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Imperial ArchipelagoRepresentation and Rule in the Insular Territories under U.S. Dominion after 1898$
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Lanny Thompson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834012

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834012.001.0001

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Narratives of Evolution

Narratives of Evolution

(p.88) Chapter 3 Narratives of Evolution
Imperial Archipelago

Lanny Thompson

University of Hawai'i Press

The theory of social evolution informed much of the thinking about the peoples of the imperial archipelago, deploying both a trope of classification and a narrative of progress. On the one hand, peoples were classified, ranging on a scale from the most backward to the most advanced. On the other hand, the narrative of progress held out the hope that backward peoples could advance, especially under the tutelage of superior civilizations. This chapter deals with the attempts to classify the various human groups in the imperial archipelago and the determination of their aptness for self-government. The trope of classification as a means of description, in combination with a narrative of the past that projected a probable future, would set the stage for the development of strategies of rule and the justification of a better tomorrow.

Keywords:   social evolution theory, imperial archipelago, self-government, classification

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