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COURSE NAME: "The Atlantic Revolutions: The U.S., France, Haiti, and Latin America"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 11:30 AM 12:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisites: Junior Standing. Co-requisite: EN 110
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

History Research Seminar: 300-level history courses designated by the prefix HS-RS indicate courses being offered as Research Seminars. These courses are writing-intensive and help to train students to carry out original research by guiding them through the preparation of a significant research paper. History majors are encouraged to take these before their senior year, and especially before the semester in which they prepare their thesis.
This course explores the history of the revolutions that shook the Atlantic world from 1776 to 1830. As the first modern revolutions, the American, French, Haitian, and Latin American Revolutions not only brought an end to the first era of European colonialism, they also ushered in the modern age of politics. Democracy, dictatorship, human rights, nationalism, political terrorism, and the first abolitions of slavery are all products of this era. This course examines the connections between these revolutions and compares them with one another in terms of their origins, dynamics, and outcomes. A central focus is on what these revolutions meant to the diverse groups of people who lived through them.

Satisfies "Early Modern History" or "Modern History" core course requirement for History majors.



This course will primarily be run as a seminar in which we discuss the assigned readings.  As such, your active participation in our discussions is absolutely necessary to making the course work well.  The high percentage of your grade based on your participation reflects that fact.

In successfully completing this course, you should:

      Cultivate an understanding of the major developments and historical significance of the Atlantic Revolutions (1760s-1820s);
      Develop a sense of the major similarities and differences between them;
      Develop an understanding of some of the major modes of analysis historians (and other scholars) have used to reconstruct and interpret these revolutions.

You should work on developing (and improving) the following skills:
      Critical analysis of various types of primary sources;
      Critical analysis of historians’ and other scholarly arguments;
      Researching historical subjects (i.e., finding and evaluating both primary and secondary sources);
      Developing well-reasoned, well-supported arguments;
      Exercising your imagination in a historically-informed manner;
      Effectively communicating your arguments in writing and oral discussion.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Revolutions in the Atlantic World, New Edition: A Comparative History (2nd edition)Wim Klooster NYU Press 978-1479857173 Available at the Almost Corner Bookstore

