Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review of: Ideologies of the Raj by Thomas R. Metcalf

As Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, Thomas R. Metcalf specializes in South Asian History. His 1995 work, Ideologies of the Raj, is included within the volumes of The New Cambridge History of India. Ideologies of the Raj seeks to investigate how the British aimed to justify their rule over India and its subjects. Metcalf’s volume is a useful summary (especially after reading the works of Bernard Cohn and Nicholas B. Dirks) covering many aspects of British India. Metcalf focuses on two areas in his study of British rule in India: the similarities and differences in Britain and India as seen by the British.
            Metcalf argues that the British used ideologies to convince themselves of their right to govern India. The similarities and differences between the Britain’s self-perceptions and India’s characteristics as a nation, including India’s supposed despotism, the cultures of dress and gender, and India’s caste-based social hierarchy system versus the feudalism in which Britain was familiar, all gave Britain plenty of examples to use the growth of empire and their conviction of Britishness to rule India. The differences became the enduring legacy.
Cohn and Metcalf differed in the ways in which they clarify how the British ordered society. For Cohn, codifying knowledge was how the British were able to order and justify rule in India. Metcalf uses the dual strategy of similarities and differences. While I think there is truth to both author’s points, Cohn’s makes the most sense for me. The British would not be able to order society based on similarities or differences if they did not first understand that there were similarities and differences in the first place. The British had to first gain the knowledge before they could structure the results, the results being similarities and differences. In addition, Metcalf almost completely skirts the topic of language, but one could read Cohn’s work to gain a better understanding of how the British identified, regarded and codified Sanskrit and other native dialects of the Indian subcontinent.
When comparing Dirks and Metcalf, I think their arguments fall closer together than Metcalf and Cohn’s positions. Whereas Dirks argues that the transformation of Indians into victims by Burke laid the foundation for a civilizing mission as justification for empire, Metcalf answers that the justification of empire was difference between the societies of Britain and India. With Dirks’ focus on the Indian victim in the Hastings trial, he makes the Indians appear inferior and badly governed. Metcalf’s basic argument is that the British saw the Indians as inferior and different, and were thus available for governance.
One way Metcalf demonstrates the difference sought by the British over the Indians his the treatment of the climate in India. The British believed that the tropical climate of India produced natives who were ineffectual and submissive (8). Hot humid temperatures produced natives who would rather lounge about than engage in strenuous activity. “Heat and humidity were seen as conspiring to subvert manliness, resolve, and courage.” Even the Indian diet of rice contributed to the view of climate’s responsibility regarding effeminacy because rice required little effort to grow (105). However, the climatic explanation of difference expired the longer the British took up residence in India. The climate argument allows Metcalf to demonstrate how the British purported a difference, but the same argument also points out how the British changed differences to suit their justification of empire. Metcalf uses the example of climate to show how British men, who were considered powerful and masculine, contrasted to Indian men, who were viewed as diminutive, weak, and effeminate.
One of Metcalf’s strongest points is his indication of similarity between past Britain and present India. Practically the only time the British considered themselves similar was between the past and present. India’s villages and communal tenures reminded the English of a familiar form of their own feudalism (71). India’s “ancient institutions” gave the British a way to order society and make Indian society subservient to the needs of the Raj (81). Metcalf does argue, though, that Indian feudalism as a social order based on the ties of blood and kinship were fundamentally different from any form of feudalism observed in Europe (74). This shows that the British did not need much encouragement to find similarities.
English self-perceptions made it very difficult to accommodate similarities of gender in India. Ideologies of the Raj employs gender differences between English women and Indian women to explain how the British attempted to justify their rule in India. English women projected the appearance of purity and domesticity, while Indian women were viewed as prostitutes. Moral reformers in Britain fought for the rights of all Englishwomen, prostitutes included, but the same was not true in India. Metcalf argues that the only concern for females in India was to maintain the appearance of purity in the behavior of British women. In a great example of double standard, the British did encourage the prostitution of Indian women in order to downplay the possible appearance of homosexuality in British men (113). Metcalf uses this point to demonstrate how the British used a distinct difference to justify their rule in India.
Concerning men, Metcalf explains the comparison between the effeminacy of Indian men and the masculinity of British men. Bengali men’s baggy clothing was quickly viewed as similar to that of women’s dresses. Combined with the Indian devotion to female deities, the British had confirmation that India was a land ruled by women or womanly men (105). The British considered India a land of degraded women and effeminate men.
I think Metcalf’s strongest argument is his treatment of the Aryan racial theory. Using this theme, Metcalf succinctly shows how the British used similarities and differences when it served themselves best. The British saw what they wanted to see.
The Aryan racial theory involves the belief that British and Indian peoples originated from a common peoples in southern Russia. Language was not connected to race, but German scholars found perceived similarities between Sanskrit and most European languages. The Aryans were supposed to have spread out and conquered Europe and the Indian subcontinent (82). This view suited the British for a time, until several difficulties came up. On problem the British finally had to come to terms with was the issue of heredity: if the Indians and the British descended from the same people, how could the Indian be marked as inferior to the British? The British skirted this issue by claiming that those Aryans who traveled south to India intermingled with an aboriginal people living there, thereby losing their purity of race (83).
            Wholly missing from Ideologies of the Raj (and maybe from South Asian studies in general) is any discussion on how the Indians viewed themselves as similar or different to the English. I think the Indian viewpoint would contribute a great deal to illuminating the history of British imperialism in India. How did the Indians contribute to imperial ideology? Certainly the Indians could not have simply viewed the British as reformers of morality.
            If Metcalf’s purpose is to present the most important findings of the justification of British rule in India then he overwhelmingly succeeds. Metcalf presents the big picture ideas in India and it is much easier to read than the previous works, particularly The Scandal of Empire by Dirks. Exposing the similarities and differences as viewed by the English shows how the British set out to turn Indians into Englishmen. The British were able to completely transform Indian culture and society.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Scandal of Empire

