Creating the British Atlantic
Essays on Transplantation, Adaptation, and Continuity
Publication Year: 2013
Set mostly within an expansive British imperial and transatlantic framework, this new selection of writings from the renowned historian Jack P. Greene draws on themes he has been developing throughout his distinguished career. In these essays Greene explores the efforts to impose Old World institutions, identities, and values upon the New World societies being created during the colonization process. He shows how transplanted Old World components—political, legal, and social—were adapted to meet the demands of new, economically viable, expansive cultural hearths. Greene argues that these transplantations and adaptations were of fundamental importance in the formation and evolution of the new American republic and the society it represented.
The scope of this work allows Greene to consider in depth numerous subjects, including the dynamics of colonization, the development and character of provincial identities, the relationship between new settler societies in America and the emerging British Empire, and the role of cultural power in social and political formation.
Published by: University of Virginia Press
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This volume brings together a selection of nineteen of the articles, book chapters, and essays I have written during the fi fteen years since the University of Virginia Press published four volumes of my essays under various titles between 1992 and 1996.¹ Like those, this volume covers several inter-related subjects in the broad areas of early modern En glish/British America, the British Empire, and the early United States. Unlike those, which concen-...
— one —Hemispheric History and Atlantic History
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Historians of the early modern Americas have always been open to the broader approach. Already by the closing decades of the nineteenth century, they had recognized and sought to subvert the tendency of emerging national histories to reduce the colonial past to little more than the prehis-tory of the independent nations that formed in the Americas after the mid-1770s. By insisting that colonial histories be contextualized, both as parts of ...
— two —Reformulating Englishness
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Few developments have had a greater impact on the social organiza-tion of the globe than the movement of peoples outward from Europe be ginning during the early modern era. At fi rst moving west and south into the Americas and south and east into Africa and Asia, this expansion inaugu-rated a movement of peoples and cultures that during the nineteenth century extended through Siberia, Australia, Oceania, and Africa. Moving as explor-...
— three —State Formation, Resistance, and theCreation of Revolutionary Tradit
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The 1997 sears symposium, “Transatlantic Revolutionary Traditions 1688–1824,” at Purdue University seems to have been a response to two his-toriographical trends, an older and by now quite venerable, not to say antique, interest in revolutionary ideology and the newer and more trendy interest in the transatlantic context of historical developments around the Atlantic rim. Particularly evident in the En glish-speaking world and stimulated by the pio-...
— four —Colonial History and National History
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For more than a century, the relationship between colonial history and national history has been a problematic one for professional historians of both eras. Since at least the 1890s, colonial historians have been acutely aware that the old-fashioned nineteenth-century conception of American history as the history of the United States and its antecedents is thoroughly anachronistic and insuffi ciently attentive to the larger contexts in which developments in ...
— five —Transatlantic Colonization and theRedefi nition of Empire in the Early Modern Era
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For more than a century past,” Adam Smith remarked in 1776 in the conclusion to An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, the “rulers of Great Britain have . . . amused the people with the imagina-tion that they possessed a great empire on the west side of the Atlantic. This empire, however, has hitherto,” Smith lamented, “existed in imagination only. It has hitherto been but the project of an empire; not a gold mine, but the proj-...
— six —Traditions of Consensual Governance in theConstruction of State Authority in theEarly Modern European Empires in America
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In every thing except their foreign trade,” observed Adam Smith in 1776, dilating upon the causes of the rapid development of new colonial societies in the Wealth of Nations, “the liberty of the En glish colonists is complete. It is in every respect equal to that of their fellow-citizens at home, and is secured in the same manner, by an assembly of the representatives of the people.” “The government of the En glish colonies,” he observed, “is perhaps the only one ...
— seven —Britain’s Overseas Empire before 1780
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As a result of the American War for Independence, the British overseas empire in 1783 lost just under half of the thirty-three Atlantic colonies it had held when war began in 1775. In addition to the thirteen that became the United States, East and West Florida were retroceded to Spain, and the French did not return Tobago, which they had captured during the war. Over the next half century, the focus of empire shifted heavily to India, which until ...
— eight —“Of Liberty and of the Colonies”
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The early modern En glish/British Empire in America was a nego-tiated empire. From the beginning, the weakness of coercive resources in the colonies forced London offi cials to build metropolitan authority upon settler-created structures of power. To an important extent, therefore, metro-politan colonial authority had always coexisted with extensive local autonomy on the part of provincial governments dominated by colonial settlers.¹ Increas-...