In Class ParticipationThis course will primarily be run as a seminar in which we discuss the assigned readings. As such, your active participation in our discussions is absolutely necessary to making the course work well. The high percentage of your grade that is based on your participation reflects that fact. You should bring a question based on the readings that you believe we should discuss to each class. On occasion, additional brief in class or out of class reaction papers and/or in-class presentations may be assigned as components of your participation grade. Please note that behaving in ways that create distractions for other members of the class (including the professor) will lower your participation grade. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to: messaging, checking Facebook or other social networks, catching up on e-mail, watching on-line videos, reading non-class related materials, studying for other courses, shopping on-line, and generally any activity that detracts from your or any other classmate's full participation in what we are doing in the classroom.20%
Living the Revolutions ProjectIn the “Living the Revolutions Project,” you will explore and reconstruct the life of an anonymous/undocumented person who lived through the era of the Atlantic Revolutions. In other words, you will do research on a character who is “fictional” but nonetheless represents many of the people who participated in these revolutions but left few records of their experiences. I will provide you with a character and some basic background information about her or him during the second week of classes. Then, throughout the rest of the semester you will explore and provide the rest of the class with updates regarding the varying paths his or her life could have taken. There are four written components of this project, detailed below. 55% (As a whole)
Living the Revolutions--Research Plan and Preliminary BibliographyIn your research plan (minimum 5 double-spaced, typed pages), you should identify and briefly discuss the topics you need to research to reconstruct the possible life courses of your character and the primary and secondary sources you will use to carry out that research. You should also discuss the ways in which you plan to use those sources for this project. In addition to briefly discussing your main sources in the text, list them in a standard bibliography at the end of your research plan. Finally, speculate and briefly discuss the additional kinds of sources you might hope to find were you to pursue this project beyond the resources available to you at this point (also speculate as to where you might be able to find them if they exist). Your grade for this component will be determined by the strength of your analysis, the thoroughness and relevance of your research, the persuasiveness of your argument (including quality of writing), and the originality of your thought.5%
Living the Revolutions--Background Research Paper (7-10 pages)For the background research paper (7-10 typed, double-spaced pages), you will explore the historical topic most important for understanding the life course and historical experiences of your character (e.g., "Native Americans during the Era of the Wars of Mexican Independence," "Lawyers and the French Revolution," etc.--you should define this topic in consultation with me). This paper should build on both primary and secondary sources, and in preparing it, I will guide you through the processes of preparing a first draft and revising that draft to produce a stronger final paper. The grade on this assignment will be determined by the strength of your analysis and research, the persuasiveness of your argument (including quality of writing), and the originality of your thought. 20%
Living the Revolutions--Annotated Flow-ChartFor this portion of the project, you will prepare an annotated flowchart indicating the varying paths your character’s life might have taken as he or she became involved in the events of the Atlantic Revolutions. To satisfactorily complete this part of the assignment, you will need to clearly identify the events that would have been likely turning points in your character’s life. For each “crossroads” she or he meets, you should provide a brief note explaining what factors might have shaped which path she or he would have chosen (or been forced to choose). You should also be sure to identify the sources you used in developing each "crossroads." You are to work on this flowchart throughout the semester and will regularly report on your progress. Over the course of the semester, you will be responsible for doing this for a minimum of 8 to 10 "crossroads." Your grade for this component will be determined by the strength of your analysis, the thoroughness and relevance of your research, the persuasiveness of your argument (including quality of writing), and the originality of your thought.15%
Living the Revolutions--Historical Fiction Memoir (7-10 pages)For this final portion of the project, you will prepare a “memoir” written by your character towards the end of her or his life (15%). In this piece of well-informed and researched “historical fiction,” you should recount the age of Atlantic Revolutions through the eyes and experiences of your character, reflecting upon what it meant to him or her. This “memoir” should be turned in with the notes and materials you used in preparing it. Your grade for this component will be determined by the strength of your underlying analysis, the thoroughness and relevance of your underlying research, the persuasiveness of your historical fiction (including quality of writing and informed use of historical imagination), and the originality of your thought.15%
Final ExaminationThe final exam will be composed of two essay questions I will give you the week before the exam. You will answer one of those questions. The exam will be open book and open notes. Your grade on the exam will depend upon the analytical strength and persuasiveness of your arguments, your capacity to discuss the material we cover in the course as a whole, and the factual accuracy of your answers. 25%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the co
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


See above on participation.


As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Important Course Policies

All assignments must be handed in the form of both hard  and electronic copies (e-mail them to me).

All late work will be penalized by at least one letter grade.  No late work will be accepted following the final examination.

Any documented case of academic dishonesty on any assignment will result not only in a failing grade for the assignment in question but also in a failing grade for the course as a whole. If you have questions about how to cite material properly, refer to the appropriate sections of the MLA Style Manual or Chicago Manual of Style (or talk to me). There are copies of both in the reference section of the library. Please note that submitting work that you have previously submitted (or plan to submit) for credit in another course is also a form of academic dishonesty, unless you obtain explicit approval from both instructors to do so. For this course, no such double submission is allowed. Please note that your papers may be submitted to turnitin.com to check their content for plagiarism.

Accessing Shared Documents on MyJCU 

     1. Go to the internal web site (MY JCU).
     2. After you have logged in, click on the course post-it for Fall 2017, HS RS 376. Then click on shared files.
     3. You should then be able to access any course handouts not accessible by clicking the links on this syllabus.
     4. Be sure to check the handouts page frequently for changes and updates.  Similarly, I will post messages on the MyJCU board should I need to contact you in between class meetings (e.g., in the case of an unexpected class cancellation, etc.).

The textbook (Klooster) should be available at the Almost Corner Bookshop, Via del Moro, 45.

Accessing J-Stor Readings

While on campus, you should be able to access these readings simply by clicking on the links on the syllabus.  On the page that appears, you can find links to download the full article as a PDF file or to print it out.  Off-campus you may need to go to the website for the Frohring Library, click on the link for "Databases" and "J-Stor" and then search for the article manually.

Course Schedule (Please note that the following is subject to change--any updates will be made to the on-line syllabus, available on the University's webpage: http://www.johncabot.edu/academics/course-schedules-syllabi.aspx.)

Aug. 29    Introductions—Revolutions and Comparative History            


Aug. 31    Setting the Stage—The World’s First World War and the Crisis of Empires?

