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dc.contributor.authorLiu, Jiangmei
dc.identifier.citationLiu , J 2023 , ' An apologist for English colonialism? The use of America in Hobbes’s writings ' , History of European Ideas , vol. Latest Articles .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 290657017
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: e1450aa2-3352-40ce-af9b-4c5cf612bb47
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85165508597
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0009-0000-5544-1266/work/146965267
dc.description.abstractThis paper challenges the colonial reading of Thomas Hobbes’s use of America. Firstly, by analysing all the references and allusions to America in Hobbes’s writings, I claim that Hobbes simply uses America to support his central theory of the state of nature, showing the fundamental significance of a large and lasting society to our being and well-being. Secondly, I argue that Hobbes’s use of America does not serve a second purpose that is similar to Locke’s justification of English land appropriation. Even extending such a Lockean colonial theme from Hobbes’s theory would fail due to Hobbes’s unique property theory. Lastly, with a more nuanced contextual analysis of Hobbes’s involvement in the Virginia Company and relevant textual analysis, I propose that Hobbes is not only not a supporter of English colonialism, but rather an opponent of the Virginia Company, imperial expansion, and colonial conquest. I am not denying the fact that later thinkers like Locke develop Hobbes’s notion of the American state of nature to justify European colonization in America. However, the received history should not be confused with Hobbes’s own writing purpose. Nor should we ignore Hobbes’s opposition to imperial expansion.
dc.relation.ispartofHistory of European Ideasen
dc.rightsCopyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.en
dc.subjectThe state of natureen
dc.subjectThe Virginia Companyen
dc.subjectE11 America (General)en
dc.titleAn apologist for English colonialism? The use of America in Hobbes’s writingsen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of International Relationsen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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