Nicholas B. Dirks, author of The Scandal of Empire: India and the Creation of Imperial Britain, is a prominent scholar of British India. He writes on the impact of British colonial rule on the Indian subcontinent. Dirks studied under Bernard Cohn, and in-line with Cohn, publishes works of history and anthropology. Dirks also published Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India, which delves into the establishment and institutionalization of the caste system on the Indian subcontinent. In Castes of Mind, Dirks argues that the caste system is a product of the encounter between India and British colonial rule, and that the caste system effectively organized Indian society while creating a cultural identity.
The Scandal of Empire seeks to explain how well known scandals of the East India Company in the eighteenth century were either overlooked or incorporated within the larger and more compelling imperial narrative of a land that laid itself bare for the British to conquer. Dirks maintains that scandals are the foundation for the creation of British imperialism, and that scandals led to “modern understandings of corruption, sovereignty, public virtue, market economy, bureaucratic state, history, and tradition” (5). Based on these nine themes, Dirks organizes his book accordingly. The first three chapters chronologically build up to the Warren Hastings impeachment trial and Dirks arranges each of the other six chapters around a single thematic concept. While the opening chapters flow in a chronological manner, the remaining chapters bounce around and seem jumbled in their organization. I think The Scandal of Empire would have flowed better and read less repetitious if all chapters followed a chronological arrangement.  
The Scandal of Empire is informative about the origins of British corruption in India. Dirks argues that the right to private trade by East India Company officials is the “alleged scourge of Company integrity and managerial probity” (37). When Mughal authorities granted the right of trading privileges to the Company for private purposes, the Company servants accumulated great fortunes. The Company grew in domestic importance and influence in Parliament increased. This allowed Company servants in India to, essentially, “pay off” the Crown with the spoils of India.
As evidence of the profitability of corruption in British India Dirks turns to Robert Clive. The son of lower-level gentry in Britain, Clive went to India at age seventeen to augment his family’s social and financial position. He earned the distinction of valor on the battlefield at the Battle of Plassey and eventually rose to a position of high rank in the Mughal court. There Clive accepted land grants, secured plunder, captured military spoils, and accepted gifts. When detractors in England soffed at his growing fortune Clive argued on behalf of himself that it was acceptable to receive gifts voluntarily given for genuine purposes and posed no harm to the Company or England (44).
I think Dirks is correct to affirm that private trade in India by British officials marked the beginning of corruption for the British Empire. As long as the Crown received revenues, a blind-eye would, for a time, be turned from the enrichment of British officials in India. The rights of private trade and the implications of the Hastings scandal that would follow launched the British Empire into the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Without these scandals, it is possible to argue that the empire would not have emerged as so dominant a force (31).
Dirks focuses much attention to the build-up and eventual impeachment trial of Warren Hastings. Following Clive’s example, Hastings served as governor-general of Bengal and took in presents and gifts that amassed his great wealth. Hastings role in the judicial murder of an Indian maharaja, Nandakumar, would also be brought to light at trial. Edmund Burke, who had served on secret and select committees to investigate “the capricious abuse of British power and position” (89-90) of British India, spearheaded the impeachment trial. The ferocity of Burke’s pursuit of impeachment of Hastings is interesting, and Dirks hints at the reasoning behind the vehement pursuit. This aspect was most interesting for me and a slant that I believe Dirks could have explored further. Dirks mentions that Hastings was much less corrupt than either of his two predecessors, Clive and Paul Benfield, but Burke still pursued Hastings for over seven years. That Edmund Burke’s brother, William, had previously been injured in a duel with Hastings probably had a great deal to do with Burke’s impassioned quest to impeach Hastings.
The impeachment trial of Hastings did bring to light many instances of imperial abuse, but the trial failed to reform British activities in India. Dirks convincingly argues that the Raj that emerged after the Hastings trial was largely implementations of measures “of which Hastings had been the primary architect” (237). “The trial produced conditions not just for empire’s success, but also for its transformation into a patriotic enterprise” (125). Hastings’s reputation was ruined and he complained that the seven-year-long trial sent him into bankruptcy. Lord Cornwallis replaced Hastings as governor-general and it was Cornwallis who would be seen as the savior of India.
Dirks addresses an important topic regarding sovereignty in British India. Initially the Company was a mercantile company with an eastern monopoly guarantee by Parliament (13). Eventually, through the Company, India had become a rogue state and the precise nature of sovereignty was unclear. Dirks is able to explain the transition to a rogue state, and this is most interesting to me. The Company was engaged in almost constant warfare against the French and native Indians. The 1765 Bengali Diwani transferred the right of revenue to be collected directly from Bengali landowners, in what Dirks terms part of a massive bribe to Parliament to maintain the Company’s eastern monopoly (14). Company officials used bribery to propagate sovereign rights over conquered territories. 
The East India Company came to be in possession of India, economically, politically, and financially. The Company had several expanding characteristics that make clear the true sovereign status, including waging war, peacemaking, tax assessment, coin minting, and the administration of justice (168). Dirks is able to convince readers that the Company was a “fully functioning state that was sovereign and autonomous,” in essence, an independent entity (169). Dirks quotes Clive concisely summarizing the Company’s position in India, “We can never be less without ceasing to be at all” (174).     
Another interesting aspect of The Scandal of Empire is how Dirks ties together the British imperial project with modern-day American occupation in the Middle East. He compares the way the British sought to justify their own imperial project by saving Indians from their sins to the way in which “the United States has more recently represented its primary role in Afghanistan as the liberation of women from the oppression of the fundamentalist Taliban and the protection of all Afghanis from the ruthless warlords who controlled the highways and trading routes of the region” (310). If Dirks’s claim that empire is built with scandal, then the scandals in British India should serve the United States as a warning of the effects of empire.
In line with the title, The Scandal of Empire, I would have liked to read more about individual scandals faced on the Indian subcontinent. Dirks framed the book around the Hastings impeachment trial, but more comment could have been given to the “Black Hole” of Calcutta or the “Sepoy Mutiny.” The Hastings trial captivated Britain and created a spectacle, especially when speeches and descriptions centered on the most harrowing, most horrific, and most inhuman treatments were brought to light. The “Black Hole of Calcutta and the “Sepoy Mutiny” would have been perfect examples in which to examine the macabre. The veracity of the “Black Hole” of Calcutta event has been called into question, but I think Dirks could have spent more time calling to question the eyewitness account and verification of the supposed event.   
One significant way The Scandal of Empire to Cohn’s work, Colonialism and its Forms of Knowledge concerns codification of language. Cohn highlights the role of codification in imperial expansion and rule, and according to Dirks, would have found a comrade in Warren Hastings. Hastings “inaugurated the British colonial interest in codification” of the Indian legal system (232). At his impeachment trial, Hastings made special effort to draw attention to his record in India for his institution of new codes and procedures, and for civil and criminal justice in compliance with Indian constitutional traditions and norms.

