Petitions in the Age of Atlantic Revolutions (c.1760 – c.1840)

The conference PETITIONS IN THE AGE OF ATLANTIC REVOLUTIONS (c. 1760-c.1840) will be held in ICS – University of Lisbon on February 13-15.

Programme here.

        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.

Convenors: Isabel Corrêa da Silva, Miguel Dantas da Cruz, Nuno Gonçalo Monteiro