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Liberty and loyalty: the Great War and Labour's conscription dilemma

Archer, Robin (2018) Liberty and loyalty: the Great War and Labour's conscription dilemma. Australian Journal of Politics & History, 64 (1). pp. 18-32. ISSN 1467-8497

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Identification Number: 10.1111/ajph.12460


A unique struggle over conscription was a defining characteristic of the Australian experience of the Great War. The labour movement was at the center of opposition to conscription, and arguments from liberty were central to its stance. But anti-conscriptionists had to make their arguments in an environment shaped by powerful competing appeals to loyalty. This article examines the ways in which labour anti-conscriptionists sought to minimise the impact of these loyalist appeals, while pressing ahead with their central liberal arguments. Two ways of interpreting these arguments enabled them to do this. The first emphasised the Britishness of the liberal tradition and the close relationship between conscription and ‘continental despotism’. The second emphasised the affinity between the liberal tradition and the New World and drew on other comparisons, especially with North America.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 John Wiley & Sons
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2018 17:45
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2020 11:36

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