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British Liberal Internationalism, 1880-1930Making Progress?$
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Casper Sylvest

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719079092

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719079092.001.0001

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A postscript

A postscript

(p.235) Chapter 7 A postscript
British Liberal Internationalism, 1880-1930

Casper Sylvest

Manchester University Press

This chapter summarises the arguments of the book and discusses their wider implications for, in particular, the historiography of International Relations (IR), contemporary liberal IR theory and British intellectual history of the period. Liberal internationalism enjoys a position in the current theoretical landscape of IR as opaque as that which it occupies in real-world political practice. The liberal internationalist vision is at once pervasive, ignored and exploited. Diversity in unity is a central characteristic of liberal internationalist ideology from the late nineteenth century through to the inter-war years. The history of internationalist ideas provides a marked contrast to the technical and bloodless versions of liberalism that are predominant in contemporary American IR. Liberal internationalism clearly had many drawbacks, including an unwarranted faith in gradual or manufactured progress and a complacent attitude towards the achievements of civilisation.

Keywords:   historiography, International Relations, liberal IR theory, British intellectual history, liberal internationalism, liberal internationalist ideology, inter-war years

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