Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Simon Middleton


Merchant Time and the Horological Revolution in Charleston, 1740-1770 The importance of mechanical timekeeping in consolidating Britain’s Atlantic commercial system grew precipitously between 1740 and 1770. Nowhere was this development more pronounced than in Charleston, South Carolina. This community of watchmakers and merchants was, by the end of the period, selling a broad array of timepieces for an ever-expanding set of timekeeping needs and wants. This paper places their advertisements alongside the enactment of timekeeping legislation within Charleston and the correspondences of Henry Laurens, to reveal middle decades of the eighteenth century as a crucial moment in the formation of a new sense of time articulated towards merchant capitalism. Reckoning with Empire: The Board of Longitude in the Eighteenth Century This paper seeks to recast Britain’s Board of Longitude as an instrument of empire building in the years following 1763. While the Board’s initial mandate was understood as a narrow set of navigational and technical questions regarding how to reckon a ship’s longitude at sea, the necessities of empire could no longer be ignored as the size and scope of Britain’s Atlantic empire grew during the mid-eighteenth century. By reading the subtle shifts in language employed by commissioners in their deliberations and resolutions, I show how the Board of Longitude actively sought to refashion itself to meet the navigational demands of the British Empire.



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