The Fault Lines of Empire: Political Differentiation in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, ca. 1760-1830

The Fault Lines of Empire: Political Differentiation in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, ca. 1760-1830

The Fault Lines of Empire: Political Differentiation in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, ca. 1760-1830

The Fault Lines of Empire: Political Differentiation in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, ca. 1760-1830

Synopsis

Elizabeth Mancke presents a comparative history arguing that differences in the political cultures of Canada and the United States have their origins in changes in the governance of the British Empire in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Excerpt

The Fault Lines of Empire: Political Differentiation in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, ca. 1760-1830, is a comparative study of the impact of state formation and state centralization in the early modern British Empire. the study focuses on two towns settled by New Englanders in the 1760s: Machias, Massachusetts (Maine after 1820), and Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Strong similarities in their social, cultural, and economic circumstances make it possible to analyze how imperial- and provincial-level changes in the structures of power in the British Empire were refracted down to localities. the divergences in the political cultures of Machias and Liverpool, the study shows, originated in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century attempts by the British metropolitan government to redefine center-periphery relations in the British Atlantic world. Thus the political divergence between the United States and Canada dates not from the American Revolution but from developments that began decades earlier. By analyzing governmental systems of power from the perspective of localities, it becomes possible to see that state formation and centralization in the Anglo-Atlantic world were far from uniform and that the constitutional and political fault lines in the British Empire long predated the American Revolution.

The towns of Liverpool and Machias were settled in 1760 and 1763, respectively, by New Englanders, most of whom made their livelihoods in the fishing and timber trades. Sited on large harbors, these towns soon became the largest settlements in their regions, county seats, and ports of entry for foreign trade. in sailing time they were roughly the same distance from Boston. the first churches were Congregationalist and initially all residents were assessed to support them. the most distinguishing difference between the two towns was not social, cultural, or economic, but jurisdictional. Liverpool was in the relatively new colony of Nova Scotia, conquered from the French in the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713), and Machias was in one of the oldest British American colonies, Massachusetts, settled by Puritans in the 1630s.

Throughout this work the grammar, spelling, and punctuation of all quoted material strictly adhere to the originals.

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