Week Five

Last week we discussed about who gained indepenedence and where. The reading this week solidified the fact that the revolution(s) only benefitted those who already had power. As outlined in the reading this week, the people, typically those who were poorer or of lower social standing, were unable to turn to the new governments for help. This lack of trust was mostly due to the elites treatment of the ‘lower classes’ prior to independence. However, what I am still curious about is what set the Caudillos apart from the creole elites? Were they also elites who had exploited the people during colonial rule? If yes, then would the people not have been wary of the promises that were made to them. How would the Caudillos have been able to gain the attention of the people? Yes, the Caudillos carried out their promises, but I wonder how long it would have taken for the Caudillo to build up trust in a community- would one success/reward be enough? Were some of the Caudillos not previous elites and instead men who were able to rise up in social ranks during the revolutions? If this was the case for some, although it would be a difficult thing to measure, was their acceptance amongst the people faster than the others?

In Dawson’s reading it mentions that some of the Caudillos would accomplish a goal of the people, but would then do something that directly contradicted that goal. Diaz for example was a Caudillo, but then became a liberal leader. He privatized the indigenous peoples land even though he previously advocated for village autonomy. It was interesting to read about how each Caudillo catered to whatever region they had made an agreement with, but I suppose the Caudillos agreed with whatever the people wanted as long as they gained the support/army that they needed to secure their power. The people also saw what the Caudillos were offering and determined them as the best option. I can see how their rule would be preferable compared to the creole elite/liberals. Although later on liberalism was the preferred choice, particularly in Mexico due to its advertisement as being inlcusive to all people.

After the Revolutions states were created, but as we learn in this week the states really had no power in everday life for many people. The Caudillos allowed for local or customary law to be followed as opposed to the laws set by the central government. So, what did the central government really have power over then?

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