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Latin American Revolutions - AP World DBQ

Using the following documents, evaluate the causes and effects of Latin American independence
movements in the 19th century.
The Latin American Revolutions were movements against Spanish rule in Central and South America that
took place during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In the late 18th century Enlightenment ideas
spread to Latin America from Europe. The success of the American Revolution showed that foreign rule
could be thrown off. The French Revolution showed that the people could overthrow an unjust
monarch. The Haitian Revolution showed that a rebellion can be successful. These events inspired
revolutions in Latin America, which had profound effects on the Spanish, Portuguese and French
colonies in the Americas. The Latin American Revolution led to the independence of every nation in the
region and was the end of colonial rule that had lasted 300 years.
The Haitian Revolution was a successful slave rebellion from the late 18th to early 19th centuries which
inspired some of the Latin American revolution. Toussaint-Louverture was one of the leaders of the
Haitian revolution and the first black man to become governor of a colony. Document 1 is written by a
Russian journalist nearly a decade after the end of the rebellion, discussing how Toussaint deserves to
be exalted for his successful revolution. “That illustrious African deserved the exalted names of
Christian, Patriot, and Hero. He was a devout worshipper of his God, and a successful defender of his
invaded country.”(DOC 1) The American, French, and Haitian revolutions brought forth new expressions
of individual rights and freedom that began to influence similar actions in the colonies of Latin America.
The success of Peruvian Independence led by José de San Martín was one of the first in all Latin
American nations seeking independence. Document 5, a description of General San Martín’s declaration
of Peruvian independence in 1821, describes the events that transpired after Peru was free “On July 15
independence was declared, and the scarlet and white flag waved over a new republic.” (DOC. 5)
After studying Enlightenment ideas of Europe, Simon Bolivar was determined to raise an army to fight
for independence from Spain. Documents 2 and 3 well represent the desire of Latin American colonies
to gain freedom. Doc. 2 is the famous “Jamaica Letter” written by Bolívar, affirming his undying faith in
the cause of independence, even in the face of the patriots' repeated defeats. “…we march majestically
toward that great prosperity for which South America is destined. Then will those sciences and arts
which, born in the East, have enlightened Europe, wing their way to a free Colombia, which will cordially
bid them welcome.” (DOC. 2) Document 3 is a map of Gran Columbia the jewel of Spanish America. It
was known as one of the most powerful nations on the planet. This prestige, added to the figure of
Simón Bolívar, attracted to the nation unionist ideas of independence movements in Cuba, the
Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Document 4, the “Montecristi Manifesto”, describes Cuba’s vigor
to fight and be free for they are more than capable. “Cuba is embarking upon this war in the full
certainty of the ability of its sons to win a victory through the energy of the thoughtful and
magnanimous revolution, and the ability of the Cuban people to save the patria at its origin from the
trials and troubles that were necessary at the beginning of the century in the republics of HispanoAmerica…” (DOC. 4)
The Latin American Revolution were caused in part to previous revolutions, but also due to the
Enlightenment and nationalism. The Enlightenment was a period of history devoted to the study and
exploration of new ideas in science, politics, the arts, and philosophy. The ideals of the Enlightenment
inspired a wave of independence movements and revolutions throughout the Americas and Europe that
promoted liberty and other democratic values. This sense of national identity and pride both fueled the
expansion of empires and, in this case, occurred as a reaction against foreign rule.