Liberty Bars By Maya Jasanoff Analysis

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Liberty’s Exiles Liberty’s Exiles by Maya Jasanoff, follows Americans who remained loyal to the crown during the American Revolution. Jasanoff uses the effects the revolution had upon these loyalists, such their inability to bring the majority of their belongings with them when they fled America and how the British Empire reacted to such complications, as a way to argue what she claims is the “Spirit of 1783.” As a secondary theme she argues the concept of the loyalists’ exodus from America to every corner of the British Empire as a diaspora. She carefully goes over the impact the loyalists had upon the areas they settled in, such as the Bahamas where the population doubled or Sierra Leone, where they became a part of a colony of ex-slaves. …show more content…
The first point being the change in the focus of the British Empire. Prior to the end of the American Revolution, Britain was focused on commercial, colonial, and Atlantic ventures, which is referred to by Jasanoff as the “first” British Empire. Upon defeat, Britain shifted its focus on Asia, and the desire for a more direct rule that would result in the management of millions of British subjects. The second aspect of the “Spirit of 1783” is the commitment to liberty and humanitarian ideals according to Jasanoff. This portion can be seen repeatedly throughout the evacuations of loyalists. Sir Guy Carleton was charged with the evacuation of the loyalists with an order to arrange for passage for the refugees as well as some form of monetary compensation to assist with rebuilding their lives in another part of the British Empire. Although Jasanoff is clear about the limitations involved with the evacuation, such as Carleton having been allotted only 50 ships to transport refugees, in comparison to his task of evacuating “up to 100,000 soldiers and civilians in British-held cities,”(pg. 63) the notion of the British Empire following up with the loyalists that were still within the thirteen colonies, instead of focusing solely on the removal of resources and soldiers does build upon the notion of an “imperial guarantee to include all subjects, no matter their ethnicity or faith, in a fold of British rights.”(pg. 12) Lastly, Jasanoff argues that the British Empire became a centralized, hierarchical government with top-down rule. Essentially liberal practices with hierarchical rule, a government that differed from the democratic republics taking shape in the United States, France, and Latin America. With this top down government, however, came broken promises and contradictions, such as the promise to compensate loyalists

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