- Associate Professor
- University of California, Berkeley
Shoot the State: The Arms Trade and the Re-creation of the Americas, 1750-1914
In 1750 the whole of the western hemisphere was claimed by a few European empires but mostly dominated by native peoples. Over the next 150 years, new nation states came to exert power everywhere save the interior Amazon and Canada’s frozen north. The story of this re-creation of the Americas is nearly always told in fragments, broken into dozens of national or ethnic histories. Through a focus on the rapidly evolving global trade in firearms, this study pieces these stories together into a new, integrated narrative. By recovering the webs of an arms trade that both connected and profoundly influenced the hemisphere’s many struggles between empires, emerging states, and indigenous polities, it advances a new model for the emergence of the modern Americas.
Shoot the State: Guns, Freedom, and Domination in the Americas, 1774-1934
Armed violence transformed the Western hemisphere in the long nineteenth century. It overthrew European empires, birthed liberal nation states, fortified then destroyed slavery, empowered then dispossessed indigenous polities, and created stark regimes of inequality both within emerging states and between them. And yet outside the eastern United States, no one in the Americas produced arms in quantity. This begs a deceptively simple question that historians have all but ignored: where did all the guns come from? The first major study of the historic arms trade in the Americas, “Shoot the State” explains how access to the means of destruction conditioned struggles over freedom and domination around the hemisphere, from the American Revolution to the eve of World War II.