The first topic I want to dis cuss is slavery and this abnormal timeline in Latin America. In 1793, due to the Haitian Revolution, slavery was abolished in Haiti. Chile abolished slavery in 1823, the United States in 1865, Cuba in 1886 and Brazil in 1888. I suggest this timeline because modern-day Haiti would be seen as the most impoverished out of these countries in the Americas, yet they were the first to abolish slavery. The Revolution might have expedited the process, yet the relationship between independence and slavery in Haiti is a lot closer than say that of the United States, where almost a year after declaring independence, the United States abolished slavery. Is the United States the thriving country economically today because of their abuse of power with slavery? Strong words, an extremely stretching assumption, however in a relation to Haiti, that assumption could be theoreticized.
Another concept that seems to linger this whole course is religion. de Sagasta’s religious view on women and women’s rights, put her in the majority of her time. It also shows the power of the Church. Was she exercising full agency in her opinions or the agency of the Church? “Women…should never even in thought surpass the limits that God, in when making them…gave them as their pass on earth” (99). What struck me about this quote is that ‘in our opinion’ was also included in that quote, which I admitted to add a more dramatic effect to the quote. Was it really her opinion? It was the opinion of the Church and of the dominant classes of the era, not just in Latin America but throughout the globe. I feel like looking at this period of feminism in Latin America would be a strong group presentation topic to explore further. Using Karl Marx’s principle of Capitalism, with topics such as commodities, use-value, exchange value and his definition of ‘labour,’ exploring a Marxian critique of feminism in early Latin American history would be an extremely interesting topic. Other quotes that struck this feminist accord:
“Woman…is the poetry of God.” (99)
“She is a slave!…but a companion, man’s other half, slave perhaps to her children.” (99-100)
“As if her rights as a woman were not enough to be happy and to make other happy.” (100)
Discussion question: Is there a certain cultured ‘woman’ that de Sagasta is defining, or does her description of ‘woman’ apply to all cultures of Latin America in this time period?