Abstract

“Published and Distributed on behalf of the people of India” by five of the founding regional associations of the Indian National Congress, An Appeal on Behalf of the People of India to the Electors of Great Britain and Ireland is now exceedingly rare, with only one copy recorded in WorldCat’s digital database of library catalogs. The pamphlet attempts to influence Britain’s newest and largest constituency of electors—those enfranchised by the Third Reform Act of 1884—to cast their first votes, in the general election of 1885, with their own and Indian colonial subjects’ shared democratic principles in mind. Although unsuccessful in promoting the return of its recommended candidates, An Appeal marks a key moment in British imperial history, when the empire, as it were, came home to speak in what would become the irresistible voice of the Indian National Congress. Its annotated republication is especially appropriate in this seventy-fifth-anniversary year of Indian independence (1947).

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