Japan’s Modernization and Latin America’s Stagnation.docx

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Japan’s Modernization and Latin America’s Stagnation ` In the 1800s, many countries part of Latin America won their independence through the inspiration of former revolts and spreading enlightenment. However, despite that their independence should have promoted change, Latin America did not change significantly. While, Japan did not experience a war of independence during this time period, they did experience millenarian revolts and the pressure of fighting stagnation, which prompted change in all sectors. Furthermore, during the Meiji Restoration in Japan rapidly industrialized Japan's economy and thoroughly modernized the political and social life in the country, while in Latin America there was little change in social structure due to the constancy of the elite class and little economic growth due to economic imperialism (This form of imperialism allows the area to operate as its own nation, but the imperialist nation almost completely controls its trade and other business. For example, it may impose regulations that forbid trade with other nations, or imperialist companies may own or have exclusive rights to its natural resources), which only furthered stagnation. (Khan, Noor) In Japan, internal conflict and economic stagnation helped catalyze serious change in social structure and government. The Tokugawa Shogunate tried to enjoy the fruits of urbanization and proto--industrialization, all while keeping in place its dictatorial rule and rigid social stratification, which favored the samurai class. Also, it isolated itself from the world, allowing little foreign trade and relations that brought the country to a halt for some time. Eventually, all of this changed with the appearance of Commodore matthew Perry in 1853. With his military strongarm, Perry “asked” the Japanese to open up trade. (Huffman, James) The Shoguns allowance of opening trade sparked other countries to follow suit. The Japanese were well aware of the “Unequal Treaties” that had been imposed on the Chinese after the Opium Wars due to superior military power, and they were unwilling to face the same fate. (Tellman, Felix) So, in 1867-68, a reform seeking coalition of samurai class, angered by the shogun’s
reluctance to challenge foreign intimidation, diminished the shogunate and restored the emperor (figurehead since the 1200s) to full authority. Furthermore, Japan developed a parliamentary form of monarchy by the start of the twentieth century. In the Constitution of 1890, it created an elected parliament, the Diet, and the Civil Code of 1898 updated japan’s legal systems. (Huffman, James) Latin America experienced several strides in gaining independence, but social hierarchy continued as well as ineffective government, all which contradicted the ideals they intended to achieve in the Latin American wars. The Latin American wars occurred between the years of 1810 to 1825. (Whitecore, Arnold) Factor that helped include a growing sense of nationalism and local resentment of Spain’s and Portugal’s restrictive economic policies. In addition, the

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