Name: Date: Period: Causes of Revolution

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Name: ____________

Date: ___________

Period: ______

Causes of Revolution

As in France, the Latin American revolutions were caused by several factors. Also as in France the disparity

between the small number of people with power and wealth and the poverty stricken masses without political

influence provided a situation ripe for revolution. Using the Following Link, identify the social issues that existed

in Latin America that led to Revolution. 

Explain the social hierarchy in Latin America Before Revolution. Include and describe each of the groups

and their respective powers or roles.

How could this system alone lead to Revolution? What actions taken by Napoleon inflamed this situation and why?


  1. Which two groups made up the vast portion of the population in Colonial America.

  1. Of the Europeans, which group—peninsulares or creoles—probably made up a larger percentage? 

Still, a spark was needed to ignite this tinderbox of revolt. Using the link, identify an additional four

major causes of revolutions in Latin America.  

Revolution Begins!

The vast differences between social classes, the introduction of enlightenment ideas, and the inspiration of the

French Revolution set the stage for revolution in Latin America, but the forces in motion needed one more event

to trigger their move for Independence. 


Describe how Napoleon's invasion and conquest of Spain in the Peninsular War of 1808 triggered the Revolutions in Latin America. (3rd Paragraph)

Libertadores in South America

Once revolution had begun in South America in countries such as Venezuela and Argentina, the people's seeking independence needed their best leaders and a unified effort to defeat the much more powerful Spanish and loyalist Armies. Luckily Venezuela, which declared independence in 1811, was home to Simon Bolivar, a brilliant military mind and experienced statesman who had spent time in Europe, and had witnessed firsthand the success of democratic principles in the United States on a trip in 1807. To the South, Jose de San Martin led the forces of Argentina when it declared Independence in 1816. Martin's more reserved demeanor made him a hero to his troops, and his youth in Europe did not dampen his loyalties to Argentine Independence. To better understand the role these men played in their nation's quest for independence use the following resources. 


Pick 2 characteristics or experiences of Simon Bolivar that made him a good leader and explain why you chose them.

Why is Simon Bolivar called the George Washington of South America?


How did Simon Bolivar and Jose San Martin Work together to achieve Independence in South America?

Revolutions Throughout Latin America

Throughout Central America and in Portugal's colony of Brazil, Independence movements sprang up

in reaction to the anger of underprivileged and underrepresented classes inspired by the model of the French

Revolution and enlightenment ideals. As in South America, bold leaders and commitment from the people

saw an end to colonial rule.  Whereas clear military struggle had won victories for the peoples of South America,

royal intrigue and infighting complicated the road to independence for Mexico and Brazil. 


Mexican war of Independence 1810 - List and briefly describe the major causes, figures, events, and results.
Brazil's rode to Independence  - Outline the peculiar series of events that led to Brazil's independence

Effects of the Revolutions

Despite the hope brought by Independence and the best efforts and example of some of the leaders

of the new nations, the goals of the revolutions of equality and unity largely went unfulfilled. The fierce

sense of  Independence that had led to victory over colonial overlords, would cause divisions between the

new nations and destroy Simon Bolivar's dreams of a Gran Columbia in South America. Soon after

Independence, the unworldly reins of government were grabbed by men who did not share the sense of

equality that had ignited the revolutions. 

Five Consequences of Independence:


Who were the caudillos and what type of government did the set up for the new countries of Latin America?


What was the Monroe Doctrine and how it show the U.S. "controlling" Latin America? (First Paragraph)


What happened to the dream of Political unity? (New Nations Confront Old and New Problems 

-Political Fragmentation) Political Disunity

4) Land sales - After independence was achieved governments sold off land to raise money. The only people

able to buy the land were the creoles or the upper classes that now existed because most of the peninsulares

were gone. This meant that most of the land was once again owned by a small, elite section of the population.

5) Trade - After Independence, the cash crop economy that had existed continued, but now trade was not

restricted to a mother country, and Spain's former colonies opened trade with Britain and the United States.

To build up their government's, caudillo's borrowed money from the U.S. and Britain to set up industries.

When the countries were not able to pay back their loans, the lender countries moved in and took over

industries in Latin America.
Haitian Revolution

The Island of Saint Domingue had long been a prize in the French empire, and by 1789 it produced nearly 40% of the world's sugar. The island was home to roughly 500,000 enslaved African who outnumbered white plantation owners and free blacks 10-1. In order to maintain control, white plantation owners used brutal tactics to scare their slaves.

When in 1789 Revolution broke out in France, revolutionary forces began to emerge amongst whites, free blacks and different groups within the slave populations. Using the ideas of "The Declaration of the Rights of Man" and other important revolutionary doctrine, would-be revolutionaries on Saint Domingue petitioned the National assembly for autonomy. In response, the National assembly granted the colony power over local government, but the act's vague language led to different interpretations on the island and what had been an independence movement broke into war between white planters and free blacks. The chaos and inspiring events of the French Revolution led to an all out slave revolt. Slave Revolt that began in 1791 was led by a man named Toussaint L'Ouverture and would set the colony and its slave population on the road to independence and Freedom!

1) Who was Toussaint L'Ouverture?   

 2) What did he accomplish?

3) How was he betrayed and what happened to him?

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