Enlightened Reform in Southern Europe and its Atlantic Colonies, c. 1750-1830: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Enlightened Reform in Southern Europe and its Atlantic Colonies, c. 1750-1830

1st Edition

Edited by Gabriel Paquette


422 pages

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Efforts to ascertain the influence of enlightenment thought on state action, especially government reform, in the long eighteenth century have long provoked stimulating scholarly quarrels. Generations of historians have grappled with the elusive intersections of enlightenment and absolutism, of political ideas and government policy. In order to complement, expand and rejuvenate the debate which has so far concentrated largely on Northern, Central and Eastern Europe, this volume brings together historians of Southern Europe (broadly defined) and its ultramarine empires. Each chapter has been explicitly commissioned to engage with a common set of historiographical issues in order to reappraise specific aspects of 'enlightened absolutism' and 'enlightened reform' as paradigms for the study of Southern Europe and its Atlantic empires. In so doing it engages creatively with pressing issues in the current historical literature and suggests new directions for future research. No single historian, working alone, could write a history that did justice to the complex issues involved in studying the connection between enlightenment ideas and policy-making in Spanish America, Brazil, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. For this reason, this well-conceived, balanced volume, drawing on the expertise of a small, carefully-chosen cohort, offers an exciting investigation of this historical debate.


'This lively volume takes a fresh look at efforts to reform and modernize governance in eighteenth-century Europe by focusing on the enlightened reformism of the Southern European monarchies and their colonial empires in the Americas. France and its diminishing New World empire are included for useful comparison. An important book with new perspectives on an old debate.'

Professor John H. Coatsworth, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, USA.

'This is a major achievement in eighteenth-century history. By tackling Southern Europe and the New World colonies, it brings multiple peripheries into the narrative of reform of anciens régimes, thereby recasting the global dynamics of competition and change.'

Professor Jeremy I. Adelman, History Department, Princeton University, USA.

'This volume is an excellent contribution to the field of Enlightenment and reform policies of Enlightened Absolutist rulers. It covers a very rich diversity of countries and topics that are not usually included in studies on enlightened reform. The editor deserves to be congratulated for assembling articles that demonstrate very convincingly that the Enlightenment's impact went beyond Europe and that the Atlantic colonies constituted an integral part of those phenomena.'

Professor Alexander Grab, University of Maine, USA.

'An original, comprehensive and notably lively introduction which is henceforth the indispensable starting point for all serious students of enlightened reform in Europe's southern states and their overseas possessions.'

Professsor Hamish Scott, University of Glasgow, UK.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: Enlightened reform in Southern Europe and its Atlantic colonies in the long 18th century, Gabriel Paquette; Part I Southern Europe and Its Atlantic Colonies c.1750-1830: an Overview: Enlightenment, reform and monarchy in Italy, John Robertson; 'Enlightened reform' in the Spanish empire: an overview, Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra; Enlightenment and reform in France and the French Atlantic, Emma Rothschild; Enlightened reform in Portugal and Brazil, Francisco Bethencourt. Part II The Rise of Public Political Culture: the Efflorescence of Civil Society and its Connection to State Reform: Rethinking enlightened reform in a French context, John Shovlin; Searching for a 'middle class'? Francesco Mario Pagano and the public for reform in late 18th-century Naples, Melissa Calaresu; The Spanish monarchy and the uses of Jesuit historiography in the 'dispute of the New World', Víctor Peralta Ruiz; Conceiving Central America: a Bourbon public in the Gazeta de Guatemala (1797-1807), Jordana Dym; Montesquieu's Persian Letters and reading practices in the Luso-Brazilian world (1750-1802), Luiz Carlos Villalta. Part III The State as an Incubator of Enlightenment and an Engine of Reform: In the house of reform: the Bourbon court of 18th-century Spain, Charles C. Noel; 'Legal despotism' and enlightened reform in the ÃŽles du Vent: the colonial governments of Chevalier de Mirabeau and Mercier de la Rivière, 1754-1764, Pernille Røge ; The coming of enlightened reform in Bourbon Peru: secularization of the Doctrinas de Indios 1746-1773, Kenneth J. Andrien; The Savoyard state: another enlightened despotism?, Christopher Storrs; Derecho Indiano vs. the Bourbon reforms: the legal philosophy of Francisco Xavier de Gamboa, Christopher Peter Albi. Part IV Political Economy and the Reform of Society and the State: The Sultan's republic: jealousy of trade and oriental despotism in Paolo Mattia Doria, Sophus A. Reinert; Observing the neighbours: fiscal reform and

About the Editor

Gabriel Paquette is Assistant Professor of History in the Department of History at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. Previously, he was a Research Fellow in European and Latin American History at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He is author of Enlightenment, Governance, and Reform in Spain and its Empire, 1759-1808 (2008).

About the Series

Empire and the Making of the Modern World, 1650-2000

This monograph series seeks to explore the complexities of the relationships among empires, modernity and global history. In so doing, it wishes to challenge the orthodoxy that the experience of modernity was located exclusively in the west, and that the non-western world was brought into the modern age through conquest, mimicry and association. To the contrary, modernity had its origins in the interaction between the two worlds.

In this sense the imperial experience was not an adjunct to western modernization, but was constitutive of it. Thus the origins of the defining features of modernity - the bureaucratic state, market economy, governance, and so on - have to be sought in the imperial encounter, as do the categories such as race, sexuality and citizenship which constitute the modern individual. This necessarily complicates perspectives on the nature of the relationships between the western and non-western worlds, nation and empire, and 'centre' and 'periphery'.

To examine these issues the series presents work that is interdisciplinary and comparative in its approach; in this respect disciplines including economics, geography, literature, politics, intellectual history, anthropology, science, legal studies, psychoanalysis and cultural studies have much potential, and will all feature. Equally, we consider race, gender and class vital categories to the study of imperial experiences. We aim, therefore, to provide a forum for dialogues among different modes of writing the histories of empires and the modern. Much valuable work on empires is currently undertaken outside the western academy and has yet to receive due attention. This is an imbalance the series intends to address and so we are particularly interested in contributions from such scholars. Also important to us are transnational and comparative perspectives on the imperial experiences of western and non-western worlds.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General