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British history


  • Does Novelist Robert Keable Deserve a Reappraisal?

    by Simon Keable-Elliott

    Briefly celebrated in the 1920s, then consigned to posthumous obscurity, the missionary and novelist, whose experiences encompassed the collision of colonialism, war and racism in the British empire, is overdue for rediscovery. 



  • Why Liz Truss Couldn't Channel Margaret Thatcher

    by Robert Ralston

    Truss couldn't claim to present a solution to British decline because she took over as Prime Minister as an insider to a party seen as the agents of that decline. 



  • Hilary Mantel, Historian

    by Samuel Clowes Huneke

    The celebrated novelist legacy to scholars is a model for examining psychological complexity and political motivation in the past. 



  • Queen's Funeral Reflects Centuries of Ritual

    by Emilie M. Brinkman

    Since the rise of the Tudor dynasty, the occasion of a royal funeral has been an opportunity for the successor to demonstrate their authority by ostentation and pomp in remembrance of a predecessor. 


  • Boris Johnson's Legacy? It's Complicated

    by Luke Reader

    The British constitution depends on adherence to norms and tradition commonly called the "good chap" principle. Johnson's ministry raised troubling questions about what happens when No. 10 Downing is occupied by a different sort of chap. 



  • Mourn the Queen, Not the Empire

    by Maya Jasanoff

    As the head of the postwar British Commonwealth, the Queen symbolized the effort to put the brakes on the global wave of decolonization, including deadly and secret campaigns of state violence in Northern Ireland, Kenya, and elsewhere.



  • Queen Elizabeth's Leadership and the Future of the Monarchy

    Historian Arianne Chernock says that much of the late Queen's perception as a successful monarch can be attributed to her embrace of the British value of stoicism and, less positively, of stereotypically feminine qualities. 



  • Queen Not Innocent of Empire's Sins

    by Howard W. French

    "I bear no ill will toward her following her death. Her empire—and empires more generally—though is another matter."



  • Have the Tories Moved on from the Royals?

    by David Edgerton

    The Conservative Party has turned toward a right-wing nationalism that has little use for the symbolism of the royals as the head of the wider British Commonwealth. 



  • Ailing Empires: The Rhetoric of Decline in Britain and the US

    by Jed Esty

    If the US is following behind Great Britain in experiencing the strains of a collapsing empire, can Americans, their leaders, and their thinkers learn any lessons from the comparison and make a post-imperial society that is more humane and less nasty? 


  • As an Island, Britain Became a Stage for Roman Politicians

    by Richard Hingley

    The conquest of Britain mattered to Roman emperors not for the island's strategic significance, but because it signaled a ruler's mastery of the ancient deity Oceanus and thus his worthiness in domestic politics.