David Armitage

David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History and an Honorary Professor of History at the University of Sydney. Born in Britain, he was educated at Cambridge University and Princeton University and taught for eleven years at Columbia University before moving to Harvard in 2004. A prize-winning teacher and writer, he has lectured on five continents and has held fellowships and visiting positions in Britain, the United States and Australia. Among his eleven books to date are The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (2000), which won the Longman/History Today Book of the Year Award, and The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (2007), which was chosen as a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year. He is co-editor of the Cambridge University Press series Ideas in Context, co-chair of the International Conference for the Study of Political Thought, and a member of the Steering Committee of the Center for the History of British Political Thought at the Folger Shakespeare Library. In 2006, the National Maritime Museum in London awarded him its Caird Medal for “conspicuously important work ... of a nature that involves communicating with the public” and in 2008 Harvard named him a Walter Channing Cabot Fellow for “achievements and scholarly eminence in the fields of ‘literature, history or art’.” In May 2010, he delivered the Wiles Lectures at Queen’s University Belfast on ideas of civil war from Rome to Iraq, the subject of his current major book. He is also finishing a study of the foundations of modern international thought and working on an edition of John Locke’s colonial writings. He is on leave for the academic year 2010-11.

Selected Publications


(2010) (co-ed.) The Age of Revolutions in Global Context, c. 1760-1840 (Palgrave Macmillan).

(2009) (co-ed.) Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought (Cambridge UP).

(2009) (co-ed.) The British Atlantic World, 1500-1800 (2nd edn.).

(2007) The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (Harvard UP).

(2006) (ed.) British Political Thought in History, Literature and Theory, 1500-1800 (Cambridge UP).

(2004) Greater Britain, 1516-1776: Essays in Atlantic History (Ashgate).

(2004) (ed.) Hugo Grotius, The Free Sea, trans. Richard Hakluyt (Liberty Fund).

(2002) (co-ed.) The British Atlantic World, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan).

(2000) The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge UP).

(1998) (ed.) Theories of Empire, 1450-1800 (Ashgate).

(1997) (ed.) Bolingbroke: Political Writings (Cambridge UP).

(1995) Milton and Republicanism (Cambridge UP).

(2008) Critical Forum on The Declaration of Independence: A Global History, William & Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 65.

(2007) “The Elephant and the Whale: Empires of Land and Sea,” Journal for Maritime Research [PDF].

(2006) “Hobbes and the Foundations of Modern International Thought,” in Annabel Brett and James Tully, eds., Rethinking the Foundations of Modern Political Thought (Cambridge UP).

(2004) “John Locke, Carolina, and the Two Treatises of Government,” Political Theory, 32 [PDF].

(2004) “The Fifty Years’ Rift: Intellectual History and International Relations,” Modern Intellectual History, 1 [PDF].

(2002) “The Declaration of Independence and International Law,” William & Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 59 [PDF].

(2002) “Three Concepts of Atlantic History,” in David Armitage and Michael J. Braddick, eds., The British Atlantic World, 1500-1800 (Palgrave).

(1999) “Greater Britain: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis?” American Historical Review, 104 [PDF].

(1998) “Literature and Empire,” in Nicholas Canny, ed., The Oxford History of the British Empire, I: The Origins of Empire.

(1997) “Making the Empire British: Scotland in the Atlantic World, 1542-1707,” Past and Present, no. 155 [PDF].


David Armitage

Position: Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History

Field: International

Specialty: Atlantic history; British history; History of international law; History of political thought; Imperial history; Intellectual history; International and global history; Literature and history; Main period: 1500-1800

Contact Info

Robinson Hall

Room 215

35 Quincy Street

Cambridge MA 02138



Office Hours: by appointment