Petitions in the Age of the Atlantic Revolutions (c.1760 - c.1840)
Abstr. due: 30.07.2018
Dates: 13.02.19 — 15.02.19
Area Of Sciences: History and archeology;
Organizing comittee e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizers: Institute of Social Sciences – University of Lisbon
As the bicentennial of the Portuguese Liberal Revolution of 1820 draws near, research on the Portuguese setting for the world-shattering period of the late 18th – early 19th is proliferating. At the same time, interest has been growing as regards the mechanisms of political communication which characterized and made possible the Atlantic range of revolutionary flows. Of these, petitions were definitely a particularly significant mechanism.
Petitions, representations, appeals and other similar documents were used, either individually or collectively by those who wished to address the Crown, or other authorities. They were a distinctive mark of the Early Modern world. As a form of political or juridical communication, petitions go back to Medieval Europe, but gained a broader geographical expression during the European expansion, when they became one of the most popular means used by overseas populations to convey their interests and grievances. Thus, to a certain extent, the right to petition bears testimony to the negotiated dimensions of early modern Atlantic empires.
Petitions were also a key element of continuity between the Early Modern and Contemporary worlds in the sense that, unlike many other features and political devices from the Ancien Régime, they survived the revolutionary period. Petitions were a pivotal form of communication in this context and became an additional device for responsive governance in the liberal monarchies or republics of the 19th century. Remarkably, scholars and researchers of both the early modern and modern periods, who specialize in these kinds of sources, often fail to realize this continuity.
This international conference aims to bridge this historiographical gap. We wish to revisit the role of the petition and its adaption to the broader Atlantic scale, with its changing political landscape, including American independences, the liberal revolutions and the early periods of the new constitutional regimes. Within this chronological and heuristic framework, topics for analyses may include, but are not limited to: the groups involved in the petitioning movement in these times of change; petitions as a voice for the political ‘forgotten ones’ (e.g. slaves, Indians and women); issues and forms of petitions; perceptions of the right of petition in the revolutionary political context; the petitionary movement and the reassembling of collective identities and political loyalties; petition as a political weapon; petitions as a source of ideology.