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The Love-Hate Relationship with Experts in the Early Modern Atlantic

The Love-Hate Relationship with Experts in the Early Modern Atlantic Abstract: As England belatedly moved into Atlantic enterprises, novel expertise was required. England’s first ventures across the ocean were in the fishing trade in Newfoundland, and this was a field they knew well. More southern regions beckoned, however, because these were expected to yield rich commodities. As they were drawn to these new areas, English undertakers found that a range of new skills was required, and they had to turn to foreigners or English people with foreign experience to get the expertise they needed. Everything from navigating in unfamiliar waters to building fortifications to growing novel crops meant reliance on experts. Colonists and their backers in England recognized the need but they hated such reliance, particularly because they often suspected that the so-called experts were bogus. Colonists believed that the experts—even when their skills were genuine—distorted life in the settlements by their demands and their focus. Part of the reason experts were distrusted was that their experiences gave them a cosmopolitan outlook, including sometimes a capacity to understand outsiders’ viewpoints. One goal of all early colonies was to achieve sufficient competence that they could eliminate the experts and manage their own enterprises. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal University of Pennsylvania Press

The Love-Hate Relationship with Experts in the Early Modern Atlantic

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Pennsylvania Press
ISSN
1559-0895
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: As England belatedly moved into Atlantic enterprises, novel expertise was required. England’s first ventures across the ocean were in the fishing trade in Newfoundland, and this was a field they knew well. More southern regions beckoned, however, because these were expected to yield rich commodities. As they were drawn to these new areas, English undertakers found that a range of new skills was required, and they had to turn to foreigners or English people with foreign experience to get the expertise they needed. Everything from navigating in unfamiliar waters to building fortifications to growing novel crops meant reliance on experts. Colonists and their backers in England recognized the need but they hated such reliance, particularly because they often suspected that the so-called experts were bogus. Colonists believed that the experts—even when their skills were genuine—distorted life in the settlements by their demands and their focus. Part of the reason experts were distrusted was that their experiences gave them a cosmopolitan outlook, including sometimes a capacity to understand outsiders’ viewpoints. One goal of all early colonies was to achieve sufficient competence that they could eliminate the experts and manage their own enterprises.

Journal

Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary JournalUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: May 11, 2011

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