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Message de anachan posté le 27-11-2017 à 15:05:14 (S | E | F)
J'ai une analyse de texte à faire pour vendredi mais j'avoue que je rame pas mal pour le moment.
Je dois trouver un plan détaillé, que voici et donner des éléments d'explication sur le texte:
1/ how and why GB had gained colonies
2/ why GB should be regarded as a real empire
-> a criticism of the way english history is depicted to people
-> Seeley focus more on the progress of the national life from great event to another one than from king to king
-> colonies are described as a enormous sacrifice of money, energy and life, but there are real part of the state, not just possessions
-> people should not contemplate a single island but as a huge empire which can only be compared with two other great powers of the future, Russia and the US
Qu'en pensez-vous? Ai-je oublié des éléments importants du texte? Que rajouteriez ou enlèveriez-vous?
Merci d'avance de vos réponses
Voici le texte en question:
J. R. Seeley, The Expansion of England, 1883
LECTURE I – TENDENCY IN ENGLISH HISTORY
It is a favourite maxim of mine that history, while it should be scientific in its method, should pursue a practical object. That is, it should not merely gratify the reader's curiosity about the past, but modify his view of the present and his forecast of the future. Now if this maxim be sound, the history of England ought to end with something that might be called a moral. Some large conclusion ought to arise out of it; it ought to exhibit the general tendency of English affairs in such a way as to set us thinking about the future and divining the destiny which is reserved for us. The more so because the part played by our country in the world certainly does not grow less prominent as history advances. […] It is far greater now than it was in the eighteenth century; it was far greater in the eighteenth century than in the seventeenth, far greater in the seventeenth than in the sixteenth. The prodigious greatness to which it has attained makes the question of its future infinitely important and at the same time most anxious, because it is evident that the great colonial extension of our state exposes it to new dangers, from which in its ancient insular insignificance it was free. […] No one can long study history without being haunted by the idea of development, of progress. We move onward, both each of us and all of us together. […]
We must not be content with those vague flourishes which the old school of historians, who according to my view lost themselves in mere narrative, used to add for form's sake before winding-up. Those vague flourishes usually consisted in some reference to what was called the advance of civilisation. No definition of civilisation was given; it was spoken of in metaphorical language as a light, a day gradually advancing through its twilight and its dawn towards its noon; it was contrasted with a remote ill-defined period, called the Dark Ages. […] It was used to explain a number of phenomena which had no further apparent connection with each other than that they happened often to appear together in history; sometimes the softening of manners, sometimes mechanical inventions, sometimes religious toleration, sometimes the appearance of great poets and artists, sometimes scientific discoveries, sometimes constitutional liberty.
It was assumed, though it was never proved, that all these things belonged together and had a hidden cause, which was the working of the spirit of civilisation. […] I consider therefore that history has to do with the State, that it investigates the growth and changes of a certain corporate society, which acts through certain functionaries and certain assemblies. By the nature of the State every person who lives in a certain territory is usually a member of it, but history is not concerned with individuals except in their capacity of members of a State. […] The English State then, in what direction and towards what goal has that been advancing? The words which jump to our lips in answer are Liberty, Democracy! […] But history ought to look at things from a greater distance and more comprehensively. If we stand aloof a little and follow with our eyes the progress of the English State, the great governed society of English people, in recent centuries, we shall be much more struck by another change, which is not only far greater but even more conspicuous, though it has always been less discussed, partly because it proceeded more gradually, partly because it excited less opposition. I mean the simple obvious fact of the extension of the English name into other countries of the globe, the foundation of Greater Britain.
There is something very characteristic in the indifference which we show towards this mighty phenomenon of the diffusion of our race and the expansion of our state. We seem, as it were, to have conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind. While we were doing it, that is in the eighteenth century, we did not allow it to affect our imaginations or in any degree to change our ways of thinking; nor have we even now ceased to think of ourselves as simply a race inhabiting an island off the northern coast of the Continent of Europe. […] This fixed way of thinking has influenced our historians. It causes them, I think, to miss the true point of view in describing the eighteenth century. They make too much of the mere parliamentary wrangle and the agitations about liberty, in all which matters the eighteenth century of England was but a pale reflection of the seventeenth. They do not perceive that in that century the history of England is not in England but in America and Asia. In like manner I believe that when we look at the present state of affairs, and still more at the future, we ought to beware of putting England alone in the foreground and suffering what we call the English possessions to escape our view in the background of the picture. […] The great central fact in this chapter of history is that we have had at different times two such Empires. So decided is the drift of our destiny towards the occupation of the New World that after we had created one Empire and lost it, a second grew up almost in our own despite. […]
[A] hundred years ago we had another set of colonies which had already a population of three millions, that these colonies broke off from us and formed a federal state, of which the population has in a century multiplied more than sixteenfold, and is now equal to that of the mother country and its colonies taken together. It is an event of prodigious magnitude, not only that this Empire should have been lost to us, but that a new state, English in race and character, should have sprung up, and that this state should have grown in a century to be greater in population than every European state except Russia. But the loss we suffered in the secession of the American colonies has left in the English mind a doubt, a misgiving, which affects our whole forecast of the future of England. For if this English Exodus has been the greatest English event of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the greatest English question of the future must be, what is to become of our second Empire, and whether or no it may be expected to go the way of the first.
In the solution of this question lies that moral which I said ought to result from the study of English history. […] I merely point out that two alternatives are before us, and that the question, incomparably the greatest question which we can discuss, refers to the choice between them. The four groups of colonies may become four independent states, and in that case two of them, the Dominion of Canada and the West Indian group, will have to consider the question whether admission into the United States will not be better for them than independence. In any case the English name and English institutions will have a vast predominance in the New World, and the separation may be so managed that the mother-country may continue always to be regarded with friendly feelings. Such a separation would leave England on the same level as the states nearest to us on the Continent, populous, but less 8 so than Germany and scarcely equal to France. But two states, Russia and the United States, would be on an altogether higher scale of magnitude, Russia having at once, and the United States perhaps before very long, twice our population. Our trade too would be exposed to wholly new risks.
The other alternative is, that England may prove able to do what the United States does so easily, that is, hold together in a federal union countries very remote from each other. In that case England will take rank with Russia and the United States in the first rank of state, measured by population and area, and in a higher rank than the states of the Continent. We ought by no means to take for granted that this is desirable. Bigness is not necessarily greatness; if by remaining in the second rank of magnitude we can hold the first rank morally and intellectually, let us sacrifice mere material magnitude. But though we must not prejudge the question whether we ought to retain our Empire, we may fairly assume that it is desirable after due consideration to judge it. With a view to forming such a judgment, I propose in these lectures to examine historically the tendency to expansion which England has so long displayed. We shall learn to think of it more seriously if we discover it to be profound, persistent, necessary to the national life, and more hopefully if we can satisfy ourselves that the secession of our first colonies was not a mere normal result of expansion, like the bursting of a bubble, but the result of temporary conditions, removable and which have been removed.
Modifié par lucile83 le 27-11-2017 15:10
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