria and Russia (despite their desperate rivalry in the Balkans) with Prussia (despite Austrian and Russian resentment of Gefman dominance) into the Three Emperors' League, removing France's natural allies to the east. The league was tentatively instituted in 1872, but the strain of the 1875 War Scare and then an outburst of actual war in the Balkans led to its collapse. Bismarck reestablished it slowly, first with Austria in 1879 and then in a full revival, the Three ! Emperors' Alliance, in 1881
In 1869, the Economist, identified with the decidedly anti-imperial wing of the Liberal party, had editorially rejected dominion requests for support and defense, demanding that the dominions pay for their alliance with London. In 1883, however, the Economist noted that between 1870 and 1880 British exports to the empire had risen from one-quarter to one-third of total British exports and that dominions and possessions apart from Canada took over 80 percent of their imports from Britain. Militarism and adventurism were still to be shunned but the editors acknowledged that the empire was now a stake well ;orth cultivating
As Lord Salisbury told a Conservative public meeting in Manchester in 1884: . You must consider this-that if you are being shut out by tariffs from civilized markets of the world, the uncivilized markets are becoming more and more precious to you, and they threaten to be the only field which will offer you a profitable business. At all events they are fields which will offer the most profitable business, and as civilization goes o n~ as exportation increases, these uncivilized mar-kets will be thrown open to you, if only no foreign power is allowed to come in and interpose its hostile tariffs between YQU and the benefit for which you look. 45 , .
India was the pivot.87 India was the entre pot for all eastern operations, for the. economic and political foundations of the China trade, and for the protection of British interests throughout the East. In India the British government had a European-quality army at no cost to the British taxpayer and with no responsibility to the Parliament. In 1878, for example, Disraeli was able to reinforce Malta with Indian troops without obtaining the approval of Parliament
Two conclusions emerge from the preceding analysis of the historical evolution of imperial policy. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives were imperialists. Both were determined to defend Britain's massive stake in India from attack and armed subversion. Both were prepared to protect the worldwide spread of British trade and investment. Both were prepared to exercise substantial informal influence or, where needed, informal control. And both were prepared to see the empire grow if growth were necessary to maintain these commitments. Britain's eco-nomic interests called for the expansion of empire irrespective of inter-national strategic rivalry; empire expanded in the Niger Delta even before French and German rivals made themselves felt, though even-tually foreign rivalry did escalate support for transnational expansion. Yet Conservatives, later joined by the Unionists, were the party of the "empire." But for their dominance of late nineteenth-century met-ropolitan politics, the empire would have been very different. They created more empire, accelerated imperialism, and encouraged and sus-tained formal imperialism
In this perspective the political evolution of nineteenth-century Britain can be summarized as follows. Mid-Victorian popular politics were dominated by the liberalism of laissez-faire and the principled politics of Gladstone. In the cabinet and the House of Lords Whig ideas of discrete, balanced interests and interested policy still held sway under the leadership of Palmers ton. For the empire, this Whig-Liberal mixture meant grudging tolerance of formal rule in India, encouragement of self-government in the white colonies to reduce costs, and active promotion of informal influence in peripheral regions to secure the expansion of trade. These policies combined the interests of the Whig oligarchy, the moderate Liberals, and the Radicals. The last two political factions were composed of the gentry and the middle dasses-professional and busi-ness-admitted to the franchise in 1832.125 They were sustained by the cheap daily provincial press, militant religious nonconformity, and! the beginnings of organized labor. 126 Gladstone both represented the Whigs and, in a remarkably personal way, embodied the hopes of the Liberals and Radicals
In the 18 80S the connection between the specific colonial interests that Bismarck pursued and the domestic political structure appears to have been indirect. Bismarck was attempting to contain the democratic forces unleashed by the industrial revolution; colonial policy was only a temporary expedient in that containment. Containment evolved in stages. Both a conservative Junker and a German nationalist, Bismarck at-tempted to shape the changes required by the latter to the needs of the former. In 1871 he allied with the leading nationalist party, the Liberals, to pass his budgets and to build the legal structure of the new Reich. His Liberals were prepared to suppress religious reaction-the Catholic Center party-but not to crush the Social Democrats, with whom they shared the goals of freedom and legality. 81 The Liberals were a dangerous long-term ally, and steering a conservative path amidst upsurges of radicalism and parliamentarism required exceptional skill and constant extraparliamentary ploys. The War in Sight Crisis of 1875 was one such method of stampeding Liberal allies; the exploitation of an attempted assassination of the kaiser to push through laws aimed against the Social Democrats was another
Imperial integration completes this sketch of the evolution of the periphery. From tribe to patrimony to national independence, from formal rule to informal rule to anticolonial revolution, the peripheral half of the imperial relationship plays a necessary and active role in determining the outcome of empire. It begins as the object of metro-politan activity. If it ends in authentic independence, it has all the met-ropolitan characteristics required to become an imperial metropole in its own right. So Vietnam, after a long struggle for iridependence, now a cquir~s a grip over the sovereignty of Cambodia. And so the newly independent United States once struggled out of Britain's imperial grip and set itself on a course.of continental and, some say, global empire.