"Five Macro Revolutions and Transatlantic Migration during the 19th Century"

Jose Moya

This paper responds to the challenge implicit in the theme of the conference, "Rethinking the 19th Century Beyond the 'Dual Revolutions' (Capitalism & Democracy)," by adding three more and rethinking the two mentioned. Between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the World Depression, 56 million Europeans (and ten million Asians) left their native continent. No population transfer of this size had taken place before and none-at least relative to the world population-has taken place after. I argue that at the macro level this movement resulted from, and formed part of, a specific stage in capitalist modernization characterized by the demographic, agricultural, industrial, liberal, and transportation revolutions. Does this argument resuscitate the "modernist teleology" that the participants of the conference unanimously agreed to bury? No, if by the term we mean historical forces moving with purpose towards a final end; yes, if by it we mean a process with a visible direction and a tendency to spread spatially from the Western "core" toward peripheries in recognizable patterns.