All translations are my own unless otherwise indicated.
I borrow the period designation from E. J. Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolu-
tion (New York: Mentor, 1962), who o√ers 1791 to 1848 as beginning and
end dates. There has been a great deal of discussion and disagreement
among historians about Hobsbawm’s approach to periodization, and
about what characteristics need to be considered central for the time
period in question. Most of this discussion focuses on Europe, and the
issue of slavery is rarely, if ever, at the center of the debate. One of the
purposes of this book is to explore the possibility of considering radical
antislavery and its attendant cultures as part of the revolutionary envi-
ronment. For an excellent survey of the revolutionary period in the Ca-
ribbean, with a stress on the impact of abolitionism and the French and
Haitian Revolutions on the patterns of resistance, economic growth, and
migration, see David P. Geggus, ‘‘Slavery, War, and Revolution in the
Greater Caribbean, 1789–1815,’’ in A Turbulent Time: The French Revolu-
tion and the Greater Caribbean, ed. David B. Gaspar and David P. Geggus
(Bloomington and Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 1997), 1–
50, which also includes generous bibliographical documentation and
brief reviews of the scholarly literature. Studies coming out of Latin
America tend to adopt a national rather than comparative or synoptic fo-
cus. For panoramic accounts of the revolutionary age in Spanish Amer-
ica, see François-Xavier Guerra, Modernidad e Independencias (México,
D.F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1993); John Lynch, The Spanish
American Revolutions, 1808–1826 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson,
1973); and Jaime E. Rodríguez O., The Independence of Spanish America
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). Guerra points out that
the attitudes toward France found within revolutionary antislavery dif-
fered significantly from those in Spanish American independence
movements. While the latter were minoritarian elite movements that
turned anti-French after the execution of the French king, revolutionary
antislavery—for example, the uprisings in Coro, 1795; Maracaibo, 1799;
and Salvador (Brazil), 1798—embraced as its slogan ‘‘libertad de los
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