Week Seven Readings

Coming off from chapter 3 in Dawson’s textbook, the themes and the historical notes presented in Chapter 4 around Latin Americas development out of the never ceasing chaos that was the first hundred years of the post-independence era where strong man rather then solid governments rule. From that to countries with actually have state government and can provide laws and codes for the majority to abide by. The two main topics I will argue are the most important about this time is Latina America’s relations (economic or otherwise) with Europe and other Northern states and the internal changes happening with in the countries themselves.

It is interesting to note that countries within the continent were trying to bring immigrants to there countries, mainly European. There was also an influx of Asian immigrants but the governments at that time were mainly trying to get Europeans to come to their nations. In cases like Argentina and Brazil, not only did they want Europeans to come but they also tried to be European in a way. In Brazil, the nations flag has to motto of the positivistic founder Augustine Comte and among the elite of all the countries at this time looked fondly at the ideas of Herbert Spencer. Sadly, these movements were also antidemocratic and were used as a intellectual tool for the elites to not promote the welfare of the lower classes or at least try to spread democratic values. Although economically, trade with Europe and Northern Nations like the US for Latina American foods and resources gave somethings states in the continent did not have for a while, finances which were used to urbanized and industrialized.

That brings me to my second point on chapter I wish to argue is important, the internal changes. In countries from Mexico to Argentina, urbanization and industrialization was process that was in full force during that time. Although this process did not have immediate effects on such issues like women, workers, or native rights, it did provide a fertile ground for such movements to grow out of. Literacy increased during this time, more trains were constructed connecting people more, and more people lived in urban areas which lead to better connected comers. The power of older institutions  was also reduced around this time as well, a noted example is the church. In Mexico as an example from the document written James Creelman (a Canadian born WASP) stated that the church had to be cut off from the state because it needed to break with the past to truly become its own and yet he states that for progress to continue, a nation should have a real religion, which I found a bit contradiction to his first statement. Either way, Creelman document is noticeable due to his praise on Diaz but also noting the issues surrounding politics, like the fact that Mexico was not at the time a multiple-party system of government but rather ruled by a single group.

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