The University of Wisconsin Press

History / Latin American


The People and the King
The Comunero Revolution in Colombia, 1781
John Leddy Phelan

“A major contribution to our understanding of late colonial Spanish America.”
—John Fisher, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

In The People and the King, John Leddy Phelan reexamines a wellknown but long misunderstood event in eighteenth-century Colombia. When the Spanish colonial bureaucratic system of conciliation broke down, indigenous groups resorted to armed revolt to achieve their political ends.
As Phelan demonstrates in these pages, the crisis of 1781 represented a constitutional clash between imperial centralization and colonial decentralization. Phelan argues that the Comunero revolution was not, as it has often been portrayed, a precursor of political independence, nor was it a frustrated social upheaval. The Comunero leaders and their followers did not advocate any basic reordering of society, Phelan concludes, but rather made an appeal for revolutionary reform within a traditionalist framework.

The People and the King skillfully unites narrative with analysis, and achieves its effects with a fine economy. It is Phelan’s best book and indeed it is one of the best and
most readable books written on the eighteenth century in Spanish America.”—D. A. Brading, Centre for Latin American Studies, Bulletin of the Society for Latin American Studies

John Leddy Phelan (1924–1976) was professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and author of The Hispanization of the Philippines, Portuguese Society in the Tropics, and The Kingdom of Quito in the Seventeenth
all published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

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The cover of The People and the King is sepia brown with artwork of the revolutionaries of 1781.

First paperback edition
published July 2011

LC: 76-053654 F
332 pp.  6 x 9
6 illus., 2 maps

Book icon Paper $35.00 s
ISBN 978-0-299-07294-0
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• Replaces 1978 hardcover, UWP, ISBN 978-0-299-07290-8


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Updated January 11, 2011

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