Problems in Latin American History Essay

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Latin America Revolutions

Except for the glaring exception of Brazil, the Latin American revolutions established republics from Mexico to Argentina, although the new governments were never particularly liberal or democratic. They certainly did not grant equal citizenship to, much less social and economic equality, while women, slaves, servants, and indigenous peoples mostly remained under traditional patriarchal controls. Some revolutionaries like Jose Morelos in Mexico and Batista Campos in Brazil did demand a more liberal or radical social order in which the racial caste system had been abolished, but in most parts of Latin America this has not really occurred yet. Morelos did not intend to abolish the class system or even the economic power of whites, but he did call for the end of slavery, the elimination of titles of nobility and equal education for all. In the early-19th Century, such ideals as equality of citizenship regardless of color counted as "quite modern economic, social, and political prescriptions."[footnoteRef:1] Brazil became independent on paper at least in 1822, but still under the rule of Emperor Pedro I rather than a republican political
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system. It did not abolish slavery or the monarchy until 1889, and hardly any popular revolutionary movement existed there. Whites controlled all the important offices of the bureaucracy, military and Catholic Church -- which at the time of course was the only church allowed in Latin America. Batista Campos, a radical Catholic priest in Belem, called for a new social and political order that went beyond the old colonial system and led a popular revolt in 1823. Even though the Portuguese authorities imprisoned him many times, he survived long enough to participate in the revolt against Dom Pedro in 1831.[footnoteRef:2] [1: Enrique Krause, "The Vision of Father Morelos" in James A. Wood and John Charles Chasteen (eds), Problems in Latin American History: Sources and Methods, 3rd Edition (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009), p. 7.] [2: John Charles Chasteen, "The Brazilian Path to Independence" in Wood and Chasteen, p. 15.]

Even those slaves who fought for the revolution rarely received their freedom after the war, while the new governments never even considered equal voting and citizenship rights for…

Sources Used in Documents:


Andrews, G. Reid. "Argentina's Black Legions" in James A. Wood and John Charles Chasteen (eds), Problems in Latin American History: Sources and Methods, 3rd Edition. Rowman and Littlefield, 2009, pp. 10-14.

Chambers, Sarah C. "What Independence Meant for Women" in Wood and Chasteen, pp. 18-24.

Chasteen, John Charles, "The Brazilian Path to Independence" in Wood and Chasteen, pp. 15-17.

Krause, Enrique. "The Vision of Father Morelos" in Wood and Chasteen, pp. 7-10.

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