Dirks successfully argues that scandals did not cause empire to be abandoned, but instead led to reform so that excesses would be attached nationally to Britain, instead of individually, as was the case with Hastings. He illuminates the scandal surrounding the Hastings impeachment trial and shows how the scandal proved to be the prerequisite for the British restructuring, acquiescence, and institutionalization of empire. In addition, Dirks expertly draws important comparisons to our modern world by noting the American occupation in the Middle East. For me, this historical warning was my biggest take-away. In conjunction with Cohn’s Colonialism and its Forms of Knowledge, The Scandal of Empire is essential reading for those interested in British India or imperialism. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Artie Lee Fulgham Alexander

birth: April 16, 1905
location: Texas
death: September 9, 1987
location: Texas

father: Henry Jackson Fulgham
mother: Frances Ellen Morris

spouse: Lee Roy Alexander

1910 census

1920 census

1930 census

1940 census


Lillie Fulgham Stanford

birth: July 11, 1900
location: Texas
death: August 1980
location: Texas

father: Henry Jackson Fulgham
mother: Frances Ellen Morris

spouse: Charles Roy Stanford

1910 census

marriage to Charles Roy Stanford - 1918

1920 census

1930 census

1940 census



children with Charles Roy Stanford:

Charles Earl Stanford - 1919
Lillian Aleene Stanford - 1925
Margie Fay Stanford - 1929

Lille Stanford - death

date: August 1980

"United States Social Security Death Index," database, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Lillie Stanford, Aug 1980; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).

Charles Stanford - 1940 census

1940 census
location: Van Zandt County, Texas
date: April 16, 1940

Roy Stanford  head  male  white  40  married  Texas  farmer
Lilly Stanford  wife  female  white  39  married  Texas
Earl Stanford  son  male  white  20  single  Texas
Aleene Stanford  daughter  female  white  16  single  Texas
Margie Stanford  daughter  female  white  10  single  Texas

"United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 February 2017), Lilly Stanford in household of Roy Stanford, Edom, Justice Precinct 5, Van Zandt, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 234-21, sheet 5A, line 34, family 91, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 4155.

