Chapter

Charles Gordon, Imperial Saint

Edward Berenson

in Heroes of Empire

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780520234277
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947191 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520234277.003.0004
Charles Gordon, Imperial Saint

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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The announcement of Charles George “Chinese” Gordon's death produced an outpouring of public grief unlike anything in recent memory. The Gordon campaign revealed the newfound power of the press. William Gladstone himself did not oppose the projection of British power and influence, just the violence and destruction often associated with it. Charles Gordon promised to reconcile the different positions on empire, to embody a middle ground between advanced and reluctant imperialists. Gordon saw himself as having feminine as well as masculine characteristics. He had indeed helped cause the rebellion, but not by creating rising expectations. The sermons in Gordon's memory were legion. The memory of Gordon and the aura of saintly martyrdom that surrounded him did much to propel British forces back into the Sudan, into those “large tracts of useless territory” that Cromer had once dismissed as too “difficult and costly to administer properly”.

Keywords: Charles George Gordon; British power; sermons; memory; saintly martyrdom; Sudan; William Gladstone

Chapter.  15807 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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