Lineages of Empire: The Historical Roots of British Imperial Thought

Front Cover
Duncan Kelly
OUP/British Academy, Apr 30, 2009 - Political Science - 262 pages
Recently there has been an explosion of academic and popular interest in the history of how Britons have thought about their Empire. This volume focuses on the ways in which the intellectual history and political thought of modern Britain have been saturated with imperial concerns. Chapters address thematic questions about size and scale, race, colonial emigration, and the ideological uses of the classical tradition, questions that are crucial for understanding the historical roots of British imperial thought. There are also studies of figures central to understanding the character of intellectual debates about the British Empire from the 18th to the 20th centuries: Edmund Burke, James Steuart, Adam Smith, and Harold Laski. This volume also shows how an awareness of these histories of the imperial past can provide numerous lessons for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of much contemporary political thinking about empire and imperialism. In fact, whilst there are many studies of the British Empire, as well as innumerable volumes on the imperial cast of much modern history, the thematic and chronological coherence of this volume makes it a unique statement of the latest thinking about these questions from internationally acclaimed political theorists and intellectual historians.

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