Independence Movements in the Americas during the Age of Revolution

Roberto Breña (El Colegio de México)

Abstract

This essay gives an overview of the four independence movements or revolutions that took place in the Americas during the last quarter of the 18th century to the first quarter of the next one (that is, c. 1775-1825): the independence of the Thirteen Colonies, the emancipatory and independence process of Haiti, the Spanish American revolutions, and the political process that ended up in the independence of Brazil. Contrary to what some Atlantic and global historians have suggested in the past few years, the peculiarities of each one of these processes impedes, or at least notably complicates, any effort of homogenizing them or of finding patterns or sequences among them. In this regard, chronological proximity may be misleading; proximity does not imply causality. Contacts and connections were present throughout the hemisphere during those fifty years, no doubt, but as always with academic trends (that may also be academic vogues), these contacts and connections should be taken with caution and discernment.

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