Book

The Making and Unmaking of Empires

P.J. Marshall

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199226665
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191706813 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226665.001.0001

Series: Classical Presences

The Making and Unmaking of Empires

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The loss of the greater part of the British Empire in North America, along with the independence of the former thirteen colonies and the creation of a new British territorial empire in eastern India, are conventionally interpreted as unconnected events. American independence has long been seen as marking the end of a ‘first’, largely trading, Atlantic empire of white settlement, while the extension of British rule over Bengal signalled the creation of a new ‘second’ empire of rule over non-European peoples that was to spread over India and into south-east Asia and Africa during the nineteenth century. This book contests that view, arguing that both losses in America and gains in India were part of a single phase of British imperial history in the later eighteenth century. In the face of worldwide competition from France, Britain sought to consolidate her imperial possessions and maximise their contribution to her wealth and security. Policies directed to these ends seemed to threaten the autonomy of the elites in British America and drove them to resistance, for which they were able to win widespread popular support. By contrast, in Bengal in particular, the British were able to achieve accommodations with landowning and commercial interests in India, which enabled their empire to survive and later to grow.

Keywords: British Empire; thirteen colonies; American independence; Bengal; settlement; non-European peoples; France; elites

Book.  408 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Making and Unmaking of Empires

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British Worldwide Expansion in The Making and Unmaking of Empires

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State and Empire in The Making and Unmaking of Empires

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War and its Transformations: India 1754–1765 in The Making and Unmaking of Empires

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Ideas of Empire 1763–1776: The ‘Old’ Empire in The Making and Unmaking of Empires

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Ideas of Empire 1763–1776: The ‘New’ Empire in The Making and Unmaking of Empires

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The Unmaking of Empire, I: North America 1763–1768 in The Making and Unmaking of Empires

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