Sunday, May 31, 2015

The American Revolution and Latin America

Elizabeth, New Jersey was a significant place during the American Revolutionary War.   Among other things, it was the opening salvo in the ill-fated attempt by the British in 1780 to reengage Washington's army in the northern theater.  But it also features busts of two Latin American revolutionary heroes--Jose Artigas, who liberated Uruguay, and Jose Marti, who helped liberate Cuba.

Here is the bust of Artigas in the park opposite the city hall in Elizabeth:

Jay Sexton, in an on-line piece titled The US and Spanish American Revolutions, notes that while there is sufficient evidence to find influence of the American and French revolutions on those in the early nineteenth century in South America, that should not be confused with causation.  The same philosophical principles underlying the Age of Enlightenment affected both North and South American revolutionaries, but there were other factors that delayed action in South American. Seeing this bust in Elizabeth, New Jersey, a center of the American Revolution, helps remind us that our revolution (or, more accurately, civil war) may have been the first to succeed, but we were by no means alone.

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