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Military Rule and Civil Order in the Counter- Revolutionary Empire

January 1, 1970 @ 10:00 am

The Rum Rebellion was one of many episodes in a neglected saga of British Imperial Governance at the turn of the nineteenth century – the insistent muddying of civil and military order in the colonies after 1783.
Placing the controversy about Governor Bligh in the context of contemporary scandals about Colonel Picton of Trinidad, Joseph Wall of Goree and Commissioner Ball of Malta, controversies about military governance did much more than to threaten Empire with the spectre of revolution. They were used by new, old and tenuous British subjects to expose systemic flaws in colonial constitutions and legal procedures. In the process, they produced a transformative type of constitution talk – a language of privileges that legitimated a peculiar, colonial compromise between civil and military order. This compromise was foundational to the growing constitutional divide between the metropole and the colonies.


Lisa Ford is Associate Professor in History at the

University of New South Wales.

Thursday 20 Aug 2015, 1:00–2:00PM

Location Denis Driscoll Theatre,

Doug McDonnell Building



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