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Chapter Summary

This front matter section of the book titled Constructing Early Modern empires: propietary ventures in the Atlantic world, 1500-1750 contains acknowledgments. Colonization provided ambitious aristocrats, gentry, and merchants with political opportunity and potential financial returns. Early modern societies, both in Europe and in European empires, did not draw a clear line between “public” service and private opportunity. No one thought twice about officials augmenting their incomes while they performed their duties to the state. Indeed, tax and customs farmers, and in French, Portuguese, and Spanish America, those overseeing missionary activity, were expected to derive far more income from fees and profits than the miniscule salaries they drew as well as a chance for political advancement.

Keywords: Atlantic world; European empires; French; Portuguese; Spanish America

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