Catalogue


A turn to empire : the rise of imperial liberalism in Britain and France /
Jennifer Pitts.
imprint
Princeton : Princeton Unversity Press, c2005.
description
xii, 382 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0691115583 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton : Princeton Unversity Press, c2005.
isbn
0691115583 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
5384173
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [259]-362) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Exhibiting depth of research, jargon-free prose, and intellectual acumen on every page, this book is a well-balanced, seamless whole that reveals the impact of empire on the genesis of modern liberalism. It is a work of first importance not only for political theorists but also for readers in philosophy, history, and literature."-- David Armitage, Harvard University, author of The Ideological Origins of the British Empire "This rich and provocative book examines a subject of great current interest in fields from political theory to international relations to European history. It deserves and should receive a broad audience. The scholarship is both careful and persuasive, and Pitts has an appealing authorial voice. The passion to understand what makes a theorist reject or support foreign conquest drives her narrative and holds the reader's attention as the analysis unfolds."-- Cheryl Welch, Simmons College, author of Liberty and Utility
Flap Copy
"Exhibiting depth of research, jargon-free prose, and intellectual acumen on every page, this book is a well-balanced, seamless whole that reveals the impact of empire on the genesis of modern liberalism. It is a work of first importance not only for political theorists but also for readers in philosophy, history, and literature."--David Armitage, Harvard University, author ofThe Ideological Origins of the British Empire "This rich and provocative book examines a subject of great current interest in fields from political theory to international relations to European history. It deserves and should receive a broad audience. The scholarship is both careful and persuasive, and Pitts has an appealing authorial voice. The passion to understand what makes a theorist reject or support foreign conquest drives her narrative and holds the reader's attention as the analysis unfolds."--Cheryl Welch, Simmons College, author ofLiberty and Utility
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-11-01:
In recent years liberalism--ostensibly committed to moral universalism--has been indicted for justifying imperialism, e.g., by Uday Mehta (Liberalism and Empire, 1999). The argument has often been generalized to hold that liberal universality underlies numerous forms of oppression and exclusion, despite its egalitarian pretenses. Pitts (Princeton Univ.) offers a careful, nuanced response to these issues, showing that support for imperialism is not inherent to liberalism by demonstrating that prominent 18th- and early-19th-century liberals in Britain and France were deeply critical of imperialism; they included Smith, Bentham, Constant, and (though his liberal credentials are somewhat problematic) Burke. In this respect the author's work complements Sankar Muthu's Enlightenment against Empire (2003). But as Pitts also argues, mainly through an analysis of Mills and de Tocqueville, by the middle of the 19th century many liberals had abandoned that skepticism. She offers an insightful account of the factors leading to this change, one that illuminates central issues for liberal theory. The book is beautifully written, and the scholarship is outstanding. It will be essential reading for scholars and graduate students, and a valuable resource for advanced undergraduates. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. D. Moon Wesleyan University
Reviews
Review Quotes
This rich and provocative book examines a subject of great current interest in fields from political theory to international relations to European history. It deserves and should receive a broad audience. The scholarship is both careful and persuasive, and Pitts has an appealing authorial voice. The passion to understand what makes a theorist reject or support foreign conquest drives her narrative and holds the reader's attention as the analysis unfolds.
"This [is a] thoughtful and engaging book."-- John Cramsie, The Historian
Winner of the 2006 First Book Award, Foundations of Political Theory Section of the American Political Science Association One of Choices Outstanding Academic Titles for 2005
"This book is a brilliantly successful attempt to account for the apparent transition from the fierce, bitter assault on the idea of empire by the writers of the second half of the eighteenth century...to the often self-congratulatory, high-minded endorsement of a new kind of imperial mission less than half a century later.... Pitt's finest pages...are on Tocqueville and the Algerian question."-- Anthony Pagden, Perspectives on Politics
"This is an excellent book about late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century liberals and empire. Based on a wide range of material, which Pitts handles impressively, the book begins from a broad but workable definition of liberalism as involving a notion of individual rights and an attempt to widen social sympathies. Pitts deserves much credit for directing attention to liberalism's ability to negotiate difference in a context of empire and for her well-written, inspiring, and thorough analysis."-- Casper Sylvest, Political Studies Review
Jennifer Pitts . . . [shows] that support for imperialism is not inherent to liberalism by demonstrating that prominent 18th- and early-19th-century liberals in Britain and France were deeply critical of imperialism. . .. The book is beautifully written, and the scholarship is outstanding.
