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This book surveys some of the key intellectual influences in the formation of Australian society by emphasizing the impact of the Enlightenment, with its commitment to rational inquiry and progress. The first part analyzes the political and religious background of the period from the First Fleet (1788) to the mid-nineteenth century. The second demonstrates the pervasiveness of ideas of improvement across a range of human endeavors, from agriculture to education, penal discipline and race relations. Throughout, the book highlights the extent to which developments in Australia can be compared with those in Britain and the U.S.Read more
- Comparative treatment of Australian, US and British themes
- Draws together many of the major themes in Australian colonial history
- Links the historiography of colonial Australia with that of Britain and Europe
Reviews & endorsements
"...this is an extremely valuable contribution to the literature on colonial Australia and the ideological origins of European expansion more generally, dealing with political issues still pressing in post-colonial societies and setting grounds for future research." ItinerarioSee more reviews
"...a stimulating, enjoyable, and accessible contribution to the intellectual history of Australia. Both the author and the publisher are to be congratulated." American Historical Review
"...exhaustively researched and gracefully written...It is a masterly study of how the ideas of Locke, Bentham and Paine suffused the institutions of the colony." London Review of Books
"The book is elegantly produced, with apposite illustrations and a bibliography that rewards both specialist and generalist readers ... a handsome and scholarly book." The International History Review
"...excellent reading for students and scholars alike who want to inform themselves about the influence of the Enlightenment, the improvement ethic, and science in early Australia." Isis
"[A] useful summary of the ideas that influenced the growth of the European settlement in Australia. Recommended." Choice
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- Date Published: December 2005
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521617215
- length: 248 pages
- dimensions: 246 x 189 x 13 mm
- weight: 0.45kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements
Part I. Contexts:
Part II. The Possibilities of Improvement:
4. The earth and its fruits
5. Science and the land
6. Cultivation of the mind
7. Of crimes and punishments
8. Race and the limits of 'improvement'
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