Armitage, David 1965-

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Armitage, David 1965-

PERSONAL:

Born 1965; married, 2000. Education: Cambridge University, Ph.D., 1992.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of History, Harvard University, Robinson Hall, 35 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, England, research fellow, 1990-93; Columbia University, New York, NY, assistant professor, 1993-97, associate professor of history, beginning 1997, became James R. Barker Chair of Contemporary Civilization and professor of history, beginning 2003; Folger Shakespeare Library's Center for the History of British Political Thought, beginning 2002; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, currently professor of history. Member, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture; member, John Carter Brown Library; member, North American Conference on British Studies.

MEMBER:

Royal Historical Society (fellow), American Historical Association, Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society, Hakluyt Society, John Carter Brown Library, North American Conference on British Studies, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Irene Samuel Memorial Award, Milton Society of America, 1995; Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Award for Junior Faculty, Columbia University, 1996, 1998; National Humanities Center fellowship, 1996-97; Georges Lurcy Junior Faculty fellowship, 1996-97; Charles Warren Center for American History fellowship; Harvard University fellowship 2000-01; Book of the Year, Longman/History Today, 2001; visiting fellow, Australian National University, 2004 and 2006; Caird Medal, National Maritime Museum, 2006; Mellon postdoctoral fellowship, Henry E. Huntington Library, 2006-07.

WRITINGS:

The Ideological Origins of the British Empire, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Greater Britain, 1516-1776: Essays in Atlantic History, Ashgate (Burlington, VT), 2004.

The Declaration of Independence: A Global History, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

Contributor to books, including America in European Consciousness, 1493 to 1750, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1995; and The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume 1, edited by Nicholas Canny, Oxford University Press, 1998. Contributor to journals, including the Journal of British Studies, Journal of the History of Ideas, and the American Historical Review.

EDITOR

(With Armand Himy and Quentin Skinner) Milton and Republicanism, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1995.

Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, Political Writings, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

Theories of Empire, 1450-1800, Ashgate (Brookfield, VT), 1998.

(With Michael J. Braddick) The British Atlantic World, 1500-1800, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2002.

(And author of introduction) Hugo Grotius, The Free Sea, translated by Richard Hakluyt, Liberty Fund (Indianapolis, IN), 2004.

British Political Thought in History, Literature and Theory, 1500-1800, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

David Armitage is an historian whose interests include pre-1800 Britain and the British Empire, the history of international law and political thought, and the history of Atlantic countries. He has edited numerous books on these and other subjects, as well as authoring his own. Two of his original works are The Ideological Origins of the British Empire and The Declaration of Independence: A Global History. The former provides Armitage's thoughts on just what made Britain unique among empires in world history, while the latter describes international reactions to the landmark American document, as well as how its words have echoed through the centuries.

In The Ideological Origins of the British Empire, Armitage first explains how the concept of empire among the British slowly evolved from one that initially contained those lands of the British Isles—England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland—and, for a time, parts of France, then expanded to the American colonies and British Caribbean, and finally became a vast empire that dominated lands as far away as South Africa and India. The British Empire was not just unique because of its vastness, however, but also because "it was Protestant, commercial, maritime, and free," as Nicholas Canny related in the Journal of Modern History. This concept of empire did not come into full fruition, maintains Armitage, until around 1730, and it had already begun to fall apart by 1763 because of "reactions against ‘the aggressiveness of that nationalism,’" as J.C.D. Clark reported in the English Historical Review. Although Clark held that Armitage's characterization of a unified and accepted social concept that all those living within the empire were, in essence, English, makes "the American Revolution hard to explain," the critic asserted that the work "is a sophisticated and scholarly study, important for retrieving early debates in formerly separated areas; it deserves to be widely influential." Canny characterized it as an "engaging book" that "inspires confidence because of [its] … attention to detail."

With The Declaration of Independence, Armitage takes attention away from the importance of the statement that "all men are created equal," which he explains only had an impact on world politics and society long after 1776. Instead, the initial impact of the declaration was the debate it inspired as to what constitutes an internationally recognized, independent state. He then goes on to comment on how America's Declaration of Independence would serve as a model for new constitutions around the world. The result was that a fundamental mind-set was changed in history as people began to think in political terms of a world comprised of many nation states rather than large empires. "This core argument is fascinating and significant," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer, while Gilbert Taylor wrote in Booklist that Armitage's book is a "readable study [that] restores historical context" to the Declaration of Independence.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Albion, spring, 2004, Roger L. Emerson, review of The British Atlantic World, 1500-1800, p. 193.

Booklist, November 15, 2006, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Declaration of Independence: A Global History, p. 19.

Boston Globe, February 1, 2007, Michael Kenney, review of The Declaration of Independence.

Business History, July, 2003, Kenneth Morgan, review of The British Atlantic World, 1500-1800, p. 152.

Canadian Journal of History, April, 2001, Carl E. Swanson and Elizabeth Colwill, review of Theories of Empire, 1450-1800, p. 213.

Clio, spring, 1997, R.C. Richardson, review of Milton and Republicanism, p. 367.

English Historical Review, September, 1997, Jonathan Scott, review of Milton and Republicanism, p. 949; June, 2003, Geoffrey Scammell, review of The British Atlantic World, 1500-1800, p. 795, and J.C.D. Clark, review of The Ideological Origins of the British Empire, p. 797.

Journal of Ecclesiastical History, January, 2002, Ronald H. Fritze, review of The Ideological Origins of the British Empire, p. 171.

Journal of English and Germanic Philology, October, 1997, John Rogers, review of Milton and Republicanism, p. 612.

Journal of Modern History, September, 2002, Nicholas Canny, review of The Ideological Origins of the British Empire, p. 630.

Journal of World History, fall, 2001, David Robyak, review of Theories of Empire, 1450-1800, p. 489.

Library Journal, December 1, 2006, Steven Puro, review of The Declaration of Independence, p. 138.

Publishers Weekly, October 16, 2006, review of The Declaration of Independence, p. 44.

Renaissance Quarterly, autumn, 1998, Elizabeth Skerpan-Wheeler, review of Milton and Republicanism, p. 1067.

Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2007, Brendan Simms, review of The Declaration of Independence.