Patriot (Spanish American Independence)

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Patriots was the name the peoples of the Spanish America, who rebelled against French control during the Spanish American wars of independence, called themselves. They supported the principles of the Age of Enlightenment and sought to replace the existing governing structures with Juntas. At first they declared themselves loyal to Ferdinand VII, who was captive of Napoleon Bonaparte and who seemed a supporter of the new ideals because of his conflict with his father, the absolutist Charles IV. However, when Ferdinand VII was restored to power and began the Absolutist Restauration, most patriots in South America decided to support independence instead.

Some of the most important war leaders of the patriotic movements are called Libertadores instead. The term "patriot" is used to refer to supporters of the revolution in general, or civil leaders without military activity, such as Mariano Moreno. The enemies of the patriots, who supported keeping the existing state of things, were called Royalists. Most patriots were Criollo peoples, whereas most royalists were Peninsulares; but there were both examples of royalist criollos (such as José Manuel de Goyeneche) and patriotic peninsulares (such as Domingo Matheu).

Like with the case of the contemporary North American Patriots from the American Revolution, the word "patriot" was not used interchangeably with "nationalist", as it is today. Rather, the concept of patriotism was linked to enlightenment values concerning a common good, which transcended national and social boundaries. Patriotism, thus, did not require someone to stand behind his country at all costs, and there wouldn't necessarily be a contradiction between being a patriot and revolting against king and country.

See also