Located in the crowded center of seventeenth-century London, the rough community of Coleman Street Ward was a hotbed of political and religious unrest. There among diverse and contentious groups of puritans a seething republican underground developed as the political means to a more perfect Protestant Reformation. But while Coleman Street has long been recognized as a crucial location of the English Revolution, its importance to events across the Atlantic has yet to be explored. In Fire under the Ashes, John Doghue recovers the lasting significance of the radical ideas of Coleman Street Ward by exploring their wider Atlantic history and revealing how republican radicals redefined themselves against the emergent ecomy of empire. While some prominent revolutionaries led England's imperial expansion by investing deeply in the slave trade and projects of colonial conquest, other Coleman Street puritans crossed and recrossed the ocean as colonists and revolutionaries, circulating new ideas about the liberty of body and soul. These radicals promoted social justice as the cornerstone of a republican liberty opposed to both political tyranny and ecomic slavery, and their efforts, Doghue argues, provided the ideological foundations for the abolitionist movement that swept the Atlantic world over a century later.
John Donoghue is associate professor at Loyola University Chicago, where he specializes in the history of the early modern Atlantic world. He lives in Chicago.