Klooster, 1-10

Gould, "Revolution and Counter-Revolution," 214-227, Recommended 227-231 (Shared Files, MyJCU)


Sept. 5 Origins—Imperial Reorganization and British Political Culture

Klooster, 11-15

Breen, “An Empire of Goods,” 467-499 http://www.jstor.org/stable/175565


Sept. 7 Dynamics and Ideology—Patrician Leadership, Plebian Support?

Klooster, 15-41

Linebaugh and Rediker, “A Motley Crew in the American Revolution,” in Linebaugh and Rediker, The Many Headed Hydra, 211-247 (Shared Files, MyJCU)
Thomas Jefferson, “Draft of the Declaration of Independence” http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/1776-1785/jeffersons-draft-of-the-declaration-of-independence.php

“Final Text of the Declaration of Independence” http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/1776-1785/the-final-text-of-the-declaration-of-independence-july-4-1776.php

Sept. 12 Founding Mothers—Women in the Revolution

Gundersen, “Independence, Citizenship, and the American Revolution,” 59-77 http://www.jstor.org/stable/3174027

“Sarah Osborn Recollects Her Experiences in the Revolutionary War, 1837” http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5833/

Judith Sargent Stevens Murray, “On the Equality of the Sexes (1790)” http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=165

“Abigail Adams and John Adams Debate Women’s Rights" http://historytools.davidjvoelker.com/sources/Abigail-John-Letters.pdf

“Eliza Wilkinson on Women and War” http://americainclass.org/sources/makingrevolution/war/text7/elizawilkinsonsc.pdf   


Sept. 14 “Empire of Liberty”—The View from “Indian Country”

Calloway, “‘We Have Always Been the Frontier’: The American Revolution in Shawnee Country,” 39-52 http://www.jstor.org/stable/1185604

“The War for Independence Through Seneca Eyes: Mary Jemison Views the Revolution, 1775–7”


Jefferson's Confidential Letter to Congress” http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65820#axzz1X3lE1qG2

Jefferson, “Indian Addresses” http://libertyonline.hypermall.com/Jefferson/Indian.html

Jefferson, “Native Americans and the American Revolution” http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=220


Sept. 19 American Freedom, American Slavery—Afro-Americans and the Revolution

Klooster, 41-44

Crow, “Slave Rebelliousness and Social Conflict in North Carolina, 1775 to 1802,” 79-102 http://www.jstor.org/stable/1920970

“Proclamation of Earl of Dunmorehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2h42t.html (View the original document: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2h42b.html)

Runaway ad for Titus, 1775 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2h1.html

“‘Natural and Inalienable Right to Freedom’: Slaves’ Petition for Freedom to the Massachusetts Legislature, 1777” http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6237/

“Blacks Petition Against Taxation Without Representation March 14, 1780http://sageamericanhistory.net/federalperiod/docs/BlacksPet.htm

Phillis Wheatley, “Letter and Poem to General Washington” http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/04/06/george-washington-and-phillis-wheatley/

Benjamin Banneker, “Letter to Jeffersonhttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2h71t.html

Living the Revolutions Research Plan and Preliminary Bibliography Due

Sept. 21  Aftermath—Inheriting the Revolution

Appleby, “The American Heritage: The Heirs and the Disinherited,” 798-813 http://www.jstor.org/stable/1902154

Compare the “Constitution of the United States,” (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/usconst.asp) with various Revolutionary era state constitutions (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/18th.asp)



Sept. 26  Origins—Imperial Reorganization, Fiscal Crisis, and Demands for Reform

Klooster, 45-51

Shovlin, "Toward a Reinterpretation of Revolutionary Antinobilism: The Political Economy of Honor in the Old Regime" http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/315929

Sieyes, "What is the Third Estate?" http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/280/

Sept. 28   Dynamics—From Constitutional Monarchy to the Terror and Beyond

Klooster, 51-83

Hunt, "The Rhetoric of Revolution," 19-51 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

"Terror is the Order of the Day" http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/416/


Oct. 3 Meanings?—Rights, Revolution, and Rationalization

Review Klooster, 51-83

“Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen” http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/rightsof.asp

"Constitution of 1793" http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/430/

