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Title: Merchants, Politics, and the Atlantic Imperial Crisis, 1763-1783.
Author: Kim, Daeryoon
ISNI:       0000 0000 4681 3497
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis explores the politics of British American merchants in the period of imperial crisis, 1763-1783. Engaging with the impressive array of scholarship on merchant politicians, on the emergence ofurban radicalism, and on the British origins of the American Revolution, the thesis proposes to study the politics of imperial crisis from the standpoint of the merchants themselves. Rather than treating the contributions of American merchants to the great events and debates leading to American independence only as a subordinate part of other political movements, the thesis examines their political actions and opinions in their own right. To this end, the thesis systematically surveys state records such as the Board ofTrade papers and the Journals ofthe House of Commons to identify the broader patterns of their political interaction with the state and the issues and arguments contained in their representations. Drawing on extensive collections ofpamphlets and colonial newspapers, the thesis demonstrates a strong consistency between what merchants suggested to the state and what they argued in the public sphere. Their opinions were based upon their experience ofimperial economy and emphasized the commercial origin and future of empire rather than Britain's constitutional supremacy over the American colonies. Two case-studies ofLondon and Bristol demonstrate that although they worked largely under the same pressures, American merchants were also influenced by local political traditions, power structures, and political configurations. When seen from the perspective of merchants, their political record in this period was not entirely one of failure. They knew how to use the political system to their benefit within the context of interest politics, but were not eager to seek a new political order. Through a study of the politics of the American merchant, this thesis contributes to our understanding of interest politics of eighteenth-century Britain. More generally, it helps us to understand a British political culture in which its polite and commercial people learnt to respect each other's needs without serious amendment of the constitutional order.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available