Revolution and empire

English Politics and the American Colonies in the Seventeenth Century

Editor: Robert M. Bliss

Seventeenth-century England saw the Puritan upheaval of the 1640s and 1650s and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. These crises often provoked colonial reaction, indirectly by bringing forth new ideas about government. The colonies' existence was a testament to accumulated capital and population and to a widespread desire to employ both for high and mundane ends. The growth of population and production, the rise of new and the decline of old trades were important features of 17th-century American and English history. This book presents a study that brings attention back to a century when the word imperialism had not even been coined, let alone acquired the wealth of meanings it has now. The study covers the North American and West Indian colonies as well as England. Research on American sources concentrated on the main settlements of Massachusetts, Virginia, Barbados and Jamaica, their public records, printed and manuscript correspondence and local and county records. Lesser colonies such as New York, Carolina and the New England fringe settlements they have their own stories to tell. The study firstly rests on the proposition that England's empire was shaped by the course of English politics. Secondly, it argues that although imperial history was marked by tension between colonial resistance and English authority. Finally, the broad view is taken of the politics of empire aims to establish a general framework for understanding seventeenth-century colonial history. Attention has also been paid to the political writings and the "non-colonial" activities of governments and politicians.

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