The Specter of Peace

Rethinking Violence and Power in the Colonial Atlantic


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Specter of Peace advances a novel historical conceptualization of peace as a process of “right ordering” that involved the careful regulation of violence, the legitimation of colonial authority, and the creation of racial and gendered hierarchies. The volume highlights the many paths of peacemaking that otherwise have hitherto gone unexplored in early American and Atlantic World scholarship and challenges historians to take peace as seriously as violence. Early American peacemaking was a productive discourse of moral ordering fundamentally concerned with regulating violence. The historicization of peace, the authors argue, can sharpen our understanding of violence, empire, and the early modern struggle for order and harmony in the colonial Americas and Atlantic World.

Contributors are: Micah Alpaugh, Brendan Gillis, Mark Meuwese, Margot Minardi, Geoffrey Plank, Dylan Ruediger, Cristina Soriano and Wayne E. Lee.

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Michael Goode, Ph.D. (2012), University of Illinois at Chicago, is an assistant professor in the Department of History and Political Science at Utah Valley University. He is the author of multiple articles on relations between colonizers and Native Americans and is currently completing a book entitled A Colonizing Peace: Violence and the Quaker Struggle for Gospel Order in Early America.

John Smolenski, Ph.D. (2001), University of Pennsylvania, Associate Professor of History at University of California, Davis, is the author of Friends and Strangers: The Making of a Creole Culture in Colonial Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010) and co-editor of New World Orders: Violence, Sanction, and Authority in the Colonial Americas (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005).
"These essays illustrate how different perceptions of peace and violence develop from socially constructed understandings of these concepts that, in turn, have often led to misunderstandings rooted in cultural difference. While studies of these misunderstandings, specifically, have previously received little scholarly attention of the colonial Atlantic, this compilation illuminates the importance and need for these studies. The traditional focus on violence has masked the presence and power of peace. The authors in this volume address this deficit and illustrate the central role peace and peacemaking played in affecting imperial and colonial relations in the American Atlantic from the Age of Exploration and Conquest through the Age of Revolutions."

Shayna Mehas, Elon University, in World History Connected 17.1
Wayne E. Lee
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: The Relevance of Peace in Early American History
Michael Goode

1 Imperial Peace and Restraints in the Dutch-Iberian Wars for Brazil, 1624–1654
Mark Meuwese

2 “In Peace with all, or at least in Warre with None”: Tributary Subjects and the Negotiation of Political Subordination in Greater Virginia, 1676–1730
Dylan Ruediger

3 Violent Restraint: Keeping Peace in British America and India
Brendan Gillis

4 Peace, Imperial War, and Revolution in the Eighteenth-century Atlantic World
Geoffrey Plank

5 Nonviolence, Positive Peace, and American Pre-revolutionary Protest, 1765–1775
Micah Alpaugh

6 “Avoiding the Fate of Haiti”: Negotiating Peace in Late-Colonial Venezuela
Cristina Soriano

7 The Lessons of Loo Choo: The Historical Vision of American Peace Reformers, 1815–1837
Margot Minardi

Afterword: Peace and the End(s) of American History
John Smolenski

Historians of Early America, Atlantic World, peace studies scholars, academic libraries, major public libraries, undergraduate and graduate students, academic and educated lay readers, colonialism, Native American studies, and military history
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