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Marshall, P.J. 1933- (Peter James Marshall)

Marshall, P.J. 1933- (Peter James Marshall)

PERSONAL:

Born 1933. Education: Attended Wellington College, Berkshire, 1947-52, and Wadham College, Oxford, 1954-57; Oxford University, D.Phil., 1962.

CAREER:

University of London, King's College, London, England, assistant lecturer, 1959-62, lecturer, 1962-70, reader, 1970-78, professor, 1978-80, Rhodes Professor of Imperial History, 1980-93, Emeritus Professor of Imperial History, 1993—. Member, History Working Group, National Curriculum, 1989-90. Military service: King's African Rifles, 1953-54; served in Kenya.

MEMBER:

Royal Historical Society (vice president, 1987-91).

WRITINGS:

The Impeachment of Warren Hastings, Oxford University Press (London, England), 1965.

The East India Company, Volume 2: Problems of Empire, Britain and India, 1757-1813, Barnes & Noble (New York, NY), 1968, new edition, edited and with an introduction by Patrick J.N. Tuck, Routledge (New York, NY), 1998.

(Editor) The British Discovery of Hinduism in the Eighteenth Century, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1970.

East Indian Fortunes: The British in Bengal in the Eighteenth Century, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1976.

(Compiler, with Barbara Lowe and John A. Woods) The Correspondence of Edmund Burke, Volume 10: Index, edited by Thomas W. Copeland, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1978.

The Great Map of Mankind: British Perceptions of the World in the Age of Enlightenment, Dent (London, England), 1982, published as The Great Map of Mankind: Perceptions of New Worlds in the Age of Enlightenment, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1982.

The New Cambridge History of India, Volume II, Part 2, Bengal—The British Bridgehead: Eastern India, 1740-1828, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1987.

India and Indonesia during the Ancient Regime: Essays, Brill (New York, NY), 1989.

(Editor) The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Volume VI: India: The Launching of the Hastings Impeachment, 1786-1788, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1991.

Trade and Conquest: Studies on the Rise of British Dominance in India, Variorum (Brookfield, VT), 1993.

Imperial Britain, University of London (London, England), 1994.

The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume II: The Eighteenth Century, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

(Editor) The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Volume VII: India: The Hastings Trial, 1789-1794, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 2000.

"A Free though Conquering People": Eighteenth-Century Britain and Its Empire, Ashgate (Burlington, VT), 2003.

The Eighteenth Century in Indian History: Evolution or Revolution?, Oxford University Press (New Delhi, India), 2003.

The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America, c. 1750-1783, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Editor, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 1975-81.

SIDELIGHTS:

University of London Emeritus Professor of Imperial History P.J. Marshall specializes in the study of the British Empire. His works, ranging from The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire and The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume II: The Eighteenth Century to The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America, c. 1750-1783 and The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Volume VII: India: The Hastings Trial, 1789-1794, demonstrate the breadth and impact of the Empire on world events and politics from about 1715 to the present. Its legacy includes the establishment of English as an international language, the dominance of London in international finance, and the political and social consequences of British rule in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. "British imperialism remains the bearer of a mass of emotional and symbolic functions," explained New Statesman & Society reviewer Stephen Howe. "Suicide bombers in Jerusalem, rioters in Bombay, judicial murders in Ogoniland, all in part play out the legacies of Empire, as does the genius of Brian Lara [the world-famous cricket player from the British West Indies] and anyone who drinks tea, wears pyjamas or listens to reggae." "Marshall," concluded Gilbert Taylor in Booklist, "has devoted his academic career to that legacy."

The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire is a popular introduction to the story of how the British came to dominate many parts of the globe over a couple of centuries. It "begins with Britain's almost simultaneous loss of its American colonies and its acquisitions of territories in India" in the late eighteenth century, explained Vinay Lal in Race and Class. "The nineteenth century was to be the great era of British expansion: if for some imperialists the economic imperative was paramount, the militarists were eager to secure Britain's primacy among European nations and provide Britain with a reserve of men whose lives could be sacrificed without much compunction, while the missionaries were desirous of finding terrain where the heathens, not having to contend with the formidable attractions of the pub, could perhaps more reli- ably be expected to receive the teachings of the Lord." "Narrative and analysis are skillfully blended" in the volume, Howe concluded, "with fine chapters on imperial power and authority, on ‘empires of the mind,’ on colonial art and architecture, on migration and on the economic balance-sheet of colonialism."