Explore French Revolutionary Songs “Ça Ira” http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/caira.html and Others at http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/chap11a.html

The French Revolutionary Calendar http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/435/
First Draft of Background Research Paper Due

Oct. 5  Citoyennes—Women and the Revolution

Desan, “‘War Between Brothers and Sisters’: Inheritance Law and Gender Politics in Revolutionary France,” 597-634 http://www.jstor.org/stable/286913

"Petition of Women of the Third Estate to the King" http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/472/

Wollstonecraft, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/579/

Olympe de Gouges, The Declaration of the Rights of Woman (September 1791) http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/293/

"Discussion of Women’s Political Clubs and Their Suppression, October 1793" http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/294/

Oct. 10  Regeneration?--Jews and the Revolution

Lindemann, Esau's Tears, 40-50 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

Vital, A People Apart, 42-62 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

Zalkind-Hourwitz, "Vindication of the Jews (1789)"  http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/277/

Clermont-Tonnerre, "Speech on Religious Minorities and Questionable Professions" http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/284/

Abbé Maury, "Speech" http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/285/

"Petition of the Jews of Paris, Alsace and Lorraine to the National Assembly" http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/286/

"Admission of Jews to Rights of Citizenship," http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/287/

Oct. 12  Aftermath—Napoleonic Europe

"The Napoleonic Experience" (Liberty, Equality Fraternity Website)

http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/chap9a.html (be sure to read all of this web chapter--there are four pages)

Cole, "Playing Muslim," 125-143 (Handout)

Primary Sources on Napoleon http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/501/







Oct. 17 Origins—Sugar Island Slavery, Racial Discrimination, and Colonial Complaints

Klooster, 84-92

Garrigus, "Saint Domingue's Free People of Color and the Tools of Revolution" in Geggus and Fiering, eds., The World of the Haitian Revolution, 49-64 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

“Le Code Noir” http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/335/

"Voodoo, 1786" 



Moreau de Saint-Méry, “On ‘Race’ in Saint Domingue” 




Oct. 19  Dynamics—From Rich Whites to Poor Whites to Free People of Color to Slaves

Klooster, 92-110

Fick, “Dilemmas of Emancipation: From the Saint Domingue Insurrections of 1791 to the Emerging Haitian State" http://www.jstor.org/stable/4289578

Dalmas, "History of the Revolution of Saint Domingue," 89-93 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

Recommended: Thornton, “African Soldiers in the Haitian Revolution” in Shepherd and Beckles, eds., Caribbean Slavery in the Atlantic World, 933-945 (On Reserve)


Oct. 24  Meanings?—Political Ideology in a Multicultural Revolutionary Society

Thornton, "'I Am the Subject of the King of Congo': African Political Ideology and the Haitian Revolution" http://www.jstor.org/stable/20078560

Jean François and Biassou, "Letters to the Commissioners," 99-102 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

Sonthonax, "Decree of General Liberty," 120-125 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

"Insurgent Responses to Emancipation," 125-128 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

L’Ouverture, “Dictatorial Proclamation” (1801) https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/toussaint-louverture/1801/dictatorial.htm

“Haitian Declaration of Independence(Shared Files, MyJCU)
Final Draft of Background Research Paper Due (UPDATED)



Oct. 26  From Slave to Citoyenne—Women in the Revolution

Moitt, “Slave Women and Resistance in the French Caribbean,” in Gaspar and Hine, eds.,  More Than Chattel, 239-258 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

Colwill, "'Fetes de l'Hymen, Fetes de la Liberté': Marriage, Manhood and Emancipation in Revolutionary Saint-Domingue" in Geggus and Fiering, eds., The World of the Haitian Revolution, 125-155 (Shared Files, MyJCU)


Oct. 27  OFFICIAL FRIDAY MAKE-UP:   Aftermath—Race, Freedom, and Independence in Haiti and Beyond

Klooster, 110-116

Girard, Haiti, 59-68 (Shared Files, MyJCU)
Dubois, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History, 52-68; 84-88; 104-118 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

“Haitian Constitution of 1805” 



“Images of the Armorial of Christophe’s Kingdom (brochure)” http://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/Haiti.pdf

Living the Revolutions Character Report (1-2 Crossroads) Due (UPDATED)



