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The entanglements of freedom: Simón Bolívar's Jamaica Letter and its socio-political context (1810–1819)

Núñez Faraco, HR; (2018) The entanglements of freedom: Simón Bolívar's Jamaica Letter and its socio-political context (1810–1819). Global Intellectual History , 3 (1) pp. 71-91. 10.1080/23801883.2017.1332882. Green open access

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Abstract

By looking at the Jamaica Letter and other political writings of the period, this article explores some problematic aspects of Bolívar’s thought regarding the capacity of Spanish Americans for self-government and the place assigned to marginalized ethnic groups within the revolutionary political process. Although it is nowadays revered as a great Americanist manifesto, Bolívar’s Jamaica Letter was ultimately an attempt to reassure Britain of the commercial benefits that a military intervention in favour of Spanish American Independence would bring to her geopolitical ambitions. However, because of the reliance on slave workforce for its rich plantation economy, and in view of its pivotal commercial role in the Caribbean, Bolívar had also to guarantee the stability of British economic interests in the region. This also applied to New Granada (present-day Colombia) and Venezuela, where creole opposition to the abolition of slavery was strong. Thus, Bolívar avoided the issue of slavery and took a cautious approach with regard to the future status of Indian communities. In this respect, the Jamaica Letter reveals the inexistence of a unified national body during the Wars of Independence as well as the socio-political tensions entwined within such a fragmented and heterogeneous milieu.

Type: Article
Title: The entanglements of freedom: Simón Bolívar's Jamaica Letter and its socio-political context (1810–1819)
Location: UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/23801883.2017.1332882
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23801883.2017.1332882
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: civic virtue, political philosophy, republicanism, Simón Bolívar, Jamaica Letter
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1559182
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