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GREAT BRITAIN, with its high level of industrialization, commerce, and colonization, had become the world's political superpower in the 19th century. Although the country was home to some of the richest sociopolitical doctrines, including Thomas Hobbes's totalitarianism, John Locke and Adam Smith's liberalism, Edmund Burke's conservatism, and Jeremy Bentham's utilitarianism, the monumental societal changes in the British Empire were creating new intellectual challenges in this period.

As a consequence, at least four influential sociopolitical approaches flourished on British soil almost simultaneously: communism as theorized by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, utilitarian liberalism as reinterpreted by John Stuart Mill, social Darwinism as proposed by Herbert Spencer, and finally Fabianism—a brand new and eclectic political program—promoted by a diverse group of British intellectuals. This last philosophy would remain ...

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