'A Free though Conquering People': Eighteenth-Century Britain and its Empire, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

'A Free though Conquering People'

Eighteenth-Century Britain and its Empire, 1st Edition

By P.J. Marshall


316 pages

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Hardback: 9780860789130
pub: 2003-06-27

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The present collection brings together a series of studies by Peter Marshall on British imperial expansion in the later 18th century. Some essays focus on the thirteen North American colonies, the West Indies, and British contact with China; those dealing specifically with India have appeared in the author's 'Trade and Conquest: Studies on the rise of British domination in India'. The majority, culminating in the four addresses on 'Britain and the World in the Eighteenth Century' delivered as President of the Royal Historical Society, deal with the processes and dynamics of empire-building and aim to bring together the history of Asia and the Atlantic. The themes investigated include the pressures that induced Britain to pursue new imperial strategies from the mid-18th century, Britain's contrasting fortunes in India and North America, and the way in which the British adjusted their conceptions of empire from one based on freedom and the domination of the seas, to one which involved the exercise of autocratic rule over millions of people and great expanses of territory.


'It is difficult to overstate Mashall's influence on generations of scholars or his contribution to British Imperial history, and these collected essays reveal why.' Itinerario

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; 'A free though conquering people': Britain and Asia in the 18th century; Empire and authority in the later 18th century; The 18th-century Empire; Parliament and property rights in the late 18th-century British Empire; A nation defined by Empire, 1755-76; Empire and opportunity in Britain, 1763-75; Who cared about the thirteen colonies? Some evidence from philanthropy; The case for coercing America before the Revolution; The moral swing to the east: British humanitarianism, India and the West Indies; The Caribbean and India in the later 18th century: two British Empires or one?; Britain and China in the late 18th century; Lord Macartney, India and China: the two faces of the Enlightenment; Britain and the world in the 18th century: I, Reshaping the Empire; II, Britons and Americans; III, Britain and India; IV, The turning outwards of Britain; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain