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New World Orders
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New World Orders
Violence, Sanction, and Authority in the Colonial Americas

Edited by John Smolenski and Thomas J. Humphrey

376 pages | 6 x 9 | 6 illus.
Paper 2007 | ISBN 9780812219227 | $27.50s | Outside the Americas £20.99
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Early American Studies
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"Fascinating case studies of how authority was both brutal yet precarious and malleable in the French, Spanish, English, and Dutch empires of the New World."—American Historical Review

"This is an almost ideal anthology for graduate students and scholars still weighing the value of Atlantic-world scholarship. The essays are consistently strong and jargon-free. Editors and authors have produced a crisp, coherent, and readable volume whose case studies and arguments should stimulate discussion on the merits of the connecting themes rather than suffer cannibalization by specialists perusing only contributions from a particular geographic region."—Hispanic American Historical Review

"This wide-ranging collection . . . offers [a] compelling framework to connect the small triumphs and tragedies of daily life in colonial outposts with the grand plans of distant empire builders."—Journal of the Early Republic

As the geographic boundaries of early American history have expanded, so too have historians' attempts to explore the comparative dimensions of this history. At the same time, historians have struggled to find a conceptual framework flexible enough to incorporate the sweeping narratives of imperial history and the hidden narratives of social history into a broader, synthetic whole. No such paradigm that captures the two perspectives has yet emerged.

New World Orders addresses these broad conceptual issues by reexamining the relationships among violence, sanction, and authority in the early modern Americas. More specifically, the essays in this volume explore the wide variety of legal and extralegal means—from state-sponsored executions to unsanctioned crowd actions—by which social order was maintained, with a particular emphasis on how extralegal sanctions were defined and used; how such sanctions related to legal forms of maintaining order; and how these patterns of sanction, embedded within other forms of colonialism and culture, created cultural, legal, social, or imperial spaces in the early Americas.

With essays written by senior and junior scholars on the British, Spanish, Dutch, and French colonies, New World Orders presents one of the most comprehensive looks at the sweep of colonization in the Atlantic world. By juxtaposing case studies from Brazil, Venezuela, New York, California, Saint Domingue, and Louisiana with treatments of broader trends in Anglo-America or Spanish America more generally, the volume demonstrates the need to examine the questions of violence, sanction, and authority in hemispheric perspective.

John Smolenski teaches history at the University of California, Davis. Thomas J. Humphrey is Associate Professor of History at Cleveland State University and author of Land and Liberty: Hudson Valley Riots in the Age of Revolution.

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