State, Power, and Colonialism

Douglas M. Peers

in India and the British Empire

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199259885
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744587 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series

State, Power, and Colonialism

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter explores one of the most salient characteristics of the colonial state, its preoccupation with security against enemies from within and without, and how this helps account for a fundamental paradox of colonial rule, namely how liberal values coexisted with conservative and coercive policies. It does so by tracing this preoccupation with security back to the East India Company, and how security imperatives in turn came to influence the political and economic operations of the colonial state. Military fiscalism was an important consequence which helped to lay the foundations for the garrison state. Military values became embedded in the ideologies and culture of the colonial state where they informed many of its reactions to South Asian societies and the place of the British within them. Its legacies can be witnessed in the subsequent post-independent histories of its successor states, most obviously in Pakistan wherein the military have had a huge impact on the political, economic, and cultural fabric.

Keywords: militarism; liberalism; East India company; garrison state; military fiscalism; India; Pakistan

Chapter.  11639 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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