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The Power of Commerce: Economy and Governance in the First British Empire 1st Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0801426995
ISBN-10: 0801426995
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From the Back Cover

What price do states pay for becoming and remaining world powers? Why did the first greatly expanded British Empire collapse so rapidly? Nancy F. Koehn here recounts the urgent challenges that confronted the British in the ten-year period following their overwhelming victory in the Seven Years War. Koehn shows that with great power comes great vulnerability; imperial dominance made novel demands on practical policymaking. In 1763 London gained dominion over lands as vast as Canada and India, as tiny as Tobago and Senegal. As a new colonial power, Britain had to find funds to manage and defend these territories, grapple with an unprecedented national debt, and promote growth in the newly industrializing economy at home and in trade with partners abroad. By examining the interconnections between economic and imperial politics, the author closes the gap that separates economic history from political, social, and cultural history. Koehn analyzes a fascinating range of primary sources, and she includes a series of stories about articulate and occasionally eccentric Britons who found themselves taking part in what they knew to be a crucial chapter in their empire's history. Her assessment of how eighteenth-century Britain managed the economic and political challenges of international supremacy has important implications for understanding the imperial trajectories of later world powers, including the United States, Russia, and Japan in the twentieth century.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (September 9, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801426995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801426995
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,319,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Hugh Claffey on October 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book works its way through various British administrations growing awareness of the interrelationship between imperial policy, international trade and the costs of governance through the 18th Century. It is a worthwhile attempt to explain the oscillations in British taxation and imperial policies throughout this time, - its best point is the as wars became increasingly expensive, governments were forced into borrowing based on future tax receipts. Therefore governments differed on the best ways of ensuring the continued growth of taxes - to tax imports, or exports, or transactions, or land etc. and at what rate. There are many fine quotations showing the development of economic thought - in particular the negative effect of taxation on trade, the emergence of a mercantilist philosophy, and the various ploys to get the citizens of various colonies to contribute the tax burden.
The book suffers in terms of a stilted style, some untranslated latin expressions, pompous words like `undergirded', and repetitions between chapters which could have been edited. Apart from the style issues, the content of the book fine, but for better content and delivery try John Brewers "The Sinews of Power".
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