Precarious Time, Morality, and the Republic

New Granada, 1818–1853

in Contributions to the History of Concepts

Spanish American countries exhibited during the nineteenth century many of the features Koselleck associated with the Sattelzeit, the transitioning period into our contemporaneity. However, the region’s history was marked by social instability and political upheaval, and contemporaries referred to such experiences of time as precarious. In this article I explore the connection between this precarious time and the emergence of the sociopolitical concept of morality in New Granada (present-day Colombia) during the first thirty- five years of the republic (1818–1853). I focus on two conceptual moments as exemplified ed by the reflections put forth by Simón Bolívar (1783–1830), military and political leader of the independence period, and José Eusebio Caro (1817–1853), publicist, poet, and political ideologue of the Conservative Party.