Free «Caudillo Politics» Essay Sample

This historical paper will describe the Latin-American wars of independence. When Christopher Columbus discovered Latin America, he had a hard time convincing himself and the entire crew that they were not in Asia. He met no resistance from the people but rather experienced breathtaking views from the area’s topography and natural vegetation. Years later, the Spanish government took over the new-found treasure colonizing it hence earning from the region. The work by Wolf and Hansen (1967) is a good anthology that deals with the phenomenon of Caudillismo in the modern Latin America. Derived from the immense literature on caudillos in Latin American history, there are selections by North American, Latin American, and European authors. It proves to be a valuable collection of the history of Latin American. The researchers talk of the Criollo (people of Spanish origin born in the New World) and how they need to rid themselves of the Caudillo rule. The authors portray the last ones as dictators who deprive the locals off their political and/or economic activities. The Spanish rule ensures it has blocked all other European powers from the territory to get all the benefits. The scientists also talk of the different classes in the society: the Mestizos, the Criollo and the Caudillos. To every class, there are advantages and/or disadvantages. The Spanish rule was keen to check the strength of each class to support its superiority in the region while keeping order in the new colonies. The locals merged powers to get their own independence. Although it was successful at first, Wolf and Hansen give a tone of betrayal to the alliances towards the end. Juniors massacred seniors to gain more power and hence more control. Later the economic system shifts to an open market burying with it all the other mercantilist systems that had flourished earlier.

A study of the work by Burns and Charlip (2006), in the book Latin America: An Interpretive History, reveals several key points that are similar to the text above on Caudillo politics and the history of Latin America. The main points that both texts talk about are: the vast richness of the land and the integration of the indigenous community. Those two works show how the community was divided into classes of workers, owners and laborers. These groups defined the position of an individual in the society and the role he played in the same. The land was rich in raw materials and resources, and, therefore, the Spanish government was keen on preserving it. The second point is the desire for self-rule and the consequent struggle for independence. In the quest for independence, classes are seen to merge for a common purpose. With the involvement of Spain in foreign/ European battles, the locals realized and developed a sense of freedom that they sought to maintain. This resulted to war and getting independence, afterwards. Another point clearly observed in the connection between the two texts is the colonialism factor. The local Latin community is under colonization; first from their own caudillos and then by the Spanish government (foreigners). The two articles go deeper into this question. The above three points are the main issues addressed and show the whole struggle, socialization patterns, way of life and the political activities.

In conclusion, economic, social and especially political activities within the Latin America societies were greatly affected by Spain invasion and the ultimate struggle for independence. New leaders emerged; old economic systems died; social classes were buried while others rose in ranks when the political face changed completely. The alliances were short-lived and as the common goal of independence was achieved, greed for power and violence still prevail in the region up to date. Dictatorship emerged – and a small group of wealthy men ruled the region. Violence is seen to be the order of the day; and the region is still in the third world despite being one of the richest in terms of raw materials and natural resources.


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