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The Making of British Socialism$
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Mark Bevir

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150833

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150833.001.0001

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Ernest Belfort Bax

Ernest Belfort Bax

(p.45) Chapter Three Ernest Belfort Bax
The Making of British Socialism

Mark Bevir

Princeton University Press

This chapter begins to show how British Marxism arose out of traditions that stood aside from the evangelicalism and liberal economics that had dominated much of the nineteenth century. It focuses on E. B. Bax, probably the leading socialist philosopher in Britain during the late nineteenth century. It begins by looking at the traditions and movements that fed into British Marxism, including republican positivists and exiled anarchists as well as Tory and popular radicals. Bax came to Marxism through his contact with these groups and his interest in German idealism. He argued that Marxism was an economic and historical science that lacked a philosophical and ethical basis. He wanted to base the Marxian dialectic on German idealism, arguing that the dialectic was a fact about reality, and he wanted to base an ethical defense of Marxism on the republican positivism of the French Revolution.

Keywords:   British Marxism, E. B. Bax, evangelicalism, liberal economics, British socialism, socialist philosophers, German idealism, republican positivism

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