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Thomas Babington Macaulay's History of England was a phemenal Victorian best-seller defining a nation's sense of self, its triumphant rise to a powerfully homogeus nation built on a global empire and its claim to be the modern nation, marking the route to civilization for all others. In this book Catherine Hall explores the emotional, intellectual, and political roots of Zachary Macaulay, the leading abolitionist, and his son Thomas's visions of race, nation, and empire. The contrasting moments of evangelical humanitarianism and liberal imperialism are read through the writings and careers of the two men.
Catherine Hall is professor of history at University College London. She is the author of the prize-winning Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830-1867.