In the wake of the Haitian Revolution, Southern leaders feared that Latin American independence might become a threat to the institution of slavery. If the United States failed to expand its influence over the region, Southerners protested, the rebellions against Spain might become the opening phase of a continental revolution against slavery. At the same time, the Monroe administration welcomed the rebellion against Spain for strategic reasons, seeing an independent Latin America as a boon for US commerce. Monroe’s successor, John Quincy Adams, was particularly supportive of the new republics and accepted SimónBolívar’s invitation to send delegates to a trans-continental congress in Panama despite Southern protest. Although the United States continued to isolate the black republic of Haiti, the government extended full diplomatic recognition to each of the new republics by 1826.
Bolívar and his fellow rebels found inspiration in America’s fight against Britain and rebel leaders hoped to replace the colonial rule of Spain with democratic republics. United only in their desire for independence, each of these nations experienced years of political turmoil following the defeat of Spain. Bolívar became so alarmed by these events that he proclaimed himself the leader of a provisional government he hoped would provide temporary stability for northern South America. The republican-turned-dictator was soon forced to abdicate and may have fled to Europe had he not died of tuberculosis in 1830.