— nine —1759
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The fits of patriotic ecstasy that reverberated throughout the Brit-ish Empire following the British conquest of Quebec in 1759, and again after the favorable—for the British—conclusion of the Seven Years’ War in 1763, disguised from the celebrants the many underlying problems and residual tensions that would over the next few decades reduce the size and scope of the empire, radically change its character, and reconfi gure global power in the ...
— ten —An Empire of Freemen?
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Many eighteenth-century Britons celebrated the representative institutions that settlers had devised in the early colonies and that had subsequently become a standard feature of British colonial governance as the central element that allegedly distinguished Britain’s free overseas empire from those that other nations established. In America, proudly declared the agricul-tural writer Arthur Young in 1772, “Spain, Portugal and France have planted ...
— eleven —Empire and Identity from theElizabethan Era to the American Revolution
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How the development of a vast transoceanic empire during the early modern era aff ected the collective identity of the British people who dominated and defi ned that identity is the subject of this chapter. The earli-est stages of En glish overseas expansion occurred during the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, the very period when En glish opinion leaders were elaborat-ing an identity for the emerging En glish nation.¹ While Protestantism, social ...
— twelve —“By Their Laws Shall Ye Know Them”
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For the past quarter century, an expanding cadre of early American legal historians, abandoning the internalist approach of earlier legal histo-rians for the sociolegal approach pioneered, for American national legal history, by J. Willard Hurst in the 1950s, has been producing a rich and sophisticated body of work on many aspects of colonial British American legal cultures.¹ That the signifi cance of this work has not been suffi ciently appreciated—that ...
— thirteen —Liberty, Slavery, and theTransformation of British Identity in theEighteenth-Century West Indies
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The earliest stages of En glish overseas expansion occurred during the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, the very era when En glish opinion leaders were elaborating an identity for the emerging En glish nation.¹ Protes-tantism, social openness, intellectual and scientifi c achievement, and prosper-ity and trade were all important components of that identity, but liberty, as fostered and defi ned by the unique En glish system of law and government, ...
— fourteen —Alterity and the Production of Identity in theEarly Modern British American Empireand the Early United States
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During a house of commons debate in November 1775 over what, in light of its army’s misadventures in Massachusetts the previous spring, Britain should do to deal with colonial resistance to parliamentary authority, William Innes, member of Parliament for Ilchester, spoke at length in favor of strong coercive measures. Emphatically questioning whether the colonists were even “the off spring of Englishmen, and as such entitled to the privileges ...
— fifteen —State Identities and National Identity in theEra of the American Revolution
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How a nation forged out of a composite of old polities develops a na -tional identity and sense of loyalty among its citizens is an intricate and fascinating problem that deserves more attention than it has so far had in the new literature on the history of early modern and modern state formation. This problem is perhaps even more intriguing when, as in the case of the United States, the new national state is an unintended consequence of an unplanned ...
— sixteen —Social and Cultural Capital in Colonizationand State Building in the Early Modern Era
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SOCIAL CAPITAL is a relatively new concept which political scientists and sociologists have developed to distinguish certain kinds of social resources from other kinds, namely fi nancial or investment capital, physical capital in the form of fi xed or moveable material resources, and human capital in the form of individual knowledge and technical skills. As employed by modern social sci-entists such as Robert Putnam, social capital consists of the organizations and ...
— seventeen —Pluribus or Unum?
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The area that in 1776 became the United States was peopled by de -scendants of a combination of three groups: (1) the original aboriginal population who had long occupied the area when Europeans initiated a sus-tained encounter between the Old World and the New at the end of the fi f-teenth century, (2) many Europeans who had poured into colonial En glish or, after 1707, British North America beginning in the early seventeenth cen-...
— eighteen —The Cultural Dimensions of Political Transfers
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Few developments have had a greater infl uence on the social organiza-tion of the globe than the movement of peoples outward from Europe beginning during the early modern era. In the early modern Americas, this development was manifest in the establishment of a large number of settler and trading societies, each of them associated—and occasionally even sponsored by—a European state. We have long known that the charter—or founding—...
— nineteen —Early Modern Southeastern North Americaand the Broader Atlantic and American Worlds
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Historians of neither the indigenous inhabitants of the mainland of southeastern North America nor the colonies Europeans established there after 1560 have ever been comfortable working within the framework of the history of the South. The very idea of the South as a distinctive entity characterized by slavery, large numbers of people of African descent, large plantations producing staple crops for export, low investment in education and ...
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Page Count: 480
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Early American Histories