A political transatlantic tradition: Studying Portugal and North America

Elsa Maria Dias, Purdue University


The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the American Revolution with its immediate political transformations on Portugal during the 18 th and 19th centuries. The relationship between these two nation-states was important for the exchange of ideas to take place at various levels: commercial, scientific, and political. Personal relationships between Portuguese and North American individuals proved to be rich and critical to the proliferation of ideas between Portugal and the United States. In the 18th and 19th centuries, liberalism was popular amongst intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic. Even though Portugal had a censorship in the years of the American Revolution, liberal ideas and revolutionary ideas were readily available, thus aiding the Portuguese in their formulation of a liberalism that would fit their interests. The research demonstrates that the Portuguese were engrossed in the American Revolution and in the developments of the American Constitution. This is important for the Portuguese in the 19th century, because they modeled their goals and ideals for a revolution after the American Revolution. The Portuguese Constitution of 1822 contains language identical to the United States Constitution. The evidence indicates that the Portuguese not only knew the American Constitution, but they used it as a model for their liberal Constitution in 1822.




Weiss, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Political science|History|Law

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