The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire also emphasizes the fact that British imperialism was a makeshift affair; the empire was constructed piece by piece, without an overarching plan, and its governance was placed largely in the hands of administrators and subalterns who lived in the territories they ruled and (sometimes) had sympathy for the people they encountered. At the same time, as Lal pointed out, the legacy of empire was extremely mixed, at best. Evidence of widespread brutality directed against native Indians emerged in the investigations following suppression of the Indian Rebellion in 1857. Disturbances in the Punjab region (now part of Pakistan) culminated in the Amritsar massacre of 1919, in which British soldiers fired on unarmed civilians in an enclosed marketplace, killing hundreds. The Boer War, waged against South Africans of Dutch ancestry at the turn of the twentieth century, also saw British administrators descend to new levels, including herding Boer women and children into concentration camps—the ancestors of Hitler's concentration camps where the Holocaust was perpetrated during World War II. "Even the indefatigable Anglophile, Nirad Chaudhuri, much admired in the West like [V.S.] Naipaul," Lal wrote, "described the British in India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as ‘the Nazis of their times.’" "Ultimately," stated Antoinette Burton in her Victorian Studies review, Marshall's "conclusion is that because British initiatives and responses by colonial peoples varied so greatly, it is ‘almost impossible to offer any definitive judgment on the British imperial record as a whole.’"

Marshall focuses on an earlier period of British imperial history in The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume II. The book chronicles the growth of the empire through the end of the eighteenth century. It "shows Britain as a major imperial power after 1715, the growing centrality of empire to the economy and the interaction of capitalism and religion—‘the market place and the meeting house,’" declared fellow imperial historian Kenneth O. Morgan in his New Statesman review. "The 18th century brought the end of one empire, with the successful revolt of the American colonies. But the famous ‘swing to the East’ saw a huge, more diverse dominion arise instead." It also changed the way the British thought about their empire. "During the first half of the eighteenth century, few questioned the king's dominions or territories acquired by private bodies acting on authority vested in them by the Crown. After the Seven Years' War, questions of authority were more concerned with Parliament," wrote Roger Adelson in the Historian. "Whatever Westminster might claim, local power remained too great for the British army to suppress the North American colonists in a war that showed the limited military effort that Britain could mount overseas." "If the volume is not as comprehensive as some would like, it is still an impressive achievement," Eliga H. Gould wrote in the English Historical Review. "Rather, the project should be judged as a bibliographic aid, as a guide to current scholarship within its own parameters, and as a repository of vital facts and information. On this basis, it already serves a crucially important function and, in all likelihood, will continue to do so for years to come."

In The Making and Unmaking of Empires, Marshall examines more closely the imperial transition of colonies from a royal prerogative to a parliamentary one—a key point in scholarship about the American Revolution. In the early eighteenth century parliamentary theorists began arguing that, since the Crown was accountable to Parliament for the exercise of power, Parliament could legitimately exercise direct control over British colonies—even if the charters under which the colonies were governed required officials to report directly to the king. "Based on a lifetime's research and contemplation on the eighteenth-century British Empire," Simon C. Smith wrote in the Historian. "Marshall's book will stand for years to come as the standard work on the study of the making and unmaking of empire."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, October 1, 1983, review of The Great Map of Mankind: British Perceptions of the World in the Age of Enlightenment, p. 971; February 1, 1993, review of The New Cambridge History of India, Volume II, Part 2,Bengal—The British Bridgehead: Eastern India, 1740-1828, p. 83; February 1, 2007, Stephen Saunders Webb, review of The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America, c. 1750-1783, p. 163.

Booklist, March 1, 1996, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, p. 1118.

