Round Table movement

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The Round Table movement, founded in 1909, was an association of organisations promoting closer union between Britain and its self-governing colonies.

The movement[edit]

The Round Table Movement evolved out of Lord Milner's Kindergarten. They held meetings called 'The Moot', named after the Anglo-Saxon meeting. The movement began at a conference at Plas Newydd, Lord Anglesey's estate in Wales, over the weekend of 4–6 September.[1] The framework of the organisation was devised by Lionel Curtis, but the overall idea was due to Lord Milner. Former South Africa administrator Philip Kerr became secretary to the organisation.[2]

In 1910 they would publish a journal The Round Table Journal: A Quarterly Review of the Politics of the British Empire. The aim of the original movement was British imperial federation.

In 1910–1911 Philip Curtis took a tour of the Dominions to set up local Round Table groups. Groups were formed in Canada, the Union of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and a Newfoundland Group was set up in 1912.[3]

The Round Table supported free trade despite Milner and Leo Amery's support for imperial preference, and endorsed the White Australia policy, publishing material by Frederic Eggleston on the matter.[4]

With the entry of the United States into the First World War and the promotion of the League of Nations, the movement moderated its conception of the empire as a "Commonwealth of Nations".

During the interwar period the Round Table groups continued to advocate a policy of collaboration among the Dominions of the British Empire (Canada and Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, Union of South Africa, the Irish Free State and Southern Rhodesia) together with the United States. However, its embrace of the "Commonwealth" ethos also led it to support movements for self-government within the Empire such as the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and the Indian reforms of 1919 and 1935. In the late 1930s the contributors to the journal were split between those who advocated appeasement and those that did not.[5]

The Round Table still exists but it is largely a Commonwealth ginger group, designed to consider and influence Commonwealth policies.

Prominent members[edit]

Prominent members of the Round Table moot's in the first half of the twentieth century included[6]

Prominent members of the Round Table moot's in the second half of the twentieth century included[7]

Quigley's view[edit]

American historian and professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University Carroll Quigley studied the operations of the Round Table for twenty years, and for two years during the early 1960s was permitted access to its papers and secret records. One distinctive feature of Quigley's historical writings is his assertion that the Round Table movement have played a significant role in recent world history. His writing on this topic has made Quigley famous among many who investigate conspiracy theories.[8]


  1. ^ Historical Dictionary of the British Empire. 1996. ISBN 0-313-27917-9.
  2. ^ J. Lee Thompson (2007). Forgotten Patriot: A Life of Alfred, Viscount Milner of St. James's And Cape Town, 1854–1925. ISBN 0-8386-4121-0.
  3. ^ May, Alexander The Round Table, 1910–66 DPhil. University of Oxford 1995 pp.69–72
  4. ^ White Australia The Round Table Volume 11, 1921
  5. ^ The Journal's History
  6. ^ May, Alexander The Round Table, 1910–66 DPhil. University of Oxford (1995) Appendix B pp451-453
  7. ^ May, Alexander The Round Table, 1910–66 DPhil. University of Oxford (1995) Appendix B pp451-453
  8. ^ McLemee, Scott (December 1996). "The Quigley Cult". George. 1 (10): 96, 98.

Further reading[edit]

  • May, Alexander The Round Table, 1910–66 DPhil. University of Oxford (1995)
  • Bosco, Andrea The Round Table Movement and the Fall of the 'Second' British Empire (1909-1919) (2017)
  • Kendle, John The Round Table Movement and Imperial Union (1975)
  • Quigley, Carroll The Anglo-American Establishment (1981)
  • Quigley, Carroll Tragedy & Hope (1966)

External links[edit]