Atlantic Revolutions

1750-1830 CE

Brief Overview

During the time of 1750-1830 CE, several revolutions occurred within the Americas. Three of which were 1) The American Revolution (1765-1783 CE), 2) The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804 CE) and 3) The Chilean Revolution and War of Independence (1810-1826 CE). While each of these revolutions were very different, they were also very similar in the relationships with their mother countries and ideas of freedom.

Relationships Between the Mother Country and the Colonies

American Revolution

Great Britain and the American Colonists


The relationship was tolerable in the beginning, as the colonies were originally intended to be a source of materials. (Mercantilism) The colonies, in return were granted protection. However, Great Britain restricted the importations in the colonies, only allowing colonists to purchase goods from them. Eventually, the colonists became their own society separate from that of Great Britain, which only further developed as time went on. A democratic society developed and there was no representation in Great Britain for the colonies. So, that became the first problem. This was the first time that the mother country was challenged. The American colonists then became involved with the French and Indian War, which Great Britain became involved and ended up with debt after the war. So, to make up for the debt, they began putting taxes on imported goods and restricting the expansion of the colonies towards the west. So, the colonists complained and revolted against the British. There continued to be no representation and after the Townshend Duties and Intolerable Acts, the colonists, fed up finally decided to fight back which resulted in a full scale war of independence.


Haitian Revolution

Saint Domingue and France


The French were in control of the colonies, which depended on the African slave population to gain wealth on the plantations. All goods produced in the colony were sent to France, from where they were then exported to other ports. For this reason, the colonists were only allowed to trade with France. The plantations were the major part of the economy from all the production that was occurring. After the French revolution, the new constitution did not give rights to the slaves in Saint Domingue, through the interpretation of the white colonists. They interpreted it as a way to also revolt, because they were not being heard in France, but this divided the colonists, as some were loyal to the king and some wanted independence. Eventually, the slaves revolted themselves and the country became the first independent black nation in history.


Chilean Revolution and War of Independence

Chile and Spain


Chile was controlled by Spain, which was invaded by Napoleon Bonaparte who overthrew King Ferdinand VII and instated his brother as the king. This cast a feeling of unrest throughout the colonies, because they were loyal to King Ferdinand VII. This was the first step towards a revolution.


Similarities


Each country had a negative relationship with their mother country, who limited what the colonies could do. Specifically, between the American colonists and the Haitian colonists, their colonies were used for increasing the economy of the mother countries. Both the Haitian colonists and the American colonists, they were limited as to whom they were allowed to trade with, as their mother countries only allowed them to trade with them. Also, similarly to the Chilean Revolution, there was a sense of distrust between the colonists and the mother country due to individual reasons unique to the revolutions.

Important Leaders

American Revolution


George Washington: Chosen commander of the Continental Army


Thomas Jefferson: Founding Father of the United States, also helped in writing the Declaration of Independence.


John Adams: Supported the revolution and was involved in the process of writing the Declaration of Independence


Haitian Revolution


Toussaint L'Overture: A former slave who fought for independence. He also became the representative for Haiti in France


Jean Jacques Dessalines: A former slave who became one of the founding fathers of Haiti. He led along with Toussaint L'Overture


Chilean Revolution and the War of Independence


José Miguel Carrera Verdugo: President of Chile from 1812-13


Bernardo O’Higgins: Landowner and leader of the Chilean Independence. He led the rebel army and fought the Spanish. Defined as the liberator and father of the nation.


Manuel Rodriguez: One of the founders of independent Chile

Ideologies Behind the Revolutions

American Revolution



  • Mercantilism: Great Britain used the colonies as a way for increasing the economy, but they were the only ones who were allowed to benefit from it.
  • "For if our trade be taxed, why not our lands and everything we possess and make use of? This we apprehend annihilates our character right to govern and tax ourselves. It strikes at our British privileges, which we have never forfeited them we hold in common with our fellow subjects who are natives of Britain. If taxes are laid upon us in any shape without our having a legal representation where they are laid, are we not reduced from the character of free subjects to the miserable state of tributary slaves?" -William Pitt
  • No representation, because the colonists were being given acts they had no control over. They had no representative in Great Britain to defend the colonies, so they had to follow them.
  • Taxes on imported goods to make up for the debt caused by the French and Indian war.
  • The American colonists did not have individual rights, because Great Britain passed the Townshend Acts which limited them.



Haitian Revolution



  • No representation, because the white planters interpreted the constitution the French drafted after the French Revolution as giving rights to only the wealthier whites. So, they felt that there be equality among the whites. In addition, the whites felt that the acts and constitutions were only issued by French officials, which wasn't helpful for the whole colony.
  • No rights for the slaves: While they interpreted the constitution as giving them freedom, they didn't have equality among the entire population, whites and slaves alike. Affranchis were especially disappointed by this, because they thought they would be equal to whites.
  • Slavery: The slaves were working on land for white plantation owners. They wanted to own the land they worked on and be able to benefit from the products they got from their land.



