Download e-book for iPad: A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain by Jennifer Pitts

By Jennifer Pitts

ISBN-10: 0691115583

ISBN-13: 9780691115580

ISBN-10: 0691127913

ISBN-13: 9780691127910

A dramatic shift in British and French principles approximately empire spread out within the sixty years straddling the flip of the 19th century. As Jennifer Pitts indicates in A flip to Empire, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Jeremy Bentham have been between many at first of this era to criticize eu empires as unjust in addition to politically and economically disastrous for the conquering international locations. via the mid-nineteenth century, notwithstanding, the main well known British and French liberal thinkers, together with John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville, vigorously supported the conquest of non-European peoples. Pitts explains that this mirrored an increase in civilizational self-confidence, as theories of human development grew to become extra triumphalist, much less nuanced, and not more tolerant of cultural distinction. while, imperial growth in another country got here to be obvious as a political undertaking that may help the emergence of solid liberal democracies inside Europe. Pitts exhibits that liberal thinkers often celebrated for respecting not just human equality and liberty but in addition pluralism supported an inegalitarian and decidedly nonhumanitarian foreign politics. but such moments symbolize now not an important characteristic of liberal suggestion yet a awesome departure from perspectives shared through accurately these late-eighteenth-century thinkers whom Mill and Tocqueville observed as their forebears. Fluently written, A flip to Empire deals a singular evaluate of recent political proposal and overseas justice, and an illuminating viewpoint on carrying on with debates over empire, intervention, and liberal political commitments.

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At the same time, Smith articulated a moral and social theory that was broad-minded in its analysis of unfamiliar societies and practices and careful to avoid presumptions of European cultural or moral superiority. Smith managed, that is, to sustain a difficult balance between a belief that the rise of modern society constituted improvement, and a respectful posture toward non-European societies he regarded as being in earlier stages of development. Many contemporaneous and subsequent theorists shared Smith’s analytic framework, using a combination of anthropological evidence and conjecture to trace the development of society through stages identified by their mode of subsistence.

At the same time, Smith articulated a moral and social theory that was broad-minded in its analysis of unfamiliar societies and practices and careful to avoid presumptions of European cultural or moral superiority. Smith managed, that is, to sustain a difficult balance between a belief that the rise of modern society constituted improvement, and a respectful posture toward non-European societies he regarded as being in earlier stages of development. Many contemporaneous and subsequent theorists shared Smith’s analytic framework, using a combination of anthropological evidence and conjecture to trace the development of society through stages identified by their mode of subsistence.

31). 26 Smith’s discussions of the development of popular participation in Roman government, the end of slavery in western Europe, and the decline of the power of clergy and nobility in the late feudal period, all illustrate his recourse to the material grounds of political developments, even in more advanced societies. While he approves of all these events, his partly material or physical explanations enable Smith to avoid the self-congratulatory note common in discussions attributing such developments to Europeans’ special understanding of the values of freedom or political equality.

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A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France by Jennifer Pitts


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