The Empire Reformed
English America in the Age of the Glorious Revolution
Early American Studies
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
288 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm, 9 illus.
- ISBN: 9780812222838
- Published: July 2013
The Empire Reformed tells the story of a forgotten revolution in English America—a revolution that created not a new nation but a new kind of transatlantic empire. During the seventeenth century, England's American colonies were remote, disorganized outposts with reputations for political turmoil. Colonial subjects rebelled against authority with stunning regularity, culminating in uprisings that toppled colonial governments in the wake of England's "Glorious Revolution" in 1688-89. Nonetheless, after this crisis authorities in both England and the colonies successfully rebuilt the empire, providing the cornerstone of the great global power that would conquer much of the continent over the following century.
In The Empire Reformed historian Owen Stanwood illustrates this transition in a narrative that moves from Boston to London to Barbados and Bermuda. He demonstrates not only how the colonies fit into the empire but how imperial politics reflected—and influenced—changing power dynamics in England and Europe during the late 1600s. In particular, Stanwood reveals how the language of Catholic conspiracies informed most colonists' understanding of politics, serving first as the catalyst of rebellions against authority, but later as an ideological glue that held the disparate empire together. In the wake of the Glorious Revolution imperial leaders and colonial subjects began to define the British empire as a potent Protestant union that would save America from the designs of French "papists" and their "savage" Indian allies. By the eighteenth century, British Americans had become proud imperialists, committed to the project of expanding British power in the Americas.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Popery and Politics in the British Atlantic World
PART ONE. EMPIRE IMAGINED
Chapter 1. Imperial Designs
Chapter 2. Catholics, Indians, and the Politics of Conspiracy
PART TWO. EMPIRE LOST
Chapter 3. Rumors and Rebellions
Chapter 4. The Empire Turned Upside Down
PART THREE. EMPIRE REGAINED
Chapter 5. The Protestant Assault on French America
Chapter 6. Ambivalent Bonds
Epilogue: Nicholson's Redemption
List of Abbreviations
"Stanwood's book is excellent when illustrating the diverse local triggers for the Glorious Revolution in the colonies. He demonstrates that while this was a shared experience across the British Atlantic, it was also a series of events that set one colony's experience apart from another's. However, the book is most exciting when it shows how local concerns in America intersected with imperial concerns, driven from London."—Itinerario
"Deeply and broadly researched, The Empire Reformed offers a compelling explanation for the political turbulence in colonial North America in the late seventeenth century, and frames it powerfully in a narrative account that makes sense of events in the region from the Chesapeake northward, between the Great Lakes to the West, and the Atlantic Ocean to the East."—Mark Peterson, University of California, Berkeley
"In a British historiographical context, Owen Stanwood has produced a timely intervention; in an Americanist one, a fresh interpretation of the Glorious Revolution. . . . Stanwood's masterful research and writing make an invaluable contribution to debate over this ever-intriguing event."—American Historical Review