The SAR Magazine

Fall 2018

The SAR MAGAZINE is the official quarterly publication of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution published quarterly.

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10 SAR MAGAZINE Spain and the American Revolution By David E. Schrader, Ph.D. T he 2018 SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution took place on the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, June 8-10. The organizers of the conference were Gabriel Paquette, the SAR distinguished scholar and professor of history at Johns Hopkins University; Gonzalo M. Quintero Savaria, SAR academic coordinator; and President General (2013-14) Joseph W. Dooley, the SAR Annual Conference director. Conference attendees included academic historians from Canada, Spain, Great Britain, France and the United States, along with a representative from the Museum of the American Revolution; members of Hispanics in History, including its founder, Héctor L. Díaz; and numerous other interested people, including SAR members and their guests. Like previous SAR Annual Conferences on the American Revolution, this year's conference was dedicated to prominent historians. The 2018 SAR Annual Conference honorees were Sylvia L. Hilton, professor of U.S. history at Complutense University of Madrid, and David Armitage, professor of 18th-century global history at Harvard University. His Excellency Pedro Morenés, ambassador of Spain to the United States, graced us with greetings to open the conference. The conference was organized into six sessions, including 14 papers, two after-dinner presentations and a concluding round-table discussion. A book launch was also part of the conference: Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia signed copies of his recently published biography, Bernardo de Gálvez: Spanish Hero of the American Revolution. The first session focused on Spain and the Revolution from a European perspective. Anthony McFarlane, professor emeritus of history at the University of Warwick, addressed the "double-edged sword" of "The American Revolution and Spanish America." McFarlane noted that Spain entered the American Revolution simply as an ally of France. Only later did Spain engage directly with the newly established United States. Spain worried about the impact of an anti-Colonial and anti-royal revolution that might lead to the demise of Spain's own American empire. Continuing the Spanish- French theme, Larrie D. Ferreiro, instructor in history and engineering at George Mason University, explored "The Rise and Fall of the Spanish-French Bourbon Armada from Toulon to Pensacola to Trafalgar." In the context of three "Spanish- French family compacts" between 1733 and 1761, Ferreiro focused on the development of the Spanish-French naval force, from the Battle of Toulon in 1744 through the Battle of Pensacola in 1781 and the final French-Spanish naval debacle at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The session concluded with a paper by Manuel Lucena-Giraldo of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research/IE University. In "Foreseeing What Great Occasions Might Come: American Independence and Spanish Navy Reforms," Lucena-Giraldo examined reforms in Spanish naval practices in the larger Spanish military objectives, ranging from the hoped-for conquest of Gibraltar to both North and South America. Session 2 focused on diplomacy. Emily Berquist Soule, associate professor of history at California State University, Long Beach, presented "The Spanish Slave Trade as Statecraft During the American Revolution." Berquist Soule noted a decline in importation of slaves during the 17th and 18th centuries, with slaves from the Spanish colonial empire largely procured from British slave trade. The British used the slave trade as a means to gain economic influence in Spanish America. However, that influence was seriously disrupted with the onset of the American Revolution. Ross Michael Nederfelt, a doctoral candidate in history at Florida International University, emphasized the importance of neutralizing British disruption of American transatlantic trade. In "Securing the Borderlands/Seas in the American Revolution: The Spanish-American Alliance and Regional Security Against the British Empire" Nedervelt noted the importance of the Spanish navy in securing Spanish control of the Bahama Islands and counteracting the British threat. In "Law and Diplomacy in the Spanish-American Conflict Over Rights to the Mississippi River," Benjamin Lyons, who recently earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University, argued that John Jay's use of the "Law of Nations," as developed by such people as Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf, played an important role in Jay's negotiating with Spain over American control of the Mississippi River at the conclusion of the American Revolution. Session 3 explored the Gálvez family. María Bárbara Zepeda Cortés, assistant professor of history at Lehigh University, examined "José's Secrets: Minister Gálvez's Master Plan for Spain's Participation in the American Revolution." Through his role as inspector general, José de Gálvez developed a long-term plan for Spain's participation in the American Revolution. José de Gálvez secured the appointments of his brother, Matias, as captain general of Guatamala and his nephew, Bernardo de Gálvez, as governor of Louisana, in furtherance of José's grand plans for Spanish America. Carolina Castillo Crimm continued the Gálvez connection with "Bernardo de Gálvez, Man of the Enlightenment," portraying Bernardo de Gálvez as a product of the Enlightenment, supporting the "pueblo," the people of the villages, in contrast with the conservative Spanish establishment. Session 4 focused on the American interior. John W. Nelson, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Notre Dame, explored "Spain's Bid for the American Interior: The Imperial Contest Over the Revolutionary Great Lakes." Nelson provided an overview of Spain's efforts to counter British control over the area from the Great Lakes to the Upper Mississippi. From Spain's brief attack on Fort St. Joseph (Michigan) to its repulse of a British attack on the Spanish Fort San Carlos at St. Louis, a chief Spanish objective was to mitigate the influence of the pro-British Native American tribes. Gregg French, who recently earned his Ph.D. The 1781 Battle of Pensacola was one of three conflicts discussed by Larrie D. Ferreiro, instructor in history and engineering at George Mason University.

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