In the Victorian age, as the scope of British economic trading and political interest widened, the term imperialism was increasingly used to categorize, legitimize, justify or otherwise explain Britain's territorial expansion. However, nowadays it is a term to be used with caution. As Winifred Baumgart has observed:
Imperialism is a vague and imprecise catchword. It is well worn like an old coin, but in contrast to a coin it has more than two sides. It is as many faceted as a crystal, but lacks the crystal's transparency and clearly defined lines ... Broadly speaking, imperialism may be defined as the domination or control of one group over another group. There are widely varying relationships involving such domination and dependence. They may be planned or unplanned, conscious, half conscious, direct or indirect, physical or psychological, open or concealed. l
Imperialism is also associated with value judgments. Robert Winks writes, 'With certainty the word is one of abuse, a pejorative term synonymous with economic exploitation, racial prejudice, secret diplomacy and war'.2 However, he also argues, 'Today the word should be neutral, open to analysis, repair or deconstruction at the hands of the scholar. Broad generalisations about imperialism will be very blunt instruments for such delicate surgery.' Winks continues, in a passage of particular relevance to this study, 'The fact is that - whether Marxist or capitalist - we do not know nearly enough about the process called imperialism to be able, even yet, to arrive at more than tentative conclusions about the causes of imperial growth, the motivation of imperial leaders, or the effects of colonial administrations, either upon
74 Reformers, Sport, Modernizers the colonial area or upon the imperial power. '3 While Winks is certainly correct in drawing our attention to the fact that we know very little of the motivation of the imperial leaders and strategists, we know even less about the actual administrators and colonial settlers. As a consequence the very word imperialism, warns e.e. Eldridge, 'should be used with extreme caution. It lacks precise meaning and agreed definition. It meant different things at different times. '. Indeed, J.A. Mangan argues that 'whether imperialism was a form of widespread benevolence or an unmitigated evil is beside the point'. 5 Mangan endorses the views of G.H. Nadel and P. Curtis who comment that 'Such judgments belong to the individual conscience'.!> Imperialism, then, is a reality that needs to be examined objectively.