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6 - Making Colonization Civilizing

The Aborigines’ Protection Society

from Part II - Humanitarianism and Settler Colonialism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 September 2021

Zoë Laidlaw
Affiliation:
University of Melbourne
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Summary

During the early Victorian era, British settler colonialism dramatically intensified and expanded in Southern Africa, British North America, New Zealand and Australia. The granting of self-government to settler colonizers was accompanied by the transfer of responsibility for indigenous affairs from imperial to colonial governments in the 1850s and 1860s. The Aborigines’ Protection Society recognized the threat settler colonizers posed to indigenous populations. Its 1840 Outline of a System of Colonization revealed a universally applicable plan to ensure the protection, rights and civilization of indigenous peoples. This chapter analyses the society’s anxieties about unruly settlers, missionary endeavours and government-sponsored Protectors of Aborigines and, by contrast, the peculiar allure of the promise and rhetoric of systematic colonization. Exchanges with colonial informants, the imperial government, colonial speculators and humanitarians contributed to the development of platform, which emphasized indigenous possession of land, rights, fair access to the law and education.

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Chapter
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Protecting the Empire's Humanity
Thomas Hodgkin and British Colonial Activism 1830–1870
, pp. 175 - 205
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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