Theories of Empire, 1450–1800  book cover
1st Edition

Theories of Empire, 1450–1800

Edited By

David Armitage

ISBN 9780860785163
Published April 30, 1998 by Routledge
420 Pages

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Book Description

Theories of Empire, 1450-1800 draws upon published and unpublished work by leading scholars in the history of European expansion and the history of political thought. It covers the whole span of imperial theories from ancient Rome to the American founding, and includes a series of essays which address the theoretical underpinnings of the Spanish, Portuguese, French, British and Dutch empires in both the Americas and in Asia. The volume is unprecedented in its attention to the wider intellectual contexts within which those empires were situated - particularly the discourses of universal monarchy, millenarianism, mercantalism, and federalism - and in its mapping of the shift from Roman conceptions of imperium to the modern idea of imperialism.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Imperium Romanum: empire and the language of power, J. S. Richardson; Empire and union: two concepts of the early modern European political order, John Robertson; The Habsburg world empire and the revival of Ghibellinism, John M. Headley; The European debate on universal monarchy, Franz Bosbach; Imperio particular e imperio universal en las Cartas de relación de Hernán Cortés, Victor Frankl; The seizure of overseas territories by the European powers, John H. Elliott; Dispossessing the Barbarian: the language of Spanish Thomism and the debate over the property rights of the American Indians, Anthony Pagden; The ideology of English colonization: from Ireland to America, Nicholas P. Canny; Sovereignty-association, 1500-1783, W. J. Eccles; Freitas versus Grotius, C. H. Alexandrowicz; Millenarianism and Empire: Portuguese Asian decline and the ’Crise de Conscience’ of the missionaries, G. D. Winius; Power versus plenty as objectives of foreign policy in the 17th and 18th centuries, Jacob Viner; New wine in old skins? American definitions of empire and the emergence of a new concept, Norbert Kilian; Spain and the breakdown of the imperial ethos: the problem of equality, Timothy E. Anna; Aboriginal property and western theory: recovering a middle ground, James Tully; Index.

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David Armitage is Professor of History, Harvard University, USA


'this will be a very useful source for students studying the first expansion of Europe.' English Historical Review 'David Armitage has succeeded, where many editors fail miserably...Theories of Empire does rise above the narrow confines of national history and serves as a useful foundation for scholars working in a variety of fields...' Sixteenth Century Journal ’European and Non-European Societies and Christianity and Missions along with the other volumes in An Expanding World should become a standard collection for any academic library. The invaluable bibliography, the variety of themes, and the historical problems will engage students of all levels, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral, in many aspects of early modern and world history for years to come.' Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XXX, No. 1 ’Scholars will find much of value in these essays. The authors include leading historians of European expansion; the cover important theories associated with empire, and they discuss the major colonial powers.’ Canadian Journal of History '... offers valuable insight... a worthy contribution to the literature on the colonization of the Americas... a fine addition to one's personal bookshelf.' Journal of World History '... serves as a useful foundation for scholars working in a variety of fields, who seek a more comparative framework for their own research into the questions of empire and imperialism.' Sixteenth Centry Journal, Vol. XXXI