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Latin American Independence Essay Research Paper Latin

Latin American Independence Essay, Research Paper

Latin American Independence

The Spanish amassed great wealth and power in their American colonies through oppression, slavery and racism. An amazing variety of classes developed and created a social gap in the people. At the turn of the nineteenth century, the American-born population began to advance towards independence. The process did not happen over night. Instead, it developed slowly due to social, political, ethnic, and economic factors, and the often bloody war for independence raged for fifteen years.

Enlightenment radically altered the ideas of people in Europe and America. Ideas that challenged old truths began to develop; ideas that praised individual rights such as the notion that ultimate authority in society resides with the people, not with the king, or that all people are created equal in nature and possess equal rights. The French and American revolutions were strongly influenced by these new, bold beliefs. Inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment and the wars for independence in other parts of the globe, Latin American gained momentum to began their own revolution.

America was a mixing of many different races and each caste held specific rights and limitations. Natural born Spanish had access to the advantages and held the majority of power. The wealthy Creoles were able to ascend to positions of authority, but were always a step down the social ladder from the natural Spanish. Social inequality in America caused tension among the native population. When Spain, in an attempt to centralize their administration (spurred by the Enlightenment), began replacing Creoles with Spaniards in judicial and legislative offices, the tension was escalated even further. This challenged the position and comfort of wealthy Creoles, and motivated them to support independence. “The antagonism and bitter feelings between American Creaoles and those Spaniards born in the Iberian Peninsula who came to Latin America, helped ignite the emotional tinderbox that flared in 1810. (Clayton & Conniff, 20)

Creole unrest was widespread when Napoleon invaded Spain and Portugal in 1807. For the Latin American revolution, the timing could not have been better. The monarchs were disposed and Napoleon installed his brother as king. Spanish rebels fought the illegitimate Bonaparte in a civil war for six years. This left the colonies isolated and they rejected the authority of Spain. As a solution, they created local governments, of juntas, primarily filled with Creoles to rule in the king’s absence. “Dissatisfaction had been given ideological form by the Enlightenment, awhile the crown and peninsulares had thoroughly antagonized Creoles for decades by denying them what they considered their legitimate aspirations. Napoleon’s invasions of Spain, by suspending colonial loyalty to the Spanish sate, touched off the fuse to the powder keg.” (Clayton & Conniff, 22)

Independence took different courses between regions. Some, such as Brazil, were relatively peaceful, but others, such as Peru and Mexico, were bloody. The wars for independence distinguished many brave and courageous soldiers. The names of patriots such as Bolivar, Hidalgo, San Martin, and Artigas among many others, inspire pride in the Latin America. After the revolutions began, success did not come smoothly. Counterrevolutions took back many of the initial successes from the patriots, but tenacity and devotion finally, after fifteen years, won Latin America its freedom.

Independence brought new problems and challenges. The struggle to create new legitimate forms of government created differences, and political turmoil created confusion and tension. The church was attacked for being conservative and suffocating. Revolutionaries wanted to take the churches power and lands. This created clearly defined battle lines that caused enduring problems for the new nations.

One of the basic ideals of the revolution was freed for all people, but this created unexpected problems. Tributes were eliminated and Indians were given rights as citizens, but the national governments quickly realized they depended on the income obtained from the tributes. Thus, the tribute was restored. The revolutionaries also sought to give the Indians freedom, and they gave them individual property rights. The Indians who were not familiar with private ownership were easily taken advantaged. As a result of freedom and the end of the communal system, many Indians were left without protection and they slid even further down the economic ladder.

Political disorder and powerful leaders attempting to regulate authority marked the period after the revolutionary wars. Independence did not win Latin America its success; freedom created new problems and new challenges that had to be overcome.

Keen, Benjamin. Latin American Civilization. Westview Press. 2000.

Burkholder, Mark A. & Lyman L. Johnson. Colonial Latin America. 4th Ed. Oxford University Press. 2001.

