Savages Within The Empire: Representations of American Indians in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Hardcover | January 10, 2006

byTroy Bickham

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In 1720s London, a well-known band of young ruffians gave themselves crescent tattoos and adorned turbans in honour of their so-called 'mohamattan [Muslim]' Indian namesakes, the Mohawk. Few Britons noticed the gang's mistaken muddling of North American and Indian subcontinent geographies andcultures. Even fewer cared in an age in which 'Indian' was a catch-all term applied to theatre characters, philosophies, and objects whose only common characteristic often was that they were not European. Yet just thirty years later, when the North American empire had entered centre stage,Londoners bought Iroquois tomahawks at auctions; provincial newspapers debated Cherokee politics; women shopkeepers read aloud newspaper accounts of frontier battles as their husbands counted the takings; church congregations listened to the sermons of American Indian converts; families touredmuseum exhibits of American Indian artefacts; and Oxford dons wagered their bottles of port on the outcome of American wars. Focusing on the question, 'How did the British who remained in Britain perceive American Indians, and how did these perceptions reflect and affect British culture?', Savages within the Empire explores both how Britons engaged with the peripheries of their Atlantic empire without leaving home, and,equally important, how their forged understanding significantly affected the British and their rapidly expanding world. It draws from a wide range of evidence to consider an array of eighteenth-century contexts, including material culture, print culture, imperial government policy, the Church ofEngland's missionary endeavours, the Scottish Enlightenment, and the public outcry over the use of American Indians as allies during the American War of Independence. By chronicling and exploring discussions and representations of American Indians in these contexts, Troy Bickham reveals theproliferation of empire-related subjects in eighteenth-century British culture as well as the prevailing pragmatism with which Britons approached them.

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In 1720s London, a well-known band of young ruffians gave themselves crescent tattoos and adorned turbans in honour of their so-called 'mohamattan [Muslim]' Indian namesakes, the Mohawk. Few Britons noticed the gang's mistaken muddling of North American and Indian subcontinent geographies andcultures. Even fewer cared in an age in wh...

Troy Bickham is at Assistant Professor of History, Texas AandM University.

other books by Troy Bickham

Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.92 inPublished:January 10, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199286965

ISBN - 13:9780199286966

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Table of Contents

IntroductionI1. Encountering American Indians in Britain: Visits and Virtual Journeys2. American Indians in the British PressII3. Lessons from a Decade of Conflict and the Formation of a New Imperial Regime4. The New Imperial Regime at WorkIII5. 'Under the rudest form in which we can conceive man to subsist': The Scottish Enlightenment and the North American Indians6. Empire through Evangelization: The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the American IndiansIV7. American Indians and Britain's American War of IndependenceConclusionBibliographyIndex