Niall Ferguson: Empire (How Britain Made the Modern World) – The White Plague

“how is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”–Samuel Johnson

From the Channel 4 television series by Niall Ferguson (one of this seminar’s “new imperialists”), which accompanies his book by the same title. This part deals with the history of British “plantation,” that is, the “planting” of Britons in colonies, beginning in Ireland, continuing in North America where “plantation” acquired its second meaning with which we are more familiar today: planting crops. Ferguson speaks of public-private commercial ventures in colonizing Ireland, the religious zealotry of New England colonizers, and the indenture of some British immigrants (“slavery on a fixed term contract”). From there Ferguson shifts attention to the Caribbean, and African slavery. He examines how Britain altered between compromise/cooptation (as in the case of hiring the services of the once rebellious Maroons in Jamaica), to coercion (against American colonists). “Liberty” is what Ferguson sees as the drive behind the American war of independence.






About Maximilian C. Forte

I am a professor of anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. My areas of research and teaching interest are centered in Political Anthropology, with a focus on imperialism, neoliberalism and globalization, nationalism, democracy, and the international political economy of knowledge production. My long-standing research area involves the ethnohistory of Indigenous Peoples in the Lesser Antilles, and a focus on Indigenous resurgence in Trinidad & Tobago and neighbouring nations of the Caribbean.
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1 Response to Niall Ferguson: Empire (How Britain Made the Modern World) – The White Plague

  1. Rosie says:

    Today in class we brifely discussed colonization through education.
    I think this is an interesting topic, education is such an important part of the socialization process, especailly at the grade school level, I can imagin that it would be easy to colonize the minds of young childern, by molding their way of thinking to the educators liking.
    Particularily at young ages children are so open minded and willing to accept their educators instructions as truth, because they trust them.

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