Micah AlpaughFeb 7, 2022
Friends of Freedom
The Rise of Social Movements in the Age of Atlantic Revolutions
Cambridge University Press 2021
As the old cliché goes, “there must have been something in the water.” A new book by historian Micah Alpaugh, Friends of Freedom: The Rise of Social Movements in the Age of Atlantic Revolutions (Cambridge UP, 2021), courses a thread through the various disorders that riddled the Atlantic World in the late-eighteenth century. Alpaugh searches for and brings to light commonalities that spread through regions circling the North Atlantic. From the Caribbean islands to Ireland; France, colonial America, and the United Kingdom, “Liberty” and “Freedom” conjoined a patchwork of disparate people who gave rise to social movements roughly at the same moment in history.
Alpaugh’s archival research is astounding and unearthed new ways of looking at eighteenth-century revolutions beginning with the United State and ending with Haiti. In Friends of Freedom, Alpaugh reconfigures Boston’s “Sons of Liberty” as a social leviathan that swept the eastern seaboard of North America thereby becoming emulated by similar clubs of men and women in Britain, France, and Ireland – i.e., “friends of freedom.” What Alpaugh proves, without a doubt, were the incredible transatlantic networks by which social movement spread, movements that inspired powerful forces on both sides of the Atlantic. The rise of abolitionism, for example, connected moral philosophers, clerics, and thinkers throughout this large ocean basin as the Enlightened values of liberty and freedom became haltingly extended to all ranks of Atlantic society.
Joseph Krulder is a historian of Britain's long eighteenth-century: cultural, social, military, and economic.