Clayton, Lawrence A. & Michael L. Conniff. A History of Modern Latin America. Harcourt Brace College Publishers. 1999.

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Democracy In Latin America Essay Research Paper

Democracy In Latin America Essay Research Paper

Democracy In Latin America Essay, Research Paper

Is Democracy Sustainable in Latin America?

In order to determine if democracy is sustainable in Latin America, it is important to understand or at least have an idea of what democracy is. There are several types of democracy and each is different. According to the English dictionary, democracy is a government by the people; especially: rule of the majority by a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections and the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges (Webster s Dictionary). It is a common view among American politicians that maintaining democracy in Latin America could be achieved through holding honest elections, installing civilian governments, and preventing military coups (Millett). Although Latin America participates in some type or form of free elections, that does not necessarily constitute a legitimate democracy that represents the people. The power is not necessarily vested in the people in Latin America but with the elected officials. Latin American democracy and United States democracy are uniquely different and therefore they are not comparable by the same definition of democracy. The difference results from many factors. In large part, the Latin America is unique because of its Iberian heritage, history, and tradition (Millett).

The conquest of Latin America by Spain and the methods of rule and traditions have largely influenced the development of Latin American democracy. The Spanish mercantile system and the methods and practices it produced have had a direct impact on all the factors that help sustain democracy. The two main factors in Latin American democracy are the society and the economics. Colonial ideas of fueros, caste systems, and church ideologies during the inquisition, have influenced Latin America socially. Economically Spanish mercantilism has made Latin America dependent on outside resources and has given rise to corruption and a loss of trust in the government.

In order to have sustainable democracy it is necessary to have the support of the people. The society must support the idea of government in which, there is an absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges. Fueros, caste, and church ideologies still impact present day Latin American society. During Spanish rule, government officials and military officials had fueros, or special immunity from prosecution. Fueros still exist today in Latin America and give no recourse for complaints of the population. This situation instills hopelessness in the society overall. A democracy cannot exist, even through elections, if the elite rules it. In order for a democracy to be sustained, the government must be kept in check if not through constitutional powers then the people must check it. A democracy should have an educated populace; people should constantly question their surroundings to keep a government in check (Aristotle). Latin America must be capable of producing a literate and educated population. Church control of information and perhaps the desire of the elite to keep the population under control have kept a large majority of the Latin American population illiterate. Without education, the population lacks the means of self-analysis and therefore no political ambitions or ideas to make the government better.

A strong economy is a major factor in sustaining democracy. Through mercantilism, the Latin American economy was and continues to be, reliant on imported manufactured goods. In the twentieth century, Latin America continues to be a source for resources, not only in raw materials but also labor. It has become a specialty producer of foodstuff, such as coffee, for other nations of the world. This specialization in certain crops has made Latin America less diversified and has contributed to the lack of ability for the countries to feed their people.

Urbanization is another factor threatening democracy. Many Latin American countries have only one major city. With the influx of people, to the city, a demand for services grow, and in return drains budgets. A lack of money causes social programs to be cut and in turn, this produces unemployment, social conflict, and political instability. In order to meet growing needs, the government must be able to reduce spending in military areas and other unneeded programs. Many of the Latin American militaries are unwilling to sustain budget cuts, and a majority of the people have no desire to reduce popular social programs. Governments that do attempt to strengthen their economies using budget reductions do so at great risk to their political careers.

Other nations have endured during and after mercantilism. To what degree they have succeeded differs greatly. South Asia and Latin America were both part of a large empire and each now are independent and are ruled by some form of democracy. Britain

ruled much of South Asia under mercantilism. After independence, India underwent great industrialization but in Latin America, industrialization received little attention or investment. India s industrialization has brought employment, greater self-reliance, and has instilled confidence in the government. Although much of South Asia was ruled by the British under Mercantilism, British law was strictly enforced and eventually all subjects of the British crown were considered equals in citizenship and rights. In contrast, Latin America was, and is still to a great degree, governed by law that applies to few of the ruling elite and military leaders. This lack of equal treatment under the law undermines faith in the government and gives little recourse to the common individual (Millett). Faith in the economy and social equality produces faith in the government.

