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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The independence movements in the Americas, 1776–1825, were not the culmination of rising national consciousness within the colonies. Nor did the wars for independence and subsequent struggles to establish viable national constitutions and governments give birth immediately to coherent, durable national identities. Throughout the Americas, the case for independence typically drew on Enlightenment principles of natural rights and on conflict of interests, not on claims to separate identity as a people. Not until 1810, after Napoleon’s invasion of Spain and Portugal produced a crisis in imperial rule, did the Latin American colonies begin to move toward independence. The creation of modern nation states in the Americas offered an important model for nationalist movements in the Americas. Nationalism in the Americas must be understood as part of a broad trans-Atlantic exchange of ideas, people, and state models that marked the first epoch in the history of modern nationalism.

Keywords: Colonial nationalism, revolutionary nationalism, enlightenment, American Revolution, Thanksgiving Day (USA), Sons of Liberty, Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine, multi-ethnic nationalism, Ferdinand VII, imagined communities, French Revolution, Haitian Revolution, Constitution of Cadiz (1812), Simon Bolivar, Miguel Hidalgo, Bourbon Reforms, Tupac Amaru, Creole patriotism, Casta system, Agustin de Iturbide

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