Liberal Imperialism in Europe
The nature of European imperialism during the "long nineteenth century" is still contested. Although the shadows of the old polemic framed by Schumpeter and Lenin's diametrically opposed positions are still occasionally cast upon the discussion, more recent appraisals of European imperialism have emphasized its relationship to both the consolidation of liberalism in Europe and attempts to globalize the economies and value systems of European nation states. Given this new line of inquiry, the exact relationship between the various forms of liberalism in Europe and the various imperial projects of Europe have yet to be scrutinized. Was there an overarching European project of liberal imperialism or were there overriding regional and national differences that differentiated the imperialism/s of the various European states? Did the contours of the domestic struggles between liberals and non-liberals (particularly conservatives and socialists) as well between different types of liberals leave a significant imprint on the expansionist policies of European states or was there a national consensus that eroded party lines on issues of foreign policy? What was the social composition of the supporters of empire in civil society? Is it possible to speak of a popular movement for empire? In this state-of-the-field anthology, leading scholars in the fields of European imperial history and intellectual history explore these questions and more, in order to thoroughly investigate the phenomenon of "liberal imperialism."
The chapter traces the history of evolution of Russian liberal thought in the span of the 19th century and explores how Russian liberals conceptualized the phenomenon of imperial diversity and related to the context of empire in thinking about potentialities of progressive Russian politics. The author explores the history of importation of blueprints of liberal universalism in Russian liberal thought and the development of the paradigm of national liberalism in reposnse to the challenges of the modern empire. The author argues that the idiom of national liberalism was not the only one. A different paradigm was in existence that may be called imperial liberalism. The chapter finds out how this alternative paradigm helped Russian liberals assume a significant place in public politics in the late imperial period, when the odds of mass politics were against classical liberalism. The chapter introduces the author’s finding of the transnational genealogy of Petr Struve’s program of “Greater Russia.”