Enlightenment Against Empire

Author: Sankar Muthu
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400825882
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In the late eighteenth century, an array of European political thinkers attacked the very foundations of imperialism, arguing passionately that empire-building was not only unworkable, costly, and dangerous, but manifestly unjust. Enlightenment against Empire is the first book devoted to the anti-imperialist political philosophies of an age often regarded as affirming imperial ambitions. Sankar Muthu argues that thinkers such as Denis Diderot, Immanuel Kant, and Johann Gottfried Herder developed an understanding of humans as inherently cultural agents and therefore necessarily diverse. These thinkers rejected the conception of a culture-free "natural man." They held that moral judgments of superiority or inferiority could be made neither about entire peoples nor about many distinctive cultural institutions and practices. Muthu shows how such arguments enabled the era's anti-imperialists to defend the freedom of non-European peoples to order their own societies. In contrast to those who praise "the Enlightenment" as the triumph of a universal morality and critics who view it as an imperializing ideology that denigrated cultural pluralism, Muthu argues instead that eighteenth-century political thought included multiple Enlightenments. He reveals a distinctive and underappreciated strand of Enlightenment thinking that interweaves commitments to universal moral principles and incommensurable ways of life, and that links the concept of a shared human nature with the idea that humans are fundamentally diverse. Such an intellectual temperament, Muthu contends, can broaden our own perspectives about international justice and the relationship between human unity and diversity.

Enlightenment Against Empire

Author: Sankar Muthu
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780691115160
Size: 67.34 MB
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In the late eighteenth century, an array of European political thinkers attacked the very foundations of imperialism, arguing passionately that empire-building was not only unworkable, costly, and dangerous, but manifestly unjust. Enlightenment against Empire is the first book devoted to the anti-imperialist political philosophies of an age often regarded as affirming imperial ambitions. Sankar Muthu argues that thinkers such as Denis Diderot, Immanuel Kant, and Johann Gottfried Herder developed an understanding of humans as inherently cultural agents and therefore necessarily diverse. These thinkers rejected the conception of a culture-free "natural man." They held that moral judgments of superiority or inferiority could be made neither about entire peoples nor about many distinctive cultural institutions and practices. Muthu shows how such arguments enabled the era's anti-imperialists to defend the freedom of non-European peoples to order their own societies. In contrast to those who praise "the Enlightenment" as the triumph of a universal morality and critics who view it as an imperializing ideology that denigrated cultural pluralism, Muthu argues instead that eighteenth-century political thought included multiple Enlightenments. He reveals a distinctive and underappreciated strand of Enlightenment thinking that interweaves commitments to universal moral principles and incommensurable ways of life, and that links the concept of a shared human nature with the idea that humans are fundamentally diverse. Such an intellectual temperament, Muthu contends, can broaden our own perspectives about international justice and the relationship between human unity and diversity.

Enlightenment Against Empire

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In the late eighteenth century, an array of European political thinkers attacked the very foundations of imperialism, arguing passionately that empire-building was not only unworkable, costly, and dangerous, but manifestly unjust. Enlightenment against Em.

Empire And Modern Political Thought

Author: Sankar Muthu
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139576593
Size: 24.44 MB
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This collection of original essays by leading historians of political thought examines modern European thinkers' writings about conquest, colonization and empire. The creation of vast transcontinental empires and imperial trading networks played a key role in the development of modern European political thought. The rise of modern empires raised fundamental questions about virtually the entire contested set of concepts that lay at the heart of modern political philosophy, such as property, sovereignty, international justice, war, trade, rights, transnational duties, civilization and progress. From Renaissance republican writings about conquest and liberty to sixteenth-century writings about the Spanish conquest of the Americas through Enlightenment perspectives about conquest and global commerce and nineteenth-century writings about imperial activities both within and outside of Europe, these essays survey the central moral and political questions occasioned by the development of overseas empires and European encounters with the non-European world among theologians, historians, philosophers, diplomats and merchants.

A Turn To Empire

Author: Jennifer Pitts
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400826636
Size: 50.73 MB
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A dramatic shift in British and French ideas about empire unfolded in the sixty years straddling the turn of the nineteenth century. As Jennifer Pitts shows in A Turn to Empire, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Jeremy Bentham were among many at the start of this period to criticize European empires as unjust as well as politically and economically disastrous for the conquering nations. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the most prominent British and French liberal thinkers, including John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville, vigorously supported the conquest of non-European peoples. Pitts explains that this reflected a rise in civilizational self-confidence, as theories of human progress became more triumphalist, less nuanced, and less tolerant of cultural difference. At the same time, imperial expansion abroad came to be seen as a political project that might assist the emergence of stable liberal democracies within Europe. Pitts shows that liberal thinkers usually celebrated for respecting not only human equality and liberty but also pluralism supported an inegalitarian and decidedly nonhumanitarian international politics. Yet such moments represent not a necessary feature of liberal thought but a striking departure from views shared by precisely those late-eighteenth-century thinkers whom Mill and Tocqueville saw as their forebears. Fluently written, A Turn to Empire offers a novel assessment of modern political thought and international justice, and an illuminating perspective on continuing debates over empire, intervention, and liberal political commitments.