Oct. 31 Origins—Criollo Fears and the Threats from Below

Klooster, 117-127

Serulnikov, “Disputed Images of Colonialism,” 189-226 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2517139

Humboldt, “Problems And Progress in Mexico, c. 1800” http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1800humboldt-mexico.html      

“José de Galvez’s Decrees for the King’s Subjects in Mexico (1769, 1778),” in Mills, Taylor, and Graham, eds., Colonial Latin America, 316-319 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

“Late Eighteenth-Century Inscriptions on Fountains and Monuments in Mexico City,” in Mills, Taylor, and Graham, eds., Colonial Latin America, 384-389 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

America Nursing Spanish Noble Boys,” in Mills, Taylor, and Graham, eds., Colonial Latin America, 395-396 (Shared Files, MyJCU)


Nov. 2 Dynamics—European Upsets and Conservative Revolutions?

Klooster, 127-157

Adelman, "Iberian Passages", 59-82 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

Bolívar, “Proclamation to the People of Venezuela, 15 June 1813(Shared Files, MyJCU)

“The Plan of Iguala and Other Documents on Mexican Independence” http://www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/iguala.htm (Scroll Down For the English Versions)

“José María Morelos’s ‘Sentiments of the Nation,’” in Mills, Taylor, and Graham, eds., Colonial Latin America, 397-400 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

“The Argentine Declaration of Independence,” in Mills, Taylor, and Graham, eds., Colonial Latin America, 401-402 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

Bolívar, “Reply of a South American to a Gentleman of this Islandhttp://faculty.smu.edu/bakewell/bakewell/texts/jamaica-letter.html

Living the Revolutions Character Report (1-2 Crossroads) Due (UPDATED)

Nov. 7 Participants, Victims, Martyrs—Women and Latin American Independence

Brewster, “Women and the Spanish-American Wars of Independence: An Overview,” 20-35 http://www.jstor.org/stable/3874426

Nov. 9 Indians—Independence?

Platt, “Simón Bolívar, the Sun of Justice and the Amerindian Virgin: Andean Conceptions of the Patria in Nineteenth-Century Potosi,” 159-185 http://www.jstor.org/stable/157661

Bolívar, “Decrees on Indian Rights, Lands, and Tribute,” in Bolívar, El Libertador, 184-190 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

Recommended: Archer “The Indian Insurgents of Mezcala Island on the Lake Chapala Front, 1812-1816,” 84-128, in Schroeder, ed.,  Native Resistance and the Pax Colonial in New Spain (On Reserve).

Living the Revolutions Character Report (1-2 Crossroads) Due (UPDATED)

Nov. 14 Slaves and Castas—
Liberty and Equality?

Review Klooster, 149-157

Blanchard, "The Language of Liberation: Slave Voices in the Wars of Independence," 499-523
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/hahr/summary/v082/82.3blanchard.html (Project Muse) 

Bolívar, “Decree for the Emancipation of the Slaves,” in Bolívar, El Libertador, 177-178 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

Bolívar, “ Letter to General Francisco de Paula Santander: On Slave Recruitment,” in Bolívar, El Libertador, 182-183 (Shared Files, MyJCU) 

Nov. 16  Crafting Historical Fiction:  Guest Instructor, Carlos Dews

Nov. 21 Aftermath—Heroes on Horseback?

Wolf and Hansen, “Caudillo Politics: A Structural Analysis,” 170-179 http://www.jstor.org/stable/177739

Bolívar, “The Bolivian Constitution,” in Bolívar, El Libertador, 54-66 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

Bolívar, “Manifesto Justifying the Dictatorship” “Manifesto Concerning the Installation of the Constituent Congress, the End of the Dictatorship, and Announcing the End of His Political Career,” and "Letter to General Juan José Flores," in Bolívar, El Libertador, 140-149 (Shared Files, MyJCU)

Annotated Biography Flowchart Due


Nov. 28     Comparing Revolutions and Legacies

Klooster, 158-174

Trouillot, “An Unthinkable History,” in Trouillot, Silencing the Past, 70-107 (Shared Files, MyJCU)



Nov. 30     Experiences:  Reminiscences from Living the Revolutions

“Memoir” Due



FINAL EXAM--TBA (Final Exam Period December 4 to December 7)