Revolutions of the Atlantic

(1750-1830)

Relationships with Mother Countries

American Revolution
  • The American revolution started from the oppression of colonists residing in the colony of America under the rule of Great Britain. For a long period of time, Britain would continue to impose unfair regulations upon the citizens of the colony through “taxation without representation”. They thought it unfair that they were taxed without the proper position in British Parliament. Therefore, they terminated the relationship with Britain and declared complete independence.


Haitian Revolution

  • One of the most significant leaders of the Haitian Revolution is Toussaint Louverture. A former slave, Louverture led the Haitian slave Rebellion of 1791. He believed that Haiti, formerly called Saint Domingue, should have significantly more freedom from their mother country of France. He said, “I was born a slave, but nature gave me the soul of a free man.” His determination as a leader made him crucial to the Slave Rebellion and the eventual independence of Haiti.


Brazilian Revolution

  • The relationship between Brazil and its mother country Portugal is far more significant than most in the New World. It began when Napoleon invaded Portugal in 1807. During this time, the royal family fled to Brazil, established it as independent in 1811, and deemed it as equal in Kingdom to Portugal in 1815. Following that, the new King of Brazil, Dom Joao returned to Portugal and left his son Dom Pedro to rule Brazil.

Leaders

American Revolution

  • George Washington: As the leader of the American Continental Army and the first President of the United States, Washington was one of, if not the most prominent leader of the American Revolution. His strong presence as a leader, and an effective military commanding made him essential to the colonists during the revolution.
  • John Adams: While not the most renowned American revolutionary, John Adams was a crucial asset to the colonial side of the American revolution. As a former Boston lawyer, John Adams was one of the most active and outspoken members of the Continental Congress. His political persistence paid off as his efforts eventually aided the revolution. This resulted in his eventual vice-presidency to George Washington, as well being the second President of the United States.


Haitian Revolution

  • One of the most significant leaders of the Haitian Revolution is Toussaint Louverture. A former slave, Louverture led the Haitian slave Rebellion of 1791. He believed that Haiti, formerly called Saint Domingue, should have significantly more freedom from their mother country of France. He said, “I was born a slave, but nature gave me the soul of a free man.” His determination as a leader made him crucial to the Slave Rebellion and the eventual independence of Haiti.


Brazilian Revolution

  • One of the most influential and significant leaders of Brazil, Dom Pedro was the first Emperor of Brazil. His initial efforts to make Brazil independent was greatly renowned among the other leaders of the new world. He said, “The time has come. It is independence or death.” This shows his devotion to the idea of independence for Brazil. This attitude towards independence is something very similar to other leaders in the same time period and situation. One of the founding fathers of the U.S. named Daniel Webster had a very similar outlook. He stated, “It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment -- Independence now and Independence forever.” This shared passion for the independence of their nations is something that is very similar between these leaders.

Ideologies

American Revolution

  • Life, Liberty, and Property: One of the most influential aspects in the American revolution was the ideologies from Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke. He stated that people should have the undeniable right from their government to life, liberty, and properties. As this was not being given to the colonists by the British, they revolted. This ideology was later adopted into the draft of the Declaration of Independence as “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
  • Other ideologies that factored into the American revolution came from the Enlightenment thinkers Rousseau, and Montesquieu. Montesquieu’s idea for the separation of powers of government influenced the colonists opinion on how corrupt the British government is.


Haitian Revolution

  • One of the prominent ideologies behind the Haitian Revolution was the opposition to the concept of slavery in Saint Domingue. The reason the revolution was started was because Black slaves were tired of the way they were treated under slavery. This was caused due to the French’s opinion on the concept of slaves and how they should be treated. Many French were of the opinion that slavery was fair and should remain instigated. Napoleon Bonaparte says, “Everything must be prepared for the restoration of slavery. This is not only the opinion of the metropolis, but is also the view of England and other European powers.” This type of belief and behavior from the French is what caused the slaves to rebel in the first place. The effect was complete and unrelenting rebellion from the slaves of Saint Domingue. Louverture says, “You have done no more than cut down the trunk of the tree of the black liberty in St. Domingue- it will spring back from from roots, for they are numerous and deep.” This basically shows that because of the French’s need to continue the oppression and slavery in Saint Domingue, the slaves felt the need to revolt and strive towards a better life.


