The Empire of Political Thought: Indigenous Australians and by Bruce Buchan

By Bruce Buchan

Empire of Political suggestion investigates how ecu colonists in Australia represented the indigenous peoples they discovered there, and the way they ruled them utilizing Western political suggestion. Buchan argues that an ideological framework drawn from Western traditions rendered indigenous peoples common to Europeans. instead of effacing indigenous distinction, colonists hired a conceptual language that acknowledged these transformations yet assimilated them and rendered them as deficiencies. this is often the 1st examine to hyperlink the imperial executive in Australia with comparative colonial contexts in North the USA. The modern relevance of this ebook is underscored by means of the ongoing efforts of Indigenous peoples in Australia and in different places to articulate their visions of political and cultural self-government and self-determination.

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Extra info for The Empire of Political Thought: Indigenous Australians and the Language of Colonial Government (Empires in Perspective)

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Natural law thought developed around the central principle that human beings, as rational creatures, had an obligation to make proper use of nature to sustain life. 20 A central feature of natural law thinking, then, was a conception of the individual as a rational self whose agency was tied to property ownership and accumulation. The individual and the individual’s property, however, both required protection. 27 As the English saw it, they were the bearers of good government to peoples, whether in Ireland, America or elsewhere, who were perceived to be living in a state of no, or at best defective, government.

13 This image of the British ‘empire of trade’ as a benign alternative to more violent empires was vital to contemporary British justifications of their Empire as an ‘empire of liberty’. Significantly, this imagery is alive and well today among conservative historians. 14 There is no doubt that Britain’s eighteenth-century ‘empire of commerce’ was perceived by many Britons as an ‘empire of liberty’, but, like all such terms and images, their import hinges as much on what they reveal as it does on what they conceal.

75 The consequence of this ‘small degree of sovereignty’ was that subjecting Indigenous Americans to British rule was a similarly minor moral concern. Histories of Civilization The rationale that Locke and others provided for the subordination of Indigenous people to European imperial government rested on the ‘recognition’ of Indigenous difference. That recognition accepted the existence of Indigenous virtue and government but, by recognizing a limited, even temporary Indigenous form of government, British political thinkers and colonial administrators constructed the problem of imperial administration around an ordering of government.

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