Transatlantic Emancipations, 1808–45

AHA Session 67
Conference on Latin American History 19
Friday, January 4, 2013: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Preservation Hall, Studio 8 (New Orleans Marriott)
Peter Blanchard, University of Toronto
The Audience

Session Abstract

The word emancipation refers to the act or process of being set free.  Whereas modern-day academics tend to refer to the “independence” of Latin America or the armies of “liberation” throughout the Hispanic Atlantic, contemporary actors themselves were more likely to use the term “emancipation” because it more accurately reflected the expansive nature of the freedom they envisioned for themselves. The same patriots who spoke of emancipating themselves from colonial servitude and frequently invoked the slavery metaphor in politics (“breaking their chains”) eventually moved beyond rhetoric and decreed an end to African slavery in their own territories.  Patriots who described their homelands as children who had grown up and were ready to throw off parental/royal authority were the same ones who actively cultivated early national school projects to cultivate their youthful citizens. American scientists and writers started to explore local themes with greater autonomy by acquiring their own printing presses and equipment. This panel will explore the broad theme of emancipation by considering the ways in which its many manifestations (political, intellectual, familial, imperial, racial/slavery, etc) were interconnected not just on a rhetorical level, but also in terms of concrete actions.

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