Although South Asia and Latin America have coalition governments, South Asia has a more educated population compared to Latin America. After independence, much of South Asia introduced education reforms that resulted in a dramatic increase in literacy in a relative short time. Latin America still struggles with education reform and in some instances, education is not a priority. Much of South Asia was given Guidance and goals to achieve before independence was granted. Latin American independence came in chaos with the fall of the throne in Spain and constant conflict by the caudillos to fill the vacuum of power.

Although South Asia and Latin America are entirely different regions, they were both ruled under a mercantilist system. Latin America was ruled under a medieval mercantilism and South Asia under Victorian mercantilism. The results after independence were dramatic. South Asia governed with guidance, equality under the law, and a strong investment with foreign encouragement in industry gave them the ability to build and sustain democracy. In contrast, Latin America was drained of resources, the indigenous population exploited, and little investment put into the economy. This gave rise to Elitist warlords vying for power constantly and the continued exploitation of the population. Little interest is evident in the reform of the economies or educational reforms of Latin America. Power is the only wealth a Latino can achieve and this concept seems to persist in the Latin American society today. Until the idea of unity and helping ones fellow man takes hold, Latin America is likely to struggle with democracy.

Millett s interpretation has many good points but takes some out of context. The civil-military relations is a not a stand-alone point. It is part of the society ideas of feuros and caste. Millett does not explain how military ability to dominate politics has declined or how military support of democracy is necessary. A military is not necessary for democracy, only if a military exists does it become a factor. Corruption is not the prominent threat to democracy. Corruption exists in United States politics but is not visible, unlike Latin American politics. Millett states, military dictatorships, not democratic governments, were the prevailing model, most of these were encouraged and even supported by the United States not the society. Although the situation in Latin America is fundamentally different from 30 years ago and the cold war has ended, the threats to democratic institutions have not diminished. The threats are replaced with new and old ones such as narcotics and insurgencies. Millett failed to accurately go into all the cultural reasons democracy could not be sustained, such as, the role of the church control of information and the lack of an educated population. This is one of the necessary ingredients of a democracy.

Possible solutions to sustain democracy in Latin America are many. Several questions must be answered in order to decide what the solutions are. Is democracy necessary? Perhaps democracy is not necessary in Latin America and foreign intervention should be prohibited. As in China, perhaps the economic strength of Latin America will dictate the type of government. Can people have and maintain inalienable rights without democracy? Truly, democracy is not the only solution. Inalienable rights could be protected without democracy. Can financial support sustain democracy? Money cannot change history or cultures, if another country builds a road, the police are still corrupt. If there were but one solution, it would be to change the culture. If a culture does not support democracy then no amount of money, political pressure, or propaganda will bring about the factors to sustain it. Culture influences all the ingredients necessary for democracy to survive, from society to the economy.

Democracy. Webster s New Comp[act Dictionary. Ed. 1995.

Loomis, Louise. ARISTOTLE On Man in the Universe. New York: Random House,

Millett, Richard. Is Latin American Democracy Sustainable. North-South ISSUES on

Latin America Essay Research Paper Latin AmericaFor

Latin America Essay Research Paper Latin AmericaFor

Latin America Essay, Research Paper Latin America For my creative piece I was wanted to write a poem. My inspiration for this task was tropicalism. Webster defines tropical as ?Of relating to, the characteristic of a region. Tropicalism in Brazil is ?The idea to take the Brazilian values the trashy ones as well as the good ones, the ugly ones as well as the beautiful ones and incorporate them into its art. In attempting to write this poem I wanted to bring up five aspects of Brazilian culture. Using the Tropicalism take on this poem; to illustrate the good of the country I focused on family structure and the issue of race, to illustrate the bad/ugly values of the country I wrote about the methods used in colonization, for the beautiful aspects of the Brazilian I used the

