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Citizenship, Nation, EmpireThe Politics of History Teaching in England, 1870-1930$
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Yeandle Peter

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719080128

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719080128.001.0001

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Imperial values in the teaching of history I

Imperial values in the teaching of history I

national origins, seafaring and the Christian impulse

(p.77) Chapter Three Imperial values in the teaching of history I
Citizenship, Nation, Empire

Peter Yeandle

Manchester University Press

The following three chapters explore how Herbartian ideas became manifest in practice. Chapter Three argues that children were taught that the empire was predestined – that the possession of the British Empire was the logical outcome of English history. It does so through the study of three themes. First, the teaching of medieval history is examined in order to demonstrate that stories/origin myths of Anglo-Saxon settlement were taught to signify that colonisation was a core component of English historical identity. Second, the chapter analyses how deep histories of seafaring featured in historical lessons deliberately to forge identification with England as a seafaring nation. Lessons encouraged children to witness corollaries between Britain’s contemporary status as the world’s leading naval power with stories of Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and the Armada. A case study of Sir Philip Sidney is included. Finally, the chapter assesses how the teaching of Christianisation and democracy reflected contemporary tropes of imperial justification: religion, mission and the love of liberty.

Keywords:   Anglo-Saxons, democracy, medieval history, origin myths, recapitulation, Royal Navy, religion

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