Charles Stanford - 1930 census

1930 census
location: Van Zandt County, Texas
date: April 5, 1930

Charles R Stanford  head  male  white  31  married - @ age 19  Texas
Lillie S Stanford  wife  female  white  29  married - @ age 16  Texas
Charles E Stanford  son  male  white  10  single  Texas
Lillian A Stanford  daughter  female  white  5  single  Texas
Margie F Stanford  daughter  female  white  3/12  single  Texas

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 February 2017), Lillie S Stanford in household of Charles R Stanford, Precinct 7, Van Zandt, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 24, sheet 1B, line 65, family 18, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 2405; FHL microfilm 2,342,139.

Charles Stanford - 1920 census

1920 census
location: Van Zandt County, Texas
date: January 9, 1920

C Roy Stanford  head  male  white  21  married  Texas
Lillie Stanford  wife  female  white  19  married  Texas
C Earl Stanford  son  male  white  5/12  single  Texas

date: "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 February 2017), Lillie S Stanford in household of C Roy Stanford, Justice Precinct 7, Van Zandt, Texas, United States; citing ED 139, sheet 2A, line 49, family 30, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1854; FHL microfilm 1,821,854.

Lillie Fulgham and Charles Stanford marriage

location: Smith County, Texas
date: February 10, 1918

"Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837-1965," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 February 2017), C R Stanford and Lillie Fulgham, 10 Feb 1918, Marriage; citing Smith, Texas, United States, various county clerk offices, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Texas Dept. of State Health Services and Golightly-Payne-Coon Co.; FHL microfilm 1,853,817.

James A Fulgham

birth: January 19, 1878
location: Texas
death: April 17, 1880
location: Texas

father: Marquis de Lafayette Fulgham
mother: Catherine Smith

1880 census


Monday, January 30, 2017

Mary Kidd

birth: 1852
location: Texas

father: Thomas Kidd
mother: Susan 

1860 census

1870 census

Joyce Fay Kidd Richardson


father: Coleman Kidd
mother: Patsy Jo Moffiet

spouse: Worsham

spouse: Richardson:




Joyce Richardson obituary

Uncle Buster - obituary

Coleman Buster Kidd, 86, of Chandler, died Monday evening, January 23, 2017 in Tyler, Texas with family by his side. He was born on December 17, 1930 in Brownsboro. He was the son of Coleman and Bertha Kidd.

A celebration of life will be held Thursday, January 26, at 10:00 AM at the First United Methodist Church in Chandler with Rev. David Luckert and Rev. Bryan Harkness officiating. Visitation will be held Wednesday, January 25th from 6-8 PM at the funeral home. Burial will be in Chandler Memorial Cemetery under direction of Chandler Memorial Funeral Home.

He was raised on a farm near Brownsboro and lived most all of his life in the Chandler/Brownsboro area. He married the love of his life Patsy Moffeit Kidd on October 1, 1949 and together they made a loving home for them and their four children. He was a self employed builder/contractor.

Coleman was preceded in death by his mother and father, Coleman and Bertha Kidd, his precious wife, Patsy Moffeit Kidd, a daughter, Joyce Faye Richardson, and his grandson, Terry Lee Kidd. He was also preceded in death by his brothers, Earl, Paul, Neal, Jack, Verdon, Holland, Elton, and Bill Kidd. His sisters, Louise Gideon, Marlene Parker, Era Welch, Johnny Olson, Juanita Strickland, and Evelee Morman.

Mr. Kidd is survived by daughter, Anita Pollard and husband Sam of Chandler, sons, David Kidd and wife Kay of Chandler, Joe Kidd of Chandler, grandchildren, Tracy Delagarza and husband Raul of Chandler, Tammy Kidd of Chandler, Trista Thomison and husband Ty of Chandler, Shanda Booth and husband Tom of Chandler, Lyndie Wangler and husband Chris of Sunnyvale, Coleman R. Kidd and wife Lindy of Bullard, Cody Kidd and wife Elyse of Brownsboro, Landon Kidd of Troup, Samantha Kidd of Chandler, 16 great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren.

He will always be remembered of his infectious smile and his deep love for his family. Rarely was he ever seen without being dressed in his cowboy hat and his well shined boots. This tall handsome cowboy has now gone home to be with his heavenly Father.

Pallbearers will be grandsons, honorary pallbearers are Dan Moffeit, Jim Moffeit, Luster Kidd and Greg Kidd.

The family wishes to extend gratitude to the staff of Dr. Thomas Buzbee, staff of Briarcliff Nursing Home and memory care, and special gratitude to Nicky Black, Michelle Earle, and Anita Anthony.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Chandler Building Fund, 507 N. Broad St., Chandler, TX 75758.

