Gentlemanly capitalism

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Gentlemanly capitalism is a theory of New Imperialism first put forward by P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins in the 1980s before being fully developed in their 1993 work, British Imperialism.[1] The theory posits that British imperialism was driven by the business interests of the City of London and landed interests. It encourages a shift of emphasis, away from seeing provincial manufacturers and geopolitical strategy as important influences, and towards seeing the expansion of empire as emanating from London and the financial sector.[2][3]


  1. Peter J. Cain, and Anthony G. Hopkins, "Gentlemanly Capitalism and British Expansion Overseas I. The Old Colonial System, 1688‐1850." Economic History Review 39#4 (1986): 501-525; Cain and Hopkins. "Gentlemanly capitalism and British expansion overseas II: new imperialism, 1850‐1945." Economic History Review 40#1 (1987): 1-26; Cain and Hopkins, British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion 1688-1914 (1993).
  2. Lynn, M. (1996) Review of Cain, P.J. and Hopkins, A.G. ‘British Imperialism’, The English Historical Review, vol. 111, no. 441, April 1996, pp. 501–3
  3. Shigeru Akita, ed., Gentlemanly Capitalism, Imperialism, and Global History (2002) online

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