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A Vision of Empire: The development of British opinion regarding the American Colonial Empire 1730-1770

Cornish, RT; (1987) A Vision of Empire: The development of British opinion regarding the American Colonial Empire 1730-1770. Doctoral thesis, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

British colonial thinking was already well developed before the Stamp Act crisis of 1765-6 and this work traces the evolution of such thought from a period of relative neglect through a period of virtual renaissance in the 1750s to the formation of the North Ministry. Based upon both private and public opinion, the analysis concludes that the vision of Empire developed by 1770 was, in essence, the mercantile conceptualism which first encouraged the birth of Empire itself. Thus the work illustrates the strong degree of continuity in British colonial thinking, while at the same time, it provides a basis from which to interpret later British responses to the final crisis of Empire. Colonial theory did not exist in a political vacuum divorced from action, expediency or interest. The successive agencies which aided an awareness of colonial problems - the Board of Trade, the colonial expert, the Seven Years War, the Canada-Guadeloupe debate and the Stamp Act crisis are investigated in a series of interlinked chapters. The advocates of all interests constantly justified their relative positions through an appeal to history, precedent and preconception. This prevented any real progress in British attitudes towards Empire. Paradoxically, as British opinion became more concerned with the Empire its vision had little to do with colonial actualities. In short, even colonial expert opinion was illusory.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:A Vision of Empire: The development of British opinion regarding the American Colonial Empire 1730-1770
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > History

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