In this ambitious book, Pamela Voekel joins a revisionist historiographical trend that emphasizes the centrality of religion in the so-called Age of Revolutions in Spanish America. Whereas many historians had traditionally presented independence and early republican struggles as necessary for advancing secular modernity, Voekel argues that the region's patriots, royalists, liberals, and conservatives actually took part in a “transatlantic Catholic civil war,” pitting the followers of a reformist and democratic ecclesiology against the defenders of ultramontane absolutism (p. 1). She claims that the main characters in this war formulated and justified their political agendas in essentially religious terms and operated with the support of larger transnational networks encompassing the Atlantic Catholic world, which she respectively calls the “Reform International” and the “Ultramontane International.” In her view, this “theopolitical” conflict started some decades before the Spanish imperial meltdown of 1808 and then “fueled two civil wars and defined the two major...

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