List of illustrations; Abbreviations; Preface and Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; Part I. Contexts: 2. Religion; 3. Politics; Part II. The Possibilities of Improvement: 4. The earth and its fruits; 5. Science and the land; 6. Cultivation of the mind; 7. Of crimes and punishments; 8. Race and the limits of 'improvement'; Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
This book surveys some of the key intellectual influences in the formation of Australian society.
John Gascoigne is Associate Professor, School of History, University of New South Wales, Sydney and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
'Gascoigne's book, which is exhaustively researched and gracefully written, investigates the systems of thought that provided the basis for political and social order in a society as bastard as a convict settlement. It is a masterly study of how the ideas of Locke, Bentham and Paine suffused the institutions of the colony.' London Review of Books 'What makes Gascoigne's book such a useful and ... enlightening work is his bringing together of all the important themes and issues that dominated colonial society and demonstrating the important role the Enlightenment had to play in them ... provides an excellent insight into the intellectual underpinnings of colonial society.' Journal of Australian Colonial History 'This is a good book: informative, well researched and eminently readable.' Journal for Maritime Research