Brazilian Revolution

  • One of the guiding ideologies behind the Brazilian revolution was that the colony of Brazil should be ruled by a form of Monarchy, quite similar to that of Portugal and other European countries. This ideology that Brazil should not only have a monarch, but one that can independently lead the new country of Brazil was one of the basic principles of the revolution.

Beliefs on Independence

American Revolution

  • The idea that America should be independent from Britain was highly supported by a large majority of the Continental Congress and most of the American colonists. In order to assert their beliefs, the Congress drafted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, written by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin.
  • The opposition towards American Independence was held by a majority of the British government who realized that the New World was a huge asset and must be maintained and controlled. Loyalists living within the colonies also believed that America should remain under the control of Britain.


Haitian Revolution

  • The beliefs of the independence of the former nation of Saint Domingue was divided between black slaves residing in Saint Domingue, and whites living in both France and Saint Domingue. For the opinion on independence of the black slaves, it is quite obvious. The fact that they led a rebellion proves that independence was favored among black citizens. On the flip side, a majority of French were opposed to the independence of Saint Domingue. Most felt that the blacks could not govern their own nation. A French man named Vaublanc claims, “Negroes, incapable of distinguishing between the most extreme license and austere liberty, guided by laws.” This shows the basic opinion of the French regarding the concept of independence of Saint Domingue.


Brazilian Revolution

  • The reason why Brazil was in favor of an independence movement was different than most in that region of the world. Typically, a revolution would be somewhat due to social reasons and a lack of justice for the people of a colony. But instead, independence was declared so that Brazil could be open to trade, and manufacture products within the country. This would allow Brazil to grow as a nation through having an open market.

New Government and Documents

American Revolution

  • Articles of Confederation: This being the first drafted set of laws for the independent nation of America in 1781, it was quite flawed. During the war when the Articles were written, the constant fear of an overly powerful central authority government was present. Therefore, the independent states were left with a majority of sovereign power. In the Articles it states, “for their common defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare.” This later caused a lack of unity within the nation, and it was reexamined during the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

  • The U.S. Constitution was the revised version of the Articles of Confederation that gave the Federal Government more powers, such as the ability to levy taxes. This gave a great amount of strengths that the Articles did not have. This is a significant change that many of the founding fathers were pleased with. Benjamin Franklin says, “I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such, because I think a central government is necessary for us”. This shows how such important change can impact the future of a country. Through this change, the U.S. gained a stronger central power consisting of a separation of three different powers: executive, judicial, and legislative.


Haitian Revolution

  • The main purpose of Louverture’s Constitution of 1801 was to abolish the slavery of the black population, and also to allow Saint Domingue to continue as a colony of France but with less direct control and with special trade benefits with France. The confirmation of this Constitution was extremely impactful on the future of Haiti mostly due to the fact that it gave the French the proper motivation to invade. It was strong due to the fact that it finally announced a proper set of laws to be used by the new government of Saint Domingue. Its weakness was that it gave France a reason to invade the new nation, resulting in many deadly battles.


Brazilian Revolution

  • The first Constitution of Brazil was written in 1824. After the constituent assembly in 1823, the constitution was written in a fashion that allowed for a bicameral legislature, along with Pedro becoming the superior power of Brazil. The constitution refers to the rule of Pedro as “the Primeiro Reinado.” Making him the superior overlord over Brazil. (Refer to Brazil Constitution on page). This is quite different from the way that the U.S. constitution was designed. Instead of allowing a monarch to control the executive branch they claimed it should be elected. It says, “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years”. This shows the significant difference between the workings of the new government and constitution of Brazil in regards to executive power, in comparison to that of the U.S.

Citiations

Berliner, Yvonne. History of the Americas Course Companion. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.

"GUIDE TO THE LEGAL HISTORY OF BRAZIL." History of Brazil Law. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

"Innovation Sparks." Innovation Sparks RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec.

2014.

"First Page Of Brazilian Constitution 1824 Brazil 19th Century Stock Illustration 153415677." Getty Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.