Published online in the Tyler Morning Telegraph, January 24, 2017. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ornamentalism by David Cannadine

            Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire by David Cannadine attempts to satisfy the question: How did the British see their own empire from the mid-nineteenth century, through Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1896, and ending with Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953? Cannadine examines the beginnings of the Empire and all of her localities, and describes the several ways in which British aristocracy propelled the ornamented image of Britain throughout those places and back to England.
            As an English historian and writer, Cannadine also brings a personal aspect to Ornamentalism: Cannadine considers himself a “Coronation child” as he was a three-year-old English boy at the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation (183). Not only that, but Cannadine’s father served in the British Empire’s Royal Engineers between 1942 and 1945. The elder Cannadine’s imperial experience in India certainly left a profound influence on the author, who used his father’s recollections to piece together a boy’s superficial idea of empire (184). Despite his personal familiarity with the British Empire, Cannadine asserts that he “was not drenched in empire” (198).
            In contrast with authors such as Edward Said and Karl Marx, Cannadine strays from the usual scholarship that suggests the British Empire was arranged by racial superiority and inferiority. Unlike Said’s Orientalism, where it is argued that British imperialism exhibited a subtle and persistent prejudice against Arab and Islamic peoples, Cannadine argues that the British Empire was concerned with the familiar and domestic, but also the varied and the exotic. Imperialism consisted of understanding and reordering foreign dominions, colonies, and mandates into analogous and equivalent constructs (xix). Essentially, the British Empire was arranged hierarchically by social status and position. The concept of individual social ordering versus collective racial identity sets Cannadine as a historian far apart from his contemporaries.
Cannadine points out two models of social stratification that would manifest under British imperial expansion. The first model mentioned by Cannadine was the expansion of British social hierarchy as an anti-hierarchical social revolution. When the American colonies were initially settled, the English pattern of social hierarchy was evident. There were great country estates, mansions, an aristocratic-ruling class, all exhibited by a clear social stratification. Abolition in the nineteenth century only served to reinforce the hierarchical view of society. Slaves would be free, but they would remain at the lowest rung of American society. Eventually “anti-hierarchical impulses won out, and the country was launched on a non-British, non-imperial trajectory of republican constitutionalism and egalitarian social perceptions” (15).
The second model was a transoceanic replication and encouragement of Britain’s existing social hierarchy. In Britain, those of the highest social prestige undertook local government and aristocrats at the top of the social hierarchy wielded the power (11). Imperialism took this hierarchy to Britain’s vast colonies, dominions, and mandates. Using India as an example, Cannadine points out that the native regimes and hierarchies of India were considered backward, inefficient, and despotic by the British. Many elite Britons felt that these existing hierarchies could be cherished and preserved. The resulting replication and expansion of British ornamentalism of the Raj was undoubtedly one of the most ostentatious and grandiose realms on earth.
Analogous with India, Australia, Canada, and other dominions employed the British model of social hierarchy. British transplants in Canada continued the layered and established social structure and they exhibited an exaggerated regard for British traditions. Notions of rank and respectability were important there (29). In Australia, Cannadine explains how British transplants continued with traditions from the motherland, such as dueling, coats of arms, genealogy, and obsessions with pedigrees (28). In order for the these new settler dominions to successfully retain the English mark or hierarchy, an aristocratic thread needed to be present. Both Canada and Australia exhibited this thread by displaying fealty towards Britain eagerly desiring and accepting honors and hereditary distinctions. With their replicated social hierarchy and esteemed British traditions, settler dominions and colonies demonstrated the need for unprecedented British grandeur, pomp and circumstance, and projected an image of order and authority, thus legitimizing British rule (18).
            One way Cannadine supports an aspect of his thesis that Britain’s social hierarchy was divided by class and not race, is his treatment of the colonies in the British Empire, specifically Malaya, Fiji, and Africa. As part of Imperial policy, Britain would govern the colonies, not settle them. Using governors and colonial secretaries Malaysians accepted British residents and advisors using the Indian model of hierarchy. Similarly, indigenous Fijian chiefs and leaders were considered on the same social level as aristocratic Englishmen. When the Hon. Arthur Hamilton Gordon served as colonial governor of Fiji, he “codified chiefly authority and entrenched aristocracy as the established order through which the British would govern indirectly” (59). Gordon sought to preserve indigenous influences in support of British authority (61). In Africa, it was obvious that maintaining indigenous hierarchies and supporting the native rulers at the top of society would be the clearest way for the British Empire to govern the new lands. Cannadine maintains that even in Africa, instead of a social hierarchy based on race, the admiration of the dark-skinned Africans led to a recognition of indigenous genius instead of perpetual inferiority (67). As a result, African traditions were able to survive, and the British model of class hierarchy flourished.
            An important way that elite Britons viewed their society was through ornamentalism in the form of honors and titles. Using honorific inventiveness in the dominions, colonies, and mandates, the British Empire was able to promote and encourage traditional hierarchies. Rewards and honors were considered an essential component of the British social structure based on hierarchy (87). It was assumed that Indians cared a great deal about recognition in the form of awards and honors, and as such the British Empire created and bestowed thousands of titles on members of Indian aristocracy (89). This sense of Britishness, tied together through ornamentalism and an ordered imperial society, reinforced the elaborate system of honors and titles that began in metropolis England, extended to the periphery of the Empire, and back to the metropolis.
            In addition, the British Empire came to exude ornamentalism through elaborate ceremonies and occasions. These public ceremonies were opportunities for distant monarchs to pledge fealty and pay tribute to the British Empire (112). Combined with regular and routine observances, ornamentally ostentatious public ceremonies were “globally inclusive, elaborately graded, and intrinsically royal” affairs (105). They afforded a pervasive sense of royalty.
            However celebrated the British Empire was in distant lands, Cannadine offers that there was a difference between theory and practice. Never as fully socially hierarchical as the Britons who governed and collaborated in the Empire, the colonies, dominions and mandates were also a system of exploitation for those who were titled and rich. Some distant lands were never economically similar to Britain, which therefore produced a society less unequal and less layered. Critics of the British hierarchy tended to be on a different social level than those at the top: urban, middle-class, educated, colonists on the periphery of the Empire. There, on the periphery, hostility to hierarchy and empire bloomed (140). Dominion leaders may have coveted imperial titles and honors, but that did not translate into their nation’s dependence. Many leaders on the periphery of the British Empire recognized the need to move away from the traditional British connection. Titles and honors did not make aristocracies (141).
            By 1950 the position of British rule in the dominions had been fundamentally altered. Cannadine argues that because the British Empire had been created and envisaged based on hierarchical consistency and social subordination, it is no surprise that the Empire was finally undermined by the politics of nationalism and the ideas of equality (154). Ornamentalism faded into abandonment and desuetude. There were deliberate repudiations of royalty and empire. By Queen Elizabeth II’s Cornonation, three years after the birth of Cannadine, the monarch was no longer the empress of India or the Ruler of British dominions beyond the seas. Instead, she was bestowed with the title, “Head of Commonwealth” with no social preeminence or constitutional standing (158).
            I think Ornamentalism is especially important in the historiographical debate surrounding the creation, heyday, and decline of the British Empire because Cannadine is able to offer a contrasting theory on the structure of the Empire. His idea that the Empire was constructed on social hierarchy divided by caste instead of race is a bold declaration when compared to the accepted research that the Empire was separated by race. The ornamentalism exhibited in the Raj certainly provides abundant evidence that society was chiefly concerned with social adornments, aristocracies, and wealth. My only criticism of Cannadine is his proximity to the subject. However, given his astute use of journals, literature on the subject, and thorough research, this is quickly overcome. One is able to read Ornamentalism for what it is: a clear social history of the British Empire’s social hierarchy.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Unit 1 Discussion

