Date of Award

6-2010

Degree Name

MA in History

Department

History

Advisor

Dr. Thomas Trice

Abstract

Whether in terms of political and military threats or economic and demographic growth, this thesis argues that Rhode Island’s involvement in this period of imperial warfare was characterized by self-interest on a variety of levels. The government’s military plans, the expansion of provincial power, attempts to raise expeditionary forces, the use of privateers, and the indirect participation of non-combatants all depict a colonial society very interested in its own local political and economic interests. Although literally “provincial,” these interests exhibit the Atlantic and global networks that the smallest of the New England colonies was situated in. These two different sets of concerns, the political and economic, sometimes clashed and at other times combined as politicians, merchants, sailors, soldiers, and citizens participated in the dual conflicts. The War of Jenkins’ Ear and King George’s War may have been imperial in origin, but personal and colonial interests were paramount to regional New England and imperial British concerns.

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