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Title: Progressivism, agriculture and conservation in the Cape Colony, circa 1902-1908
Author: Brown, Karen
ISNI:       0000 0000 5278 5058
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis looks at concepts of progress and agricultural deveIopment in the Cape Colony in the aftermath of the South African War (1899-1902). The first decade of the twentieth century was one of economic crisis. War was followed by a severe depression exacerbated by a slump in the diamond industry, which prompted doubts about the longevity of the country’s mineral resources. It was also a period of recurrent drought which aroused concerns about food security and criticisms about the Colony’s reliance on imported victuals and primary products such as timber. In this context, self-professed ‘progressive’ politicians and commercial farmers looked to the land as the most viable source of national wealth. Politically this period was dominated by Leander Starr Jameson’s Progressive Party, which held office from February 1904 until February 1908. The thesis analyses how this Party, usually associated with mining capital and Rhodes’s legacy, deliberately promoted itself as the progenitor of agricultural progressivism in terms of its rhetoric and the policies it pursued. Agricultural amelioration was linked to conservation. Scientific methods and systematic land management strategies were advocated to protect and enhance scarce water resources, soil fertility and pastures on which the rural economy depended. The state positioned itself as the provider of scientific expertise and introduced legislation to promote and regulate the agricultural economy and environment. The Cape was influenced in part by conservationist developments, which occurred contemporaneously in Australia and, in particular, in the United States. Historians of American history have identified the early twentieth century there as the ‘Progressive Era’. This thesis explores the scientific links that emerged between the governments of these two countries and argues that the Cape too self-consciously promoted itself as a progressive state with agricultural development and conservation constructed as two of the principal pillars of progress.
Supervisor: Beinart, William Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Agricultural conservation--South Africa--Cape of Good Hope--History ; Colony ; agriculture ; South ; Cape ; conservation ; Hope ; agricultural ; progressivism ; Good