Until relatively recently, the connection between British imperial history and the history of early America was taken for granted. In recent times, however, early American historiography has begun to suffer from a loss of coherent definition as competing manifestos demand this or that reordering of the subject in order to combine time periods and geographical areas in ways that would have previously seemed anomalous. It has become common place to announce that the history of America is best accounted for in America itself in a three-way melee between "settlers", the indigenous populations, and the forcibly transported African slaves and their creole descendants.
The contributions to British North America in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries acknowledge the value of the historiographic work done under this new dispensation in the last two decades and incorporate its insights. However, the volume advocates a pluralistic approach to the subject generally and attempts to demonstrate that the metropolitan power was of more than secondary importance to America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The central theme of this volume is the question: to what extent did it make a difference to those living in the colonies that made up British North America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that they were part of an empire and that the empire in question was British? The contributors, some of the leading scholars in their respective fields, strive to answer this question in various social, political, religious, and historical contexts.
Stephen Foster received his PhD in History from Yale University in 1966 and taught in the history department of Northern Illinois University from 1966 to 2002, retiring as Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus. He has written three books of sole authorship and a large number of journal articles and book chapters on early American history and related aspects of Tudor-Stuart history. He is a Guggenheim fellow (1971-72) and has served as visiting editor of the major journal, The William and Mary Quarterly (1977-78).
Table of Contents
List of Maps
List of Contributors
1. Introduction: The What and Why of this Volume, Stephen Foster
2. British North America in the Empire: An Overview, Stephen Foster and Evan Haefeli
3. 'Bound by Our Regal Office': Empire, Sovereignty, and the American Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, Ken MacMillan
4. Toleration and Empire: The Origins of American Religious Pluralism, Evan Haefeli
5. 'Establishment' and 'Dissent' in British North America: Organizing Religion in the New World, Jeremy Gregory
6. Periphery as Center: Slavery, Identity, and the Commercial Press in the British Atlantic, 1704-1765, Robert E. Desrochers, Jr.
7. Colonial Identity and Revolutionary Loyalty: The Case of the West Indies, Sarah Yeh
8. American Indians in the British Imperial Imagination, 1707-1783, Troy Bickham
9. The American Revolution (I): The Paradox of Atlantic Integration, Nancy L. Rhoden
10. The American Revolution (II): The Origin and Nature of Colonial Grievances, Daniel J. Hulsebosch
11. Epilogue: The United States in the British Empire, Jay Sexton