Savages within the Empire: Representations of American Indians in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Savages within the Empire: Representations of American Indians in Eighteenth-Century Britain

by Troy Bickham
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In 1720s London, a well-known band of young ruffians gave themselves crescent tattoos and adorned turbans in honor of their so-called "mohamattan [Muslim]" Indian namesakes, the Mohawk. Few Britons noticed the gang's mistaken muddling of North American and Indian subcontinent geographies and cultures. Even fewer cared in an age in which "Indian"

…  See more details below

Overview

In 1720s London, a well-known band of young ruffians gave themselves crescent tattoos and adorned turbans in honor of their so-called "mohamattan [Muslim]" Indian namesakes, the Mohawk. Few Britons noticed the gang's mistaken muddling of North American and Indian subcontinent geographies and cultures. Even fewer cared in an age in which "Indian" was a catch-all term applied to theatre characters, philosophies, and objects whose only common characteristic often was that they were not European. Yet just thirty years later, when the North American empire had entered center stage, Londoners bought Iroquois tomahawks at auctions; provincial newspapers debated Cherokee politics; women shopkeepers read aloud newspaper accounts of frontier battles as their husbands counted the takings; church congregations listened to the sermons of American Indian converts; families toured museum exhibits of American Indian artefacts; and Oxford dons wagered their bottles of port on the outcome of American wars.

Focusing on the question, 'How did the British who remained in Britain perceive American Indians, and how did these perceptions reflect and affect British culture?', Savages within the Empire explores both how Britons engaged with the peripheries of their Atlantic empire without leaving home, and, equally important, how their forged understanding significantly affected the British and their rapidly expanding world. It draws from a wide range of evidence to consider an array of eighteenth-century contexts, including material culture, print culture, imperial government policy, the Church of England's missionary endeavours, the Scottish Enlightenment, and the public outcry over the use of American Indians as allies during the American War of Independence. By chronicling and exploring discussions and representations of American Indians in these contexts, Troy Bickham reveals the proliferation of empire-related subjects in eighteenth-century British culture as well as the prevailing pragmatism with which Britons approached them.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An excellent example of the new imperial history. Savages within the Empire admirably blends concern with the nature of colonialism and the importance of human agency with respect for the unpredictable unfolding of histories rooted in the specificity of particular places in particular times."—Andrew Cayton, The International History Review

"An excellent example of the new imperial history. omantic Indians admirably blends concern with the nature of colonialism and the importance of human agency with respect for the unpredictable unfolding of histories rooted in the specificity of particular places in particular times."—Andrew Cayton, The International History Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199286966
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
02/09/2006
Series:
Oxford Historical Monographs Series
Pages:
314
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 5.70(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Texas A&M University

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >