The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Ideas in Context)
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David Armitage presents the first comprehensive history of British conceptions of empire for half a century, tracing the emergence of British imperial identity from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries. This book sheds new light on major British political thinkers, from Sir Thomas Smith to David Hume, by providing novel accounts of the "British problem" in the early modern period, of the relationship between Protestantism and empire, of theories of property, liberty and political economy in imperial perspective, and of the imperial contribution to the emergence of the British identity.
Literature for Georgia’, William and Mary Quarterly, rd ser., (), –. Compare James Edward Oglethorpe, Some Account of the Design of the Trustees for Establishing Colonys in America (), ed. Rodney M. Baine and Phinizy Spalding (Athens, Ga., ), –. The political economy of empire Machiavelli may have been mostly silent regarding commerce as a reason of state, but he could certainly still supply pointed advice for the promotion of a modern colony; such counsel could
Moreover, this British empire encompassed the seas around Britain even as far as the French and German coasts, and the recently rediscovered lands on the north-east coast of America. However, at the heart of this enormous monarchy lay ‘the Lawfull British, and English Jurisdiction over Scotland’; ‘the Lawfull Possession as well as the Proprietie of the Supremacy over Scotland ’ had been vested in the English royal line from CE until , as Henry VIII’s ‘little Pamphlet’, the Declaration of
antihispanism of Hakluyt. The intensely local complexity of late Jacobean foreign policy, with its impact upon public opinion and thence upon Purchas’s major works, may provide another reason for Purchas’s inassimilability to later, starker narratives of the origins of the British Empire in unadulterated Elizabethan opposition to Spain. Purchas’s use of Spanish sources in fact strengthened his anti-popery. Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumus, , sig. [¶]v. On the foreign policy of this period
may become corrupted at home by the reaction of arbitrary political maxims in the East upon our domestic politics, just as Greece and Rome were demoralised by their contact with Asia?’ asked Richard Cobden in . ‘Not merely is the reaction possible, it is inevitable’, replied Hobson: ‘the spirit, the policy, and the methods of Imperialism are hostile to the institutions of popular G. L. Harriss, ‘Medieval Government and Statecraft’, Past and Present, ( July ),
from the territorial empires that had preceded it, and in turn from the extra-European empires strung across the globe. The classic nationstate united popular sovereignty, territorial integrity and ethnic homogeneity into a single deﬁnition; it therefore stood as the opposite of empire, in so far as that was deﬁned as a hierarchical structure of domination, encompassing diverse territories and ethnically diverse populations. The nation-state as it had been precipitated out of a system of