Friday, June 7, 2013

Covart's Amercian Revolution Reborn Recap: Part 2

In her most recap (2 of 6) of the recent American Revolution Reborn conference at Penn, Liz Covart covers the session on global perspectives.  This session featured papers by Kate Carte Engel, Caitlin Fitz, Aaron Fogleman, and my beloved Ph.D advisor Ned Landsman.  Here is a taste of her coverage:

Biggest Takeaway: Scholars should study the Revolution in a global context because it is useful to compare American experiences with those in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, & South America. 

Biggest Question: Should we expand our periodization of the American Revolution to cover the years 1760 to 1825? 

Panel Summary: 
Engal advocated for more studies that use religion to understand the American Revolution. Up until now the story of the founding has been largely secular, but what happens if we look at the Revolution through the lens of Protestantism? What were the implications of the Revolution for religion?

Fitz would like to see the periodization of the Revolution expanded to 1775-1825. This periodization allows scholars to compare the American Revolution with Latin & South American revolutions. This comparison deepens our understanding of American republicanism and ways of thinking. As Latin & South American countries declared independence they passed legal measures that ended slavery and promoted racial equality. Americans followed these actions in newspapers and no one reacted because the distance of South America from the United States rendered South American events abstract concepts.

Fogleman has found that immigration throughout the Atlantic was much higher from 1777 on than previously expected. Fogleman does not believe in the notion that the Revolution secured slavery and increased racism. When Fogleman studied the American Revolution in the Atlantic context, he found that slavery declined from its 1760s numbers during and after the Revolution.

Landsman believes that American historians have not sufficiently attended to the British aspect of the British Empire. Imperial reformers looked at including the 13 colonies in the formal 1707 union, but by 1763 the Americans had so much sovereignty that the British had little left to give to make the union appealing, aside from the sovereignty of Parliament. Reformers discussed the idea of eventually moving the imperial capital to North America, but British officials were wary of making any concessions that might suggest that the imperial capital would move, especially when America seemed to be pursuing a Republican path.

Read more here.