Lords of all the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France c.1500-c.1800

Paperback | March 30, 1998

byAnthony Pagden

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The rise and fall of modern colonial empires have had a lasting impact on the development of European political theory and notions of national identity. This book is the first to compare theories of empire as they emerged in, and helped to define, the great colonial powers Spain, Britain, and France.

Anthony Pagden describes how the rulers of the three countries adopted the claim of the Roman Emperor Antoninus to be "Lord of all the World." Examining the arguments used to legitimate the seizure of aboriginal lands and subjugation of aboriginal peoples, he shows that each country came to develop identities—and the political languages in which to express them—that were sometimes radically different. Until the early eighteenth century, Spanish theories of empire stressed the importance of evangelization and military glory. These arguments were challenged by the French and British, however, who increasingly justified empire building by invoking the profit to be gained from trade and agriculture. By the late eighteenth century, the major thinkers in all three countries, and increasingly in the colonies themselves, came to think of their empires as disastrous experiments in human expansion, costly, over-extended, and based on demoralizing forms of brutality and servitude. Pagden concludes by looking at the ways in which this hostility to empire was transformed into a cosmopolitan ideal that sought to replace all world empires by federations of equal and independent states.

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This book, the first to compare theories of empire as they emerged in, and helped to define, the great colonial powers -- Spain, Britain, and France -- describes the different ways and arguments these countries used to legitimate the seizure and subjugation of aboriginal lands and peoples."Learned, wide-ranging and important.... Pagden...

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The rise and fall of modern colonial empires have had a lasting impact on the development of European political theory and notions of national identity. This book is the first to compare theories of empire as they emerged in, and helped to define, the great colonial powers Spain, Britain, and France.Anthony Pagden describes how the rul...

Anthony Pagden is Harry C. Black Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:244 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.89 inPublished:March 30, 1998Publisher:Yale University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300074492

ISBN - 13:9780300074499

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From Our Editors

This book, the first to compare theories of empire as they emerged in, and helped to define, the great colonial powers -- Spain, Britain, and France -- describes the different ways and arguments these countries used to legitimate the seizure and subjugation of aboriginal lands and peoples."Learned, wide-ranging and important.... Pagden's willingness to examine the three empires in tandem is as rewarding as it is innovative". -- Linda Colley, London Review of Books"An impressive book, erudite and lively....The book succeeds as an exercise in drawing together the interpretive treatises of three empires over three centuries and showing, often subtly but at times explicitly, their similarity". -- William D. Phillips, Jr., American Historical Review"This volume ... provides an excellent commentary on the imperial ideologies of three major European powers during the early modern era.... This is a book to which scholars will return time and again. I certainly found it intellectually stimulating". -- Chandra R. de Silva, Sixteenth Century Journal