Week 3

Here’s a new post to locate your discussion of the Caitlin Fitz book and the Zagarri article. Either comment on this post or make your own new post. Either way is fine.

4 thoughts on “Week 3”

  1. I have only read the Fitz book so far so I will just touch on that. There are a number of different topics that can be talked about when it comes to this book but mostly I think the most important nuance is that of racism. While it is not as simple to just say that the eventual fragmentation of domestic and international politics was one over slavery and racism, I think the book overall has evidence to prove that indifference of actually contributing to the revolutions in Latin America and becoming militarily involved, as well as not wanting to be associated with Latin America ( Panama) proves that what the US saw in its mirror was racism.

  2. There were several different topics “Our Sister Republics” that I found interesting. Overall, it’s a transnational history of the United States, Spanish America and South America during the period after the American Revolutionary War but before the American Civil War. However, I felt that it addresses several different aspects of this period of time in these areas.
    Initially I got the impression that the book was going to focus on the use of American narcissism by the leaders of the revolutions in South America to encourage American support for the South American revolutions. By coming to the US and telling the American people and American leaders that they wanted to emulate the US revolution, the South American leaders were successful in building US support in the early years after the US revolution.
    As the book continued and it discussed not only the number of newspapers that were printed in the US but also the impact these newspapers and editors had on public opinion in regard to the South American revolutions, I thought that maybe that was the theme of the book.
    Even further into the book, the discussion turned to slavery and the shift from general support for the anti-slavery aspects of the new South American states to the uneasiness surrounding the close proximity of these new, anti-slavery states. I feel that as South American states began to actually succeed as independent states with anti-slavery, the US politicians and leadership began fear that the anti-slavery sentiment would travel into the United States and disrupt the US in various areas.
    Taking all these pieces (and others I didn’t highlight) into consideration, I think this was a study of how the US independence affected the South American states and in turn how the South American anti-slavery position affected the conversations and policies regarding slavery in the US.

    I also thought it was interesting that 4th of July toasts were used like modern day opinion polls.

  3. I agree with Emily’s analysis on the progression of Fitz’s book completely. However, I found the emphasis on the press and political rhetoric to be the most compelling. By analyzing the rise of revolutionary thought in the US, in conjunction with the revolutions of South America, Fitz draws important conclusions on just how connected the America’s were in the 19th century, and how quickly political movements spread. When Fitz mentions the dispersion of political rhetoric and how people used the press to persuade the public in favor of revolution, or their fourth of July toasts, it brings home the importance of the individuals in the age of revolution.

    I also found the book to be slightly less transnational than I had thought it would be. While I felt I had a decent understanding of the events in South America (Cuba and Haiti in particular) from last weeks reading, I felt Fitz’s book was lacking in the analysis of events in the other nations outside of the US. I guess I’m not sure whether transnational history books must delve into events in other nations, or if mentioning events in other nations while focusing on a single place (the US in this case) counts as well.

    Overall, Fitz shined a new light on how such important concepts as race and revolution were internationally shaped and connected.

    1. Sarah,

      I very much agree on your observation that you made about the book’s emphasis on the US or lack of emphasis on Latin America. I think that it could have been more interesting to talk about more example of the U.S. influence on Latin America or Latin American popular opinion on the issues, etc. When I trying to rationalize this lack of emphasis by the author, I guess it is because her thesis and context is focused on the influence of Latin America on the U.S. specifically. If I am not mistaken it seems like this book is more of a transnational history of the US and its perceptions and relations with Latin America during a specific period rather than say, a transnational history of all the Americas. Again, I could be wrong, but that is how I perceived it. That being said, I was most definitely left wanting more coverage on the Latin American end and what nuances that would have added to the conversation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *