British Federalist Concepts and the European Idea in the “Splendid Isolation” Era
AbstractThis article deals with the late Victorian era of “splendid isolation”, emphasizing its long-neglected aspects, i. e. the British attitude towards continental Europe and the development of British concepts of Europe with federalist thinking leading the list. Federalist concepts of Atlanticist and imperialist federalism are introduced along with their substantial impact on the British thinking of Europe within the framework of the shaping of eurofederalism, a major concretization of the British “European discourse”. The article explores the specificity of both the emergence and the form of British society’s federalist concepts and demonstrates how the idea of Atlantic federalism and the calls for federalizing the Empire functioned as a somewhat paradoxical model for pro-European thinking and how this model affected the emerging idea of European federalism in the rigidly conservative atmosphere of the splendidly isolated Britain.
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