Enlightenment Period effect on Latin America

Topics: Liberalism, Mexico, Latin America Pages: 11 (2435 words) Published: September 30, 2013

Enlightenment period effect on the future of Latin America
Two political revolutions arose from the Enlightenment philosophy: the French Revolution and the American Revolution. The motto of the French Revolution, “liberté, egalité, fraternité,” captures of the ideas they were fighting for: liberty, equality, and rights.1 News of this overthrowing of the government reached many places, one of those being Latin America. During the colonial period, a great social gap developed between the peninsulares (Spanish people born in Spain) and criollos (Spanish people born in New Spain). Resentment was so great that indians, criollos, and mestizos (a mix between Spanish and Indians) went past their ethnic differences and united against peninsulares. Indians long begrudged the power and self-righteousness of the Spanish settlers, hence their enthusiastic participation in the uprising. Criollos had both social and political resentment, having been denied political power and been considered crude and unsophisticated by the peninsulares. Mestizos too were tired of Spanish domination and wished for important civil and religious positions. They thought that removal of Spanish authority may lead to male suffrage, separation of church and state, and an economic revolution that would dissolve larger states and distribute them among the poor. Unlike Indians, mestizos viewed criollos as part

1

Scollon, Ronald, and Suzanne B. K. Scollon. Intercultural Communication: A Discourse Ap-

proach. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1995. Print.

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of the Spanish authority, but they still joined forces against Spain.2 The Enlightenment would bring conflicting ideals to the Latin America between the people and ruling elites. Revolution started in Mexico with El Grito de Dolores by the criollo priest Miguel Hidalgo on September 16, 1810.3 Indians, mestizos, and criollos joined to fight Spain and by September 27, 1821, Mexico ended the Independence along with what is now Central America, at that time under Mexican rule. This secured the rights of equality, of property, and of liberty⁴. The rule then went to Agustin de Iturbide, a criollo general who ended the Mexican War of Independence. In his autobiography during his exile he wrote4 ,

It was my good fortune to break the chains which enthralled my country: I proclaimed her independence: I yielded to the voice of a grateful and generous people, and allowed myself to be seated on a throne which I had created, and had destined for others; I repressed the spirit of intrigue and disorder. Iturbide perfectly captured the struggle between a state with hope for the future and its roots to the past. He managed to proclaim himself emperor of Mexico, an action that of course would disgruntle the new independent state. A conservative and traditionalist at heart, he failed to bring

2

Olson, James Stuart. The Ethnic Dimension in American History. New York: St. Martin's, 1979.

3

Consular, Gaceta. ""El Grito" (the Cry)." : Mexico Culture & Arts. Feb.-Mar. 2007. Web. 08

Mar. 2012. .
4

Iturbide, Agustin De. "A Statement of Some of the Principal Events in the Public Life of Agusti-

n De Iturbide." A Statement of Some of the Principal Events in the Public Life of Agustin De Iturbide. Translation by John Murray. Web. 08 Mar. 2012.
.

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stability and order to a country full of people wanting different things. He was exiled by opposing parties and then executed upon his return to Mexico. 5 By then, the Central American states had broken off and declared themselves independent from both Mexico and Spain and were now the United Provinces of Central America.6 Just like that, the future of six nations was thrown into discourse because of a failure in the mix of colonial and revolutionary ideals. Over in South America, the cry for independence was made by Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin. Inspired from a young age by the writings of the...

Cited: "Agustin De Iturbide (emperor of Mexico)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 08 Mar. 2012.
Consular, Gaceta. ""El Grito" (the Cry)." : Mexico Culture & Arts. Feb.-Mar. 2007. Web. 08 Mar.
De Iturbide. John Murray. Web. 08 Mar. 2012.
"Jose De San Marti-n (1778-1850)." José De San MartÃ-n. University of Notre Dame. Web.
08 Mar. 2012.
Olson, James Stuart. The Ethnic Dimension in American History. New York: St. Martin 's, 1979.
Scollon, Ronald, and Suzanne B. K. Scollon. Intercultural Communication: A Discourse Approach. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1995. Print.
Web. 15 Mar. 2012.
iberalismo-en-mexico.htm. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.
Amazon.com: Books. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.
Ardao, Arturo. "Assimilation and Transformation of Positivism in Latin America."JSTOR. University of Pennsylvania Press. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.
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