Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Revolutionary Republics analyzes how U.S. literature depicted the independence of Latin America, focusing on the period from the beginning of the Spanish American revolutions in 1810 to the outbreak of the U.S.-Mexican War in 1846. During this brief timespan, the nation’s literature featured a radical transition in which the independent republics of Latin America shifted from being viewed as “southern brethren” of the United States, a term used by such prominent public figures as Daniel Webster and John Quincy Adams, to hostile enemies allegedly in need of assistance from their northern neighbor. This reversal exposes a contradiction between the imperialist ventures of the United States and its espoused principles of republican democracy, especially considering antebellum celebrations of the American Revolution as the beginning of a transatlantic discourse promoting universal liberty. Formulated in national narratives, literary responses to the revolutions and independent republics expose U.S. territorial and ideological expansion south and west as a form of Anglo-American empire-building. By transposing traditions of revolutionary inheritance onto the wars for independence in Spanish America, writers reinforce the ideology of U.S. exceptionalism. The study’s geographic focal points are Cuba, Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana, particularly the circum-Caribbean city of New Orleans. Several chapters examine Spanish-language works published in the United States, focusing specifically on texts issued by Hispanophone presses in New Orleans and Philadelphia. Authors discussed include Robert Montgomery Bird, Henry Marie Brackenridge, Maria Gowen Brooks, James Fenimore Cooper, Timothy Flint, Joseph Holt Ingraham, Edgar Allan Poe, William Davis Robinson, Vicente Rocafuerte, Orazio de Atellis Santangelo, Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Richard Penn Smith, Jose Alvarez de Toledo, and Lorenzo de Zavala.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kennedy, J. Gerald