Gentlemanly Capitalism, Imperialism and Global History by Shigeru Akita (auth.)

By Shigeru Akita (auth.)

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Whereas all the gentry called themselves gentlemen, not all who called themselves gentlemen were members of the landed gentry. V. 34 The effect of this was, in practice, to extend the boundaries of the gentlemanly order beyond those whose economic and social position was based entirely upon landownership. The colonial non-landed gentleman came into being and this ensured that the upper echelons of colonial society acquired some degree of the differentiation and diversity evident within the contemporary British elite.

Revenue income derived from the periphery could be applied to the spiralling national debt, thereby easing the domestic tax burden and notionally offsetting some of the costs that had been incurred by the state in support of overseas activity. With the empire being written into calculations of national wealth, strength, and prosperity, developments in the wider world could no longer be thought to have only a marginal effect upon the domestic economy. Historians have hotly debated the extent to which trade and imperialism influenced the growth of the eighteenth-century economy, but after the 1760s contemporaries were inclined to consider the empire as capable of exerting a major influence upon the economic well-being of the metropolis.

G. Hopkins, British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion 1688–1914 (London, 1993), pp. 467–8. , pp. 84–6, 320–3. V. Bowen, Elites, Enterprise and the Making of the British Overseas Empire, 1688–1775 (Basingstoke, 1996), passim. David Armitage, The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge, 2000), p. 8. J. ), The Oxford History of the British Empire. Vol. II: The Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 1998), 4–9. V. Bowen, ‘British Conceptions of Global Empire, 1756–1783’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 26 (1998), pp.

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