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Political Communication and Political Culture in England, 1558-1688$
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Barbara J. Shapiro

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804783620

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804783620.001.0001

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Empirical Political Description

Empirical Political Description

Chapter:
(p.54) Chapter Three Empirical Political Description
Source:
Political Communication and Political Culture in England, 1558-1688
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804783620.003.0003

This chapter investigates the development of a genre of political writing that reported personal observations of empirical political phenomena, particularly those writings conveying political information about non-English countries and locales. It reviews travel accounts and guides, diplomatic reports, and natural histories. Up-to-date political and strategic information was important to the political education of the English political elite. The English were concerned with the political and economic conditions of Ireland and Scotland. Discussions of “interest” and “greatness” were increasingly treated in terms of recently acquired information gathered by travelers, diplomats, and naturalists. The descriptive empirical tradition offered a mode of thinking about political entities for many generations and played a significant role in the way governments, naturalists, chorographers, travelers, and diplomats thought about the political sphere.

Keywords:   political writing, travel accounts, travel guides, diplomatic reports, natural histories, political education, Ireland, Scotland, empirical tradition

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