"Jennifer Pitts . . . [shows] that support for imperialism is not inherent to liberalism by demonstrating that prominent 18th- and early-19th-century liberals in Britain and France were deeply critical of imperialism. . .. The book is beautifully written, and the scholarship is outstanding."-- Choice
"Jennifer Pitts . . . undermines the case for the reality of anti-imperialism by depicting the rise of 'imperial liberalism' as a major intellectual trend in both Britain and France between c. 1780 and 1850. She does so in a careful, acute and lucid account of the ideas on empire of Adam Smith, Burke, Bentham, the Mills, and de Tocqueville."-- Anthony Howe, European History Quarterly
"An impressive and even pathbreaking piece of work."-- Theodore Koditschek, Journal of Modern History
"Jennifer Pitts helps us to see early-nineteenth-century imperial discourse in a new light by showing more clearly what came before."-- Michael Bentley, Victorian Studies
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2005
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Short Annotation
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.
Main Description
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.
Main Description
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 inA 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 Empireoffers a novel assessment of modern political thought and international justice, and an illuminating perspective on continuing debates over empire, intervention, and liberal political commitments.
Bowker Data Service Summary
The 19th century witnessed a dramatic shift in British & French views on European imperial expansion. Pitt shows how searing criticism of empire as unwise & unjust by such thinkers as Adam Smith, Burke, & Bentham gave way to the determined support of imperial expansion among later liberals including Mill & Tocqueville.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Liberalism, Pluralism, and Empirep. 3
Scope and Summaryp. 7
Historical Contextsp. 11
Critics Of Empirep. 23
Adam Smith on Societal Development and Colonial Rulep. 25
The Causes and Complexity of Development in Smith's Thoughtp. 27
Progress, Rationality, and the Early Social Stagesp. 34
Moral Progress and Commercial Societyp. 41
Moral Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Judgmentsp. 43
Smith's Critique of Coloniesp. 52
Edmund Burke's Peculiar Universalismp. 59
The Exclusions of Empirep. 59
Systematic Oppression in India
63 Moral Imagination: Empire and Social Criticism
71 Geographical Morality and Burke's Universalismp. 77
The Politics of Exclusion in Irelandp. 85
Burke as a Theorist of Nationalityp. 96
Utilitarians And The Turn To Empire In Britainp. 101
Jeremy Bentham: Legislator of the World?p. 103
Utilitarians and the British Empirep. 103
Bentham's Critique of Colonial Rulep. 107
A Rereading of Bentham's Work on Indiap. 115
James and John Stuart Mill: The Development of Imperial Liberalism in Britainp. 123
James Mill: An Uneasy Alliance of Utilitarianism and Conjectural Historyp. 123
J.S. Mill: Character and the Revision of the Benthamite Traditionp. 133
Nationality and Progressive Despotismp. 138
Civilizing Backward Societies: India and Irelandp. 146
Colonial Reform and the Governor Eyre Episodep. 150
Conclusionp. 160
Liberals And The Turn To Empire In Francep. 163
The Liberal Volte-Face in France 165 Shifting Political Contexts: Britain, France, and Imperial Projectsp. 165
Condorcet: Progress and the Roots of the Mission Civilisatricep. 168
Constant and the Distrust of Empirep. 173
Desjobert and the Marginalization of Anti-imperialismp. 185
Tocqueville's Sociology of Democracy and the Question of European Expansionp. 189
Expansion and Exclusion in Americap. 196
Tocqueville and the Algeria Questionp. 204
Tocqueville as an Architect of French Algeriap. 204
From Assimilation to Domination: Tocqueville's Early Colonial Visionp. 207
The British Empire as Rival and Modelp. 219
Slavery in the French Empirep. 226
Universal Rights, Nation Building, and Progressp. 230
Conclusionp. 240
Eighteenth-Century Criticism of Empirep. 242
Democracy and Liberal Anxieties in the Nineteenth Centuryp. 247
Late Liberal Misgivings about Imperial Injusticep. 254
Notesp. 259
Bibliographyp. 343
Indexp. 363
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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