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

A dramatic shift in British and French rules approximately empire spread out 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 in the beginning of this era to criticize eu empires as unjust in addition to politically and economically disastrous for the conquering countries. by way of the mid-nineteenth century, besides the fact that, the main popular 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 development turned extra triumphalist, much less nuanced, and not more tolerant of cultural distinction. while, imperial growth in another country got here to be visible as a political venture that will support the emergence of reliable liberal democracies inside of Europe. Pitts indicates that liberal thinkers often 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 now not an important function of liberal notion yet a amazing departure from perspectives shared by means of accurately these late-eighteenth-century thinkers whom Mill and Tocqueville observed as their forebears. Fluently written, A flip to Empire deals a unique review of recent political inspiration and foreign justice, and an illuminating point of view on carrying on with debates over empire, intervention, and liberal political commitments.

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This page intentionally left blank Part One CRITICS OF EMPIRE This page intentionally left blank Two Adam Smith on Societal Development and Colonial Rule ADAM SMITH WAS ONE of the eighteenth century’s most innovative and sophisticated theorists of societal development, one who believed that while commercial society was by no means perfect, it made possible material comfort, improvement of laws and government, and refinement of manners unavailable in earlier stages of society. At the same time, Smith articulated a moral and social theory that was broad-minded in its analysis of unfamiliar societies and practices and careful to avoid presumptions of European cultural or moral superiority.

Had this constitution been attacked by no other enemies but the feeble efforts of human reason, it must have endured forever. But that immense and well-built fabric, which all the wisdom and virtue of man could never have shaken, much less have overturned, was by the natural course of things, first weakened, and afterwards in part destroyed. 25) Those involved were not conscious of the factors that led to developments such as the weakening of the clergy and the feudal nobility, and they could not have achieved them through deliberate action.

He describes a case in which members of a hunting society recognize direct possession alone as legally authoritative but are also able to imagine and acknowledge more extended forms of property. He tells of a woman of a Canadian hunting society who left a string of wampum, which was clearly precious to her, in the field of another woman, who then took it. When the first woman appealed to one of the chief men of the village, he told her that “in strict law” she no longer had a right to the wampum (Smith describes the chief as using the language of law, although he has held that government strictly speaking does not arise until the pastoral stage).

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


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