The historical processes that European monarchies experienced at the end of the eighteenth century as an ‘age of (political) revolutions’ were a particular moment in a much broader, long-term global dynamic of commercialization. Africa was also very much a part of that dynamic. Europeans who went overseas to seek personal advantage in the accelerating worldwide rush towards global markets found themselves in disorienting contexts of anonymity and increasingly isolated from the smaller and more tangible families, guilds, and parishes of their parents, as well as from theoretically benevolent monarchical protectors in Europe. Both at home and abroad Europeans experienced a political crisis of confidence in royal patrons whom they saw as increasingly remote and overbearing. Feeling abandoned, they looked to themselves for salvation in civic terms, as sovereign individual citizens. While Europeans around the globe were creditors in this new world of disengaged commercial competition, Africans laboured under a burden of debt to it.
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- The Dynamics of History in Africa and the Atlantic ‘Age of Revolutions’
Joseph C. Miller
- Macmillan Education UK
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