Chilean Revolution and the War of Independence



  • King Ferdinand VII being overthrown and replaced by Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, which put the country and all allegiances in a state of unrest.
  • The separation of the country between Royalists and Independentists. Royalists wanted the continuation of the relationship with the Spanish empire while the Independentists wanted economical and political independence.



Similarities


For all three countries, there was a separation between those who wanted to stay loyal to the mother countries to avoid getting into a full scale war and those who were for independence. This made things more complicated, because it made smaller scale rebellions break out among the colonists. Also in comparison, for the Haitian and the American Revolutions, there was little representation in the mother countries for the colonists. They had to put up with whatever the country decided for them. Also, there were no rights for either of the colonists, as the mother countries made documents that limited them.

View of Independence

American Revolution


They wanted to have the rights to life, liberty and property. They also wanted representation for some control of what was going on in their country. Once they decided to declare independence from Great Britain, they wanted complete control of their country so that they could be free from those who limited them.


Haitian Revolution


Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood, just like the French revolution represented. However, better working conditions, days of rest, and less harsh of punishments. The whites wanted representation so that they had some control over the laws that were being passed that affected them. Once the slaves were free, they wanted equal rights.


Chilean Revolution and the War of Independence


For those who wanted independence, they wanted political and economic freedom. Also, they wanted the ability to have the freedom for law, property, family, and religion.


Similarities


Each of the revolutions resulted in an independent country from the mother countries, which meant they were able to achieve having individual rights. While the colony of Saint Domingue was more focused on getting better treatment for work conditions, the Americans were looking for a better treatment as a whole when it came to imposing new acts and laws and getting equality that the citizens of Great Britain were receiving and that the colonists were supposedly being promised.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Constitutions of the New Governments

American Revolution


The Constitution


Strengths:


  • Set up a government that allowed representation for all citizens
  • "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." (The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription)
  • Separation of powers
  • Protection of individual rights of citizens


Weaknesses:


  • Can be amended
  • The process of amending the constitution is a long drawn out process
  • "The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same." (The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription)



Haitian Revolution


The Constitution of Haiti


Strengths:


  • Abolished slavery
  • "Article 3: There cannot exist slaves on this territory, servitude is therein forever abolished. All men are born, live and die free and French.” (Haitian Constitution of 1801 (English))

  • Gave land to emancipated slaves



Chilean Revolution and the War of Independence


The Constitution


Strengths:


  • Set up a form of government
  • Gave rights to the citizens



Similarities


Each of these documents were influenced by the enlightenment thinkers. The Chilean Constitution was influenced by each of the other two constitutions, because it allowed the rights to be incorporated and separated the branches of government.

Bibliography

General Information


"2011 Valparaiso Acculturation (1817-1823) Chilean War of Independence." TTU College of Architecture RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. Dec. 2014. <http://arch.ttu.edu/wiki/2011_Valparaiso_Acculturation_%281817-1823%29_Chilean_War_of_Independence>.


"Chile - WARS OF INDEPENDENCE, 1810-18." Chile - WARS OF INDEPENDENCE, 1810-18. N.p., n.d. Web. Dec. 2014. <http://countrystudies.us/chile/8.htm>.


"Dessalines, Jean-Jacques (1758-1806) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed." Dessalines, Jean-Jacques (1758-1806) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014. <http://www.blackpast.org/gah/dessalines-jean-jacques-1758-1806>.


"Digital History." Digital History. N.p., n.d. Web. Dec. 2014. <http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/era.cfm?eraID=>.


"Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed." Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. N.p., n.d. Web. Dec. 2014. <http://www.blackpast.org/gah/haitian-revolution-1791-1804>.


"The Haitian Revolution." The Haitian Revolution. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2014. <http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/dgeggus/htnrevn.htm>.


"Independence (1810-1826)." Chilean Tourism NetworkTravel Advice for Chile. N.p., n.d. Web. Dec. 2014. <http://chileantourismnetwork.net/chile-info/chilean-history/chilean-independence/>.


Shmoop Editorial Team. "The American Revolution: People." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. Dec. 2014. <http://www.shmoop.com/american-revolution/people.html>.


"Haitian Constitution of 1801 (English)." - TLP. N.p., n.d. Web. Dec. 2014. <http://thelouvertureproject.org/index.php?title=Haitian_Constitution_of_1801_%28English%29


"The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription." National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014. <http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html>.