Download Elites, Enterprise and the Making of the British Overseas by H. Bowen PDF

By H. Bowen

This publication examines the cultural, financial, and social forces that formed the improvement of the British empire within the eighteenth century. The empire is positioned in a extensive historiographical context educated by way of vital fresh paintings at the 'fiscal-military state', and 'gentlemanly capitalism'. this enables the empire to be obvious now not as a sequence of discrete, unconnected nation-states scattered the world over, yet as a advertisement, cultural, and social physique with its roots very firmly planted in metropolitan society.

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Additional info for Elites, Enterprise and the Making of the British Overseas Empire, 1688–1775

Example text

This is not least because the concept of an Industrial Revolution, as classically formulated, has come under fire from those who have used revised figures and statistics to suggest that economic development in Britain was much more gradual than was once thought. This interpretation has in itself become a matter for controversy and this has served only to underline the complexity of the issues involved when attempts are made to establish a pattern of overseas activity based upon a chronology formulated with reference to landmarks in domestic history.

66 The lure of the interior exercised a strong influence on settlers and speculators alike for, as George Washington advised a fellow Virginian in 1767, there was always 'an opening prospect in the back country for adventurers, where numbers resort to, and where an enterprising man with very little money may lay the foundation for a noble estate in the new settlements ... ' 67 Even those without access to the resources and connections that were necessary for land purchase and speculative activity on a grand scale were offered the prospect of rapid economic and social progress.

44 Even so, any critic, with one eye on the various 'interest groups' that used to feature so prominently in Hanoverian political historiography, could ask whether or not the significant differences, tensions and divisions between different elites in British society were such that they would make it difficult to bring these groups together under one broad gentlemanly capitalist banner. Or, to put it another way, it could perhaps be argued that differences in outlook, lifestyle, behaviour and assumptions were such that, while various groups of individuals might be described by the historian as being gentlemanly capitalists, they might in reality have little in common with one another.

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