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

By H. Bowen

This ebook examines the cultural, financial, and social forces that formed the improvement of the British empire within the eighteenth century. The empire is put in a wide historiographical context trained by means of vital fresh paintings at the 'fiscal-military state', and 'gentlemanly capitalism'. this permits the empire to be noticeable no longer as a chain of discrete, unconnected nation-states scattered internationally, 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

For some, both in the colonies and Britain itself, the acquisition and purchase of land at the periphery offered the prospect of considerable financial gain and personal advancement. Although in reality few investors ever realized their expectations of securing large returns from their involvement in land speculation, they nevertheless often played a key part in extending the frontiers of settlement by recruiting settlers in Europe and then shipping them across the Atlantic. Having established a claim to territory, it was essential to people the land in order to clear it, cultivate it and so increase its value.

This was very much the case, for example, during the War of Jenkins' Ear when, in the wake of Admiral Vernon's widely acclaimed defeat of the Spanish at Porto Bello in 1739, an expedition was sent to the West Indies in order to try and exert further pressure on Spain's South American empire and commercial activities. In spite of meticulous planning, the operation went badly wrong. 8 Such disastrous setbacks, which in this case prompted a public outcry and contributed to Walpole's removal from office in 1742, illustrated the hazards associated with mounting combined military operations a long way from home waters.

In recent years, however, the question of the role of the metropole within the processes of overseas expansion has been brought very much to the fore once more. This has come about through the development of an interpretation which sees Britain's imperial fortunes inextricably entwined with the longterm evolution of a distinct form of capitalist enterprise culture which embraced several different elites in British society. J. G. Hopkins have produced an important body of work highlighting the mechanics and dynamics of British overseas expansion.

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