P. J. Marshall

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Peter James Marshall CBE, FBA (born Calcutta, 1933) is a British historian known for his work on the British empire, particularly the activities of British East India Company servants in 18th-century Bengal,[1] and also the history of British involvement in North America during the same period.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

He was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire, and, following national service with the 7th (Kenya) Battalion, King's African Rifles, he took a first class honours degree in history at Wadham College, Oxford, from where he received a D.Phil in 1962.[3]

Academic career and professional activities[edit]

Between 1959 and 1993, he taught in the history department at King's College London and was appointed Rhodes Professor of Imperial History in 1980, in which post he remained until his retirement. Between 1965 and 1978, he served as a Member of the Editorial Committee for The Correspondence of Edmund Burke, and between 1975 and 1981 he was Editor of The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History.[1] He sat on the History Working Group for National Curriculum in England in 1989 and 1990. In 1987 he was appointed Vice President of the Royal Historical Society, serving as President between 1997 and 2001. A Junior Research Fellowship bearing his name, and jointly administered by the Royal Historical Society and the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London, where he is an Honorary Fellow,[2] is awarded annually to a doctoral student in history.[4] In December 2008, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Literature honoris causa by the School of Advanced Study at the University of London.[5] He is an Emeritus Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at King's College London, where he continues to lecture.

British in India[edit]

Rejecting the Indian nationalist account of the British as alien aggressors, seizing power by brute force and impoverishing all of India, Marshall argues that the British were not in full control but instead were players in what was primarily an Indian play and in which their rise to power depended upon excellent cooperation with Indian elites. Marshall admits that much of his interpretation is still rejected by many historians.[6] Marshall argues that recent scholarship has reinterpreted the view that the prosperity of the formerly benign Mughal rule gave way to poverty and anarchy. Marshall argues the British takeover did not make any sharp break with the past. The British largely delegated control to regional Mughal rulers and sustained a generally prosperous economy for the rest of the 18th century. Marshall notes the British went into partnership with Indian bankers and raised revenue through local tax administrators and kept the old Mughal rates of taxation.[7]

Selected publications[edit]

  • The Impeachment of Warren Hastings, (Oxford, 1965)
  • The Correspondence of Edmund Burke, vol. V, (Cambridge, 1965) (Assistant Editor)
  • The Correspondence of Edmund Burke, vol. VII, (Cambridge, 1968) (Assistant Editor)
  • East Indian Fortunes: The British in Bengal in the Eighteenth Century, (Oxford, 1976)
  • The Correspondence of Edmund Burke, vol. X, (Cambridge, 1978) (Assistant Editor)
  • The Great Map of Mankind: British Perceptions of the World in the Age of Enlightenment, (London, 1982) (Co-editor with G. Williams)
  • The New Cambridge History of India, II, 2, Bengal: the British Bridgehead: Eastern India, 1740 - 1828, (Cambridge, 1988)
  • The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. II, The Eighteenth Century, (Oxford, 1998) (Contributor and Editor)[3]
  • 'A Free Though Conquering People': Eighteenth-century Britain and its Empire, (Aldershot, 2003)
  • The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India and America c. 1750 - 1783, (Oxford, 2005)[8]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Marshall, P. J., East Indian Fortunes: The British in Bengal in the Eighteenth Century, (Oxford, 1976), pp. 284
  2. Marshall, P. J.,The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India and America c. 1750 - 1783, (Oxford, 2005), pp. 398
  3. http://www.sas.ac.uk/543.html
  4. http://www.sas.ac.uk/honorarydegrees.html
  5. http://www.history.ac.uk/awards/
  6. http://www.us.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/HistoryWorld/British/18thC/?view=usa&ci=9780199278954&view=usa

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marshall, P. J.,East Indian Fortunes: The British in Bengal in the Eighteenth Century, (Oxford, 1976)
  2. ^ Marshall, P. J., The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India and America c. 1750 - 1783, (Oxford, 2005)
  3. ^ http://www.sas.ac.uk/543.html
  4. ^ http://www.history.ac.uk/awards/
  5. ^ http://www.sas.ac.uk/honorarydegrees.html
  6. ^ P.J. Marshall, "The British in Asia: Trade to Dominion, 1700-1765," in The Oxford History of the British Empire: vol. 2, The Eighteenth Century" ed. by P. J. Marshall, (1998), pp 487-507
  7. ^ Marshall, "The British in Asia: Trade to Dominion, 1700-1765"
  8. ^ http://www.us.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/HistoryWorld/British/18thC/?view=usa&ci=9780199278954&view=usa

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Rees Davies
President of the Royal Historical Society
1997–2001
Succeeded by
Janet Nelson