What does Cannadine understand as “ornamentalism” and how does he apply this concept to the British empire?

Cannadine uses “ornamentalism” to describe how the British viewed their own empire. From the mid-nineteenth century, through Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1896, and ending with Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1952, Britain experienced overseas expansion and imperial domination through which imperial hierarchy expanded across the growing empire. I think the social construct of British hierarchy forms the basis of how Cannadine understands ornamentalism.
A layered social hierarchy allowed the British to bestow titles, awards, peerages, and honors on natives of conquered dominions and colonies and on British governors, viceroys, and wealthy citizens. Canada, for example, held an exaggerated regard for British traditions, had a layered and established social structure, and maintained notions of rank and respectability (29). For their part, the British saw an eagerness for hereditary distinctions and honors as vital to the new settler colonies and dominions. In India, the British took what they considered an established social order based on class, and preserved and promoted a similar hierarchy to their own (41). There, too, honors were a way to promote and encourage traditional hierarchy. That India was generally village living and princely-led fit right in with the established social hierarchy in Britain (45).
It was in India were ornamentalism took on an even more exotic meaning. In pomp and circumstance ceremonies in India far-exceeded British rituals. The image of India as glittering, ceremonial, layered and traditional was protected and projected by the British (51). Cannadine uses descriptions like ostentatiously ornamental, brilliantly displayed, splendor, and pretentious to describe India’s ordered and ornamental regime and ceremonies.
Sort of on a tangent, I would like to mention Britain’s continued ornamentalism in the form of modern rituals. The wedding of Kate Middleton to Prince William was broadcast around the globe, and I can hardly think of another ceremony more ornamented than their wedding. The pomp, pageantry, uniforms, etc. all carry forth Britain’s ornamentalism even though the British Empire as it once was is no longer in existence. Kate and William’s son, George, was born on the same day as my son (July 22, 2013). When they were born, I read where if you had a child born on the same day in England the royal couple sent silver pennies to your family. I wanted a penny so badly even though I live in Texas! 

