James Stafford

Jun 30, 2022

The Case of Ireland

Commerce, Empire and the European Order, 1750-1848

Cambridge University Press 2022

purchase at bookshop.org

James Stafford teaches at Columbia University, where he specializes in the political and intellectual history of Ireland, Britain and Western Europe since 1750, with a particular interest in questions of political economy and international order.

In this interview he discusses his new book The Case of Ireland: Commerce, Empire and the European Order, 1750-1848 (Cambridge UP, 2022), which offers a fresh account of Ireland’s place in European debates about commerce and empire during a global era of war and revolution.

The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries have long been seen as a foundational period for modern Irish political traditions such as nationalism, republicanism and unionism. The Case of Ireland offers a fresh account of Ireland's neglected role in European debates about commerce and empire in what was a global era of war and revolution. Drawing on a broad range of writings from merchants, agrarian improvers, philosophers, politicians and revolutionaries across Europe, this book shows how Ireland became a field of conflict and projection between rival visions of politics in commercial society, associated with the warring empires of Britain and France. It offers a new perspective on the crisis and transformation of the British Empire at the end of the eighteenth century, and restores Ireland to its rightful place at the centre of European intellectual history.

Aidan Beatty is a historian at the Honors College of the University of Pittsburgh.

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Aidan Beatty is a historian at the Honors College of the University of Pittsburgh

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