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Empire and Modern Political Thought

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Mikael Hörnqvist, Anthony Pagden, Richard Tuck, David Armitage, Michael Mosher, Uday S. Mehta, Emma Rothschild, Sankar Muthu, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Jennifer Pitts, Gabriel Paquette, Karuna Mantena
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  • Date Published: November 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107460034

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About the Authors
  • This collection of original essays by leading historians of political thought examines modern European thinkers' writings about conquest, colonization, and empire. The creation of vast transcontinental empires and imperial trading networks played a key role in the development of modern European political thought. The rise of modern empires raised fundamental questions about virtually the entire contested set of concepts that lay at the heart of modern political philosophy, such as property, sovereignty, international justice, war, trade, rights, transnational duties, civilization, and progress. From Renaissance republican writings about conquest and liberty to sixteenth-century writings about the Spanish conquest of the Americas through Enlightenment perspectives about conquest and global commerce and nineteenth-century writings about imperial activities both within and outside of Europe, these essays survey the central moral and political questions occasioned by the development of overseas empires and European encounters with the non-European world among theologians, historians, philosophers, diplomats, and merchants.

    • Includes original essays by leading historians of political thought
    • A wide-ranging study that covers many modern European thinkers and an array of philosophical and political perspectives
    • Covers topics relevant to several scholarly disciplines: history, political theory, international relations, postcolonial studies and anthropology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Authored by eminent and distinguished scholars in the field, the essays brought together in this volume offer a rich and nuanced set of contributions to contemporary debates on intellectual influences that shaped European empires and their progeny, the post-colonial nation. The sustained attention paid here to questions of empire and colonial rule in the works of particular European thinkers will be of great interest to students of political theory, imperial history, and post-colonial criticism."
    Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago

    "It was sometimes said that the British Empire was acquired in a fit of absence of mind. This was never exactly true, but certainly the European nations that acquired overseas empires from the 15th to the 20th century were often puzzled to know quite what they had done, how it was to be justified, how their new empires did, or more often did not, resemble those of the ancient world, and how they were to be governed. These thirteen essays, written by some of the most interesting recent writers on the theory and practice of empire, range from the anxieties of Spanish scholastic writers in the 16th century to those of French and British liberals in the 18th and 19th centuries. Everyone is at the top of their form; the result wears its formidable scholarship with a wonderful lightness of touch, and is deeply engrossing from start to finish."
    Alan Ryan, Princeton University, New Jersey

    "The entanglement between empire and political theory has been the site of some of the most exciting work in political theory in the last decade. Given the challenges of contemporary global politics, it has never been more important to have careful and historically rigorous treatments of the relationship between empire and political thought, and this volume delivers exactly that, bringing together some of the leading lights in the field to address this complex issue in a superb set of essays."
    Duncan Ivison, University of Sydney

    "… this book consists of twelve carefully written and tightly argued essays that add up to more than the sum of their parts … the study of modern imperialism will oblige political scientists (and historians) to move outside our comfort zones, and to embrace approaches that are expedient, eclectic and trans-disciplinary. This fine volume should work as a catalyst, stimulating and facilitating further work as the enterprise it surveys moves ahead."
    Theodore Koditschek, Canadian Journal of History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107460034
    • length: 418 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 155 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Machiavelli's three desires: Florentine republicans on liberty, empire, and justice Mikael Hörnqvist
    2. Conquest and the just war: the 'School of Salamanca' and the 'affair of the Indies' Anthony Pagden
    3. Alliances with infidels in the European imperial expansion Richard Tuck
    4. John Locke: theorist of empire? David Armitage
    5. Montesquieu on empire and enlightenment Michael Mosher
    6. Edmund Burke on empire, self-understanding and sympathy Uday S. Mehta
    7. Adam Smith in the British empire Emma Rothschild
    8. Conquest, commerce, and cosmopolitanism in Enlightenment political thought Sankar Muthu
    9. Liberalism, nation, and empire: the case of J. S. Mill Pratap Bhanu Mehta
    10. Republicanism, liberalism, and empire in post-revolutionary France Jennifer Pitts
    11. Colonies and empire in the political thought of Hegel and Marx Gabriel Paquette
    12. Social theory in the age of empire Karuna Mantena
    13. Political theory of empire and imperialism: an appendix Jennifer Pitts.

  • Editor

    Sankar Muthu, University of Chicago
    Sankar Muthu is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Enlightenment against Empire.


    Mikael Hörnqvist, Anthony Pagden, Richard Tuck, David Armitage, Michael Mosher, Uday S. Mehta, Emma Rothschild, Sankar Muthu, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Jennifer Pitts, Gabriel Paquette, Karuna Mantena

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