For other early studies of imperial ideology, cf. David Armitage, "Introduction," in David Armitage ed. Koenigsberger examined why the distribution of power between crowns and parliaments had varied across early modern European states. Explanatory models which took as their unit of analysis a single country in isolation were inadequate, he argued, since most early modern polities "were composite states, including more than one country under the sovereignty of one ruler.
Charles V and Philip II did not contemplate imposing Spanish law wholesale on Sicily and Naples, as had been done in Mexico and Peru, and were careful to legitimate Spanish rule in terms of Sicilian and Neapolitan law, rather than on the basis of rights of conquest. Koenigsberger, "Dominium regale or Dominium politicum et regale: monarchies and parliaments in early modern Europe," in H.
John Robertson, "Empire and union: two concepts of the early modern European political order," in Armitage, Theories of Empire , pp. Koenigsberger and George L. Mosse, Europe in the Sixteenth Century London, , pp. Koenigsberger, "Composite states, representative institutions and the American Revolution," Historical Research Koenigsberger, George L.
Mosse and G. Bowler, Europe in the Sixteenth Century 2nd ed. London, , pp. Koenigsberger, The Practice of Empire Ithaca, , pp. Philip II's claims to absolute authority notwithstanding, Spanish rule in Sicily and elsewhere remained "subject to severe limitations. For personal and administrative reasons monarchs sought to expand their power over representative assemblies, precipitating constitutional crises that tended, eventually, to be resolved in the crown's favour.
Yet this transformation was never complete, a key obstacle to its realisation being "the fact of multiple monarchies. Pocock appealed to historians to tackle a new subject: Britain. Pocock, "British history: a plea for a new subject," in J. England, Scotland and Ireland, and later Britain's colonies abroad, were each to be understood as products of conquest and consolidation, linked to each other in turn through a variety of constitutional structures.
Early modern Britain, in short, was a composite monarchy of multiple kingdoms and ought to be studied as such, with an emphasis on "constitutional and political pluralism. Like Koenigsberger, Elliott emphasised continuities across the traditional historiographical divide between medieval fragmentation and 20 Pocock, "British history: a plea," pp. Pocock, "The field enlarged: an introduction," in Pocock, Islands , p. Works included: Steven G. Ellis and Sarah Barber eds. Stringer eds. While the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were indeed characterised by a powerful centralising tendency, composite state structures showed remarkable resilience: the "enlightened" monarchies of eighteenth century Britain and France "remained," Elliott argued, "essentially composite.
Nevertheless, he had long been aware that early modern Spain was "a plural, not a unitary, state. The administrative challenge posed by the vast distances separating Spain from its New World colonies stimulated the development of bureaucratic structures in Madrid, and the emergence of an administrative class to run them. Psychologically, too, the Atlantic empire promoted the hegemony of Castile within the Monarchy, fuelling a Castilian arrogance towards that stoked resentment and destabilised the structure of aeque principaliter.
Spain, Europe and the Wider World 1500-1800
Elliott, "A Europe of composite monarchies," in J. Greengrass, Conquest and Coalescence. Elliott, Imperial Spain, London, , pp. Armitage sought, as Elliott had done for Spain, to "reintegrate the history of the British Empire with the history of early-modern Britain," for instance by exploring the relationship between the composite structure of the British state and the federative structure of the "British Atlantic Empire.
Historians of political thought, Elliott complained in , have not yet "accepted fully the implications" of Charles V's revival of the imperial idea. Preparatory work had been done by German historians in the s, who had investigated concepts of confederation and federation and, in the case of Franz Bosbach, reconstructed the use of "Universal Monarchy" as primarily a negative epithet in the publicist literature of the seventeenth century. Morrill, "The War s ," p.
Braddick eds. Subsequent seminars held between and sought to correct this by investigating political discourse in early modern Scotland and Ireland and pre-federal America49 and examining political thought in eighteenth century Britain, hitherto overlooked "as something of a conceptual terra incognita.
