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Unit 3: Revolutions and Reaction

Lesson D: The Americas — Land of Revolutionary Opportunity

Opening: The Roots of Revolutionary Opportunity

By the start of the 19th century, revolutions changed the Atlantic world. The establishment of parliamentary democracy in Britain in the late 1600s was followed by democratic revolutions in France and British North America in the late 1700s.

In addition to Enlightenment ideas, many other factors led to the revolutionary events of this period. Some people questioned the authority of the church and monarchies throughout Europe, leading to a rise in nationalism and the spread of revolutionary ideals.

Despite the success of these revolutions, the elite classes remained powerful. Other parts of society did not have equal rights and the same economic opportunities. This set the stage for other groups to demand their rights in the Americas.

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The map above shows the areas of European colonization in the colonial and imperial eras. Despite the success of these independence movements, much of the world remained under colonial or imperial control. While many Europeans benefited from the economic resources of the Americas, many colonial and indigenous people were increasingly unhappy with foreign rule.

In Europe, Enlightenment ideals challenged political and social norms. The era of nationalism and revolutionary ideals that caused many of the changes to Britain, France, British America, and Haiti provided the inspiration for revolutions in Latin America. In order to better understand these changes, it is important first to understand the basic forces that caused revolution.

Directions: Define the three terms below in the space provided. When you have entered a definition for each term, select "submit" and read the feedback.

Some people define these terms in different ways based on the context in which they are used. It is alright if your definition is different from those in the feedback. It is important that you understand the meaning of the terms. Revolutionary ideals motivated many Latin Americans to rebel and fight for independence.


Page Notes:

[1] Source: This animation from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Colonisation2.gif has been release into the public domain by its owner and copyright holder, Andrei Nacu.