Britain and its internal others, 1750–1800

Under rule of law

The rule of law, an ideology of equality and universality that justified Britain's eighteenth-century imperial claims, was the product not of abstract principles but imperial contact. As Britain's Empire expanded in the second half of the eighteenth century, British law managed interactions among peoples and cultures, linking metropole and colonies in a vast imperial legal web. This book revisits six notorious incidents that occasioned vigorous debate in London's courtrooms, streets and presses: the Jewish Naturalization Act and the Elizabeth Canning case; the Somerset Case; the Gordon Riots; the mutinies of 1797; and Union with Ireland. The Canning case showcases the threatening nature of poor single women and their status as outsiders. Analysis of the Jewish Naturalization Act has served as a case study of eighteenth-century parliamentary politics, and Jewish historians have treated it as an important moment in Anglo-Jewish history. The Somerset case has been the object of inquiry for scholars investigating the history of slavery, the African presence in Britain, labor conditions in the British Empire, and slavery in the American colonies. The Gordon Riots and the pamphlets and images produced in their wake were a means of debating and resisting, as well as justifying and defending, the imperial policies of the British state. Responses to the actions initiated by sailors at Spithead in the spring of 1797 highlight many of the themes of eighteenth-century politics and life. The failure to pass the Act of Union in 1799 reversed the normal power relationship between metropole and colony in Ireland.


To recommend this book to your librarian, please use the 'email' icon in the content tool bar.

Abstract only
Get Access to Full Text

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

manchesterhive requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals - to see content that you/your institution should have access to, please log in through your library system or with your personal username and password.

If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/extracts and download selected front and end matter. 

Access Tokens

If you have an access token for this content, you can redeem this via the link below:

Redeem token

Information

Full book download

  • Full book HTML download
  • Full book PDF download (with hyperlinks)

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 270 270 51
Full Text Views 159 159 27
PDF Downloads 37 37 9

Related Content