This article focuses on the historiography of abolition and antislavery. Abolitionism is an idea, articulated through language that emerged in the eighteenth century and propelled people to act. It ultimately changed the world. People came to believe that God had endowed all humans with the inalienable right to be free and that slavery was an intolerable evil that must be abolished. Most scholars agree with this basic definition of abolitionism. But they have long disagreed about its significance and the process by which the idea led to action and political change. The discussion covers the age of gradual abolitionism (1770s–1820s), gradual abolition in the British Caribbean and French Caribbean, the age of immediate abolitionism (1820s–1860s), the French abolition movement, and the road to civil war and emancipation in the United States.
Cameron B. Wesson
This chapter examines the nature of Native American societies immediately prior to the advent of sustained contacts with Europeans in the late fifteenth century. Touching on the broad issues of social organization, politics, trade, religion, and identity, the chapter provides a general framework for understanding the uniqueness of indigenous Native American cultures. The precontact Native cultures of North America were far more diverse and complex than any of the theories archaeologists have previously devised to understand them. In addition to the knowledge gained from ever new archaeological investigations of precontact sites in North America, there is ample evidence that an emphasis on scholarly engagement with descendant communities holds the potential to reveal even more about pre- and postcontact Native American experiences.
Edward J. Davies, II
This article discusses the history of the Americas from 1450 to 2000. It describes the Americas before European contact; disease and death brought by the European arrival in 1492 due to new bacteria and viruses they carried; conquest, colonization, and settlement by the Europeans; the building of transatlantic economies; revolutions in the Americas from 1760 to 1830; revolutions and new republics that were formed; the rise of industrial economies in the Americas; migration and labor demands; the Great Depression and World War II; the global cold war from 1941 to 2000teh global economy; and globalization in the late twentieth century.
Robert W. Slenes
This article reviews scholarship on the history and historiography of slavery in Brazil. Brazil possessed a more varied slave economy with a much larger sector producing for the internal market than scholars had previously thought. The already large slave population of Minas Gerais increased dramatically from 168,543 in 1819 to 381,893 in 1872. Minas Gerais consisted of an intricate mercantile system based on slave labour that not only supplied foreign markets with hides, tobacco, and the products of a revived mining and incipient coffee sector, but also satisfied the domestic demand of Minas and of the rapidly growing Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo plantation complex for cheese, hogs, cattle, and homespun cotton cloth. An elite group of merchants in the ports — often descendants of representatives of Portuguese mercantile houses who had married into large landowning and slaveholding families — came to dominate Brazil's trade with Africa as well as its coastal commerce.
Nicholas A. Robins
This article explores the genocides of conquest and colonization in Latin America, highlighting the shortcomings of conventional definitions of genocide. According to some interpretations of the 1948 UN Convention on genocide, it is possible to have a ‘genocide’ free of death. Actions causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group are legally considered genocide, yet can be interpreted as not necessarily involving mass killing even when the object is the destruction of a group. Likewise, although in a broader intellectual context, deliberate cultural destruction, or ethnocide, and the deliberate elimination of languages, or linguicide, are also often considered genocide. On the other hand, the unintended extinction or near extinction of a people from disease, a literal genocide and what could also be termed ‘collateral genocide’, is not considered genocide according to the UN Convention.
Lyman L. Johnson and Susan M. Socolow
This article covers Spanish South America, particularly the Andean core of the empire but also a surprisingly rich historical literature on the River Plate, long a marginal corner of the Spanish Empire. The relative lack of surviving documents written in Quechua or other South American indigenous languages has prevented the development of a philological historiography analogous to that of New Spain. But increasingly informed by the work of archeologists, anthropologists, and ethnographers, historians of colonial South America have also revealed the remarkable endurance of native social, cultural, and even political practices during three centuries of Spanish colonial rule.
Latin America’s communist parties were shaped by the Soviet Union’s political priorities up to 1945. This sparked debate with those that emphasized the specificity of Latin American conditions, notably the Peruvian Marxist Mariátegui. The Cuban Revolution of 1959 launched a new continental strategy, based on the guerrilla warfare strategies advocated by Che Guevara. By the late 1960s, these had failed. The election of Salvador Allende to the Chilean presidency in 1970 briefly suggested an electoral strategy to socialism, until it was crushed in the military coup of 1973. Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution opened new hopes for a Central American revolution, but this movement was destroyed with the active support of the U.S.. In 1994 the Zapatista rebellion in Mexico signalled a new phase of resistance against neo-liberalism and a rising tide of new social movements carried Left governments to power in what President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela dubbed the era of ‘twenty-first-century socialism’.