Mason ed. Scotland and England Edinburgh, , chap. Fletcher, Pocock wrote in , has "emerged" as a major figure in the Scottish canon. Pocock, "Empire, state and confederation: the War of American Independence as a crisis in multiple monarchy," in Pocock, Islands , p. Schochet, "Introduction," in Gordon J. Schochet ed. Schochet dir.
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Kelley dir. Most important for this discussion were J. Pocock dir. Schwoerer dir.
Schochet, Lois G. Schwoerer and J.
Pocock dirs. Mason dir. Schochet, "Preface and Acknowledgements," in Gordon J. Awareness of the composite character of the British polity served to highlight the coexistence of distinct but mutually constitutive English, Scottish, Irish and British political discourses, concerned among other things with the relations between their respective countries, and thus drew attention to "such terms as 'empire' and 'confederation.
Where Scottish elites had argued for confederal union with England, against the resistance of the English, so American elites argued for a definition of "colony" that gave them rights as equal partners in the British system, effectively redefining empire as confederation. The American colonists' struggle for equal participation in a confederal British empire was thus frustrated and became a war for independence.
Just as Elliott had used the framework of composite monarchy to reject exceptionialist treatments of Spain,59 so Robertson sought to show that Anglo-Scottish union was but a "British variant of a wider pattern. Koebner, Empire, pp. In their preoccupation with sovereignty, he suggested, historians of political thought had neglected concepts—like "empire" and "union"—more suited to a Europe comprised not of independent states but of "a small number of imperial monarchies ruling over far- flung, sometimes rebellious provinces," alongside "various federal and confederal unions.
The latter became associated with expansive territorial empire, and the former with anti-imperial associations and, later, with commercial maritime empire. In the debate over Anglo-Scottish union Andrew Fletcher drew on these categories to promote confederal rather than incorporating union—a United Provinces of Great Britain. Crucially, the Scots could not advocate a federal union, since this had been pre-empted by Pufendorf over a century before; they were, Robertson concludes, "hoist by the rigidity of their conceptual inheritance. Like Elliott, Pagden was particularly interested in Spain's American colonies, which drew his focus away from thinking about composite monarchy and towards concerns about delimiting Papal from monarchical authority.
For Campanella, "language" rather than the sword was the principle instrument of empire: those who acquire "the empire over minds [are able] soon and little by little to found states. Robertson exempted German scholars from this reproach. Martti Koskenniemi has approached these issues from a different angle, arguing against conventional wisdom that there was no "international law" prior to the nineteenth century, but rather a juristic literature of statehood that grappled with an international order that was far from clear-cut.
Robertson, "European perspective," pp. Historiographical developments in the intervening period had highlighted structural analogies between state- and empire-building and drawn attention to the interactions between domestic and international politics. This provoked intellectual historians to reconstruct early modern thinking about composite structures, through such concepts as empire, union and confederation. Hont had participated in at least one of the Folger seminars directed by Pocock,67 and was very much aware of the historiographical developments described above.
Like the scholars previously discussed, he was interested in early modern ideas of empire and state-formation as expressed in debates about Anglo-Scottish union and European order. But to a greater extent than his contemporaries, his work emphasised the economic dimensions of those debates. Hont engaged most directly with the "composite monarchy" literature in a essay on nationalism and the nation-state.
Drawing on Elliott and Koenigsberger, and on the historical-sociology of early modern state-building,68 Hont argued that the emergence of the "nation-state" had to be understood in the context of radical changes in international order over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. That period had seen European states undergo a dramatic process of consolidation, centralisation and homogenisation, driven by the pressures of economic and military competition; composite monarchies—Britain foremost among them—transitioned, if incompletely and unevenly, into absolutist states.
His concern was the 65 Campanella, cited in Pagden, Spanish Imperialism, p. When seventeenth and eighteenth century thinkers debated empire and weighed up alternative models for structuring the state, they did so knowing that the key environment in which those structures would have to survive was that of cut- throat commercial rivalry. The Anglo-Scottish Union of was, for Hont, the "first instance of modern state formation where considerations of competitive trade played a major part.
Given England's superior might, Scottish elites thus faced a choice between political independence and access to international markets.
