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Empire and History Writing in Britain c. 1750–2012$
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Joanna de Groot

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719090455

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719090455.001.0001

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Empire and History Writing C.1750–1830

Empire and History Writing C.1750–1830

(p.40) 2 Empire and History Writing C.1750–1830
Empire and History Writing in Britain c. 1750–2012

Joanna de Groot

Manchester University Press

In this chapter, the author aims to analyse the historiography of the British Empire from the mid-eighteenth century until 1830, looking at both the forming of a British nation and the impact of wider cultures on the mother country. There is an emphasis on the influence of the political landscape and how the 1801 Act of Union impacted on British perceptions of nationality. Particular emphasis is paid to how the term ‘Englishness’ becomes synonymous with British culture which leads to certain aspects of Scottish, Welsh, and Irish society being left out of the development of a ‘national identity’. The chapter also focuses on the aspects of imperialism that worked their way into British life, often subconsciously, such as the act of tea-drinking. However, historical writings from the time would usually concentrate on the ‘barbarism’ of other nations compared to that of ‘civilised’ Britain, rather than acknowledging any positive change that the empire had on Britain itself. Writers would use this and any colonial victories to assert Britain's superiority as the biggest world power.

Keywords:   Britain, Englishness, Political, Commerce, National Identity, Christianity

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