Humanism and America: An Intellectual History of English Colonisation, 1500-1625

By Andrew Fitzmaurice | Go to book overview

chapter 5
Law and history

From the 1970s historians began to emphasise that the English colonised America not by settlement but conquest. The lands of Amerindians were seized by force of arms, just as the Spanish had conquered Mexico and Peru.1 More recent studies have emphasised that English colonisers were uncomfortable with the language of conquest and employed natural law arguments that were more appropriate to agricultural settlers than to conquistadors.2 It is argued that these natural law claims underpinned the development of a commercial ideology of expansion. The use of the argument of terra nullius, for example, is said to reveal assumptions about the exploitation of the land that would underpin the expansion of commerce in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Each of these interpretations, whether emphasising conquest or natural law, has drawn material from the early modern English tracts justifying colonisation to support their argument. Both would have that literature to be more coherent than it is. In fact, English promoters of colonies in the first century of colonising plans employed a whole battery of frequently conflicting arguments. These arguments were not only incoherent between authors and across time, but often the same author would resort to a range of mutually contradictory arguments.3 In this chapter I consider not only the use of ideas associated with the justification of agricultural colonies and conquest but also two arguments concerning the justification of colonies which have been ignored by historians. First,

1 See, for example, Francis Jennings, The invasion of America: Indians, colonialism, and the cant of
conquest
(New York, 1975); and Robert A. Williams, Jr, The American Indian in western legal thought:
The discourses of conquest
(New York, 1990).

2 See, for example, Anthony Pagden, Lords of all the world: Ideologies of empire in Spain, Britain and
France c.1500–c.1800
(New Haven, 1995); Richard Tuck, The rights of war and peace: Political thought
and the international order from Grotius to Kant
(Oxford, 1999).

3 Cf. John T. Juricek, 'English claims in North America to 1660: a study in legal and constitutional
history' (Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1970); John T. Juricek, 'English territorial claims in North
America under Elizabeth and the early Stuarts', Terræ Incognitæ, 7 (1975), pp. 7–22; Christopher
Tomlins, 'The legal cartography of colonization, the legal polyphony of settlement: English intrusions
on the American mainland in the 17th century', Law and Social Inquiry, 26, 2 (2001), pp. 315–72.

-137-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Humanism and America: An Intellectual History of English Colonisation, 1500-1625
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Humanism and America i
  • Ideas in Context ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Moral Philosophy of Tudor Colonization 20
  • Chapter 3 - The Moral Philosophy of Jacobean Colonization 58
  • Chapter 4 - Rhetoric – 'Not the Words, but the Acts' 102
  • Chapter 5 - Law and History 137
  • Chapter 6 - The Machiavellian Argument for Colonial Possession 167
  • Chapter 7 - Conclusion 187
  • Bibliography 195
  • Index 208
  • Ideas in Context 217
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 223

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.