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Historian Explores Early Global Crisis of Americas

John Tutino Book

September 6, 2011 – Associate professor John Tutino examines the role of the Americas in early world trade and the conflicts reconfiguring global power in his new book, Making a New World: Founding Capitalism in the Bajío and Spanish North America (Duke University Press, 2011).

Tutino, a historian in the School of Foreign Service, analyzes the political economy, social relations and cultural conflicts of the central Mexico regions of Bajío and Spanish North America from 1500 to 1800.  He also looks at the tensions that led to the area’s collapse into revolution in 1810.

“I began to work on this project thinking I might better understand how Mexicans lived the transition from life under Spanish colonial rule to the struggles of creating a nation in times of emerging capitalism,” Tutino explains.

The historian concludes that the people of New Spain (now known as Mexico) and the southwestern United States were leaders in building global capitalism before 1800.

“[The people of New Spain] saw their world change radically in what I am ready to call ‘the first crisis of globalization’ between 1790 and 1825,” Tutino said.

The professor is now working on a sequel to the book that explores how that global crisis transformed North America, enabling the rise of the United States to continental leadership and global power – and pressing Mexico toward underdevelopment.

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