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The Ideological Origins of the British Empire

The Ideological Origins of the British Empire

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  • Date Published: September 2000
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521789783


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About the Authors
  • The Ideological Origins of the British Empire presents a comprehensive history of British conceptions of empire for more than half a century. David Armitage traces the emergence of British imperial identity from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries, using a full range of manuscript and printed sources. By linking the histories of England, Scotland and Ireland with the history of the British Empire, he demonstrates the importance of ideology as an essential linking between the processes of state-formation and empire-building. This book sheds light on major British political thinkers, from Sir Thomas Smith to David Hume, by providing fascinating 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 British 'identities' in the Atlantic world.

    • Unique integration of history of Britain with history of British Empire
    • Chronological sweep, from mid-sixteenth to mid-eighteenth century
    • First book to integrate intellectual history with history of British Atlantic Empire
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    • Winner of the History Today Book of the Year prize for 2000

    Reviews & endorsements

    'The Ideological Origins of the British Empire is an important and necessary work.' Andrew Hadfield, The Times Literary Supplement

    ' … lucid in style and solid in research.' The Calcutta Telegraph (Editor's Choice)

    '… Armitage has produced an unexpected, original and persuasive account of the vexed - and charged - ideological relationship of empire, liberty and Britishness during the early modern period.' History of Political Thought

    ' … a valuable addition to studies on the British Empire. The author furnishes a fascinating analysis of political thought and ideological history, showing the difficulties encountered in the way of legitimating colonialism and political domination.' Contemporary South Asia

    '… impressively learned and forcefully argued …'. Yearbook of English Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2000
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521789783
    • length: 258 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: state and empire in British history
    2. The empire of Great Britain: England, Scotland and Ireland, c. 1542–1612
    3. Protestantism and empire: Hakluyt, Purchas and property
    4. The empire of the seas, 1576–1689
    5. Liberty and empire
    6. The political economy of empire
    7. Empire and ideology in the Walpolean era.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • The British Empire and Commonwealth
  • Author

    David Armitage, Harvard University, Massachusetts


    • Winner of the History Today Book of the Year prize for 2000

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