Diss Hum

What do you think was the greatest challenge for newly independent Latin American nations in establishing their national cultures? Use examples from the learning materials to support your response.

Submit a well-composed response by writing in the “Reply” section directly below this prompt. If you would like to reply to other people, write in the “Reply” section below their post.


Produce a substantial response to the given prompt (about 200 words – remember, your post should be detailed and specific enough to demonstrate that you have a thorough understanding of the learning materials,
Proofread your work. Submit college-level writing.

What Led to the Struggle for Independence?
By the early 1800s, Spain and Portugal controlled all the lands of Latin America except for a few scattered settlements. They had controlled these colonies for nearly 300 years. Beginning in the late 1700s, discontent with European rule began to grow, and by 1824, most of the colonies had fought wars that freed them from Spanish and Portuguese rule. What led to this quest for independence? Consider:

Secularization & Creole Identity
Enlightenment philosophies of the 1700s in Europe and America questioned conservatism epitomized by colonial rule, the divine right of kings, and the closely interrelated institutions of Church and State. The Enlightenment stressed reason, study and analysis, and natural rights. It emphasized the need to know and understand the natural, physical, economic, and political world here on earth more than metaphysical and religious abstractions of what might lie beyond life on earth. The emphasis on science and nature coincided with a growing appreciation of the wealth and natural wonders of the new world, and how they had for centuries been exploited and pillaged to serve the empires of the Old World.

Plaza de Armas luego de la firma de la declaratoria de la independencia el 15 de septiembre de 1821 by Rafael Beltranena, 1910

After two hundred years of living in the new world and intermixing with its original inhabitants, the European descendants (or criollos) began to form societies of people who, although they shared a common language with their European ancestors, were becoming increasingly distinct from them. These emerging societies became more autonomous linguistically, economically , and socially; creating their own sense of reality which did not necessarily coincide with that prevalent in Europe. This feeling of pride in one’s American land and roots grew into regional pride and a nativism that reinforced the notion that Americans (and especially the creoles) were just as good, if not better, than the Europeans.

Nativism & Liberalism
After 300 years of life in the Americas, criollos considered themselves “Americans” and not European. Generations of European descendants had been born and raised in the Americas without any relationship to their “European cousins.” That is not to say that the criollos had much in common with indigenous, African or mixed raced people of the Americas either. But in a sense, they played second fiddle to the Peninsulares, a term given to those born on the Iberian Peninsula, and so stood to gain from independence. The Peninsulares were not truly interested in helping the masses economically or in terms of equality, so instead, the criollos would now rule Latin America themselves. By stressing birthplace, however, it created a unifying cause. This nativism then was married with liberalism, or rule by the people, to appeal to the masses.

In general, independence movements did little to change the lives of the masses. In a sense it was the “same bus with just a different driver.” Now the criollos ruled in the same way the Peninsulares had for three centuries. However, the seed had been planted for social change.

Post-Independence Challenges

Political Instability & The Caudillo
Events in Europe at the turn of the 19th century greatly influenced events in Latin America. Thanks to Carlos IV, who was basically an absentee ruler, Spain was almost bankrupt in the late 1700s. This led to higher taxes and corruption. The war with England was a further strain on Spain’s economy. As well, The French Revolution of the 1790s inspired many around the world to question the divine right of kings and rule by kings who were in power only because of their pedigree. The battle cry was popular sovereignty. Once obtained, independence unfortunately did not match the promises of popular governance. Old hierarchical structures remained in place. The language and laws of the Iberian colonizers became those of the new nations, and those at the bottom were essentially the labor force for those economically empowered as was the case prior to independence.

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna by Carlos Paris, 19th Century, Mexican caudillo, CC Wikimedia Commons

The new question facing Latin America was what kind of political system were the new nations going to put in place. The new nations had little or no experience with democracy prior to independence. Political theorists and lawyers had read a lot about the French and U.S. revolutions and would attempt to put similar constitutions in place. However, they had very little knowledge about how they worked. This led to a period of instability lasting about 50 years.

