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   Chapter 129 AMERICAN STATES (1815-1823).

Formation of the Union By Albert Bushnell Hart Characters: 3269

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


[Sidenote: The Spanish colonies.]

[Sidenote: Revolutions.]

While the attention of the country was absorbed by the Missouri struggle, a new question of diplomacy had arisen. In 1789 almost every part of the two American continents south of the United States, except Brazil, was subject to Spain. The American Revolution had given a shock to the principle of colonial government by European powers; the Spanish colonies refused to acknowledge the authority of the French usurpers in Spain, and in 1808 a series of revolts occurred. At the restoration of the Spanish Bourbons in 1814, the colonies returned to nominal allegiance. The new king attempted to introduce the old regime: the colonies had too long enjoyed the sweets of direct trade with other countries, and they resented the ungentle attempts to restore them to complete dependence; between 1816 and 1820 the provinces on the Rio de la Plata, Chile, and Venezuela again revolted; and by 1822 there was a revolutionary government in every continental Spanish province, including Mexico.

[Sidenote: The Holy Alliance.]

[Sidenote: Intervention proposed.]

When Europe was reorganized, after the fall of Napoleon, almost all the powers entered into a kind of a treaty, known as the Holy Alliance, framed Sept. 26, 1815. They announced the future principle of international relations to be that of "doing each other reciprocal service, and of testifying by unalterable good will the mutual affection with which they ought to be animated," and that they considered themselves "all as members of one and the same Christian nation." Within this pious verbiage was conce

aled a plan of mutual assistance in case of the outbreak of revolutions. When Spain revolted against her sovereign in 1820, a European Congress was held, and by its direction the French in 1823 a second time restored the Spanish Bourbons. The grateful king insisted that the revolution of the Spanish colonies ought to be put down by a common effort of the European powers, as a danger to the principle of hereditary government.

[Sidenote: American interests.]

[Sidenote: Russian colonization.]

[Sidenote: English proposals.]

Here the interests of the United States became involved: they were trading freely with the Spanish Americans; they sympathized with the new governments, which were nominally founded on the model of the North American republic; they felt what now seems an unreasonable fear that European powers would invade the United States. At the same time the Russians, who had obtained a foothold on the northwest coast fifty years earlier, were attempting to establish a permanent colony, and on Sept. 24, 1821, issued a ukase forbidding all foreigners to trade on the Pacific coast north of the fifty-first parallel, or to approach within one hundred Italian miles of the shore. John Quincy Adams, who had a quick eye for national rights, protested vigorously. Now came most gratifying evidence that the United States was the leading power in America: in September, 1823, the British government proposed to our minister in England that the two countries should unite in a declaration against European intervention in the colonies. The invitation was declined, but the good will of Great Britain was assured.

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