carnivals that are popular in Brazilian culture. My sources of information were a Brazilian Popular Music web site (, movies The House of the Spirits and Black Orpheus, and the American encyclopedia. Stand Bridge Once we stand for equality, among everyone And know that we are all people We can unite and beat our opposition We must stand until our children have better land So join me and stand for what is right If I had my way life would be just fine But the world is too cold and it makes me cry Sometimes I feel like running and turning my back, but we have worked to hard And we can?t turn around We out number the enemy so lets be wise and start a revolution Now who will stand with me? and risk everything Because a real man will die fighting

Than to live this status quo So stand stand stand and we will own better land Bridge We have come along way From the days of plantations And we struggled with the dictatorship of our early days But the ball is on our side now We have been successful So let us drink to our successes But not till the point we are drunk, and forget thee Let?s use the energy we have for carnival And make the future bright Bridge Remember that the family is sacred Family is the number one priority Men let’s be men and women lets be women Lets everyone unite from the preto to the pardo and the mulatto and the white Let?s celebrate our differences Our work is not done until we forget what it means to be poor And everyone obese with love and affection and security Bridge

Реферат: Colonialism In Latin America Essay Research Paper

Colonialism In Latin America Essay, Research Paper

In 1492 Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of the Caribbean and claimed the new land in the name of Spain and God. From then on the world was changed forever in the sense that there was a whole New World to conquer. Conquistadors like Cortez and Pizarro then followed and claimed entire new lands and people in the name of gold and wealth. These men started a revolution that changed an entire continent; it was transformed from a free race of people at one with the land to one of slavery and oppression in which man was bound to the land. This was the beginning of colonialism in the New World. The newly founded colonialism changed everything about the land, its inhabitants, culture, religion and even created new races of people, of which we still do not know everything about.

With the curiosity of European countries piqued and rumors of cities made of gold, the Old World decided that there were no boundaries established within the New World and the land was for the taking. Spain had no regard for the natives found nor the great civilizations that were built there. Everything within view was to be claimed in the name of the Old World. Unfortunately for the indigenous people they did not have the technological advancements that the Old World had, i.e. horses, iron, guns, and gunpowder, and thus they succumbed to Europe. This gave Europe the upper hand in controlling the land and the boundaries they established in the Americas.

As for the natives of the Americas, whether they were the Aztecs or Incas, from the beginning they made the mistake of trusting the Europeans and welcoming them into the bosom of their civilizations. When Cortez first arrived on Mexico’s shores, and got off of his ship in shining armor on horses, along with him being a white man, lead the native Aztecs to believe he was the messiah returning to their tribe and welcomed him as a god. The Aztecs then brought Cortez straight to the king, Montezuma, and Cortez killed him. This type of trust was the same through all of the indigenous tribes of the Americas at the time and it was one of the first causes for the indigenous’ people enslavement and the downfall of their civilizations.

The ruling kingdoms of Europe were not the only ones with agendas in the New World, but also the Roman Catholic Church viewed the New World with great interest. So when Columbus landed in Hispanola, he did not just claim the land with a sword but also with a cross. The Europeans did not only manage to enslave the people physically but also mentally. The indoctrination of the natives was of up most priority to the Church because it gave another form of control to the ruling parties. They gave the natives a new God to praise and caused a great change in the cultures of the indigenous tribes. They instilled a fear of God into the people that to this day has not passed. Also the Church did not take ‘No’ for answer in regards to converting to Christianity. If you did not convert you were killed and sometimes even if you did convert, you were also killed. This has been one of the greatest genocide to occur in world history that has not yet been fully brought to light.

Along with the genocide, the diseases brought over by the Europeans killed a large majority of the indigenous people. Very similar to the same effect that occurred with the colonization of North America by the British. The Indian people did not have the same immunities, biologically speaking, as the conquistadors and their crew, and succumbed to death even before they had a chance to become enslaved or converted.

