'Neither masters nor slaves': small states and empire in the long eighteenth century

Whatmore, Richard (2009) 'Neither masters nor slaves': small states and empire in the long eighteenth century. In: Kelly, Duncan (ed.) Lineages of empire: the historical roots of British imperial thought. Proceedings of the British Academy, 155 . Oxford University Press for the British Academy, Oxford, pp. 53-81. ISBN 9780197264393

Full text not available from this repository.


In the nineteenth and twentieth century, the British Empire was viewed as a moral phenomenon. It was often described as supportive of self-government, benevolent, and respectful of the customs and laws of the dependent states of the empire. In the twentieth century, Britain became involved in world wars to defend the independence of its small states. This involvement was partially spurred by commercial interests but it was mainly because of the desire to maintain Britain’s reputation as a defender of liberty and because of its self-perception as an archetypal free state. This chapter determines the origins of the perception of Britain as defender of small states and of Europe’s small republics. It begins with an evaluation of the prevailing perspectives on the empire during the eighteenth century and the survival strategies employed by Europe’s small republics. The chapter also examines the bankruptcy of the traditional policies for maintaining national independence by the latter part of the eighteenth century. It concludes with the perception of Britain as a defender of small states by the time of the Vienna Settlement.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain
Depositing User: Richard Whatmore
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:15
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2012 11:26
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24995
📧 Request an update