hist 500- cope paper

hist 500- cope paper - Susan Martinez October 20, 2011 HIST...

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Susan Martinez October 20, 2011 HIST 0500: History of Colonial Latin America Cope Paper R. Douglas Cope illustrates in the text, The Limits of Racial Domination: Plebeian Society in Colonial Mexico City, 1660 – 1720, the systems of hierarchies that dominated Mexico City. Although, there are a number of different hierarchies that can be named, Cope focuses on two hierarchies that inevitably can be broken down into further subgroups, categories, and opposing parties. These two hierarchies were the Sistema de Castas and the two republics recognized by the Spanish crown as one unit, the Republica de los Españoles and the Republica de los Indios. These two hierarchies tended to overlap with their elements of beneficiaries and detriments to both the elite class and those of mixed-race or lower class individuals in a number of things, but most importantly, laws and punishment. Cope demonstrates the different domains for both hierarchies. Both the sistema de castas and the colonial recognized republics were based off of race and lineage, and this foundation would create the subcategory of class within itself. The sistema de castas separated the gente decente and the plebian class, or the Spanish and the mixed-bloods. This sistema created a class separation, as well, but failed to accept the true ramifications of it. When it came to class separation, “all elites were Spaniards, but not all Spaniards were members of the elite. The gente decente-plebe model acknowledged this fact, while the sistema de castas attempted to diminish its significance” (24). Although, the sistema de castas was strictly based off of lineage, “Spaniards, castizo, morisco, mestizo, mulatto, Indian, and black” (24), and acted accordingly with laws and regulations, the separation of classes was not color blind and could not be ignored;
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“Mexico’s lower class included Indians, castizos, mestizos, mulattoes, blacks, and even poor Spaniards” (22). Thus, we can infer that although the sistema de castas was a hierarchy exclusively attached to the idea of race, there was an underlying ideology of class that defied this racial structure. When speaking of the two republics however, the Republica de los Españoles and the
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This note was uploaded on 02/17/2012 for the course HIST 101 taught by Professor Fernandez during the Fall '08 term at Pittsburgh.

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hist 500- cope paper - Susan Martinez October 20, 2011 HIST...

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