Selling Empire

India in the Making of Britain and America, 1600-1830

By Jonathan Eacott

472 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 25 halftones, 7 figs, notes, index

Not for sale in South Asia

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3617-7
    Published: April 2017
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-2231-6
    Published: February 2016

Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press

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Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press

Awards & distinctions

2017 Bentley Book Prize, World History Association

Linking four continents over three centuries, Selling Empire demonstrates the centrality of India--both as an idea and a place--to the making of a global British imperial system. In the seventeenth century, Britain was economically, politically, and militarily weaker than India, but Britons increasingly made use of India’s strengths to build their own empire in both America and Asia. Early English colonial promoters first envisioned America as a potential India, hoping that the nascent Atlantic colonies could produce Asian raw materials. When this vision failed to materialize, Britain’s circulation of Indian manufactured goods--from umbrellas to cottons--to Africa, Europe, and America then established an empire of goods and the supposed good of empire.

Eacott recasts the British empire's chronology and geography by situating the development of consumer culture, the American Revolution, and British industrialization in the commercial intersections linking the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. From the seventeenth into the nineteenth century and beyond, the evolving networks, ideas, and fashions that bound India, Britain, and America shaped persisting global structures of economic and cultural interdependence.

About the Author

Jonathan Eacott is assistant professor of history at the University of California, Riverside.
For more information about Jonathan Eacott, visit the Author Page.

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