Sunday, October 27, 2013

Why Was America More Prepared For Independence Than Other Atlantic Colonies

There were a myriad of factors that contributed to the relative success of the American Revolution compared to other Atlantic revolutions around the same time. The driving force behind the revolutions played a large factor in the degree of success for each revolution.
A major reason for the success of the American Revolution, was the lack of widespread racial tension and violence. In America, the black population made up only a third of the total in the south, and under 5% in the north. 

This meant that the leaders of the colonies and the revolution were 
able to ignore the needs and opinions of the blacks. Although this is morally wrong, it allowed the country as a whole to stay more united with a similar purpose. Even though many Americans felt uneasy about the enslavement of blacks, they realized that in order to succeed in this revolution, they needed to focus solely on their goal of economic and political independence from Britain. On the other hand, in the Latin American revolutions, the racial and political tensions were the driving force behind the revolutions. In Haiti up to two thirds of the population was enslaved blacks; this meant that the minority had most of the power. The rebellions often "revealed the simmering fury of an oppressed people" who fought back, very violently after hundreds of years of enslavement. The Latin American revolutions often attempted to accomplish social reform, economic reform, and political independence all at the same time. This was overwhelming for the fledgling governments and many of the countries became poor.
The way that America had been treated by Britain also differed greatly from how the Latin American countries were treated by their mother countries. The Reparations that were imposed (or not imposed) and the relationships with the former colonial powers differed from country to country. After the American Revolution, the Americans and the British were able to form a treaty that helped satisfy the needs and wants of both sides of the war. The Americans agreed to make peace with loyalists still in the country and to return their goods to them. The King of England offered that if any British loyalist wished to leave America, that they would pay for the transportation and for any lost goods. However, in Latin America, especially Haiti, the relationship between them and their mother country was not as rosy. The French government demanded that an "independence debt" be paid to France to compensate for the goods (mostly slaves) lost in the revolution. This was an unlawful debt to impose, and the amount that was charged was ten times that of Haiti's annual income. This left that Haitian people and government poor and weak from this crippling debt. America was in a much easier situation because they had not been exploited by Britain.

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