1st Edition

New World Empires Cultures of Power and Governance in the Americas

By Ilhan Niaz Copyright 2025
    402 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is a sweeping reexamination of the evolution of the state, covering the indigenous orders of pre-Columbian America, the Spanish, Portuguese, and British Empires in the Americas, and their major successor states of Mexico, Brazil, and the United States.

    Exploring the mechanisms of colonial order construction and the way in which that process prepared the ground for the emergence of national empires after independence, Niaz contends that the destruction of indigenous demography and culture was so complete that the societies and states of the New World are colonial in their basic fabric, thereby diverging from the Asian and African experience of European colonial rule. Independence from European empires intensified repression, instability, and inequality in each of the successor states, turning the rhetoric of equality and revolutionism into a legitimizing device for extraordinarily brutal regimes that completed the colonizing mission begun by European states. The volume examines these contradictions from a South Asian perspective and places the Americas in the broader narrative of the world’s historical experience of governance and arbitrary rule.

    New World Empires is intended for academics, professionals, and students interested in American Studies, political studies, and the history of governance in the Americas.


    1. Indigenous Orders: Maya Virtue, Aztec Honor, and Inca Royal Authority in the Americas Prior to the European Advent

    2. Occidental Despotism: The Spanish Empire in the Americas

    3. The Portuguese Variant of Occidental Despotism

    4. The Colonial Origins of the American State of Laws and Constitutional Plutocracy, 1600–1776

    5. The Mexican National Empire

    6. “This Will Be a Great Kingdom”: Brazil’s Path to Legal Democracy and Arbitrary Rule

    7. The Constitutional Plutocratic Empire: The Culture of Power and Governance of the United States of America



    Ilhan Niaz is Professor of History at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. His previous books include Downfall: Lessons for our Final Century (2022), The State During the British Raj: Imperial Governance in South Asia, 1700-1947 (2019), and Old World Empires: Cultures of Power and Governance in Eurasia (2014).