López: the American revolutions

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Chances are, if you asked the question “Where and when did the American Revolution take place?” Most likely, the answer you would get would be “The United States in 1775-1783”.

However, the correct answer will surprise you. That is, some people would ask a follow-up question: “Who?” Quite so, there have been a number of independence movements, each referred to as the American Revolution, since all of them took place in America.

Oddly enough, the dominant history of the United States implies that the United States War of Independence was a unique event. This view also suggests that the ill-trained and ill-equipped settlers of English descent were the only people in America single-handedly struggling against royal European rule. However, is this true? The answer is no.

Basically the settlers of English origin got a lot of help. Remarkably, this was a collaborative, diverse alliance that also included troops from Spain and New Spain (Mexico), massive Spanish financial support, French and Native American allies. Ironically, the settlers sought independence from the English king, but the Spanish and French kings did. Incredible but true !

Equally important, today’s intolerant politicians want to deny black people their role in building this country. Yet Crispus Attucks, the first American patriot to die for independence from the United States, was of African descent. (He was also partly Native American; killed in the Boston Massacre.) In short, diversity has succeeded.

Unfortunately, the school curricula take a predominantly Anglo-Saxon point of view and nullify (marginalize) all contributions by other groups to the conquest of independence from the United States. This is why, with much encouragement from citizens of Anglo-Saxon descent, minorities are now fighting for honest inclusion in the mainstream history of the United States.

As for the rest of America, Americans of non-English descent also launched popular movements towards independence, shedding much blood and treasure. That is, they were inspired by the same great freedom influencers, John Locke, Thomas Hobbs and Jean-Jacques Thoreau. (Their work prompted English settlers to draft the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.)

As mentioned in the opening paragraph above, why do most people in mainstream American society believe that the American Revolution is the only “American” revolution? The answer is that during its first years after independence from England, the United States assumed it owned the entire American continent. Thus, they:

(a) began to build muscle and grasped the term “America” ​​for itself and “Americans” for its citizens;

(b) Claimed that they had shed the shackles of European tyranny, while at the same time becoming a dominant colonial-type force in America; and

(c) He did so through a questionable document called the Monroe Doctrine. As you might expect, other American countries rejected this condescending “big brother” mentality.

As such, there have been many revolutions; some were bloody, some were not. The following briefly describes only five. (Note: this summary only deals with the initial independence from European domination and does not cover subsequent conflicts within each country):

• Independence of Venezuela, 1811 (first Spanish colony in America to gain independence). The event is known as el cinco de Julio (July 5). On that day, the Venezuelan Congress complained that Spain (a small European nation) should not be allowed to rule the vast expanse of America. Thus, Venezuela declared itself independent by proclaiming that the Venezuelan people must govern themselves.

• Bolivian independence, 1809-1825. Due mainly to political instability in Spain (Peninsular War), the future of Bolivian territory was also uncertain. Over a period of sixteen years, guerrilla groups eventually prevailed. In 1824, an army of nearly 6,000 local soldiers defeated the Spanish royalist forces. The final declaration of independence was signed on August 6, 1825. Interestingly, the country is named after Venezuela-born Simón Bolívar (pictured above), who began pleading for independence in 1808.

• Independence of Mexico, 1810-1821. This historic independence movement (el diezyseis) is very famous in the United States as in Mexico. Why? Two reasons. First, during those years Mexico’s territory comprised almost half of today’s United States (all of the southwest). And second, the area has retained its vibrant Spanish Mexican-inspired vibe. For the record, the struggle for Mexican independence was not a one-off battle, but rather took over eleven years to accomplish. Sadly, the conflict between Mexico and Spain has been the most violent, resulting in the deaths of more than half a million people on both sides.

– Incidentally, what is the biggest difference between the independence of Mexico and the independence of the United States? Answer: Equality for the indigenous population of Mexico was at the heart of Padre Hidalgo’s “Grito” of September 16, 1810. The document also included freedom for slaves of African descent (Mexico abolished slavery in 1829) .

– By comparison, the idea of ​​independence in the United States in 1776 only applied to white citizens of European descent. That is, the freedom of Native Americans, people of African descent, women and other minorities came much later.

• Independence of Brazil (from Portugal), 1822-1824. This independence revolt is also known as September Sept (Sète de Setembro in Portuguese). On this day, the Brazilians gained independence from the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarve. As with other independence movements, the whole process lasted more than three years. Although the exact number of casualties is not known, it is estimated that the conflict has claimed more than 6,000 lives.

• Canadian Independence, 1867. Discussions to unite the English provinces and former New France to the northern United States began in the early 1800s. Following several acts of British North America, the Britain finally granted independence from Canada on July 1, 1867.

As I have discussed in previous similar articles, the question is who is an American? In fact, there are over 50 nations in America. In other words, anyone born or living from northern Canada to the tip of Tierra del Fuego in Chile and Argentina lives in America and is American. In other words, Canadians are Americans too, just like Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Colombians, Venezuelans and many others.

As proof, we can use the European model as an example. The various European countries may cherish their national identity (Spanish, English, German, French, Italian, etc.), but they also consider themselves European. The same goes for countries in Asia, Africa, etc.

Rest assured that this article does not seek to diminish the many positive accomplishments of the United States, nor its role as an independentist leader in America. Its sole purpose is to highlight the role of minorities in achieving independence from the United States and to recognize many American countries that have also sought autonomy.

Finally, minority groups in the United States who seek to change the way they are portrayed in history books, movies, and other media are not a culture war. Rather, it is the path of respectability. This is further proof that today, “We the people” includes all US citizens, regardless of race, creed or national origin.

Contrary to the common belief in a segment of American society, minority citizens do not want to change our nation or its traditions. They just want to be a part of it and continue to contribute to its well-being, just like minorities have been doing from the very beginning.

Let us not forget that it is only when mainstream American society gets rid of its collective fear of others and of stereotypes of members of minority groups that it will one day accept the historical truth. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Diversity is the one real thing we all have in common… Celebrate it everyday. “


Editor’s Note: The above column was written by Rio Grande Guardian columnist, historian and author José Antonio López. López can be contacted by e-mail via: [email protected]

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