By Eliga H. Gould
SHEAR booklet Prize (2013), Society for Historians of the Early American Republic
George Washington ebook Prize Finalist (2013)
A Library Journal most sensible ebook of 2012
What does it suggest to be a treaty-worthy nation? No query mattered extra to americans in 1776. As Eliga Gould indicates during this prize-winning ebook, the necessity for foreign acceptance touched all the things of the us' early background -- from the drafting of the structure, to relatives among settlers and Indians, to the looming debate over slavery.
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Additional info for Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire
Because the quest for treaty-worthiness affected every member of society, both in terms of the legal rights that belonging to a treaty-worthy nation conferred and the duties that it imposed, I have tried wherever possible to approach what we sometimes think of as a top-down subject from a bottom-up perspective, combining the experiences of people like John Adams with those of men and women who were neither rich nor powerful but who also had a stake in the outcome. By its very nature, though, treaty-worthiness was (and still is) a hierarchical construct, which held that some nations and people were more equal than others.
In a particularly vivid account taken from the capitulation of the British garrison on Minorca in 1782, the Annual Register made a point of noting the generosity of France’s and Spain’s soldiers as the ragged defenders left the citadel. ”32 Commanding officers tended to be especially important figures in such narratives. In the aftermath of Commodore George Anson’s voyage round the world (1740–1744), during which his squadron plundered Spanish ships and possessions from the Straits of Magellan to the Philippines, British writers noted Anson’s professionalism and attentiveness to European codes of war, as well as the diligence with which he insisted that the men under his command treat their enemies with On the Margins of Europe 23 honor and respect.
21 The result was a system that encouraged belligerents to think of war and the rule of law as mutually reinforcing categories. In the case of the timehonored right of occupying forces to “live off the land,” eighteenth-century 20 A mong t h e P ow e r s of t h e E a r t h armies turned what had often been a license to plunder into a system of requisitioning supplies and contributions. 22 Often, the raising of contributions still carried the threat of violence. 23 Yet because armies that rejected plunder in favor of treaties could raise larger supplies and devote fewer resources to maintaining order, they had an interest in recognizing distinctions between seizures that were necessary and those that were not, between public and private property, and between individuals who actively assisted the enemy and those who did not.