Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Peter Hitchcock

Committee Members

Feisal Mohamed

Herman Bennett

Subject Categories

Literature in English, Anglophone outside British Isles and North America | Literature in English, British Isles | Political History


early modern England, political economy, colonial trade, transatlantic, new world slavery, imperial formation


The main question my dissertation attempts to address is: what role did the expansion of English colonial trades play in the transformation of English society and government between the Petition of Right and the early years of the Restoration (1628-1668)? My thesis is that during this period, colonial expansion rose to the level of a general national interest and that many early seventeenth-century texts index the complexities and tensions of this development. As a small but very organized group of merchants, peers, and MPs mobilized the military and financial technologies of colonization to support Parliament’s war against Charles I, their ventures in the Indian and Atlantic oceans resonated in the halls of Westminster and the chambers of state finance. In the crucible of civil war, they forged a fiscal-military state that would form the basis of a future British empire. My project explores the textual traces of this transformation in the parliamentary debates, poems, pamphlets, and petitions of the period.

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