France and Latin-American Independence

By William Spence Robertson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
BONAPARTIST POLICY TOWARD SPANISH-
AMERICAN REVOLUTIONS

The formation of patriotic juntas in Spain created in Spanish America a desire to imitate that example. In 1808 provisional juntas, which undertook to advise the existing colonial governments, were set up in Buenos Aires and the city of Mexico. During the following year revolutionary conspiracies were formed in the viceroyalty of New Spain, in the captaincy general of Venezuela, and in the presidencies of Quito and Charcas. The leaven of discontent spread rapidly among the disaffected Creoles, who had long aspired to political power.

The relations between Joseph and the French Emperor with respect to the management of the Spanish dominions present a tantalizing problem. Though at first Napoleon apparently made few important decisions concerning those dominions without consulting Joseph, in time he came to view that king as an indolent and pleasure-loving monarch who was scarcely fit to serve as the nominal head of the French armies in Spain. Presumably El Rey Intruso, as Joseph was styled by the Spaniards, adopted toward the Indies an attitude which was in harmony with the Emperor's views, so far as they were known to him. On the other hand, Napoleon evidently made some important decisions concerning Spanish America without consulting his brother. This became increasingly the Emperor's policy as the struggle in Spain developed into a national uprising against his troops--the beginning of a war of peoples. During the

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