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David George Ritchie: International Relations and the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902)

Boucher, David 2019. David George Ritchie: International Relations and the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 25 (2) , pp. 283-314.

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I begin this article by adding to the biographical knowledge we have of David George Ritchie, which Peter Nicholson has himself extended admirably in his introduction to volume one of Ritchie's Collected Works. Themain purpose of this article is to explore further the principles that underpinned Ritchie's political philosophy in general, but in particular, in international relations and the Anglo-Boer War, which put him at odds with progressive liberals, and most of his fellow British idealists. It is suggested that his abhorrence of abstractions, such as natural rights, and his emphasis on the principles of history, Darwinism, and Utilitarian consequentialism, while resulting in support for radical liberal causes at home, when applied to humanity as a whole translated into illiberal outcomes. Only by a generous interpretation could we endorse Peter Nicholson's claim that all of Ritchie's conclusions were exemplifications of the guiding principle of 'self-realisation . . . for all human beings', exhibiting both 'reason and reasonableness'.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Publisher: Imprint Academic
ISSN: 1744-9413
Date of Acceptance: 17 September 2019
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2020 13:30

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