By the 1820s, after three centuries under imperial rule, the former Spanish territories of Latin America had shaken off their colonial bonds and founded independent republics. In committing themselves to republicanism, they embarked on a political experiment of an unprecedented scale outside the newly formed United States. In this book, Hilda Sabato provides a sweeping history of republicanism in nineteenth-century Latin America, one that spans the entire region and places the Spanish American experience within a broader global perspective.
Challenging the conventional view of Latin America as a case of failed modernization, Sabato shows how republican experiments differed across the region yet were all based on the radical notion of popular sovereignty — the idea that legitimate authority lies with the people. As in other parts of the world, the transition from colonies to independent states was complex, uncertain, and rife with conflict. Yet the republican order in Spanish America endured, crossing borders and traversing distinct geographies and cultures. Sabato shifts the focus from rulers and elites to ordinary citizens and traces the emergence of new institutions and practices that shaped a vigorous and inclusive political life.
Panoramic in scope and certain to provoke debate, this book situates these fledgling republics in the context of a transatlantic shift in how government was conceived and practiced, and puts Latin America at the center of a revolutionary age that gave birth to new ideas of citizenship.
Awards and Recognition
- One of Choice Reviews' Outstanding Academic Titles of 2018
Hilda Sabato is head researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) in Argentina and former professor of history at the University of Buenos Aires. Her books include The Many and the Few: Political Participation in Republican Buenos Aires and Agrarian Capitalism and the World Market: Buenos Aires in the Pastoral Age, 1840–1890.
"Highly readable and accessible. . . . Sabato’s impressive work goes a long way to correcting and updating the master narrative of politics in the nineteenth century."—James E. Sanders, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
"Sabato provides an extraordinarily rich analysis of the political transformations of the newly independent Spanish-American colonies in the 19th century. . . . Sabato’s excellent scholarship provides a fresh look at an often overlooked period of Latin American history, and this book provides a critical foundation for university classes on Latin American political development."—M.F.T. Malone, Choice
"It is to be hoped that Republics of the New World will spark debate and competition, that it will spur other historians to also try their hands at the task of panoramic analysis and interpretation. For that endeavor, Sabato’s book now sets a very high standard."—Timo Schaefer, H-Net Reviews
"This is a vigorous, intelligent and persuasive book from a distinguished Argentine historian at the peak of her powers."—Guy Thomson, Estudios Interdisciplinarios de America Latina y el Caribe
"A sparkling historical analysis of the transition from royal to people’s rule with implications that run far beyond Latin America."—Daniel T. Rodgers, Princeton University
"This is a brilliant history of politics—how it got invented, practiced, and institutionalized—as well as a gripping saga of how Spanish Americans forged new social identities as citizens who governed themselves. Hilda Sabato gives us a new portrait of how power got made and legitimized in the aftermath of revolution."—Jeremy Adelman, author of Sovereignty and Revolution in the Iberian Atlantic
"An outstanding and deeply erudite interpretation of Spanish American history in the nineteenth century. Sabato provides a new perspective on the originality and success of Latin American polities after independence, challenging a long tradition, particularly in English-speaking academia, of looking at that history as one of chaos and failure."—Pablo Piccato, Columbia University, author of A History of Infamy: Crime, Truth, and Justice in Mexico
"Sabato offers a powerful antidote to what endures as the static image of nineteenth-century Latin America as a land of caudillos and authoritarianism, political apathy and backwardness. She proves to those who are interested in the global history of democracy that they ignore the Latin American experience at their peril."—Erika Pani, Colegio de México
"Timely and important. Sabato's book is rich in ideas and issues."—Thomas Bender, author of A Nation among Nations: America's Place in World History