English Society in the Eighteenth Century as Influenced from Oversea

English Society in the Eighteenth Century as Influenced from Oversea

English Society in the Eighteenth Century as Influenced from Oversea

English Society in the Eighteenth Century as Influenced from Oversea

Excerpt

While the social and economic changes of eighteenth century England have received able treatment by modern scholars, there has been no serious attempt to explain these phenomena in the light of oversea expansion. The victorious struggle for world empire proved to be a force more insistent and more powerful than tradition or local interests in reshaping the character of the individual and of the social structure of this period.

Without cessation new commodities, new ideas, and new opportunities for making wealth--all made possible by the vastness of world empire--were transforming the daily life and the thoughts and actions of millions of Englishmen. Herein the blending of a time-old heredity with a new environment produced a new type of individual. Liberated from the trammels of class convention he was a self-made man; freed from the bonds of insularity he became a cosmopolitan, a man of the world. In the new freedom which accompanied broadening trade relations one sees a blending Of coarseness and refinement, of extravagance and moderation, of selfishness and philanthropy: in short, a chaotic state which seems to parallel closely the modern age. Experience acquired in the hard school of business was applied to . . .

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