Book Report, November 1, 1996, Barbara Foraker, review of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, September 1, 1992, review of The New Cambridge History of India, Volume II, Part 2, Bengal—The British Bridgehead, p. 63; May 1, 2006, R.D. Long, review of The Making and Unmaking of Empires, p. 1667.

Contemporary Review, November 1, 2001, review of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, p. 313.

Economic History Review, May 1, 2006, S.D. Smith, review of The Making and Unmaking of Empires, p. 407.

Eighteenth-Century Studies, summer, 2000, Jutta Birmele, review of The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume II: The Eighteenth Century, p. 605.

English Historical Review, July 1, 1989, review of The New Cambridge History of India, Volume II, Part 2, Bengal—The British Bridgehead, p. 698; November 1, 1994, Francis Robinson, review of The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Volume VI: India: The Launching of the Hastings Impeachment, 1786-1788, p. 1291; June 1, 2001, Francis Robinson, review of The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Volume VII: India: The Hastings Trial, 1789-1794, p. 738; April 1, 2003, Eliga H. Gould, "The Eighteenth Century," p. 448; June 1, 2007, Fred Anderson, review of The Making and Unmaking of Empires, p. 763.

Geographical Journal, November 1, 1997, review of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, p. 325.

Historian, spring, 2000, Roger Adelson, "The Eighteenth Century," p. 625; spring, 2007, Simon C. Smith, review of The Making and Unmaking of Empires, p. 161.

History: Review of New Books, January 1, 2006, Roger D. Long, review of The Making and Unmaking of Empires, p. 64.

History Today, August 1, 1982, Jeremy Black, review of The Great Map of Mankind, p. 58; June 1, 1989, Bruce Lenman, review of The New Cambridge History of India, Volume II, Part 2, Bengal—The British Bridgehead, p. 54; April 1, 1996, review of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, p. 53; September 1, 1998, Max Beloff, review of The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume II, p. 58.

Journal of American History, December 1, 1999, T.H. Breen, review of The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume II, p. 1331.

Journal of British Studies, July 1, 2006, Jon Parmenter, review of The Making and Unmaking of Empires, p. 664.

Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, March 1, 1991, Michael H. Fisher, review of India and Indonesia during the Ancient Regime: Essays, p. 182.

Library Journal, September 15, 1982, review of The Great Map of Mankind, p. 1752; June 15, 1998, "The Eighteenth Century," p. 93.

New Statesman, September 18, 1998, Kenneth O. Morgan, review of The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume II, p. 56.

New Statesman & Society, March 29, 1996, Stephen Howe, review of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, p. 38.

Orbis, January 1, 1991, review of The New Cambridge History of India, Volume II, Part 2, Bengal—The British Bridgehead, p. 154.

Race and Class, April 1, 1997, Vinay Lal, review of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire.

Reference & Research Book News, July 1, 1996, review of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, p. 8; November 1, 2003, review of "A Free though Conquering People": Eighteenth-Century Britain and Its Empire, p. 33.

Reviews in American History, September 1, 2000, Alison Games, review of The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume II, p. 341.

School Librarian, August 1, 1996, review of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, p. 127.

Times Higher Education Supplement, June 7, 1996, C.A. Bayly, review of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, p. 12; November 2, 2006, "Colonial Expectations That Ended in Revolt and Failure," p. 22.

Times Literary Supplement, July 22, 1988, review of The New Cambridge History of India, Volume II, Part 2, Bengal—The British Bridgehead, p. 809; October 21, 2005, "The Native Question," p. 10.

Victorian Studies, spring, 1997, Antoinette Burton, review of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, p. 489.

William and Mary Quarterly, January 1, 2007, Ned C. Landsman, review of The Making and Unmaking of Empires, p. 199.

ONLINE

King's College London Web site,http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ (August 21, 2008), faculty profile.

Institute of Historical Research Web site,http://www.history.ac.uk/ (August 21, 2008), Jon E. Wilson, review of The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Volume VII.

Oxford University Press Web site,http://www.us.oup.com/ (August 21, 2008), author profile.

ONLINE

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (August 1, 2006), Scott Breuninger, review of The Making and Unmaking of Empires.

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