Ideology and Foreign Policy in Early Modern Europe (1650-1750)

Routledge
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The years 1650 to 1750 - sandwiched between an age of 'wars of religion' and an age of 'revolutionary wars' - have often been characterized as a 'de-ideologized' period. However, the essays in this collection contend that this is a mistaken assumption. For whilst international relations during this time may lack the obvious polarization between Catholic and Protestant visible in the proceeding hundred years, or the highly charged contest between monarchies and republics of the late eighteenth century, it is forcibly argued that ideology had a fundamental part to play in this crucial transformative stage of European history. Many early modernists have paid little attention to international relations theory, often taking a 'Realist' approach that emphasizes the anarchism, materialism and power-political nature of international relations. In contrast, this volume provides alternative perspectives, viewing international relations as socially constructed and influenced by ideas, ideology and identities. Building on such theoretical developments, allows international relations after 1648 to be fundamentally reconsidered, by putting political and economic ideology firmly back into the picture. By engaging with, and building upon, recent theoretical developments, this collection treads new terrain. Not only does it integrate cultural history with high politics and foreign policy, it also engages directly with themes discussed by political scientists and international relations theorists. As such it offers a fresh, and genuinely interdisciplinary approach to this complex and fundamental period in Europe's development.
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About the author

David Onnekink, Universiteit Utrecht, NL; and Gijs Rommelse, The Netherlands Institute of Military History, The Hague, NL.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
May 13, 2016
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Pages
334
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ISBN
9781317118985
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Modern / 17th Century
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This content is DRM protected.
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Renaissance Europe witnessed a surge of interest in new scientific ideas and theories. Whilst the study of this 'Scientific Revolution' has dramatically shifted our appreciation of many facets of the early-modern world, remarkably little attention has been paid to its influence upon one key area; that of economics. Through an interrogation of the relationship between economic and scientific developments in early-modern Western Europe, this book demonstrates how a new economic epistemology appeared that was to have profound consequences both at the time, and for subsequent generations. Dr Maifreda argues that the new attention shown by astronomers, physicians, aristocrats, men of letters, travellers and merchants for the functioning of economic life and markets, laid the ground for a radically new discourse that envisioned 'economics' as an independent field of scientific knowledge. By researching the historical context surrounding this new field of knowledge, he identifies three key factors that contributed to the cultural construction of economics. Firstly, Italian Humanism and Renaissance, which promoted new subjects, methods and quantitative analysis. Secondly, European overseas expansion, which revealed the existence of economic cultures previously unknown to Europeans. Thirdly factor identified is the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century crisis of traditional epistemologies, which increasingly valued empirical scientific knowledge over long-held beliefs. Based on a wide range of published and archival sources, the book illuminates new economic sensibilities within a range of established and more novel scientific disciplines (including astronomy, physics, ethnography, geology, and chemistry/alchemy). By tracing these developments within the wider social and cultural fields of everyday commercial life, the study offers a fascinating insight into the relationship between economic knowledge and science during the early-modern period.
In January 1682, William Culliford, a loyal and experienced officer in the King's customs service, began an extraordinary journey under Treasury orders to investigate the integrity and efficiency of the customs establishments of southwest England and south Wales as part of a drive to maximize the Crown's income from customs duties (on which it relied for much of its revenue). Starting at Bristol, Culliford eventually completed this daunting task in Cornwall over two years later in the spring of 1684. His report on each of the ports he inspected (the primary source for this book) revealed widespread smuggling and fraud in the context of a customs service both lacking in efficiency and riddled with corruption. The book documents the varied frauds and wide-ranging abuses uncovered and their facilitation by customs officers only too ready to collude with smugglers, dishonest merchants and seamen and to accept bribes to ignore tax evasion. It describes, too, Culliford's assessment of the administrative practices of each port inspected and his judgment on the levels of probity and efficiency of individual officers, detailing his recommendations for procedural improvements and the treatment of the corrupt and incompetent and, incidentally, of those suspected of political and religious dissent. Additionally, the book presents a body of statistical data on the customs revenue actually collected at individual ports in the 1670s and 1680s and surveys the extent and nature of the maritime trade of the ports Culliford examined. It thus not only throws light on the history of the customs service, but provides a rare insight into the interactions of economic, social and political issues in the later seventeenth century, and makes a valuable contribution to the particular histories of the ports and maritime districts visited by this energetic and tenacious investigator.
Horses played a major role in the military, economic, social and cultural history of early-modern England. This book uses the supply of horses to parliamentary armies during the English Civil War to make two related points. Firstly it shows how control of resources - although vital to success - is contingent upon a variety of logistical and political considerations. It then demonstrates how competition for resources and construction of individuals’ identities and allegiances fed into each other. Resources, such as horses, did not automatically flow out of areas which were nominally under Parliament’s control. Parliament had to construct administrative systems and make them work. This was not easy when only a minority of the population actively supported either side and property rights had to be negotiated, so the success of these negotiations was never a foregone conclusion. The study also demonstrates how competition for resources and construction of identities fed into each other. It argues that allegiance was not a fixed underlying condition, but was something external and changeable. Actions were more important than thoughts and to secure victory, both sides needed people to do things rather than feel vaguely sympathetic. Furthermore, identities were not always self-fashioned but could be imposed on people against their will, making them liable to disarmament, sequestration, fines or imprisonment. More than simply a book about resources and logistics, this study poses fundamental questions of identity construction, showing how culture and reality influence each other. Through an exploration of Parliament’s interaction with local communities and individuals, it reveals fascinating intersections between military necessity and issues of gender, patriarchy, religion, bureaucracy, nationalism and allegiance.
Hans Willem Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland (1649-1709) was the closest confidant of William III and arguably the most important politician in Williamite Britain. Beginning his career in 1664 as page to William of Orange, his fortunes gained momentum with the Prince's rise to power in The Netherlands and Britain, emerging as William's favourite at court from the 1670s onwards. Taking a broadly chronological approach, the central concern of this book is not simply to provide a biographical account of Portland's life, but to explore wider political themes within a European context. By analysing Portland's role within William's government it shows how royal favourites could still wield considerable influence on European events and help shape royal policy, particularly with regard to foreign policy. By engaging with the question of why such a figure emerged, this study helps illuminate the workings of William's government and the central role of his foreign entourage. Drawing from archival material in England, Scotland, France and The Netherlands, it ties the history of post-Revolution Britain with political events in the Netherlands. It also analyses Anglo-Dutch political relations during the crucial period of the Nine Years War, Britain's first major commitment to a continental war since the sixteenth century. In so doing it connects Dutch and British historiography and significantly contributes to our understanding of British politics during the 1690s, both domestically and within an international context.
In a riveting, groundbreaking narrative, Russell Shorto tells the story of New Netherland, the Dutch colony which pre-dated the Pilgrims and established ideals of tolerance and individual rights that shaped American history. 

