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Showing posts from November, 2017

Emma Rothschild. "The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth-Century History."

Emma Rothschild, The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth-Century History. (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2011.) 
By N. H. Gill
Emma Rothschild’s Inner Life of Empires presents a “large microhistory” of the Johnstone family, eleven children, their parents, and two of their slaves, who lived and moved within influential social and intellectual circles during the eighteenth century Scottish Enlightenment.[1] This prosopography traces the children’s lives across the British Empire as well as their friendships with philosophers – including David Hume, Adam Ferguson, and the early economist Adam Smith – to illustrate a world of laissez faire as it was lived and imagined at inception.
Rothschild describes her work as a history of “ideas and sentiments.”[2] She uses the first three chapters to describe the lives of the Johnstone siblings, from their initial ventures in the British East and West Indies, their economic and political cooperation, and the balance of their lives at…