British imperialism in South Africa : an historiographical study of the Transveal, 1886-1910

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Phiri, Bizeck Jube
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Studies on the history of the Transvaal (1886-1910)have traditionally been classified as either imperial, liberal or radical. This categorization of scholars assumed that whatever interpretation of the history of the Transvaal was put forward by one school of thought was significantly different from interpretations put forward by other schools. However, this approach in this author's view produced problems when it became apparent that there are as many similarities between the various schools as there are differences. Historical studies by some scholars did not neatly fit the traditional descriptions,thereby calling for a different approach in classifying the historians of South Africa. The terms imperial,liberal and radical tended to conceal a good deal of similarity in interpretation. As an alternative to the traditional approach,this study proposes that the historiography of the Transvaal can best be studied if historians are classified as either political determinists, economic determinists or political-economic determinists. This classification, it is further argued, cuts across the accepted classification and therefore casts new light on the nature of the historiographical controversy. The study proposes that the istoriographical controversy over the interpretation of Transvaal history can be explained by the complex nature of South African historical development as well as by sectionalism among the historians. The controversy which centres around the Jameson Raid, the Anglo-Boer War and the Reconstruction period, it is argued, has been influenced by the premises upon which historians based their interpretation of the evidence. This study proposes that the works which give primacy to economic factors as explanations of British imperialism in the Transvaal are more convincing than those works which give primacy to political circumstances.
Imperialism -- Great Britain , Imperialism -- South Africa , Transvaal (South Africa) -- History