In this article, the main debates on consumption in Latin America, a topic that has yet to receive full scholarly attention, are analyzed. Current discussions tend to limit its focus to the possession of goods and public services. Historiographical quarrels comprise different perspectives and approaches that include commodity histories and the study of imports, local development, the arrival of modernity, globalization, consumer culture, and the relationship between consumption and political activism.
Matt D. Childs and Manuel Barcia
This article reviews scholarship on the history and historiography of slavery in Cuba. In the sixteenth-century, Africans crossed the Atlantic and accompanied Diego Velésquez and other Spanish conquistadors in the first expeditions sent to subjugate Cuba. Africans served in post-conquest Cuba as enslaved assistants to powerful military and political officials or as domestic servants. During the nineteenth-century heyday of plantation slavery, Cuban social and political life centred on the master-slave relation. Foreign capital and foreign political pressure — British abolitionism and United States annexationism, for example — began to shape Cuban slavery beyond the contours of Spanish colonialism alone. The transatlantic slave trade lasted longer to Cuba than to any other New World slave society with final abolition coming only in 1867.
Carolyn Strange and Jennifer A. Stephen
This article discusses eugenics in Canada and states that Canada's eugenic past was connected closely to that of the United States and to a lesser extent England. It presents numerous case studies and this body of research paints a checkered history of eugenics in Canada. It was a cluster of ideas and a disparate set of solutions that responded to local concerns, inflected by the unique Canadian demographic, and legal, political, and economic conditions. The race-based reproduction management efforts established a prior logic for eugenic policies concerned to shore up the fitness of Canada's Euro-Canadian majority. This article explains that the history of eugenics in Canada is inseparable from racist assimilationist policies and practices. The people most affected by Canada's eugenic policies were those whose sexual morality and reproductive futures appeared suspect.
Patience A. Schell
This article shows a range of influences and eugenics measures in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. In this comparison of the history of eugenics in these countries it is readily evident how adaptable eugenic concepts were to local political, social, and cultural contexts. Because of the importance of the Cuban concept of homiculture on the Latin American movement, this article begins with a discussion of that country. It then focuses on Puerto Rico, in which colonial and domestic modernizing eugenics interacted. Eugenics appealed to some Puerto Ricans because of the potential for reform and improvement of the island's population, through healthy reproduction. Finally, this article examines the influence of eugenics on Mexico after the triumph of a socially progressive revolution and mentions that rejecting the Cuban approach Latin Americans sought to offer alternative understandings of eugenics and solutions to eugenic problems; understandings that depicted their heterogeneous populations as able to contribute to national development.
Although often understood as frivolous, women’s shopping was anything but. By the late nineteenth century, almost all households had to purchase daily necessities. Women’s paid work was often in retail or consumer goods manufacturing. Thus, even as men also bought goods and services, women’s responsibilities as purchasers and wage earners made consumption particularly crucial to their daily labor. Thus, consumption reinforced gender ideology. Fashions, food, and public performance helped to “make” gender. In so doing, they also reinforced racial and class hierarchies. From the first advertisements, “mass” consumption equated real women with white, young, slender, and middle-class bodies. However, specialized products, commercial districts, and fashions also made consumption important to nonwhite, queer, and working-class identities. Moreover, both policymakers and everyday consumers increasingly sought economic stability and also political change in stores and shopping; “consumer” movements and less organized, recurrent protests raised the possibility, and the threat, of women’s political authority.
Kathleen M. Brown
Gender frontiers are but one starting point for comparing cultural contact zones and analyzing imperialism and racial formation in the early modern Atlantic. Recent scholarship on Native American and African encounters with Europeans suggests a need for a more complex analytical framework. Africans and Native Americans participated actively in creating this cultural frontier—by persisting in, adjusting, or transforming precontact practices or by assuming that the uninvited newcomers might share enough core beliefs and desires to be incorporated or vanquished. Europeans who participated in producing colonialism engaged in creative and destructive processes, but they remained connected to elite people in imperial centers that were buffered—by distance, money, and power—from such changes. The significance of gender frontiers is best understood as one phase in the longer historical processes they gave rise to: the emergence of new, syncretic cultures and populations, and the racialized and reactive cultures that quickly followed.
