Week 6: Citizenship and Rights in the New Republics

This week’s topic focused on rights and emancipation, particularly in the aspects of race and gender. It is quite jarring to think about the reality of race and the effects it had — and frankly still has — on both North and South America. For instance, the very fact that the last abolition date of slavery was 1888 in Brazil is shocking enough. And learning about the diminishing Indigenous population, as well as the millions of African slaves who died in the first three years of their enslavement is just the beginning of the irreversible trauma that the Americas once faced. It is also important to understand a very good point that although liberals “lead” the movement of emancipation, it was really the slaves who pushed their way out of the brutal institution and into freedom.

We are very fortunate to be in a country where all have access to equal rights, to receive an education, vote, and voice our opinions an concerns regardless of our race, gender, sexuality, etc. Most of us being settlers of the land that we reside on, it is important to know the privilege that we have to be able to study, work, and live on the land that we are currently on.

Continuing now with the subject of gender rights, I found María Eugenia Echenique’s “Brushstrokes” more compelling than Josefina Pelliza de Sagasta. I really liked Echenique’s idea of regeneration, that “the women today are not the women of the past,”. With the use of writing and philosophy, Echenique hopes to clear the path for Latin American women to unveil their aspirations of arts and sciences. Her writing allows women to explore the idea of prioritizing their own needs above others. On the other hand, Pelliza de Sagasta in her piece “Women: Dedicated to María Eugenia Echenique” writes in a poetic manner about how emancipation would not be natural for a woman. She disregards Echenique’s points and instead talks about how women should be “everything but emancipated,”. It is certainly interesting to read two pieces written in the same year, by two women with opposing ideologies.

1 thought on “Week 6: Citizenship and Rights in the New Republics

  1. kelsey wiebe

    Hi Laura! I agree, it’s really quite unsettling reading about how recently the slave trade and slave economies existed. No wonder the effects are still profound today, in North America as well as South America!
    Also, I definitely agree that Echenique’s writing was very inspiring, empowering women to take control of their lives and live to their potentials, bettering society while doing it. However, I also found Sagasta’s text to be oddly inspiring as well, despite the clear “unequal” doctrine she was advocating for. Through her poetic writing, she was able to empower women in their traditional roles, calling them “masters” and “queens” (though I guess she was specifically referring to women in her own elite social class, but still, it seems like it would be very empowering for them!). I didn’t expect to see that kind of thing in a non-liberal text.

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