With the demise of the native people of America there also came a large interbreeding between the Europeans and the Indians in the area. After time there came a new race born out of the land, a mixture of Indian and European, which are often titled mestizo and mulatto, for the mixture of European and the black race, which can be predominately found in the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

In light of all this plight that the Europeans brought with them to the New World it did not stop them one bit in raping the land of all of its resources, and most importantly its people. The conquistadors along with stealing gold, also took away all the history of great civilizations to which we credit great mathematical ideas and theories, like the number 0 from the Aztecs, to suspected space travel from the Incas in Macchu Picchu. This is probably the greatest loss concurred with the colonization of the New World.

In conclusion it is obvious how the colonization of the New World changed everything from the land to its inhabitants to the culture and religion and also in creating a new race of people. Whether this colonization was a proper direction for history to go is not my place to say, but all one can do is look at the facts presented and objectively decide how one wants to view Christopher Columbus, as a great explorer or great exploiter.

Essay on Humanities

Essay/Term paper: Independence in latin america Essay, term paper, research paper: Humanities

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"Independence of Latin America"

In the 1800's, Latin American countries won independence, but many new independent countries had trouble creating strong, stable governments. The Creoles played an important role in the independent movements. These countries won their independence through strong leaders and many other factors. As soon as these countries won their independence from Spain and Portugal, they did not want to return the way they did. Many countries revolted, we even find out that the United States had something to do with it. Behind many of these countries' independence, stands and list of causes and effects.

One of the first causes of the Independence of Latin America was the Creoles. Since Spain had rule over the Latin American countries, the Creoles were one of many groups that led the struggle for Latin Independence. Another group, who were known as the Mestizos, revolted against Spain in Peru. Many of these Indians remembered how the Spanish conquered them over 300 years ago. It didn't last much because their leader Tupac Amaru was executed, but the slaves saw independence as a way of freedom. These groups were not the only cause of the Independence. Another cause that led to the independence of Latin America, was the French Revolution. With these enlightenment ideas, the people of Latin America were able to have their own government that protected their interest and gave them freedom. These countries liked the idea of having natural rights, liberty, and property, as any country would. They gained a little bit of more freedom when Napoleon conquered Spain. But, that did not last much because he was defeated and all of the boundries had to be redrawn. This only leads to revolt from the Latin American countries. Among many of the small causes stands discrimination and slavery.

Now, Latin America was made up many countries and each of them got their independence separately, not as a whole. Each of these countries had leaders that led them to their own independence. These countries included Haiti, South America, Mexico, and Brazil. Tousaint L' Overture led and uprising of African slaves in 1791, forcing the French out of Haiti - making Haiti the first Latin American colony to achieve independence. Jose de san Martin worked to liberate Argentina and Chile from Spanish rule in the years 1816 to 1818. Simon Bolivar defeated Spanish forces between 1819 and 1825, liberating Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Miguel Hidalgo, a priest, began a rebellion against Spanish rule in Mexico in 1810, but the uprising failed. Mexico later achieved its independence in 1821.

The result of these causes of course, was that the Latin American countries did gain their independence. Many nations had trouble building stable governments though. There were many divisions, socially and economically. A good thing that happened was that slavery ended. Under Spanish rule, colonist had little experience with representative government. Within each country, power struggles often erupted between rival groups. This is when military leaders known as caudillos seized power and ruled as dictators. They only held power for a short time. By the late 1800's, most governments became oligarchies, under an oligarchy, a small elite has ruling power. These ruling groups divided into conservatives and liberals. Conservatives wanted to preserve the old social order of church. However, the liberals wanted to limit the influence of the church. They hoped to reduce the gap between rich and poor. Many civil wars also erupted as a result of Latin Independence. This caused chaos and a need for reform.

