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Independence Movements of America and Latin America

            There were many similarities between the causes of the American Revolution in 1776 and the Latin American Wars of Independence beginning in 1810. The main similarities between the two independence movements are essentially economical, political, and ideological. Both the United States and Latin America wanted to end the rule of a mother country whose mercantilist system impeded the development of a growing colonial economy. "The goal of mercantilism was the creation of a self-sufficient empire from which foreign trade and commerce were excluded; the domination of vital trade routes; and the acquisition of abundant stores of gold and silver by the mother country. Mercantilism was designed to gird a nation for war by recruiting its economic strength and crippling that of its rivals" "(Miller 4). The two began to feel the need for self-rule without the interference of allegedly tyrannical governments. Both independence movements were greatly influenced by the revolutionary ideas of the Enlightenment. The causes of the American Revolution and the Latin American Wars of Independence were similar in many aspects.
             The Latin American and American independence movements were caused in part by similar economic reasons. The British Empire of which George III became sovereign in 1760 was shaped largely by the principles of mercantilism. After seventy years of economic autonomy caused by salutary neglect, Britain's deliberate neglect of its colonies in attempt to stimulate the colonial economy and therefore stimulate Britain's own economy, the colonists were threatened by sudden intervention in their economic activities. The Navigation Acts enacted by the English Parliament during the 17th century were mercantilism translated into statute law. These acts were English mercantilism's most important expression. "By mercantilist theory, the function of colonies was to produce raw factures and to foster its shipping; and the purpose of the Navigation Acts was to ensure that the English colonies fulfilled these ends" "(Miller 4).

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