This book traces the formation of Australian colonial society and economy within the context of the changing fortunes of British hegemony in the nineteenth-century world economy. Australia's transition from conservative origins as a penal colony supporting a grazier class oriented to export production, to liberal agrarian capitalism, was not a simple reflex of imperial setting. Domestically, the 'agrarian question' - who should control the land and to what end? - was the central political struggle of this period, as urban-commercial forces contested the graziers' monopoly, of the landed economy. Embedded in the conflict among settler classes was an international dimension, involving a juxtaposition of laissez-faire and mercantilist phases of British political economy. Professor McMichael argues that the transition from a patriarchal wool-growing colony to a liberal-nationalist form of capitalist development is best understood through a systematic analysis of the effect of the imperial politicoeconomic relationship on the social and political forces within nineteenth-century Australia.
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(228mm x 152mm x 18mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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