Three themes in the discursive history of freedom and slavery during the English Revolution are explored here: the liberty of conscience, the liberty of the body, and the liberty of commerce. In the contests waged to define these liberties, contending factions of revolutionaries refashioned their opponents’ concepts of freedom as forms of bondage. Although explored in discrete fashion by historians, these discourses of religious, bodily, and commercial liberty hardly operated independently from one another. Indeed, they became increasingly entangled as the Revolution reached its imperial turn (ca. 1649-1655), accompanied as it was by the rise of the slave trade in the West Indies and debates over the nature of «free trade» that circulated between England and the colonies. Ultimately, to recover the entangled nature of these languages of liberty and their importance in the Revolution’s history of ideas, we must move beyond England itself and into the wider Atlantic world to grasp the material contexts that conditioned the Revolution’s discursive history.
Donoghue, John. Transatlantic Discourses of Freedom and Slavery in the English Revolution. Storicamente, 10, 1: 1-24, 2014. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, History: Faculty Publications and Other Works, http://dx.doi.org/10.12977/stor580
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