Revolutionary Catholic Political Philosophy? Print Culture and the Independence of Latin America from Spain

Franke Institute, Regenstein Library, Room S-118

In 1810, Latin American revolutionaries met in Philadelphia to seek U.S. support for the cause of winning independence from Spain. In the spring of 1812, Mexican revolutionary José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara returned from Philadelphia to the Spanish Texas-Louisiana border ready to fight for the independence of Spanish Texas from Spain. They thought winning Texas would have a domino effect for independence all the way down to South America. The revolution, however, did not begin with an invasion; it came in the form of pamphlets, broadsides, and manuscripts. For two months, Gutiérrez de Lara spread revolutionary literature into Texas before marching his military forces. Yet, the Spanish governor knew he had been routed even before combat began: this new political language of community seduced the life and minds of his subjects. What enticing alternative vision did these documents offer that made the inhabitants of Texas reject the order they and their ancestors had known for so long? This lecture will focus on these events, and specifically, on this alternative vision of the world.