Chapter

The Lost Causes of Lionel Curtis

Deborah Lavin

in From Empire to International Commonwealth

Published in print October 1995 | ISBN: 9780198126164
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191671623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198126164.003.0015
The Lost Causes of Lionel Curtis

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Curtis presented three conundrums that need to be stated and resolved. The most fundamental was the problem of how his prophetic and ethical visions related to his interventions in practical politics. The peculiarity of Curtis was that he refused to acknowledge that there was any hiatus between the ideal and the reality. The second was how to account for the fact that although Curtis's central idea — imperial federation or organic union — was out of date by the time of the First World War, he nevertheless continued to propound on it one form or another for the rest of his life. The third: given the implausibility of Curtis's gospel, and the imperviousness of the official mind to his central prophecy, was how the extent of his influence in practical politics should be accounted for.

Keywords: visions; practical politics; imperial federation; organic union; First World War; influence

Chapter.  7860 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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