By Jennifer Pitts
A dramatic shift in British and French rules approximately empire opened up within the sixty years straddling the flip of the 19th century. As Jennifer Pitts indicates in A flip to Empire, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Jeremy Bentham have been between many at first of this era to criticize ecu empires as unjust in addition to politically and economically disastrous for the conquering international locations. through the mid-nineteenth century, even if, the main sought after British and French liberal thinkers, together with John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville, vigorously supported the conquest of non-European peoples. Pitts explains that this mirrored an increase in civilizational self-confidence, as theories of human development grew to become extra triumphalist, much less nuanced, and not more tolerant of cultural distinction. while, imperial growth overseas got here to be noticeable as a political venture that would support the emergence of reliable liberal democracies inside of Europe. Pitts exhibits that liberal thinkers often celebrated for respecting not just human equality and liberty but additionally pluralism supported an inegalitarian and decidedly nonhumanitarian overseas politics. but such moments symbolize no longer an important function of liberal suggestion yet a remarkable departure from perspectives shared through accurately these late-eighteenth-century thinkers whom Mill and Tocqueville observed as their forebears. Fluently written, A flip to Empire deals a unique overview of recent political suggestion and foreign justice, and an illuminating point of view on carrying on with debates over empire, intervention, and liberal political commitments.
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Extra info for A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France
47 A savage will rein in his emotions, knowing that his spectators’ arduous lives keep them from entering into sympathy for exuberant passions; consequently, he will come to see hardiness and self-control as great virtues. In contrast, a member of civilized society, aware that those who witness his actions can afford to be indulgent about violent expressions of passion, will permit himself such displays and will come to value deep feeling and tender-heartedness. In both of these cases, the actor judges his own actions by comparing his view of himself with the view he thinks others will take; actors in societies at all stages are concerned to avoid the contempt of those around them—and, it would seem, to be both praised and praiseworthy.
Weakness” in savage than civilized societies, in both cases people make moral judgments by the same mechanisms. They develop judgments about what is proper, right, or virtuous through the operations of sympathy and by attempting to discern how an impartial spectator would judge their actions. 47 A savage will rein in his emotions, knowing that his spectators’ arduous lives keep them from entering into sympathy for exuberant passions; consequently, he will come to see hardiness and self-control as great virtues.
The constitution of the church of Rome may be considered as the most formidable combination that ever was formed against the authority and security of civil government, as well as against the liberty, reason, and happiness of mankind. . Had this constitution been attacked by no other enemies but the feeble efforts of human reason, it must have endured forever. But that immense and well-built fabric, which all the wisdom and virtue of man could never have shaken, much less have overturned, was by the natural course of things, ﬁrst weakened, and afterwards in part destroyed.
A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France by Jennifer Pitts
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