Republic of Capital: Buenos Aires and the Legal Transformation of the Atlantic World

Overview

This book is a political history of economic life. Through a description of the convulsions of long-term change from colony to republic in Buenos Aires, Republic of Capital explores Atlantic world transformations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Tracing the transition from colonial Natural Law to instrumental legal understandings of property, the book shows that the developments of constitutionalism and property law were more than coincidences: the polity shaped the ...

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Overview

This book is a political history of economic life. Through a description of the convulsions of long-term change from colony to republic in Buenos Aires, Republic of Capital explores Atlantic world transformations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Tracing the transition from colonial Natural Law to instrumental legal understandings of property, the book shows that the developments of constitutionalism and property law were more than coincidences: the polity shaped the rituals and practices arbitrating economic justice, while the crisis of property animated the support for a centralized and executive-dominated state. In dialectical fashion, politics shaped private law while the effort to formalize the domain of property directed the course of political struggles.

In studying the legal and political foundations of Argentine capitalism, the author shows how merchants and capitalists coped with massive political upheaval and how political writers and intellectuals sought to forge a model of liberal republicanism. Among the topics examined are the transformation of commercial law, the evolution of liberal political credos, and the saga of political and constitutional turmoil after the collapse of Spanish authority.

By the end of the nineteenth century, statemakers, capitalists, and liberal intellectuals settled on a model of political economy that aimed for open markets but closed the polity to widespread participation. The author concludes by exploring the long-term consequences of nineteenth-century statehood for the following century's efforts to promote sustained economic growth and democratize the political arena, and argues that many of Argentina's recent problems can be traced back to the framework and foundations of Argentine statehood in the nineteenth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is an ambitious work that approaches from a new and original vantage point an unusually vast historical landscape. It is a first-rate contribution that brings significant enrichment to the field, and should exert an important influence on its future development."—Tulio Halperin-Donghi, University of California, Berkeley

"This book by Jeremy Adelman takes us on a marvelous journey from late colonialism through decolonization."—American Historical Review

"This ambitious work considers an often overlooked issue in the historiography of Latin America: how new and unstable states undertook to create and protect property rights. . . . This is an excellent work that will be of immense value not only to scholars of Argentine history, but to anyone who is interested in the history of ideas or the impact of laws and political institutions on economic change."—Latin American Studies

"The combination of Adelman's persuasive argumentation and analysis makes this work an exceptional contribution to our understanding of nation building."—Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Republic of Capital is an engaging, well-researched, and important contribution to our understanding of the political, intellectual, and legal changes that occurred in the Buenos Aires region from the late eighteenth century through the mid-nineteenth century, with a brief afterword on twentieth-century developments."—Canadian Journal of History

Booknews
A political history of economic life describing the convulsions of long-term change from colony to republic in the Argentine city, and the larger transformations of the Atlantic world during the 18th and 19th centuries. Tracing the transition from colonial Natural Law to the instrumental legal understandings of property, Adelman (history, Princeton U.) examines commercial law, the evolution of liberal political credos, and the political and constitutional turmoil after the collapse of Spanish authority. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804733793
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Lexile: 1480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeremy Adelman is Professor of History at Princeton Univers

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Table of Contents

1 Toward a Political History of Economic Life 1
Sect. I The Age of Revolution, 1780's-1820's
2 Imperial Reconstitution and the Limits of Political Property 19
3 The Quest for Equipoise in the Shadow of Revolution 49
4 From Revolution to Civil War 74
Sect. II The Age of "Anarchy," 1820's-1850's
5 Rosas Agonistes, or the Political Economy of Cronyism 109
6 Chains of Obligation: The Duress of Merchant Law 141
7 Reconsidering the Republic 165
Sect. III The Age of Order, 1850's-1860's
8 Constitutional Persuasions 193
9 The New Property of Merchant Capital 224
10 Making Money: The Battle for Monetary Authority 251
11 The Unfinished Revolution of the Republic of Capital 279
Notes 297
Bibliography 331
Index 365
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