The Independence of Latin America wasn"t the only event taking place in the world. We see that other events were taking place and that the French Revolution was one of those events that influenced that Independence of Latin America. There are many possible solutions that would help Latin America in this chaotic time period. One is that they could do away with their class system, this would create equality for everyone. They could also explore their resources and make some big trades, like Europe and The United States was doing. These possible solutions would strengthen the economy for a better Latin America.

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Latin American concern about nationalism goes beyond simply coping with routine affairs of national existence. It is a concern over the legitimacy of that existence and an uncertainty over what it means. It is a question of national identity. It is also a question of regional identity; for no matter the distinctions between states, the many historical, cultural and linguistic ties also provide an ambiance of "continental nationalism," a general Latin American nationalism, that is equally as important.10 Both the Mexican Carlos Fuentes and the Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa have recently argued, from disparate political positions, that a crucial aspect of the Central American crisis is the threat of an imposed solution which would jeopardize "the respect and credibility of a whole continent.' 11 Exhibiting their faith in continental nationalism, Fuentes declared, "This is a Latin American problem and it deserves a Latin American solution"; and from Vargas Llosa, "The battle for liberty in Latin America will be won strictly by themselves.'' 12

Clearly nationalism, as Fuentes earlier observed, stands as a serious element of life for Latin Americans. In New York, however, it is as yet a passe subject. While Latin Americans are concerned with the topic, North American efforts to analyze modern Latin America have omitted or severely limited any discussion of the theme.

Three of the most widely used textbooks on Latin America, particularly the modern period, are A Short History of Latin America by Keen and Wasserman,13 Modern Latin America by Skidmore and Smith, 14 and Latin America: Its Problems and Its Promise, written and edited by Jan Knippers Black. 15 Keen and Wasserman and Skidmore and Smith provide admirable analysis of the modernization processes, of distinct political, economic, and social elements of change and stability, but there is no effort to introduce nationalism as a viable analytical concept for understanding Latin America."16 In the Black collection, nationalism is briefly acknowledged by one author as a "potent force favoring change and development." Overall, however, the theme is restricted to the realm of artistic expression in literature and the plastic arts."17 These works are not cited here for censure, but to note the decline in the discussion of nationalism with regard to Latin America, and to suggest that this theme, while historiographically the past for many scholars, is very much the present in Latin reality and thus, still a viable analytical device.

Nationalism is a term with a myriad of meanings. It is a phenomenon of concrete socioeconomic elements that are historically specific. It is an analytical construct that has its own historiographical evolution. It is also a psychological and metaphysical phenomenon that is as powerfully compelling as it is difficult to specifically delineate.

In his classic critique of the scholarship of nationalism, Boyd Shafer acknowledged nine definitions of the term. Distilling the labor of some fifty years of research on the topic, Shafer identified a number of the criteria of nationalism. They include territorial boundaries, common language, common social, political, and economic institutions, and a shared historical experience. The most compelling qualifications, however, are elements of belief, of faith, of spirit.18 Other scholars of the topic have also acknowledged the importance of these aspects of nationalism. Hans Kohn has described these as a "group consciousness."19 Louis Snyder writes of the "national soul"20 while Karl Deutsch speaks of the evolution of a nearly metaphysical ''people.''21 Whatever the description, the consensus is clear that these psychological and metaphysical elements are crucial in animating nationalism, in transforming it from an academic theory to a motivational force. Nationalism in this form penetrates the consciousness of the individual, binds the individual with the society at large. As Shafer observed, in a world undergoing rapid change in a material sense, "Nationalism became the instrument of mobilization, of retaining identity as well as fulfilling expectations."22 With regard to the significance of these qualities, the concept of identity is central to modern nationalism. Louis Snyder has written that nationalism "may be in part a substitute for religion and an answer to psychic needs, or it may be in part a carryover of parent and family fixation. a response to the individual's need for security and protection. an outlet for aggression. anxiety. or it may reflect a sense of inferiority."23 Specifically referring to contemporary nationalism, Anthony Smith has written that "No other ideal has been able to reappear in so many guises, or to suffer temporary eclipse only to reemerge stronger and more permanently. No other vision has set its stamp so thoroughly on the map of the world and on our sense of identity."24 The discussion of nationalism is also a discussion of political culture; not of politics in the narrow sense of institution and political parties, but political culture as formally defined as the aggregate of learned socially transmitted behavior and beliefs; the product of historical experience of the whole society as well as personal experience that can contribute to the socialization of the individual, drawing upon the elements of psychology, cultural anthropology, and sociology.25

