- Book Notes
The Temptations of Trade: Britain, Spain, and the Struggle for Empire. By Adrian Finucane. Early Modern Americas. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. Pp. [vi], 212. $45.00, ISBN 978-0-8122-4812-8.) In The Temptations of Trade: Britain, Spain, and the Struggle for Empire, Adrian Finucane provides an exhaustively researched account of the personal dynamics of empire in the early-eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Examining the impact of trade between Britain and Spain—centered on Britain's acquisition of the asiento from Spain, providing Britain the exclusive right to trade enslaved Africans to Spanish America—Finucane reveals how individuals shaped the contours of empire in ways unanticipated by London and Madrid. By examining the individual lives and experiences of pirates and printers, merchants and mariners, Finucane offers new insight into the complicated links between the British and Spanish empires. Finucane convincingly argues that exploring trade links between Britain and Spain reveals not only the mutual interest of these two competing empires, but also the way their fortunes were frequently intertwined during the eighteenth century, often because of the actions of individuals only weakly constrained by the prerogatives of European metropoles. Though much of Finucane's story takes place in Spanish America, the still-growing interest among southern historians of links between the South and the broader Atlantic world will make this study of trade and empire both interesting and useful for readers of the Journal of Southern History. Ultimately, Finucane reveals how an exploration of the actions of individuals on the edges of empires is essential for understanding the development of empire in the Americas. [John Garrison Marks, Rowan University]
Slavery and Politics: Brazil and Cuba, 1790–1850. By Rafael Marquese, T^ amis Parron, and Márcia Berbel. Translated by Leonardo Marques. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2016. Pp. vi, 362. Paper, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-8263-5648-2; cloth, $95.00, ISBN 978-0-8263-5647-5.) In Slavery and Politics: Brazil and Cuba, 1790–1850, Rafael Marquese, Tâmis Parron, and Márcia Berbel examine the history of slavery and politics in Brazil and Cuba from the 1790s to the successful suppression of the transatlantic slave trade to Brazil in the mid-nineteenth century. Originally published ten years ago in Brazil, the text was translated to English by Leonardo Marques, with funding from the Fundação de Amparo àPesquisa do Estado de Ŝao Paulo.
In four chapters, this work explores the proslavery arguments and strategies that supported the political agendas of Cuban and Brazilian slaveholders and how these designs were affected by events such as the American and Haitian Revolutions, the advent of British abolitionism, and the expanding global market for tropical produce. Using government records, diplomatic correspondence, and the writings of Cuban and Brazilian slaveholders, these historians show how the slaveholding class imposed its political designs on the Spanish and Brazilian empires in the 1820s and chart how these arrangements continued well into the 1860s. Building on the scholarship of Robin Blackburn and Dale Tomich, Slavery and Politics does not compare [End Page 493] Brazilian and Cuban slavery as isolated units but treats them as "acts linked to the broader historical and geographical contexts that were created by the problem of slavery in the nineteenth century" (p. 5). Historians of the American South will find the last two chapters fascinating as these scholars explain how Brazil and Cuba joined the United States in the nineteenth century as the most powerful slaveholding societies in the Atlantic world, producing the lion's share of coffee, sugar, and cotton in the global market. [W. E. Skidmore, Rice University]
Slave Emancipation and Transformations in Brazilian Political Citizenship. By Celso Thomas Castilho. Pitt Latin American Series. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016. Pp. xvi, 264. Paper, $28.95, ISBN 978-0-8229-6412-4.) On March 13, 1888, Princess Isabel signed the Lei Áurea (the Golden Law) making Brazil the last country in the Western world to abolish slavery. In Slave Emancipation and Transformations in Brazilian Political Citizenship, Celso Thomas Castilho offers a new perspective on the history of Brazilian abolition and political citizenship. As part of the Pitt Latin American Series...