"Winner of the Longman/History Today Book of the Year Award 2000"
"The ideological Orgins of the British Empire provides a learned and stimulating contribution to a number of areas of scholarly inquiry...compelling." Tearsheet From William and Mary Quarterly
The book triumphantly provides a very obvious answer: the aspirations and experiences of the people of the British Isle shaped concepts of empire." The International History Review Dec 2001
"All readers will have their favorite sections of this engaging book." Journal of Modern History
"Armitage (Columbia Univ.) used some 200 books published in the British Isles between 1550 and 1750, in addition to manuscripts in English and Scottish archives, as sources for this erudite study of the conceptual underpinning of the transatlantic "first British empire"." CHOICE March 2001
David Armitage presents the first comprehensive history of British conceptions of empire for half a century, tracing the emergence of British imperial identity from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries. This book sheds new light on major British political thinkers, from Sir Thomas Smith to David Hume, by providing novel accounts of the 'British problem' in the early modern period, of the relationship between Protestantism and empire, of theories of property, liberty and political economy in imperial perspective, and of the imperial contribution to the emergence of the British identity.