The concept of identity and the inclusive nature of political culture are at the heart of the evolution of nationalism in Latin America. Although now out of vogue, the topic of nationalism did command sufficient attention in the past to prompt a fine collection of studies specific to Latin America. Gerhard Masur's Nationalism in Latin America: Diversity and Unity,26 Arthur Whitaker's Nationalism in Latin America: Past and Present27 and with David Jordan Nationalism in Contemporary Latin America, 28 Samuel Bailey's Nationalism in Latin America, 29 and Victor Alba's Nationalists Without Nations 30 are among the most noteworthy. The topics of Latin American identity and political culture have also received past attention. Significantly, these studies were generally not designed to make a political connection or serve as investigations of nationalism. They stood as volumes on Latin American art, literature, philosophy, and general intellectual history. These included such stalwarts as W. Rex Crawford's A Century of Latin American Thought,31 Harold E. Davis' Latin American Thought: A Historical Introduction, 32 and Martin S. Stabb's In Quest of Identity: Patterns in the Spanish American Essay of Ideas.33 Two studies that did come closer to the amalgam of culture, politics, and identity in Latin American nationalism were Jean Franco's The Modern Culture of Latin America 34 and the Jorrin-Martz study Latin American Political Thought and Ideology.35

Taken together, these and other contributions by authors of both Americas depict an odyssey of identity as an essential aspect of Latin American culture, and even more so as a key feature of the formulation of Latin American nationalism. The crucial aspect of this observation, however, is not simply the grail of identity, but the nature of the quest and its continuation.

From Esteban Echevarria's lament in 1839, "Let us weep, brothers: our country does not exist!"36 to Victor Alba's echo in 1968 that "The Latin American countries are not nations. "37 Latin Americans have in an inverse sense tied their feeling of political, social, and economic well being to the question of who they are. Over the last century and a half they achieved political independence, but decried their lack of mental emancipation. They constructed states to strike the balance of liberty and order, but found them inauthentic and ineffective. They embraced Positivism and sociology to justify modernization, but proclaimed a spiritual crisis and initiated a search for the soul of their people, countries, and continent. The labors of such as Alberdi, Bello, Sarmiento, Samper, Barreda, Rodo, Vasconcelos, Mariategui ,Ma?ach, Zea, and Paz are the testament of that travail. From independence onward, the effort was to find "a way of shaping national consciousness and giving a sense of tradition."38

The answers arrived at vary widely but do share a common element, that of synthesis. Alonso Reyes once remarked that Latin America's compensation for arriving late at "so-called Western Civilization" was that it allowed Latin Americans to be "in the position of making a synthesis and of profiting from this, without being limited to narrow cultural spheres."39 In this spirit Latin Americans were, and are, variously in the process of becoming: becoming civilized through European immigration; becoming statesmen through borrowed political theories and forms; becoming efficient social engineers and economists through the absorption of Positivistic faith; becoming a people liberated from the crass materialism of the West through the rediscovery of the Indian spirit in the Latin soul, or the mestizo, or criollo, or Hispanic spirit in that soul. In his study of contemporary nationalism in Latin America, Whitaker focused upon this evolutionary and unsettled quality. He found that despite the numerous attempts to define national identity, "No generally acceptable answer was found."40. Another scholar of the problem, Kalman Silvert, agreed in his observation that

