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Mon, May 13

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Constitutional Culture and Making Imperial

A Constitutional Culture and Making the Imperial Nation with Adrian Chastain Weimer and Gabriel Glickman

Join Adrian Chastain Weimer and Gabriel Glickman for a joint session to discuss their recent works A Constitutional Culture: New England and the Struggle Against Arbitrary Rule in the Restoration Empire and Making the Imperial Nation: Colonization, Politics, and English Identity, 1660-1700.

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A Constitutional Culture and Making the Imperial Nation with Adrian Chastain Weimer and Gabriel Glickman
A Constitutional Culture and Making the Imperial Nation with Adrian Chastain Weimer and Gabriel Glickman

Time & Location

May 13, 2024, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

Constitutional Culture and Making Imperial

About the event

Join Adrian Chastain Weimer and Gabriel Glickman for a joint session to discuss their recent works A Constitutional Culture: New England and the Struggle Against Arbitrary Rule in the Restoration Empire and Making the Imperial Nation: Colonization, Politics, and English Identity, 1660-1700.

A Constitutional Culture and Making the Imperial Nation with Adrian Chastain Weimer and Gabriel Glickman

May 13 9am Pacific/ 12pm Eastern/ 4pm GMT

Adrian Chastain Weimer is Professor of History at Providence College. She is the author of A Constitutional Culture: New England and the Struggle against Arbitrary Rule in the Restoration Empire (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023), and Martyrs' Mirror: Persecution and Holiness in Early New England (Oxford University Press, 2011). Her work has been honored with the Jane Dempsey Douglass Prize and the Michael Kennedy Prize, and with fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Gabriel Glickman is Lecturer in Early Modern British History at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College. His most recent book, Making the Imperial Nation: Colonization, Politics and English Identity was published by Yale University Press in 2023. His first book, The English Catholic Community 1688-1745: Politics, Culture and Ideology, was published in 2009. He has written articles in publications including the Journal of Modern History, Historical Journal, English Historical Review and Journal of British Studies.

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“In A Constitutional Culture, Adrian Chastain Weimer uncovers the story of how, more than a hundred years before the American Revolution, colonists pledged their lives and livelihoods to the defense of local political institutions against arbitrary rule.    With the return of Charles II to the English throne in 1660, the puritan-led colonies faced enormous pressure to conform to the crown’s priorities. Charles demanded that puritans change voting practices, baptismal policies, and laws, and he also cast an eye on local resources such as forests, a valuable source of masts for the English navy. Moreover, to enforce these demands, the king sent four royal commissioners on warships, ostensibly headed for New Netherland but easily redirected toward Boston. In the face of this threat to local rule, colonists had to decide whether they would submit to the commissioners’ authority, which they viewed as arbitrary because it was not accountable to the people, or whether they would mobilize to defy the crown.    Those resisting the crown included not just freemen (voters) but also people often seen as excluded or marginalized such as non-freemen, indentured servants, and women. Together they crafted a potent regional constitutional culture in defiance of Charles II that was characterized by a skepticism of metropolitan ambition, a defense of civil and religious liberties, and a conviction that self-government was divinely sanctioned. Weimer shows how they expressed this constitutional culture through a set of well-rehearsed practices—including fast days, debates, committee work, and petitions. Equipped with a ready vocabulary for criticizing arbitrary rule, with a providentially informed capacity for risk-taking, and with a set of intellectual frameworks for divided sovereignty, the constitutional culture that New Englanders forged would not easily succumb to an imperial authority intent on consolidating its power.”

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“How did the creation of an overseas empire change politics in England itself?   After 1660, English governments aimed to convert scattered overseas dominions into a coordinated territorial power base. Stuart monarchs encouraged schemes for expansion in America, Africa, and Asia, tightened control over existing territories, and endorsed systems of slave labor to boost colonial prosperity. But English power was precarious, and colonial designs were subject to regular defeats and failed experimentation. Recovering from recent Civil Wars at home, England itself was shaken by unrest and upheaval through the later seventeenth century. Colonial policies emerged from a kingdom riven with inner tensions, which it exported to enclaves overseas.    Gabriel Glickman reinstates the colonies within the domestic history of Restoration England. He shows how the pursuit of empire raised moral and ideological controversies that divided political opinion and unsettled many received ideas of English national identity. Overseas ambitions disrupted bonds in Europe and cast new questions about English relations with Scotland and Ireland. Vigorous debates were provoked by contact with non-Christian peoples and by changes brought to cultural tastes and consumer habits at home. England was becoming an imperial nation before it had acquired a secure territorial empire. The pressures of colonization exerted a decisive influence over the wars, revolutions, and party conflicts that destabilized the later Stuart kingdom.”

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