6- Citizenship and Rights in the New Republics

What stood out  for me this week was the quantity of slaves that came into Latin America. I always thought that slaves in Latin America were mostly the indigenous people and I did not know that a great number of slaves were people of colour. It surprised me to have never heard about it in my studies, considering how much I have learned about the slaves in the United States. What really surprised me was the amount of people of colour that lived in Brazil, and more so that only about a quarter of them were slaves. For me, this is hard to understand because whenever I learned about slavery it was always a marginalized group of people. I do not understand how slaves could have worked the same tasks as free people. Would this not have caused conflicts and encouraged them to fight for their freedom? At the same time, this makes me question the freedom of the people. Were the people really free if they worked the same jobs as the slaves?

Overall, it seems that slavery in Latin America was very different than in the United States. First of all, I think that in the states the fight for freedom is more widely known because it was an entire group of people that was being discriminated. This made their fight for freedom a difficult yet straight forward task. In Latin America, it seems their fight for freedom was more complex as there were different streams to consider. It was not as if an entire race was being discriminated as there were people of colour that were already free. However, in both cases there is evidence of harsh racism. It was interesting to learn that in an attempt to create racial categorizations they came up with a scientific method. This reminded me of the Casta paintings and their attempt at categorizing a complex situation.

One last thing I wanted to address was liberal ideas in Latin America. I think for the most part liberal ideas are very attractive to anyone. The freedom to do what you want is not easily denied. The reason that I think Latin America had a hard time adopting these ideals was because the way it was formed goes completely against these ideals. The ideas of racial purity and a social or economic elite were deep rooted in Latin American societies; Religion played a big role dictating the way many people acted. In essence, the way that colonial life was forced, completely contradicts liberal ideals (such as equality and free speech). No wonder it would have been hard to implement these ideas during that time.