The roots of a common interest [of all Latin American nations] lie in the desires to control the national fates: to assert sovereignty, contain multinational corporations, promote national development, confront problems associated with population. urbanization, and international market prices. the reasons for combination exist, the vessels and the ideas are as yet embryonic.41

The nation is so embryonic a vessel in Latin America that there is not only uncertainty about whether it will exist tomorrow but also whether it yet exists today. Silvert concluded that Cuba stood as the sole example.42 Victor Alba found Mexico the only state "closest to being a true nation."43

Another student of Latin America, Frederick Pike, found that

In Latin America, with the possible exception of Mexico and Cuba, the countries have not yet become nations, political stability and economic progress sometimes serve as a veneer, temporarily masking long unresolved and increasingly explosive conflicts over identity, integration and destiny.44

In such an environment with such concerns, it is not surprising that the Latin American artist and intellectual emerged as the "guide, teacher, and conscience of his country," and of all of Latin America.45 In her study of the artist and society in Latin America, Jean Franco observed that "An intense social concern has been the characteristic of Latin American art for the last one hundred and fifty years. Literature--and even painting and music--have played a social role.46 Even the national artistic inclination to universal elements has remained grounded in local and regional reality and maintained the artist as a spiritual arbiter and leader in Latin society.47 In the Latin context, this af fords these elites another form of leadership, of a political nature. Alan Riding, in a recent discussion of revolution and the intellectual in Latin America has written that

Intellectuals exercise enormous political influence in Latin America. It is

they who provide respectability to governments. legitimacy to re

volts. who articulate the ideas and contribute the images through

which Latin Americans relate to power, they who satisfy the decidedly

Latin need for a romantic and idealistic raison d'etre.48

Artists and intellectuals have exercised that influence within the formal political structure as well as from without. They have been and currently serve across the Latin American political landscape as presidents, ambassadors, ministers and party leaders. It is with this sense of the odyssey of Latin American identity and the convergence of culture and politics in that search that we return to the contrast drawn at the beginning of this paper.

If nationalism seems no longer viable as an analytical device for Latin America, it may be due to the fact that the language of that nationalism is value-laden and rich in psychological and metaphysical imagery, qualities anathema to modern behavioralist analysis. It may also be that the most articulate spokesman for Latin American nationalism-the painters, poets, and writers-are not accredited in terms of contemporary models of political evaluation. Kalman Silvert correctly prophesized the dangers of this developing contrast in an article on U.S.-Latin American relations entitled "The Kitsch in Hemispheric Realpolitik":

The proponents of "realistic' polities invariably content themselves with the "concrete" and the "positive" facts of social life. Natural resources, population size, urbanization, military preparedness. and industrial development are for them "hard" facts, the "real" ones. Ideologies, norms, values, personal crochets, and ethics are "soft," the claptrap in utopian minds. This construction turns night into day; it is hardly pragmatic in the philosophical sense of the term, and it is fiercely--if pessimistically--ideological. This idea, like many others in our contemporary political armory, will have to be taken off its head and put back on its feet before we can go on to make sense out of our situation.49

In a recent New York Times editorial, Luis Burstin, the ex-Secretary of information in Costa Rica, warned against two "pervasive myths" concerning Latin America. They are "that revolutions are caused by poverty and social injustice and that foreign economic assistance will prevent those revolutions." Noting that economic aid would not end Latin upheaval, he contended that "Political reform is urgent and indispensable; without it, nothing will help."50 Recent word from Latin America also informs us that the first three volumes of a fifty-four volume compendium on liberation theology have been released. In addition, a series of shorter books by Leonardo Boff is being issued on how to do liberation theology.51

Our situation, as Silvert put it, and that of Latin America is being present at creation. The creation of a national and regional identity that is already quite traditional in its process, predictable in its language and symbols, and reasonable in its context. Whether it is a cosmic race, justicialismo, Indoamerica, the new Cuba, or Nicaragua, or a new theology, the creation of "new men" and "new societies" is at the heart of that odyssey of identity in Latin American nationalism.

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