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A Great Fear

A Great Fear: Lu?S De On?S And The Shadow War Against Napoleon In Spanish America, 1808 1812


An exploration of the Spanish colonial reaction to the threat of Napoleonic subversion. A Great Fear: Luis de Onis and the Shadow War against Napoleon in Spanish America, 1808-1812 explores why Spanish Americans did not take the opportunity to seize independence in this critical period when Spain was overrun by French armies and, arguably, in its weakest state. In the first years after his appointment as Spanish ambassador to the United States, Luis de Onis claimed the heavy responsibility of defending Spanish America from the wave of French spies, subversives, and soldiers whom he believed Napoleon was sending across the Atlantic to undermine the empire. As a leading representative of Spain's loyalist government in the Americas, Onis played a central role in identifying, framing, and developing what soon became a coordinated response from the colonial bureaucracy to this perceived threat. This crusade had important short-term consequences for the empire. Since it paralleled the emergence of embryonic independence movements against Spanish rule, colonial officials immediately conflated these dangers and attributed anti-Spanish sentiment to foreign conspiracies. Little direct evidence of Napoleon's efforts at subversion in Spanish America exists. However, on the basis of prodigious research, Hawkins asserts that the fear of French intervention mattered far more than the reality. Reinforced by detailed warnings from Ambassador Onis, who found the United States to be the staging ground for many of the French emissaries, colonial officials and their subjects became convinced that Napoleon posed a real threat. The official reaction to the threat of French intervention increasingly led Spanish authorities to view their subjects with suspicion, as potential enemies rather than allies in the struggle to preserve the empire. In the long term, this climate of fear eroded the legitimacy of the Spanish Crown among Spanish Americans, a process that contributed to the unraveling of the empire by the 1820s. This study draws on documents and official records from both sides of the Hispanic Atlantic, with extensive research conducted in Spain, Guatemala, Argentina, and the United States. Overall, it is a provocative interpretation of the repercussions of Napoleonic intrigue and espionage in the New World and a stellar examination of late Spanish colonialism in the Americas.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Univ of Alabama Pr
  • ISBN-13: 9780817320041
  • ISBN: 0817320040
  • Publication Year: 2019
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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