Episode 090: Caitlin Fitz, Age of American Revolutions

Our Sister Republics

The American Revolution inspired revolutions in France, the Caribbean, and Latin and South America between the late 18th and mid-19th centuries.

Naturally, Spanish and Portuguese American revolutionaries turned to the United States for assistance with their fights.

How did Americans in the United States respond to these calls for assistance?

What did they make of these other “American Revolutions?”

Caitlin Fitz, an Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University and the author of Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of American Revolutions, helps us investigate answers to these questions.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.

Episode Summary

Caitlin FitzCaitlin Fitz, an Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University and the author of Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of American Revolutions, takes Ben Franklin’s World on its first trip to Latin and South America.

During our journey, Caitlin reveals what she means by the “Age of American Revolutions”; Why Spanish and Portuguese Americans waged revolutions and fought for independence; And, how Americans in the United States viewed and reacted to these other American Revolutions.

What You’ll Discover

  • “Age of American Revolutions” and what it encompassed
  • Overview of Latin & South America and their revolutions
  • Napoléon and how he fomented revolution in Spanish America
  • Why Spanish Americans waged revolution and fought for independence
  • How Americans in the United States viewed Spanish Americans before the Age of American Revolutions
  • The Black Legend
  • How Spanish American countries financed their revolutions
  • Spanish American agents and their work to get loans from the United States
  • How Spanish American revolutions affected American baby naming practices
  • How early American women viewed the Spanish American revolutions
  • Regional excitement over Spanish American revolutions
  • Spanish American refugees in the United States
  • Slavery in Spanish America
  • How Spanish American revolutions sought to abolish slavery


Links to People, Places, and Publications


Time Warp PlainTime Warp Question

In your opinion, what might have happened if the French Revolution had not taken place and Napoléon had not come to power? Would the revolutions in South America have still happened? What would have brought an end to slavery in South America?

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