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Origins of Problems in Early Nationhood

Origins of Problems in Early Nationhood - Martin 1 Andrew...

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Martin 1 Andrew Martin History 252 – Modern Latin American History Pledge: Origins of Problems of Early Nationhood in Latin America The problems facing Latin America during the Early Nationhood period were daunting. The problems can be logically divided several ways. Dividing the problems by the era in which they were created would make sense, but analyzing them by the type of problem that they are proves more manageable. The problems generally fit neatly into political problems, economic problems, military problems, or social problems. Often connections can be made between many of the issues and dependent issues in other categories; a reason that Latin America struggled so greatly to stabilize itself. Political problems include the likes of existing government infrastructure, a lack of Americano leadership experience, and forming party politics. The military destabilized the population, in addition to wiping out much of the work force. Social issues, such as the caste system and state sponsored religion, continued to be a scourge to Latin America well beyond the Early Nationhood period. The most troubling problem, which can relate directly to all of the others, is the economic one. A failure to industrialize, stagnation, and a lack of investment created poor economic conditions across vast expanses of Latin America. The Early Nationhood period consists roughly of the years from 1825 until 1850. By 1825 nearly all of Latin America, with a few exceptions like Cuba, was free of
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Martin 2 colonial rule by the Iberian countries. Events in Europe, mostly Napoleon, created ideal conditions for independence in Latin America; figures such as Simon Bolivar, Jose de San Martin, and Agustin de Iturbide took advantage of the situation and freed Latin America. Brazil, Argentina, and a few other exceptions didn’t really fight for their independence, but they are not the rule. The wars for independence were not short: they started in 1810 and slowed considerably until 1815 when they picked up again raging until Bolivar liberated his final two countries in 1824. This is where all of problems of Early Nationhood began to show themselves. Politically, the field was very unstable. The power transfer went from the elites of Spain to the elites of the Americas. The caste system was still very much in effect, and only rich Creoles had power. Being new nations, Latin America had no established governments or infrastructure to start from. Compounding on the lack of infrastructure was the lack of any political leadership from the Latin American Creoles. After several hundred years of colonial rule, none of the natives had any clue how to go about ruling themselves. Simon Bolivar states, “the role of the inhabitants of the American hemisphere has for centuries been purely passive. Politically they were nonexistent.” 1 He goes on to point out that “the Americas have risen rapidly and without previous knowledge of, and … without previous experience in public affairs.” 2 1 1 Simon Bolivar, “The Jamaica Letter,” in
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