Today’s SPECIAL WEEKEND EDITION comes from Nicola Martin, a third-year, AHRC-funded Ph.D. candidate at the University of Dundee and the University of Stirling. Nicola holds a B.A. and MSc. from the University of Strathclyde, and is currently working with Colin Nicolson and Matthew Ward. Her dissertation is tentatively titled “The Cultural Paradigms of British Imperialism in the Militarisation of Scotland and North America, 1715–1776.”Her research investigates how warfare and pacification affected eighteenth-century British imperialism, and she can be found @NicolaMartin14.This is her first post for The Junto, a fitting occasion—it commemorates the Battle of Culloden (April 16, 1745).
“An incident in the rebellion of 1745,” by David Morier
On April 16, 1746, the British army defeated its much smaller Jacobite counterpart in a battle on Culloden Moor, Scotland. The conflict lasted less than half an hour, but it left over 1,500 Jacobites dead. In the days and weeks following the battle, hundreds of Highlanders were killed as the British army, under the orders of the Duke of Cumberland, implemented draconian measures to punish those who they held responsible for the rising. Shortly thereafter, the British imperial elite embarked on a systematic pacification of the region that lasted for decades and evolved over time from punishment toward measures designed to civilize the “barbarous” Highlanders and assimilate them more closely within the British state and empire. Continue reading →
Slavery’s Capitalism has been a long time coming. The conference from which this book arose was held at Harvard and Brown Universities in spring 2011—years before the New York Timeslionised a “new history of capitalism,” co-editor Sven Beckert won the Bancroft Prize for his Empire of Cotton, or fellow co-editor Seth Rockman surveyed the field in the Journal of the Early Republic. The conversations and ideas aired at that conference have been part of public scholarly discussion for the last five years, including manypostshere at the Junto. Now we have the book itself, and we want to congratulate the editors and authors for their perseverance! Continue reading →
“The heart of the English Empire in the seventeenth-century Americas was Barbados,” according to Justin Roberts in his recent William and Mary Quarterly article. That claim is perhaps not surprising—Richard Dunn established the social and economic importance of the island over thirty years ago in his seminal work, Sugar and Slaves. However, Roberts takes that point further by exploring the political ramifications of all of that Barbadian wealth in the West Indies. His article also speaks to a larger sea change in the historiography of the seventeenth-century Caribbean. Continue reading →
Historians are back in the news, this time not as a scolds (“this bit of history in popular culture isn’t historical enough”) but as Cassandras. Recently Fredrik Logevall and Kenneth Osgood, writing under the New York Times print edition headline “The End of Political History?,” bemoan the collapse political history as an area fit for study by professional historians. Jobs in political history have dried up, fewer courses in the subject are offered in universities, few people are entering graduate school to specialize in the subject and hence “the study of America’s political past is being marginalized.” To Logevall and Osgood this marginalization has two tragic effects. Firstly, it denies American citizens’ access to the intellectual tools necessary to historicize our contemporary politics and “serve as an antidote to the misuse of history by our leaders and save us from being bamboozled by analogies, by the easy ‘lessons of the past.’” It also denies historians access to political power, the ability to influence policy and policymakers in the mode of C. Vann Woodward and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Continue reading →
On December 8, 1747, Gov. George Clinton (1686–1761) told a British statesman that the Assembly of New York “treated the person of the Governor with such contempt of his authority & such disrespect to the noble family where he had his birth that must be of most pernicious example.” He thought he might have to “give it [i.e., his position] up to a Faction.” The extant copy of this letter, held within Clinton’s papers at the William L. Clements Library in Michigan, was written by his most trusted advisor and ally—Cadwallader Colden, the subject of John M. Dixon’s first book, The Enlightenment of Cadwallader Colden: Empire, Science, and Intellectual Culture in British New York, published in 2016 by Cornell University Press.
1966 was a transformative year in popular music. The Beatles released Revolver; Dylan put out Blonde on Blonde; and the Beach Boys dropped Pet Sounds. Even fifty years later, those three albums sit atop many respectable lists of the best all time albums. 1966 was also a transformative year in early American history. Fifty years later, it gets my vote for one of the top 5 most historiographically innovative years the field ever had. Continue reading →
In February 1812, eight American missionaries—five ordained clergymen and three of their wives—set sail for India as representatives of the recently established American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). Though the specifics of their mission were ill defined, and none of the eight lasted long in India, their mission marked the propitious beginnings of the foreign mission movement in America. Over the course of the next four decades, more than one thousand men and women were commissioned by the ABCFM to missionize non-Christian peoples far beyond the borders of the early American republic. In Christian Imperialism, Emily Conroy-Krutz analyzes the experiences of the ABCFM missionaries from roughly 1812 to 1848. She argues, as the title of her book implies, that the missionaries were agents of “Christian Imperialism,” a vision and effort to convert (and civilize) “heathen” peoples around the globe that variously worked in concert with and in contest against other forms of early American imperialism. Continue reading →