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Reordering the WorldEssays on Liberalism and Empire$
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Duncan Bell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691138787

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691138787.001.0001

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International Society in Victorian Political Thought

International Society in Victorian Political Thought

T. H. Green, Herbert Spencer, and Henry Sidgwick With Casper Sylvest

(p.237) Chapter 10 International Society in Victorian Political Thought
Reordering the World

Duncan Bell

Princeton University Press

This chapter analyzes the overlapping ideas about international society to be found in the political thought of three leading late Victorian liberal thinkers: T. H. Green (1836–82), Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), and Henry Sidgwick (1838–1900). In so doing it focuses on what Stefan Collini has labeled the world of the “public moralists”—the world, that is, of influential and well-connected British intellectuals who flourished in the universities, in Parliament, and in the press. Despite their manifold political and philosophical differences, Green, Spencer, and Sidgwick shared and articulated complementary visions of the past, present, and future of international society. This was not simply a happy coincidence of views—it was an understanding of international politics generated from within their distinctive intellectual systems. They simultaneously reflected and contributed to late Victorian liberal thinking about international affairs.

Keywords:   T. H. Green, Herbert Spencer, Henry Sidgwick, internationalism, international society, political thought, liberal thinkers, public moralists

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