Whispers and Waves: Insurrection, Conspiracy, and the Search for Salvation in the British Atlantic, 1729-1742


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines a revolutionary movement that swept through slave societies of the British Atlantic between 1729 and 1742. During that period, enslaved people from the Caribbean to British North America rose up against the planter class. Colonial authorities acknowledged a “dangerous spirit of liberty” uniting slaves, yet historians have not explored the relationship between these uprisings. This study explains the causes behind these real and imagined insurrections and explores what they tell us about Britain’s eighteenth-century empire. This project also examines the link between British anxiety in the 1730s and the First Great Awakening. British fear of slaves and Catholics contributed to Protestant fears that they were not saved, that God was not on their side.