"Astonishing . . . A book that will permanently alter the way we regard our collective past." --The New York Times

When the British wrested New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, the truth about its thriving, polyglot society began to disappear into myths about an island purchased for 24 dollars and a cartoonish peg-legged governor. But the story of the Dutch colony of New Netherland was merely lost, not destroyed: 12,000 pages of its records–recently declared a national treasure–are now being translated. Russell Shorto draws on this remarkable archive in The Island at the Center of the World, which has been hailed by The New York Times as “a book that will permanently alter the way we regard our collective past.”

The Dutch colony pre-dated the “original” thirteen colonies, yet it seems strikingly familiar. Its capital was cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic, and its citizens valued free trade, individual rights, and religious freedom. Their champion was a progressive, young lawyer named Adriaen van der Donck, who emerges in these pages as a forgotten American patriot and whose political vision brought him into conflict with Peter Stuyvesant, the autocratic director of the Dutch colony. The struggle between these two strong-willed men laid the foundation for New York City and helped shape American culture. The Island at the Center of the World uncovers a lost world and offers a surprising new perspective on our own.
The horrific series of conflicts known as the Thirty Years War (1618-48) tore the heart out of Europe, killing perhaps a quarter of all Germans and laying waste to whole areas of Central Europe to such a degree that many towns and regions never recovered. All the major European powers apart from Russia were heavily involved and, while each country started out with rational war aims, the fighting rapidly spiralled out of control, with great battles giving way to marauding bands of starving soldiers spreading plague and murder. The war was both a religious and a political one and it was this tangle of motives that made it impossible to stop. Whether motivated by idealism or cynicism, everyone drawn into the conflict was destroyed by it. At its end a recognizably modern Europe had been created but at a terrible price.

Peter Wilson's book is a major work, the first new history of the war in a generation, and a fascinating, brilliantly written attempt to explain a compelling series of events. Wilson's great strength is in allowing the reader to understand the tragedy of mixed motives that allowed rulers to gamble their countries' future with such horrifying results. The principal actors in the drama (Wallenstein, Ferdinand II, Gustavus Adolphus, Richelieu) are all here, but so is the experience of the ordinary soldiers and civilians, desperately trying to stay alive under impossible circumstances.

The extraordinary narrative of the war haunted Europe's leaders into the twentieth century (comparisons with 1939-45 were entirely appropriate) and modern Europe cannot be understood without reference to this dreadful conflict.

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