History 5389.01 Great Britain and the British Empire

Discussion 1 response

Ornamentalism response paper

The Scandal of Empire response paper

Friday, January 20, 2017

George Tom Fulgham

birth: July 21, 1866
location: Cass County, Texas
death: January 13, 1928
location: Texas

father: Marquis de Lafayette Fuglahm
mother: Catherine Smith

spouse: E Alice Moseley

1870 census

1880 census

1900 census

1910 census

1920 census


children with E Alice Moseley:

William Edmond Fulgham

birth: December 31, 1861
location: Georgia
death: December 28, 1912
location: Texas

father: Marquis de Lafayette Fulgham
mother: Catherine Smith

spouse: Elizabeth Ruhama Huddle

1870 census

1880 census

marriage to Elizabeth Huddle - 1882

1900 census

1910 census


children with Elizabeth Ruhama Huddle:

Lottie Fulgham - 1886
Ivy Thomas Fulgham - 1888
Dora Ella Fulgham - 1892
Lonnie Fulgham - 1894
Cary Vinson Fulgham - 1896
Levey Nolan Fulgham - 1900

William Edmond Fulgham - 1910 census

1910 census
location: Van Zandt County, Texas
date: April 26-27, 1910

William E Fulgham  head  male  white  48  married - 27 years  Texas
Elizabeth Fulgham  wife  female  white  52  married - 27 years  9,4  Texas
Ivy T Fulgham  son  male  white  22  single  Texas
Dora E Fulgham  daughter  female  white  18  single  Texas
Cary V Fulgham  son  male  white  13  single  Texas
Nolan L Fulgham  son  male  white  10  single  Texas
Catherine Huddle  mother-in-law  female  white  77  widowed  5, 2  Virginia

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 January 2017), William E Fulgham, Justice Precinct 7, Van Zandt, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 120, sheet 7A, family 120, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1596; FHL microfilm 1,375,609.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Justice Precinct 7, Van Zandt, Texas; Roll: T624_1596; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0120; FHL microfilm: 1375609

William Edmond Fulgham - 1900 census

1900 census
location: Van Zandt County, Texas
date: June 11, 1900

Edmond W Fulgham  head  white  male  Dec 1861  38  married - 17 years  Texas  farmer
Lizzie Fulgham  wife  white  female  Nov 1857  42  married - 17 years  9,5  Texas
Lottie C Fulgham  daughter  white  female  Oct 1876  18  single  Texas
Iva T Fulgham  son  white  male  Feb 1878  12  single  Texas
Dora E Fulgham  daughter  white  female  Jan 1892  single  Texas
Cary V Fulgham  son  male  white  Nov 1896  3  single  Texas
Levi N Fulgham  son  white  male  Jan 1900  single  Texas
Catherine Hudall  mother-in-law  white  female  May 1832  widowed  Virginia

"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 January 2017), Edward W. Fulgham, Justice Precinct 7 (voting precinct 11), Van Zandt, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 136, sheet 8A, family 94, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,675.

W E Fulgham and Elizabeth Huddle marriage

location: Van Zandt County, Texas
date: December 21, 1882

"Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837-1965," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 January 2017), W E Fulgham and Lizzie Huddle, 21 Dec 1882, Marriage; citing Van Zandt, Texas, United States, various county clerk offices, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Texas Dept. of State Health Services and Golightly-Payne-Coon Co.; FHL microfilm 1,578,918.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

John Honeycutt

birth: February 1857
location: Louisiana
death: April 1905
location: Louisiana

father: Isreal Honeycutt
mother: Sarah

spouse: Nancy Cornelia Thomas

marriage to Nancy Cornelia Thomas - 1878

1880 census

1900 census


children with Nancy Cornelia Thomas:

Beulah Honeycutt - 1878
Samuel M Honeycutt - 1880
Thomas Honeycutt - 1882
John Honeycutt - 1884
Frank Honeycutt - 1886
Sarah Honeycutt - 1888
Julia Honeycutt - 1888-90
Ollie Honeycutt - 1892
Ruth Honeycutt - 1895
Cyrus Honeycutt - 1898

John Honeycutt and Cornelia Thomas marriage

location: Ouchita Parish, Louisiana
date: April 12, 1877

Hunting For Bears, comp.. Louisiana, Marriages, 1718-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jungle Laboratories by Soto Laveaga

Laveaga, Gabriela Soto Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National Projects, and the Making of the Pill. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009.

Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National Projects, and the Making of the Pill by Gabriela Sota Laveaga traces the political, economic, and scientific development of the global barbasco industry from its 1950s-boom years, to the decline in the latter part of the twentieth century. A wild yam that invasively grows in rural areas of southern Mexico, barbasco and its extract, diosgenin, made possible the mass production of steroid hormones like progesterone and cortisone, and leading to the manufacture of oral contraceptives. Despite their elite knowledge of and manual labor harvesting the root, it was many years before Mexican peasants understood the financial and scientific value of barbasco. The scientific community’s reliance on rural Mexican’s knowledge upended a social hierarchy that had been in place for hundreds of years. Eventually rural Mexicans were able to utilize their scientific knowledge to mediate with transnational pharmaceutical companies, to approach the Mexican government for terms, and to alter how they were regarded by urban Mexicans.
A commodity chain analysis is a way of isolating and identifying aspects of historical change along the route that the commodity takes from production to consumption. In the case of barbasco, the commodity chain begins when Mexican peasants harvest the barbasco root from southern Mexico. Initially, picking the barbasco root was a form of ancillary income for the peasants. If peasants happened to see barbasco growing on their way home then they would pick it up. However, as the demand for barbasco grew, up to 25,000 families or 100,000 individuals would make a living by harvesting the barbasco root. The jungle conditions where barbasco grew were hazardous. Barbasco pickers reported venomous snakes and swarms of insects, not to mention the hot, tropical environment. In addition, the dangers of machetes were notorious, as the long, sharp knives were used constantly to clear the dense jungle flora.
Once picked and removed from the jungle, the commodity chain of barbasco moved to collection sites where the root would undergo basic chemical changes by fermentation and drying. The resulting barbasco flour had to be spread out over concrete slabs and dried by the sun. The flour also needed to be agitated to ensure consistent drying. Once dried, the barbasco flour was packed and shipped to laboratories in other parts of Mexico, the United States, and Europe.
Laboratories and scientists continued the chemical processes to yield diosgenin. Diosgenin is the precursor of steroid hormones like progesterone and cortisone. Progesterone was the original basis for oral contraceptives, which put Mexico on the map in the steroid hormone industry. Employed by Syntex, one Mexico’s leading pharmaceutical companies, Luis Ernesto Miramontes was able to synthesize an orally efficient progesterone contraceptive. The Pill revolutionized population control by allowing female reproductive systems to avoid contraception. The rural Mexican peasants had no idea that the barbasco they picked and sold to middlemen was turned into a pill used globally by millions of women.
The abundant availability of raw barbasco in Mexico made it possible for Mexican chemists and technicians to generate original and significant scientific research. Studying a plant that was innately Mexican inspired a sense of nationalism. Mexico created an entire industry around barbasco, with laboratories and other facilities created specifically for steroid hormone use. Mexican scientific nationalism can also be seen at the lowest rung of barbasco’s commodity chain. Barbasco pickers and campesinos were all proud of barbasco and their work, even when they did not understand why international companies demanded the weed. Fidel Santiago Hernández proudly described how he had been hired as a “chemist” at a barbasco processing plant. Many Mexicans viewed employment in the barbasco industry as a secure, dignified, and esteemed occupation.
            Amidst the barbasco boom, the United States as a scientific and pharmacological stronghold had to contend with Mexico and its emerging competence in science, as well as the only place where barbasco proliferated. Even when Syntex was sold to a United States company, the barbasco root was still grown in Mexico and, increasingly, regulated by the Mexican government. United States’ expansionism became a question of legal matters, like patents, and not territory. Mexican presidents Miguel Alemán and Adolfo Ruiz Cortines both issued protectionist measures and legislation to protect the economy surrounding barbasco. Foreign demand for barbasco permits ushered in the Mexican government’s domestic laboratory, Farquinal, responsible for the manufacture of diosgenin.
Several factors surrounding barbasco changed throughout its medicinal demand and subsequent decline including agriculture and economics. With regards to agriculture, in the beginning of the barbasco boom peasants left a part of the root in the ground for regeneration. Combined with the slash and burn agricultural technique, barbasco continued to flourish. However, towards the end of the barbasco boom fewer pickers would leave even the smallest pieces of the root in the ground. Many in Mexico wondered if the barbasco would last. The Commission for the Study of the Ecology of Dioscoreas was a research group funded by transnational pharmaceutical companies in collaboration with the Mexican government and Mexican scientists to regulate and obtain information on barbasco and its ecology. Foreign companies understood the importance of researching barbasco in order to ensure the continued supply of the scientific- and financially-valuable raw material. This led to the change in economics by Mexico establishing Proquivemex, the parastatal company intended to challenge transnational pharmaceutical companies and protect campesinos. Proquivemex was established in 1975 during the administration of populist president Luis Echeverría Álvarez.
Echeverría had high hopes for Proquivemex. Ideally Proquivemex and its jungle laboratories would serve as the link between Mexican peasants who harvested barbasco and the transnational pharmaceutical companies who needed diosgenin. Within ten years, Echeverría planned to produce medicines at a fair price for all Mexican citizens. Another goal was that the middlemen of the barbasco industry would one day have a significant role in the company and control of barbasco production. However, when Echeverría left office, Proquivemex was beset with a funding crisis and dwindling interest, especially from the new administration. The jungle laboratories were abandoned and the barbasco industry in Mexico dried up.
Diosgenin-filled arbasco still grows in the jungle region of southern Mexico and the legacy of the barbasco boom years still lives on. Barbasco created the development of the steroid hormone industry and paved the way for Mexico to become a major factor in the global pharmaceutical industry. However, the failures of Echeverría’s populist regime and the social issues surrounding Mexican peasants and harvesting barbasco, as well as new scientific sources of steroid hormones, led to the weed’s subsequent medicinal decline and demand.