The Enlightenment On Trial

Author: Associate Professor of History Bianca Premo
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190638737
Size: 77.65 MB
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This is a history not of an Enlightenment but rather the Enlightenment - the rights-oriented, formalist, secularizing, freedom-inspired eighteenth-century movement that defined modern Western law. Its principal protagonists, rather than members of a cosmopolitan Republic of Letters, arenon-literate, poor, and enslaved litigants who sued their superiors in the royal courts of Spain's American colonies. Despite growing evidence of the Hispanic world's contributions to Enlightenment science, the writing of history, and statecraft, it is conventionally believed to have taken an alternate route to modernity. This book grapples with the contradiction between this legacy and eighteenth-century SpanishAmericans' active production of concepts fundamental to modern law. The book is intensely empirical even as it is sly situated within current theoretical debates about imperial geographies of history. The Enlightenment on Trial offers readers new insight into how legal documents were made, freshinterpretations of the intellectual transformations and legal reform policies of the period, and comparative analysis of the volume of civil suits from six regions in Mexico, Peru and Spain. Ordinary litigants in the colonies-far more often than peninsular Spaniards-sued superiors at an accelerating pace in the second half of the eighteenth century. Three types of cases increased even faster than a stunning general rise of civil suits in the colonies: those that slaves, native peasantsand women initiated against masters, native leaders and husbands. As they entered court, these litigants advanced a new law-centered culture distinct from the casuistic, justice-oriented legal culture of the early modern period. And they did so at precisely the same time that a few bright minds ofEurope enshrined them in print. The conclusion considers why, if this is so, the Spanish empire has remained marginal to the story of the advent of the modern West.

The Enlightenment Of Cadwallader Colden

Author: John M. Dixon
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 1501703501
Size: 74.65 MB
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Was there a conservative Enlightenment? Could a self-proclaimed man of learning and progressive science also have been an agent of monarchy and reaction? Cadwallader Colden (1688–1776), an educated Scottish emigrant and powerful colonial politician, was at the forefront of American intellectual culture in the mid-eighteenth century. While living in rural New York, he recruited family, friends, servants, and slaves into multiple scientific ventures and built a transatlantic network of contacts and correspondents that included Benjamin Franklin and Carl Linnaeus. Over several decades, Colden pioneered colonial botany, produced new theories of animal and human physiology, authored an influential history of the Iroquois, and developed bold new principles of physics and an engaging explanation of the cause of gravity. The Enlightenment of Cadwallader Colden traces the life and ideas of this fascinating and controversial "gentleman-scholar." John M. Dixon’s lively and accessible account explores the overlapping ideological, social, and political worlds of this earliest of New York intellectuals. Colden and other learned colonials used intellectual practices to assert their gentility and establish their social and political superiority, but their elitist claims to cultural authority remained flimsy and open to widespread local derision. Although Colden, who governed New York as an unpopular Crown loyalist during the imperial crises of the 1760s and 1770s, was brutally lampooned by the New York press, his scientific work, which was published in Europe, raised the international profile of American intellectualism.

Revolution Against Empire

Author: Justin du Rivage
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300227655
Size: 41.82 MB
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A bold transatlantic history of American independence revealing that 1776 was about far more than taxation without representation Revolution Against Empire sets the story of American independence within a long and fierce clash over the political and economic future of the British Empire. Justin du Rivage traces this decades-long debate, which pitted neighbors and countrymen against one another, from the War of Austrian Succession to the end of the American Revolution. As people from Boston to Bengal grappled with the growing burdens of imperial rivalry and fantastically expensive warfare, some argued that austerity and new colonial revenue were urgently needed to rescue Britain from unsustainable taxes and debts. Others insisted that Britain ought to treat its colonies as relative equals and promote their prosperity. Drawing from archival research in the United States, Britain, and France, this book shows how disputes over taxation, public debt, and inequality sparked the American Revolution—and reshaped the British Empire.

Liberalism And Empire

Author: Uday Singh Mehta
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226518824
Size: 42.27 MB
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We take liberalism to be a set of ideas committed to political rights and self-determination, yet it also served to justify an empire built on political domination. Uday Mehta argues that imperialism, far from contradicting liberal tenets, in fact stemmed from liberal assumptions about reason and historical progress. Confronted with unfamiliar cultures such as India, British liberals could only see them as backward or infantile. In this, liberals manifested a narrow conception of human experience and ways of being in the world. Ironically, it is in the conservative Edmund Burke—a severe critic of Britain's arrogant, paternalistic colonial expansion—that Mehta finds an alternative and more capacious liberal vision. Shedding light on a fundamental tension in liberal theory, Liberalism and Empire reaches beyond post-colonial studies to revise our conception of the grand liberal tradition and the conception of experience with which it is associated.

Race Empire And The Idea Of Human Development

Author: Thomas McCarthy
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521740432
Size: 73.30 MB
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In an exciting new study of ideas accompanying the rise of the West, Thomas McCarthy analyzes the ideologies of race and empire that were integral to European-American expansion. He highlights the central role that conceptions of human development (civilization, progress, modernization, and the like) played in answering challenges to legitimacy through a hierarchical ordering of difference. Focusing on Kant and natural history in the eighteenth century, Mill and social Darwinism in the nineteenth, and theories of development and modernization in the twentieth, he proposes a critical theory of development which can counter contemporary neoracism and neoimperialism, and can accommodate the multiple modernities now taking shape. Offering an unusual perspective on the past and present of our globalizing world, this book will appeal to scholars and advanced students of philosophy, political theory, the history of ideas, racial and ethnic studies, social theory, and cultural studies.