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Title: A map of mankind : Edmund Burke's image of America in an enlightened Atlantic context
Author: Nelson, Jeffrey O.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis re-evaluates Edmund Burke’s (1730-1797) image of America by focusing on the place of colonial America in his early thought and pre-parliamentary writings. In so doing, it considers Burke’s relationship to the humanist tradition, offers an appraisal of Burke’s historicism, and seeks to describe the nature of his place within the Age of Enlightenment. Burke’s interest in the British North American colonies emerged well before his rise to prominence as a Member of Parliament in the mid-1760s. Behind Burke’s later partisan speeches was a capacious understanding of America as a European frontier with a colonial experience that also included the Spanish and the French, native inhabitants and imported slaves. His early writings are an important example of the manner in which eighteenth-century thinkers perceived that in heretofore unknown peoples and civilisations there existed an opportunity for historic comparison, as well as for working out the complex implications of particularity and universality. They suggest a way in which “the reception of America”, according to David Armitage, by figures like Burke can help us to see “what uses America had within earlier intellectual projects and to what extent America shaped their distinctive features”. This thesis is foremost an attempt to explore the ways in which America provided the young Burke with material that enlarged his mental horizons and fashioned his distinctive historical and political thought. Finally, the thesis seeks to make scholarly contributions to studies on the place of America in the European consciousness and to the concept of Atlantic History.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available