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Causes of Latin American Revolutions. Enlightenment Ideas  writings of John Locke, Voltaire, & Jean Rousseau; Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Creole discontent at being left out of government jobs and trade concessions. Inspiration of American and French Revolutions.

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Causes of Latin American Revolutions

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Causes of Latin AmericanRevolutions

  • Enlightenment Ideas  writings of John Locke, Voltaire, & Jean Rousseau; Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine.

  • Creole discontent at being left out of government jobs and trade concessions.

  • Inspiration of American and French Revolutions.

  • Preoccupation of Spain & Portugal in fighting the Napoleonic Wars.

Latin American Revolutions!

Toussaint L’OuvetureLeads a Revolutionin Haiti(1804)


* Elite Creole planter

Military General


* Called the “George Washington of South America.”

* Liberated territories of modern day Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, & Bolivia

* Plan for a federated Latin America was crushed by political in-fighting.

Simón Bolivar Meets José de San Martin



* Creole officer who had trained in European armies.

* Liberated Argentina from Spanish control.

* Met with Bolivar in Guayaquil in 1822. While Bolivar favored democracy, San Martin felt only monarchy could work. Turned over command.

* Died in obscurity in Europe.

Bolivar & San Martin Fight for Independence!

Bolivar’s Accomplishment

Bolivar’s Failure

  • After uniting Venezuela, Columbia, & Ecuador into Gran Columbia, he left to help free the rest of Latin America.

  • He died a year later, with his goal of uniting all of South America unfulfilled!

LatinAmerican StatesAfter the Revolutions



* Highly educated Creole priest assigned to town of Dolores.

* September 16, 1810: El Grito de Dolores.

Hidalgo rang the church bell and called upon his mestizo and indigenous parishioners to take up arms against the Spanish.

* Led a rag-tag army toward Mexico City, unleashing mass slaughter of peninsulares in path.

* Never made it to the capital -- Captured and shot in 1811.


of the

Latin American


1. Brazil Freed from Portugal

  • The Portuguese royal family escaped Napoleon by fleeing to Brazil.

  • Pedro I set up a new, independent kingdom in 1821 when his father returned to Portugal.

  • Pedro II assumed full power after Pedro I abdicated his throne.

2. Independence for Spanish & Portuguese Latin America

  • By the mid-1820s, revolts create many newly-independent nations.

    • Toussaint L’Ouveture – Haiti

    • Bolívar, San Martín, & O’Higgins in: Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia, the United Provinces of Central America, and Gran Columbia!

3. No Unity!

  • Failure of Bolivar’s dream for a united South America:

    • Many newly independent countries struggle with civil wars.

  • By 1830s, geographic factors (mts., the Amazon, etc.) plus cultural differences defeated attempts at unification.

    • Gran Columbia.

    • United Provinces of Central America.

4. Independence Brought More Poverty

  • The wars disrupted trade.

  • The wars devastated the cities and the countryside.

5. Left Many Countries in the Control of Caudillos


    • Mid-19c dictators  military authoritarianism.

    • Mostly wealthy creole aristocrats.

    • Immediately followed the fight for independence.

    • Posed as reformers with goals to improve the economy and better the lives of the common people.

5. Left Many Countries in the Control of Caudillos


    • BUT…Overthrew governments and took away basic human rights.

    • Some attempted to make improvements, but most just cared about themselves and their families and friends [nepotism].

    • Power changes usually occurred at bayonet-point [coup d’etats!]



* By 1830, nearly all Latin American countries were ruled by caudillos.


* The upper classes supported dictatorship because it kept the lower classes out of power.

* The lower classes did not have experience with democracy. Dictatorship seemed normal.





* Once the Spaniards were expelled, the new governments seized their lands and put them up for sale, BUT….only the creoles could afford to buy them.

* Thus, the creoles replaced the peninsulares at the top of the social pyramid, but other classes remained at the bottom of the ladder.


* Now that trade was not restricted to the mother country, the U.S. and Great Britain became the new countries’ major trading partners.

* A colonial economy continued…Latin America mainly exported cash crops and raw materials while importing manufactured goods.


* As the imbalance of trade grew, Latin American countries took out large loans from the U.S., Britain, and Germany to build infrastructure.

* When the countries could not pay back their loans, foreign lenders gained control of major industries in Latin America.

What is the Message?

The Caribbean:An “American Lake”

“The Colossus of the North”

  • US dominated affairs in theAmericas.

  • 1823 – Monroe Doctrine.

  • US takes Texas and Mexican Cession.

  • US gains independence for Cuba.

  • Roosevelt Corollary – US will police the America.

  • US sent troops to Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua.

  • US built Panama Canal – “Yankee imperialism.”

Dictatorship of the Council of the Indies and the Viceroys

Dictatorship of the Caudillos

Unequal trade relationship with Great Britain and the U.S. benefiting

Unequal trade relationship with Spain benefiting

Native Spaniards at the top of the social ladder, followed by creoles, and with the rest of the population at the bottom

Creoles at the top of the ladder with the rest of the population at the bottom.

The Panama Canal

“Big Stick” Foreign Policy


“The American continents…are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.” - James Monroe, 1823



* The War of 1812 with Britain had shown the U.S. that some-times revolutionary victories could lead to sequels.

* The U.S. had political and economic interests in keeping Europe out of the Western hemisphere. From 1823 on, it would be the U.S.’ backyard.

* Though the U.S. did not have the muscle to back up its threats, Great Britain agreed to support the Monroe Doctrine due to its new favorable trading position in Latin America.

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