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latin america midterm essay 3 24 08

latin america midterm essay 3 24 08 - Kaitlyn Herthel...

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Kaitlyn Herthel March 24, 2008 Modern Latin America 508:262 Factors Underpinning the Relations Between “Haves” and “Have-nots” in Latin America After experiencing rough beginnings and seemingly endless warfare, the newly- developed countries of Latin America faced an even more frightful future, based on changing social conditions. Nearly all nations were established with heavy debts on loan from outside countries, which made the start for the people economically trying. Many conditions shaped the relationships between the “haves” and “have-nots,” from colonial origins to race. Both lectures and the class textbook, Latin America and Its People , by Cheryl E. Martin and Mark Wasserman, illustrate the everyday living and working conditions of the people in the continent of extreme political, social and economic turmoil. The relationship between the classes was defined by the working conditions in Latin America, especially the poor working and living conditions of the marginalized lower-class. The differences between the classes can be seen as early as the founding of the countries of Latin America. From the onset of the countries, the upper-class illustrated their European heritage as a symbol of prestige and wealth. Creoles, for example, were members of the upper- classes who were born in Latin America but claimed European heritage (Lecture, 28 January 2008). By dressing in European fashions and spending their leisure time engaging in European activities such as travel, creoles gained esteem in society and secured their position ahead of the lower-classes. Unlike their non-elite counterparts, the creoles could afford luxury goods and the romanticized ideals of a European lifestyle. 1
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The political ideology is also responsible for the relationship between the upper- and lower- classes in Latin America during the 19 th century. After the development of new countries, the people experienced many difficulties in deciding which type of government would work best. While the elite people were given significant word in the establishment of new governments, the participation of lower-class, who made up a large portion of the population, was extremely limited in any representative government (Lecture, 31 January 2008). The upper-class, who ruled the government, disregarded the opinions and ideas of the non-elite peoples. This lack of attention from the elites is another reason for the disconnect between the “haves” and “have- nots.” Although the non-elites were ultimately ignored, they still found ways to exercise their political powers through the use of caudillos , or wealthy landowners who gained local power (Martin, Wasserman 298). They were influential and could temporarily mend the troubled political system. Oftentimes, they maintained private militias and were highly militarized. They styled their own fashion to resemble that of Europeans, similar to the upper-class as illustrated earlier (Lecture, 31 January 2008).
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latin america midterm essay 3 24 08 - Kaitlyn Herthel...

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