Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

8/1/2006 - 7/31/2007

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

Zones of Law, Zones of Violence: Britain, America, and the Legal Geography of the Revolutionary Atlantic

FAIN: FA-52663-06

Eliga Gould
University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH 03824-2620)

ZONES OF LAW, ZONES OF VIOLENCE examines the American Revolution's impact on the English-speaking Atlantic's "legal geography" between 1750 and 1815. It seeks to explain the shift in American and British perceptions of the extra-European Atlantic from a chaotic, stateless region "beyond the line" -- subject to its own brutal laws and customs -- to a place where Europeans (metropolitan as well as creole) and indigenous peoples could be expected to abide by the legal norms of Western Europe. Among the topics covered are American and British relations with indigenous groups in Africa, North America, and the West Indies; the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade; and the Revolution's impact on Anglo-American conceptions of international law.

Media Coverage

A New Nation Tests Its Strength (Review)
Author(s): William Anthony Hay
Publication: Wall Street Journal
Date: 3/21/2012

De-Americanizing the World (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Noam Chmosky
Publication: Truthout
Date: 11/5/2013

Associated Products

Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire (Book)
Title: Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire
Author: Eliga Gould
Abstract: For most Americans, the Revolution’s main achievement is summed up by the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Yet far from a straightforward attempt to be free of Old World laws and customs, the American founding was also a bid for inclusion in the community of nations as it existed in 1776. America aspired to diplomatic recognition under international law and the authority to become a colonizing power itself. As Eliga Gould shows in this reappraisal of American history, the Revolution was an international transformation of the first importance. To conform to the public law of Europe’s imperial powers, Americans crafted a union nearly as centralized as the one they had overthrown, endured taxes heavier than any they had faced as British colonists, and remained entangled with European Atlantic empires long after the Revolution ended. No factor weighed more heavily on Americans than the legally plural Atlantic where they hoped to build their empire. Gould follows the region’s transfiguration from a fluid periphery with its own rules and norms to a place where people of all descriptions were expected to abide by the laws of Western Europe—“civilized” laws that precluded neither slavery nor the dispossession of Native Americans.
Year: 2012
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Harvard University Press website
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Type: Single author monograph
Type: Translation
ISBN: 9780674046085
Translator: Prof Takeo Mori (Japanese), 2016
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes


SHEAR Book Prize
Date: 7/23/2013
Organization: Society for Historians of the Early American Republic
Abstract: The 2012 SHEAR Book Prize went to Eliga H. Gould in recognition of his book entitled Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire (Harvard University Press, 2012). Gould is a professor of history at the University of New Hampshire.

George Washington Book Prize, Finalist
Date: 5/21/2013
Organization: Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Abstract: The Goerge Washington Book Prize, which is one of the nation’s largest literary prizes, honors the best new works on the nation’s founding era, especially those that engage a broad public audience.

A Best Book of 2012
Date: 12/6/2012
Organization: Library Journal
Abstract: The LJ Reviews staff has been busily considering and compiling their selections for the top titles of 2012 (the cover of our December 2012 issue at right lists the first line of each of our top ten picks—do you recognize them?). Below you’ll find the Best of 2012 lists that have already debuted, while the Top Ten of 2012 and the are coming on December 20. In the meantime, let us know your favorite picks of the year in the comments or in comments on the individual posts below. Enjoy!