Dayo F. Gore
“Cold War” traditionally refers to the foreign policy, military, and ideological contestation between the power blocks of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the Western powers of Europe and the United States. This chapter examines the ways women’s experiences and debates over gender, race, and sexuality were central to the US Cold War anticommunist policies and practices on the homefront and globally. This perspective reveals the ways the global Cold War reshaped decolonizing struggles in the Global South as well as domestic culture, social relations, and ideals of the family through domestic containment. The chapter charts the roots of civil rights politics and social movements of the 1960s in sustained resistance to Cold War anticommunism and its politics of conformity. Centering women’s experiences negotiating Cold War strategies of domestic containment, the chapter reveals the US Cold War as a multifaceted period of contestation as much as conformity.
This chapter brings together the histories of American beauty culture and disability to identify overlaps between the fields and encourage women’s and gender historians to engage disability studies in their scholarship. “Unruly bodies,” bodies that fall outside the norm because of race, ethnicity, or disability, became the object of social and cultural derision and labeled ugly, abnormal and disabled. The techniques women, surgeons, fashion designers, and beauty culturists used to manage, fix and discipline these “unruly bodies” through cosmetics, diet, exercise, surgery, and rehabilitation contain striking similarities, which this chapter explores in historical context. Although experts projected beauty ideals and medical standards onto women’s bodies, American women embraced body modifications on their own terms and imbued them with their own meanings.
Of all the Atlantic revolutions, the fifteen-year struggle that transformed French Saint-Domingue into independent Haiti produced the greatest degree of social and economic change, and most fully embodied the contemporary pursuit of freedom, equality, and independence. Between 1789 and 1804, the Haitian Revolution unfolded as a succession of major precedents: the winning of colonial representation in a metropolitan assembly, the ending of racial discrimination, the first abolition of slavery in an important slave society, and the creation of Latin America's first independent state. Beginning as a home-rule movement among wealthy white colonists, it rapidly drew in militant free people of colour who demanded political rights and then set off the largest slave uprising in the history of the Americas. Sandwiched between the colonial revolutions of North and South America, and complexly intertwined with the coterminous revolution in France, Haiti's revolution has rarely been grouped with these major conflicts despite its claims to global significance.
This article bridges the colonial and the national period in a discussion of the independence movements. This topic, part of foundational narratives in the region, once represented the core of Latin American history. The shift to structural and socioeconomic analysis after the 1960s led to a period neglect of a topic that came to be considered too Whiggish and celebratory or, at best, not particularly consequential. But a renewed interest in political history and, more recently, the expectation of several bicentenaries in 2010, have brought a new crop of studies of the emancipation process. By following historians' changing attitudes on the theme, the article also tells us much about the intellectual climate in Latin America during the last half century.
Florencia E. Mallon
This article shifts the discussion of race from Afro- to Indo-America, focusing on a corpus of historical studies that underline how Amerindians, anti-Indian racism, and Indigenism have played a central role in the formation of nations and national identities along the mountainous backbone of Spanish America. With the crisis of the Spanish colonial system and the rise of independence movements, emerging elites interested in projects of nation-state formation entered into new forms of negotiation and confrontation with indigenous peoples and their visions for both inclusion and autonomy. While these negotiations differed markedly from those that had earlier taken place between Natives and the colonial state, they were conditioned by the forms of conquest and colonization that had gone before, as well as by emerging political, geographic, military, and economic distinctions among the newly independent societies.
Mary Ting Yi Lui
This article traces the long history of legal regulations around interracial sex and marriage as tied to important changes in the territorial consolidation and political formation of the American nation and its polity. These regulations stabilized ambiguous racial categories and gender roles as well as patriarchy and heteronormativity. The article begins in the colonial era to survey the range of local practices of interracial sex, marriage, and family formation that took place across different imperial contexts across the North American continent and moves into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as the United States spanned the continent and pursued its own imperial ambitions globally. In addition, the article chronicles histories of resistance and mixed-race family formation that both challenged and worked within the limits of the law.
Frederick E. Hoxie
The Oxford Handbook of American Indian History guides readers to major topics and themes in the Native American past and helps them to identify major resources for further study and research. The book presents the story of the indigenous peoples who lived—and live—in the territory encompassed by the modern United States. Its chapters, by both Native and non-Native scholars, describe the major aspects of the historical change that occurred over the past 500 years as the continent was transformed from an “undiscovered” Native land to the seat of the world’s most powerful nation-state. It accomplishes this task with chapters that focus on significant periods of upheaval and change, place-based histories of major centers of indigenous culture, and overviews of major aspects of Indian community and national life.