When separatist revolts erupted in Spain's American colonies in the early 1800s, opinion in the United States was undecided as to what position to take. Proximity and America's own anti-colonial ethos favored sympathy with the rebel cause, yet U.S. strategic interests during the tumultuous Napoleonic Wars dictated a policy of neutrality. When representatives of the rebel provinces came to the U.S. seeking support, arms or recognition, and even launched armed assaults on Spanish territory and shipping from U.S. soil, American opinion split sharply. Should the untested rebel regimes be officially recognized or should the U.S. protect its crucial neutrality? As rebel agents and Spanish diplomat-spies vied behind the scenes for U.S. political and military assets, it became clear that the U.S. had inadvertently become involved in Spanish America's revolutionary struggle.
Latin American Rebels and the United States, 1806-1822
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