Early American History Seminar: John Donoghue, Loyola University Chicago

Thursday, January 17, 2008

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Early American History and Culture Seminar

“Abolition’s Origins: The Politics of Emancipation in the Atlantic World of the English Revolution”
John Donoghue, Loyola University Chicago

This paper sets the English Revolution in Atlantic context to explore one of its most important yet understudied legacies: slavery’s abolition. While intellectual historians have long noted slavery’s usage as a metaphor for political tyranny, they have taken little note of how the rise of chattel slavery shaped the Revolution’s republican politics. Focusing on Cromwell’s 1655 attempt to conquer the Spanish Caribbean to forge an empire on the foundation of unfree labor, the paper traces how English republicans responded by forming a political opposition that joined together condemnations of political and economic slavery. This opposition ultimately generated two failed plots, led by former colonists, to overthrow the Cromwellian Protectorate in 1657 and the Stuart Dynasty in 1661.