Citizens of the World: London Merchants and the Integration of the British Atlantic Community, 1735-1785 / Edition 1

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Citizens of the World examines the business and social strategies of the men who developed the British empire in the eighteenth century. This book focuses on twenty-three London merchants who traded with America in an age of imperial expansion. These "associates" started their careers as marginal people, sought and took advantage of opportunities around the world, and approached their business and social lives with the improving ideals of the practical Enlightenment. This activity is placed in the context of the developing institutions of Britain's colonies in America and the social world of polite and industrious men and women at home.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"To attempt to combine the methods and the inspirational genius of an Edward S. Morgan, a Bernard Bailyn, a Jacob Price, and a Simon Schama in one work is a daunting if not forbidding challenge, but it is one to which David Hancock rises with distinction. Citizens of the World is not your usual run-of-the-mill collective biography or dry-as-dust statistical analysis of colonial trade patterns. It is an inspired account of the whole lives of men who made a difference in the world of trade by their willingness to challenge the system from within....must reading for anyone interested in the emergence of the American economy in the eighteenth century, just as it stands as must reading for anyone who wishes to understand better the predominant role certain London merchants played in shaping the course of the British Empire in the last decades of the eighteenth century." The Journal of American History

"...Hancock tackles a wildly ambitious topic—and succeeds brilliantly....a must reading for every scholar interested in the complex institutional structure of the North Atlantic economy in the eighteenth-century—and in the evolution of the increasingly interactive international economy over the last three hundred years." Business History Review

"...[a] magisterial, beautifully written book." Boston Book Review

"Hancock has not just rehabilitated a long-forgotten relationship of eighteenth-century merchants; he has re-created a world few knew existed..." Times Literary Supplement

"This splendid biography of twenty-three inter-connected London 'associates' in the Atlantic trades is innovative in method, comprehensive in scope, and insightful in relation to exisitng literature....Hancock has provided a new, demanding, and rewarding model for group biography." Ian Steele, The Northern Mariner

"David Hancock's 'Citizens of the World: London Merchants and the Integration of the British Atlantic Community, 1735-1785' effectivley combines economic and socio-cultural history to produce a much clearer picture of entrepreneurial activities in eighteenth-century Britain than we have hitherto enjoyed." Michael Slaven, Pennsylvania History

"David Hancock in his first book...makes a significant contribution to eighteenth-century Anglo-American commercial and social history....Hancock has written an interesting, scolarly, well-illustrated book that demonstrates that the associates helped to integrate the British empire in the period 1735-1785 by increasing its scope, "deepening its infrastructure, expanding its trade, peopling its shores and hinterlands, and spreading the new optimistic, experimental ideas of the Enlightenment (p.386)." Kenneth Morgan, William and Mary Quarterly

"Citizens of the World: London Merchants and the Integration of the British Atlantic Community, 1734-1785, by David Hancock is an impressive cintribution to the literature on the eighteenth century Anglo-American world. This well conceived and exhaustively researched book makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the Anglo-American world and to imperial trade in the eighteenth century. Citizens of the World is lively, lucid, and informed by a broad and stimulating reading of relevant and related historiographies. It will prove necessary reading for all scholars of Anglo-American, British, and Imperial history for years to come." Richard Connors, Canadian Journal of History

"This is a detailed study of the business and social climbing of a group of eighteenth century British merchants active in the Atlantic world....Hancock has done a prodigious amount of research." J.R. McNeill, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521629423
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/13/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. The Crucible of Trade: 1. A larger world; 2. Mercantile origins: 'passengers only'; Part II. The Management of Trade: 3. Managing from a 'Merchant's public counting house'; 4. Shipping and trading in an 'empire of the seas'; 5. Planting: 'a great fund of riches and of strength to Great Britain'; 6. Slaving: Bance Island's 'general rendezvous'; 7. Government contracting: 'a work of Hercules'; 8. Financing: 'turning the great wheel of unfathomable commerce round'; Part III. Becoming a Gentleman: 9. The urge to improve; 10. The way to be rich and respectable; Epilogue: mercantile legacies: 'industrious friends'.

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