X hits on this document

1165 views

0 shares

0 downloads

0 comments

48 / 367

  • -

    20 -

iards and Spanish authority -- a struggle which the post-1763 changes had recast in a military form, with creole militia confronting Spanish professionals. A counterrevolutionary war turned creole Mexico in a conservative, militaristic direction. When Spain tried to abolish the legally privileged position of colonial militia officers in 1820, the creoles took the last step toward independence. But independence meant rejection of social reform, an emergent nation devastated by war that had begun in 1810, Spanish talent and capital driven out, and rule by armed force. By 1821, when Mexican independence was formally declared, the army had become as powerful as the church and the land-owning elite, and far less responsive to anything discernible as national interest. 33

Perhaps the unhappy history of Mexico would have been much the same even without the unintended, unexpected effects of post-1763 military reform. Perhaps the great majority of French Canadians would have been alienated by British rule even if conquest had not unintentionally destroyed the militarized structure of political and social organization. But the links in the chain of causa- tion, seem very clear in each case. Less clear is the relationship between military factors and broader consequences for Anglo-america.

The American Revolutionary War (itself a product of imperial military re- form, and precipitated by a British decision to resolve constitutional deadlock by armed force) drove tens of thousands of Anglo-americans to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Ontario, giving British rule in Canada the popular basis on which it would thereafter depend. This splitting of the Anglo-american popula- tion probably weakened conservative political forces in the new United States; unlike the Mexican Revolution, in which independence was won by a counter- revolutionary army, the military mobilization of Anglo-america in the fight for independence favored democratization. Raising an army meant begging or brib- ing common men to fight, and many loyalists became so not because they ap- proved of British policies but because they were disgusted and frightened by the corrosive effect of revolutionary war on social hierarchy and deference. The critical difference, of course, was that the United States did not have the sub- merged, non-white majority that turned revolution into counterrevolution in Mexico. Although the British, tardily and halfheartedly, tried to mobilize op- pressed groups -- Negro slaves, Indians, religious and ethnic minorities -- against the Anglo-american rebels, they never succeeded in transforming a colonial war into a genuine civil war between Anglo-americans.34 If they had done so, even if Britain had lost the war, the emergent United States would have been a very dif- ferent sort of political and social entity.

Democratization -- no part of the program of even the most radical leaders of Anglo-american resistance before 1775 -- was only one result of protracted war. National consciousness, equally invisible before 1775, was another. Armed struggle and ultimate military victory, coupled with the rhetorical explanation of the war, gave Anglo-american independence its peculiar meaning; the aims and

Document info
Document views1165
Page views1165
Page last viewedSun Dec 11 04:50:05 UTC 2016
Pages367
Paragraphs3833
Words145620

Comments