Ch. 25 Discussion Questions
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Ch. 25 Discussion Questions AP World History
Describe the degree to which Latin American states were successful in shaking off their colonial past.
With independence, most nations had republican governments; liberal constitutions extended the vote. Their economies no longer were under European dictation. Slavery, the base of exploitative labor, ended by 1888. The colonial heritage of a society based on castes of color and race was more difficult to overcome. Indians continued to be oppressed and remained at the bottom of the social structure. Even liberal land reforms and redistribution plans discriminated against Indians and mestizos. There were frequent rebellions of peasants and Indians against governments dominated by Creole aristocracies.
Compare the relationship of the Latin American nations with the West at the end of the 19th century with the relationship of the West to true colonies created through imperialism.
Latin America remained independent, did not provide military forces to the West, and was outside of the imperial scramble. The profits of economic expansion were not drained off by Western merchants. But Latin America was in many ways reduced to an economic dependency typical of true colonies; economic expansion was based on the export of raw materials, and markets were dependent on the West. The West provided capital for initiation of industry and often owned the industries. The labor force often was exploited in a manner similar to that of colonial labor forces.
Trace the causes of political change in Latin America.
Four external events had a major effect on Latin American political thought. The American Revolution provided a model for colonial rebellion. The French Revolution offered revolutionary ideology. The slave rebellion on the French island of St. Domingue, led by Franyois-Dominique Toussaint L'Overture in 1791, ended in 1804 with the independent republic of Haiti. The final and precipitating factor was the confused political situation in Spain and Portugal caused by French invasion and occupation.
Contrast the Brazilian move to independence with other Latin America independence.
Because of political unrest and invasion in Portugal, the king of Portugal was forced to flee to Brazil in 1820. In 1822, Brazil was declared independent with a monarchy ruling. This contrasts from the rest of Latin America's colonies as they fought protracted revolutions for independence. Ultimately each of these colonies became republics.
Compare the centralist versus the federalist controversy.
There were many differences among leaders about the forms of republican government. Centralists wanted strong governments with broad powers, while federalists favored awarding authority to regional governments.
Characterize the liberal politics of the period from 1850 to 1870
Liberals, influenced by the French and United States models, stressed individual rights, opposed the corporate structure of colonial society, and favored a federalist government.
Identify the successes of reform at resolving problems of race, class, and gender.
Women, despite participation in the revolutions, gained little ground during the 19th century. They continued as wives and mothers under the authority of men; they could not vote or hold office. Lower-class women had more economic and personal freedom but otherwise shared in subordination. Public education became more open to women to prepare them for more enlightened roles in the home. Most of the new nations legally ended the society of castes in which status depended on color and ethnicity; in reality, very little changed for natives and former slaves. Control of land, politics, and the economy was dominated by a small, white, Creole elite that displayed rigid social structures.
Summarize the economic boom of the period after 1870
The increasing demand in industrializing Europe stimulated Latin American economic growth. Political alliances were forged to influence governments in their favor at the expense of the peasants and the working class. Export products fueled the expansion and provided resources for imports of foreign manufactured goods and local development projects. The developing commerce drew the interest of foreign investors. Germany and the United States joined Britain as major participants. The capital brought in was useful, but it placed key industries under foreign control, and it influenced the internal and external policies of governments.
Generalize the ways that the United States entered the political and economic affairs of Latin America
The Spanish-American War of 1898 brought the United States directly into Latin American affairs. American investment in Cuba predated the war, and following it there was direct involvement in the Caribbean. Cuba became an American economic dependent, and Puerto Rico was annexed. When Colombia was reluctant to meet American proposals for building the Panama Canal, the United States backed a revolution in Panama and gained exclusive rights over the canal. Latin Americans, as a consequence, became very suspicious of the expansionist United States.