n Historia - Introduction to "Imperialism, Settler Identities and Colonial Capitalism : the Hundred Year Origins of the 1899 South African War"

Volume 53, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



In this paper, written as a chapter for the forthcoming , Stanley Trapido puts forward an interpretation of the causes of the South African War that integrates context with agency. In the course of emphasising the struggle's long and short-term contexts (the title's echo of Smuts' is quite deliberate), it seeks to infuse motive with context, so as to give meaning to the responsibility for war assiduously sought by generations of liberal historians. With exquisite subtlety, Trapido traces the making, and establishes the meanings of "", even as he stresses the pivotal role of the Selborne Memorandum, a document as often misrepresented as misunderstood by historians, as well as the key part played by Percy Fitzpatrick in overcoming the inertia and caution characteristic of much mining house behaviour.

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