The English Atlantic, 1675-1740: An Exploration of Communication and Community

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Exploding the curious myth that the ocean is a barrier rather than a highway for communication, this unusual interdisciplinary study examines the English Atlantic context of early American life. From the winterless Caribbean to the ice-locked Hudson Bay, maritime communications in fact usually met the legitimate expectations for frequency, speed, and safety, while increased shipping, new postal services, and newspapers hastened the exchange of news. These changes in avenues of communications reflected—and, in turn, enhanced—the political, economic, and social integration of the English Atlantic between 1675 and 1740. As Steele deftly describes the influence of physical, technological, socioeconomic, and political aspects of seaborne communication on the community, he suggests an exciting new mode of analyzing Colonial history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Fills a major gap in our knowledge of how the Old Empire worked."—The Historian

"Every reader can learn plenty from reading the book closely. Steele offers abundant detail on counless subjects....He has done heroic quantities of archival research....An informative, scholarly, thorough analysis."—Journal of Modern History

"Repays a careful reading not merely for its wealth of detail but also because it suggests a promising perspective for considering the English Atlantic world and, indeed, much of early American history....It belongs on that small but growing shelf of indispensable books on communications in colonial America."—Technology and Culture

"A tour de force...By focusing on aspects of this history which many social and economic historians simply ignore, he has made a splendid contribution to what some of us think is the best sort of new social history."—Canadian Journal of History

"Many scholars have seen the Atlantic Ocean as an intercontinental divide separating England from her American colonies, creating isolated societies. Early modern Atlantic communications have ofteen been portrayed as slow, infrequent, and dangerous. In this detailed and provocative study, Steele presents a challenging and radical reinterpretation of such views."—Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195039689
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1986
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 412
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 3
Part I News by Merchantman
2. Sugar Routes 21
3. Tobacco Routes 41
4. Western Routes 57
5. Northern Routes and the English Atlantic 78
6. Communicating Revolution, 1688-1689 94
Part II Comanding Time
7. The Posts 113
8. The Papers 132
9. The Packet Boats, 1702-1715 168
10. Sending Peace and War Beyond the Line, 1667-1739 189
Part III The English Atlantic: Aspects and Implications
11. Commerce and Communications 213
12. Governors, Agents, and the Communication of Politics 229
13. Communication and Community 251
14. Conclusion 273
Abbreviations 279
Appendix Tables 281
Notes 319
Index 391
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013


    Im loked out!!

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