Download PDF by Jennifer Pitts: A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain

By Jennifer Pitts

ISBN-10: 0691115583

ISBN-13: 9780691115580

ISBN-10: 0691127913

ISBN-13: 9780691127910

A dramatic shift in British and French rules approximately empire opened up within the sixty years straddling the flip of the 19th century. As Jennifer Pitts indicates in A flip to Empire, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Jeremy Bentham have been between many first and foremost of this era to criticize ecu empires as unjust in addition to politically and economically disastrous for the conquering countries. by means of the mid-nineteenth century, besides the fact that, the main trendy British and French liberal thinkers, together with John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville, vigorously supported the conquest of non-European peoples. Pitts explains that this mirrored an increase in civilizational self-confidence, as theories of human growth turned extra triumphalist, much less nuanced, and no more tolerant of cultural distinction. while, imperial growth in another country got here to be visible as a political undertaking that will support the emergence of solid liberal democracies inside of Europe. Pitts exhibits that liberal thinkers frequently celebrated for respecting not just human equality and liberty but in addition pluralism supported an inegalitarian and decidedly nonhumanitarian overseas politics. but such moments characterize no longer an important characteristic of liberal concept yet a remarkable departure from perspectives shared through accurately these late-eighteenth-century thinkers whom Mill and Tocqueville observed as their forebears. Fluently written, A flip to Empire bargains a unique evaluate of recent political inspiration and foreign justice, and an illuminating standpoint on carrying on with debates over empire, intervention, and liberal political commitments.

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Extra info for A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France

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42 Although some British observers recognized the role of British rule in these pernicious developments, particularly regarding the East India Company’s disruptive efforts to fix property rights, the widespread assumption was that Indian culture was responsible for the society’s backwardness and British rule was the country’s main hope for enlightenment and advancement. ”43 As Washbrook argues, The predominant effects which [British rule in India] had (both intended and unintended) were less to transport British civilization to the East than to construct there a society founded on the perpetuation of “Oriental” difference, as Edward Said has put it.

He proposes that hunting society naturally evolves into pastoral society through the gradual taming of animals. ”43 Hunting societies, Smith argues, do not extend property beyond immediate possession because there is nothing one can own that is worth the trouble of protecting in this way. 44 Still, while such societies might be simpler in their organization, their laws less precise and their manners less refined than those of more advanced societies, they are not, in his account, generically different from the other three stages, or set apart from the course of history.

In the nineteenth century, a number of factors, from the end of the ancien re´gime in France and the extension of suffrage in Britain, to the abolition of the slave trade and eventually of slavery in European colonies, to the economic and technological breakthroughs of the industrial revolution, lent a conviction even to radical social critics such as J. S. Mill that European (or at least British and French) political culture was unimpeachably superior to those of the rest of the world’s societies.

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A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France by Jennifer Pitts


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