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Power & Freedom

Overview

A challenge in the historiography of the revolutionary age has been to propose explanations for the distinct outcomes in the political histories of those who broke from English and Spanish rule in the late eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century. Why did these wars of independence produce such different political paths even though their respective revolutions, and the subsequent written constitutions creating institutions of republican government, were largely animated by similar ideals deriving from ...
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Overview

A challenge in the historiography of the revolutionary age has been to propose explanations for the distinct outcomes in the political histories of those who broke from English and Spanish rule in the late eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century. Why did these wars of independence produce such different political paths even though their respective revolutions, and the subsequent written constitutions creating institutions of republican government, were largely animated by similar ideals deriving from the European Enlightenment? Historians examining these political settlements have explored the ideological sources drawn upon by revolutionaries as they designed new constitutional republics. Within that broad discussion more narrow questions have been raised concerning the importance of the founder's beliefs about political power, specifically how they understood the legitimate origins of power, as well as their views on the most salutary means of its distribution, restrictions on its exercise, and justifications for resistance against its abuse. Much of the scholarship suggests that the British colonists possessed a unique sensitivity to the nature of power. This sensitivity, according to some historians, shaped the way in which the founders addressed the political and constitutional issues confronting them. Bernard Bailyn, for example, maintains that North American colonists shared a "theory of politics...defined by a belief that the ultimate explanation of every political controversy was the disposition of power." Conversely, Latin American historiography has emphasized the colonists' attachments to traditional authoritarian institutions. Revolutionaries of Spanish America, says historian Richard Moorse, were imbued with "habits of command and of deference" that profoundly influenced the organization and development of their new republics. Still others, such as Argentine historian Jose Luis Romero, stress tensions between "the remnants of authoritarianism" and the emergence among revolutionaries of enlightened ideals challenging the legitimacy of those traditional repositories of power. This dissertation will examine the connection between theories of power and the distinct political settlements and constitutional designs that emerged in the aftermath of revolutions in the United States and Argentina. I will suggest that a better understanding of the different outcomes in the post-revolutionary settlements requires a greater exploration of the similarities and differences in the attitudes and beliefs about power embraced by the revolutionaries than presently exists in the scholarship.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243974587
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/10/2011
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.67 (d)

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