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        Mexican Independence

        During the Age of Enlightenment of the 1700s, political philosophers in Europe and the United States began to claim people should have the right to choose their own type of government. With the invasion of Spain by Napoleon, the political space was created in Latin America to implement these new ideas. The result was a wave of independence movements across the Americas.

        Review the images and descriptions in this Media Gallery on the transformation from colony to independent nation in Mexico. Pay attention to how these images reflect different features of the Mexican Independence struggle. Be sure to read the background essay and complete the worksheet in the Support Materials.

        The Disasters of War, Sketch, 18th or 19th Century

        This sketch by the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Spanish painter, Francisco Goya shows French troops pointing their rifles at Spanish men. The sketch is from a series of sketches and paintings Goya called “The Disasters of War.” The war he was referring to was the war caused by the French invasion of Spain in 1808. The French ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte, decided to put his own brother on the throne in France. He was successful in this attempt in the short term. But, in the long term, this invasion of Spain had two important side effects. First, it unified Spain against France and helped to modernize the country politically. Second, since Spain was occupied with fighting France, the colonies in the Americas were given the space to pursue their own interests. These interests gradually turned into an interest in independence.

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        Father Miguel Hidalgo, Broadside, 1913, Mexico

        This image is of a Mexican broadside printed in 1913 to commemorate Mexican independence from Spain. The broadside shows a picture of Father Miguel Hidalgo and the English translation of the Spanish words on the broadside are “Long live the republic! Long live Father Hidalgo! A Page of Glory.”

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