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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 October 2023

Wim Klooster
Affiliation:
Clark University, Massachusetts
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Summary

The age of Atlantic revolutions brought hope for fundamental change, a scarce good in the early modern world. Change was achieved through the creation and legal incorporation of rights, which differed from privileges, as they transcended all structures of authority and were thus common to humankind. Yet inequalities persisted, especially inequality of property and religion. What did change was the ability to voice one’s opinion. Slogans used in national debates were utilized by people across social boundaries in countless local settings to express their political views or personal interests. This instrumentalization in turn reverberated on the national level. To succeed in achieving political goals, the mobilization of public opinion became indispensable. Likewise, revolutionaries agreed that the regimes they built had to be supported by some form of popular control over the government. But the actual people – rather than the abstract one that was a source of legitimacy – was feared nonetheless. Most new regimes were republics, while royalists tended to uphold the status quo or pursue their goals without overthrowing the government, although royalism did not necessarily denote a progressive or conservative ideology.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Introduction
  • General editor Wim Klooster, Clark University, Massachusetts
  • Book: The Cambridge History of the Age of Atlantic Revolutions
  • Online publication: 18 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108599405.002
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  • Introduction
  • General editor Wim Klooster, Clark University, Massachusetts
  • Book: The Cambridge History of the Age of Atlantic Revolutions
  • Online publication: 18 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108599405.002
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • General editor Wim Klooster, Clark University, Massachusetts
  • Book: The Cambridge History of the Age of Atlantic Revolutions
  • Online publication: 18 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108599405.002
Available formats
×