British imperialism john ruskin

2253 mots 10 pages
British imperialism
John Ruskin (1819-1900)

English domestic history can not be separated from that of the Empire: the processes of state formation and of imperial construction are inevitably linked in the history of the Great Bretagne. British imperial experience is constituting for both the colonized for the colonizers. However, British colonies have been long time an embarrassing legacy for Liberal thinkers of the United Kingdom. Historians, sociologists and intellectuals of the British Empire have highlighted ideological justification of imperialism and a double standard implied by the defense of freedom inside and legitimation of tyranny abroad. The objective of this paper is to decompose the argument in favour of Imperialism made by John Ruskin[1], professor of fine art at Oxford, on 8 February 1870 during a lecture. In the second part it will show the reverberation of British dominancy in the world in our present days and how prominent politicians cope with it and defend it.

First of all, Ruskin explains that the notion of Art of any country, which would in the contemporary current language mean either artistic creation, or general culture, “is the exponent of its social and political virtues [...] and ethical life” (pp.16-17). To make it clear, Ruskin understands the term art as savoir-vivre, as social behaviour and distinguished manners. He compares art to a „productive and formative energy“(p.17). He implies that only noble persons can have noble art as they are “associated under laws fitted to their time and circumstances” (p.17). This is the first Ruskin implies some discriminating gauge in judging people. He distinguished not only between uncivilized peoples and the British nation but also between citizens of Britain it self, where there are noble, refined and genteel men in contrast to poor and uneducated people. But what did colonizers do in India? They came and insensitively established British rigorous laws non-adapted to

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