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Needs and Opportunities: British Expansion*

  • Karen Ordahl Kupperman (a1)


Our picture of English expansion in the early modern period is being transformed. Earlier in this century the story of overseas enterprise was an imperial story; the historian stood in London, and institutional development dominated the story. Charles M. Andrews led this approach in America, and A.P. Newton was leader of the English school. These historians studied communication between the metropolis and the tiny developing centers in America. The hinterland was important as it contributed tonnage and value. As the colonies developed, the backcountry sometimes entered die story as its setders challenged the now-established governments in the east. Culture, especially religion, was studied as it influenced the peculiar colonial development of key institutions in government and society. And the history of the British colonies was the history of early America.



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1 Andrews, Charles M., The Colonial Period of American History. 4 vols. (New Haven 1934-1938, 1964); Newton, A.P., The Colonising Activities of the English Puritans: The Last Phase of the Elizabethan Struggle with Spain (New Haven 1914); and Rose, J. Holland, Newton, A.P., and Benians, E.A. eds., The Cambridge History of the British Empire I, The Old Empire: From the Beginnings to 1783 (Cambridge 1929).

2 For a bibliography of the Quinns' work to 1976 see Andrews, K.R., Canny, N.P., and Hair, P.E.H. eds., The Westward Enterprise: English Activities in Ireland, the Atlantic, and America, 1480–1650 (Liverpool 1978). More recendy they have edited (with Susan Hillier) New American World: A Documentary History of North America from the Earliest Times to 1612. 5 vols. (New York and London 1979); The English New England Voyages, 1602–1608 (London 1983); and Hakluyt's, RichardDiscourse of Western Planting (London 1993).

3 Andrews, Kennedi R., Trade, Plunder, and Settlement: Maritime Enterprise and the Genesis of the British Empire, 1480–1630 (Cambridge 1984); Bliss, Robert M., Revolution and Empire: English Politics and the American Colonies in the Seventeenth Century (Manchester 1990). See also Canny, Nicholas P., Kingdom and Colony: Ireland in the Atlantic World, 1560–1800 (Baltimore 1988) and Olson, Alison G., Making the Empire Work: The Development and Cooperation ofLondon andAmerican Interest Croups in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Cambridge, Mass., 1992).

4 Konig, David Thomas, ‘Colonization and the Common Law in Ireland and Virginia, 1569–1634’ in: Henretta, James A., Kammen, Michael, and Katz, Stanley N. eds. The Transformation of Early American History (New York 1991) 7092;Dunn, Richard S. and Dunn, Mary Maples eds., The World of William Penn (Philadelphia 1986).

5 Altman, Ida and Horn, James eds., To Make America': European Emigration in the Early Modem Perio (Berkeley 1991); Bailyn, Bernard and Morgan, Philip D. eds., Strangers Within the Realm: Cultural Margins of The First British Empire (Chapel Hill, NC, 1991); Bailyn, Bernard, Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution (New York 1986); Fischer, David Hackett, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (New York 1986).

6 White, Richard, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815 (Cambridge 1991); Merwick, Donna, Possessing Albany, 1630–1710: The Dutch and English Experiences (Cambridge 1990); Richter, Daniel K., The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the lroquois league in the Era ofEuropean Colonization (Chapel Hill, NC, 1992);.Usner, Daniel H., Indians, Settlers and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy: The Lawn-Mississippi Valley before 1783 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1992); Wood, Peter H., Waselkov, Gregory A., and Hadey, M. Thomas eds., Powhatan's Mantle: Indians in the Colonial Southeast (Lincoln, Neb., 1989); and Merrell, James H., The Indians' New World: Catawbas and their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal (Chapel Hill, NC, 1989).

7 Greene, Jack P., Pursuits of Happiness: The Social Development of Early Modern British Colonies and the Formation of American Culture (Chapel Hill, NC, 1988).

8 This is the point made by McCusker, John J. and Menard, Russell R. in their The Economy of British America (Chapel Hill, NC, 1985).

9 Rink, Oliver A., Holland on the Hudson: An Economic and Social History of Dutch New York (Ithaca 1986); Kupperman, Karen Ordahl, ‘Scandinavian Colonists Confront the New World’, in: Benson, Barbara ed., New Sweden on the Delaware (Newark, Del., forthcoming).

10 For an example of this approach see Zandt, Cynthia Van, ‘The Dutch Connection: Isaac Allerton and the Dynamics of English Cultural Anxiety in the Gouden Eeuw’, in: Hoefte, Rosema-rijn and Kardux, Johanna C. eds., Connecting Cultures: The NetherUinds in Five Centuries of Transatlantic Exchange (Amsterdam 1994) 5782. See Greenblatt, Stephen, Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shiikespeare (Chicago 1980).

11 Kupperman, Karen Ordahl, ‘Fear of Hot Climates in the Anglo-American Colonial Expe rience’, William and Mary Quarterly 3rd ser., XLI (1984) 213240. On this subject see also Chaplin, Joyce E., An Anxious Pursuit: Agricultural Innovation and Modernity in the Lower South, 1730–1815 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1993).

12 For exceptions see Bridenbaugh, Carl and Bridenbaugh, Roberta, No Peace Beyond the Line: The English in the Caribbean, 1624–1690 (New York 1972); Dunn, Richard S., Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624–1713 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1972); Puckrein, Gary, Little England: Plantation Society and Anglo-Barbadian Politics, 1627–1700 (New York 1984); Kupperman, Karen Ordahl, Providence Island, 1630–1641: The Other Puritan Colony (Cambridge 1994).

13 Demos, John, The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America (New York 1994); Hulme, Peter, Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, 1492–1797 (London 1986); Greenblatt, Stephen J., Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modem Culture (London 1990),id., Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World (Chicago 1991); and ibid., ed., New World Encounters (Berkeley 1993); Axtell, James, Beyond 1492: Encounters in Colonial North America (Oxford 1992); Pagden, Anthony, European Encounters with the New World: From Renaissance to Romanticism (New Haven 1993).

14 On the impact of America on Europe see Greene, Jack P., The Intellectual Construction of America: Exceptionalism and Identity from 1492 to 1800 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1993); and the essays in Kupperman, Karen Ordahl ed., America in European Consciousness, 1493–1750 (Chapel Hill, NC, forthcoming).

15 Cressy, David, Coming Over. Migration and Communication between England and New England in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge 1987); Foster, Stephen, The Long Argument: English Puritanism and the Shaping of New England Culture, 1570–1700 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1991).

16 Brenner, Robert, Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London's Overseas Traders, 1550–1653 (Princeton 1993); Sacks, David Harris, The Widening Gate: Bristol and the Atlantic Economy, 1450–1700 (Berkeley 1991).

17 See Ransome, David ed., The Ferrar Papers, 1590–1790 (microform; Wakefield 1992).

* Paper presented at the Forum on European Expansion and Reaction, Brown University, 23 April 1994.

Needs and Opportunities: British Expansion*

  • Karen Ordahl Kupperman (a1)


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