Product | Spain, Europe and the Wider World,
With Union, they opted for the latter. When English agitation against Irish competition threatened to strangle the Irish woollen and nascent linen industries, Anglo-Irish Protestants fought back by contesting the structure of England's composite monarchy. William Molyneux argued, as North American colonists would later do with respect to the colonies, that Ireland was not a dependent province of England, but rather a fellow sovereign state bound through confederation to a joint Crown and hence entitled to participate in English commercial liberty.
In conditions of free trade, Davenant worried, Ireland would undersell England, and in an environment where trade had become an "affair of state"78 this posed a fundamental challenge to English power and, ultimately, its liberty. Davenant thus urged the forcible suppression of Irish industry and Ireland's subjugation as what James 71 Hont, "Permanent crisis," pp. VI and I would have called a "naked province. This vibrant environment witnessed the creation of new forms of literature and art, between the Italian Renaissance and the Spanish Golden Age.
Urban planning, military architecture and natural history radically departed from medieval forms in Southern Europe, due to internal developments, constant contact with the Eastern Mediterranean and the oceanic expansion pioneered by the Portuguese. New trends of emigration and slave trade were triggered by this process of expansion, with impact on societies, family structures and systems of values.
Southern Europe also played a major role in the accumulation of information and knowledge concerning other continents, peoples and religions. The Catholic Enlightenment presented particularities with a major impact on Latin America. Liberal revolutions created a totally different social and political dynamic influenced by the French revolution. Earle and K. Lowe eds. Richard P. Saller eds. Francisco Bethencourt and Florike Egmond eds. Pamela M.
Even if, by , the French had been eliminated from the scene, the British were faced with the many problems involved in establishing control over enormous stretches of newly won territory, some of which brought them into closer proximity to a Spanish empire once again in expansionist mode, as well as to the lands and hunting grounds of an indigenous population whose hostility grew as increasing numbers of colonists from the eastern seaboard pressed into their territory.
Britain and France were both obsessed with securing access to the rich silver resources of Mexico and Peru. Late 17th-century buccaneers had shown that rich pickings were to be made along the coast of Chile and Peru, and French merchants took advantage of the Bourbon succession to the Spanish throne in to engage in an open or clandestine South Sea trade. The Treaty of Utrecht of , however, declared the Pacific the exclusive domain of Spanish shipping, with the result that both France and Britain, while defying Spanish attempts to prevent their ships from entering the Pacific, began searching for an alternative route through northern America.
Simultaneously, interest grew in the possibility of finding an entrance by way of the northern Pacific coast. With each power afraid that the other was stealing a march on it, French and British ministers brooded over every new scrap of information that might offer some hope of finding the elusive passage, or cast light on the Pacific ambitions of their rival. But he also shows how those imperial ambitions were constantly inflated and distorted by European ignorance of the coast to the north of Baja California. It was only slowly that the ignorance was dispelled, as European ships probed the coastline and Spaniards began moving north from New Mexico, impelled in part by fears about French and British intentions.
A comparable ignorance existed about the true extent of the vast French territory of Louisiana, and how and where it might connect with New Mexico. Just as inadequate cartography served to increase the tensions between the great powers so changes in knowledge were liable to lead to significant changes in ministerial priorities. This is particularly striking, as Mapp shows, in the case of Louisiana. For the first half of the 18th century Louisiana appeared to be a land of almost infinite potential in the eyes of French ministers.
But then, as knowledge increased, doubts began to grow. The picture that emerges from The Elusive West is one of three great powers — Britain, France and Spain — blundering their way through the American fog, tripping over obstacles they failed to see and imagining dangers that did not exist. The picture is a plausible one, and Mapp paints it well. His book, however, makes for dense reading. It is heavily based on archival research, and it shows.
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There is a relentlessness about his approach as he goes over the ground and fills in the blanks on the historical map. Yet for all that the book stands out for its historical intelligence and its ability to throw new light on old questions. First, and most obviously, its effective incorporation of the North American west into the strategic calculations of European statesmen will compel historians to review their ideas about the great struggle for empire in the 18th century.
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