In the power vacuum that had been created, often times military leaders became political leaders. Unfortunately, military skills were often quite different from skills needed by the new constitutions and political theories. These leaders often ruled with a heavy authoritarian hand, and this begins Latin America’s long experience with the caudillo, the strongman who frequently governed like a dictator. The caudillos allied themselves with the landowners and with the Church. For many years, this alliance ruled Latin American politics.

Devastated Economies
As with most war-torn nations, independence struggles had devastating effects on Latin America’s infrastructure and economy. Many industries were destroyed and European moneylenders were busy with other European countries and the United States, making money scarce in the newly independent nations. In addition, there was no transportation infrastructure to handle the high volume of trading that would now be needed. Prior to independence, trade had been on a much smaller scale. Moving products on a large scale from the interior to the coasts for shipping would become a challenge.

The Spanish-Caribbean Remains Spanish Much Longer
Spain did not lose full control over its remaining Caribbean colonies until the end of the 1800s. The Dominican Republic did not fully cut ties with Spain until its second war for independence in 1865. After a few attempts at liberation, both Cuba and Puerto Rico received U.S. intervention in the Spanish-American war of 1898, resulting in Cuba becoming a U.S. protectorate until its full independence in 1902. Puerto Rico remains a U.S. territory today. Considering Cuba and Puerto Rico, revolutionary literature is quite popular with writers during the independence and post-independence eras as you will see in some examples in this and the next module.

One writer, the poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió (who we will further discuss in this module), wrote the poem “To Cuba” in 1893 to express the solidarity between the two islands–their shared culture and their longing for freedom:

“To Cuba”

Cuba y Puerto Rico son
de un pájaro las dos alas,
reciben flores o balas
sobre el mismo corazón …

Cuba and Puerto Rico are
As two wings of the same bird,
They receive flowers or bullets
Into the same heart …

Arts and Independence
Just as Latin American colonies were trying to exert their autonomy and unique identities through revolutions for independence, the cultural expressions during this time reflected these themes as well. We will now explore a few examples from the arts and literature, starting with the visual arts.

Visual Arts in the 19th Century
At the beginning of the century formats and functions were purely European. Paintings were created using oils on canvases and were displayed in frames; work of this type had of course existed in Latin America since the Spanish Conquest. By the end of the nineteenth century religious art of the type made for churches had almost died out, and paintings were made just as they were in Europe: either as collectors’ pieces or large scale for display in museums and official buildings of various types. Sculpture was devoted to the commemoration of significant national events and the personification of civic virtues or served as a memorial to national heroes or to civic or military leaders. Often these functions overlapped.

In the mid-19th century, Mexico expressed itself in art through works such as The Tlaxcotlan General Tlahuitcole doing Battle at the Gladiator’s Stone of Sacrifice, a sculpture by the Catalan immigrant Manuel Vilar (1812-59) and The Discovery of Pulque, an historical composition by the Mexican painter Jose Obregon (1832-1902). Both show inspiration of European ideals, particularly Romanticism, adapted to suit American historical themes.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with Boom Grades
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Classic English Literature
Great Work as Usual. Thank you . I received an A on the paper!
Customer 452531, November 9th, 2021
Classic English Literature
Absolutely LOVE the essay I received. I really appreciate it so much.
Customer 452529, October 25th, 2021
Religious studies
I recommend this service they always help. I got an A in this project thanks.
Customer 452507, October 5th, 2021
english comp
Thank you for all your hard time.
Customer 452509, June 27th, 2021
english comp
Great paper and done before the deadline. Thank you
Customer 452509, June 15th, 2021
English 101
perfect! thanks!
Customer 452543, December 1st, 2021
Absolutely LOVE having help especially from the person who wrote this last one. THANK YOU
Customer 452529, November 19th, 2021
Exercise Science
Thank you so much for your time.
Customer 452545, December 5th, 2021
English comp
Got a 94% thank you!
Customer 452509, June 27th, 2021
world civilization
Thank you for the quick response
Customer 452509, June 27th, 2021
Great content.
Customer 452549, February 8th, 2022
Classic English Literature
Awesome Job... you are the best!
Customer 452531, November 27th, 2021
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat