The 1820s in Hemispheric Perspective: Small-Scale Intimate Dynamics of Large-Scale Geopolitical Transformations
Conference on Latin American History 2
The large-scale political transformations that created this hemispheric spirit undoubtedly affected all inhabitants of the Americas. For many, these transformations resulted in a lived experience of dislocation and mobility across the newly established political boundaries. For some, mobility came as an imposition forced upon them because of their political allegiances. For others, it offered an opportunity to express and spread their patriotic sentiments as diplomatic and cultural ambassadors of some of the newly created republics. And others used their mobile lives to turn the political transformations into monetary and material gains. In moving throughout the hemisphere these peripatetic wanderers shaped and were shaped by the large-scale processes that characterize the 1820s.
The papers in this panel explore the multiplicity of ways in which a multifaceted group of mobile individuals experienced the dramatic transformations of the 1820s. The hemispheric wanderings of the Spanish American poets, journalists, imperial bureaucrats, women, and children, as well as those of the privateers of all nations, that populate the papers of this panel allow us to understand what Rebecca Scott called the “small-scale dynamics” of the “large-scale processes” that shaped the Americas during the 1820s. The individual experiences of the many royalists and revolutionaries who during the 1820s crossed political borders across the hemisphere looking for refuge, profit, adventure, or solace help re-conceptualize the 1820s beyond accounts of Latin American national formation and U.S. imperialist ambitions, and bring into sharp focus the potential to craft a historical narrative of a nineteenth century in which hemispheric solidarity could have been the dominant force. The small-scale, intimate experiences of the royalists, revolutionaries, and privateers who make up this panel’s papers add analytical layers to the large-scale, geopolitical processes that put these mobile actors on the move in the first place.