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Chapter 25
Review and Discussion
What were the underlying reasons for the struggles for
independence in Latin America in the early nineteenth
Many of the causes were the same as those that helped spark
the American and French Revolutions.
Colonists chafed at the political power of colonial officials, the
lack of representation, and the inability to shape their own
Their subordinate position as suppliers of raw materials and
consumers of goods manufactured in Europe stirred economic
unrest, for colonists saw themselves as victims of high prices
and state-supported monopolies.
The same Enlightenment reasoning that affected the American
and French Revolutions influenced Latin American radicals.
The final event that triggered Latin American revolutions was
Napoleon’s invasion of Spain and Portugal 1807.
Dislocation of authority and control resulting from those
invasions as being the final impetus toward a new revolutionary
Problems associated with regionalism were important in shaping
Latin American nations as well as the United States. Compare and
contrast the significance of regionalism throughout the Americas.
Regionalism in Latin America was very divisive, often splitting nations into competing
On a larger scale, it ensured the failure of all attempts at creating federations of
Example: Bolívar’s failed attempt at creating Gran Colombia as one example.
Within nations, the wealthy jealously guarded their positions and often instigated civil
wars or secession movements to safeguard them.
This caused more localized divisions, which threatened to split countries apart.
Dictators often arose in attempts to unify regions under stronger centralized control.
By 1900, every Latin American country had undergone at least one dictatorship.
On the other hand, the United States, with a longer British and colonial history of
constitutional and representative government, never experienced a violent usurpation
of power or rejection of an election.
Still, the U.S. Constitution did specifically try to address regional problems and
concerns, which included sanctioning slavery.
The problems of regionalism and internal differences were significant enough that
they led to the Civil War in 1861.
What was the effect of independence and the end of
colonialism on Amerindians? Consider former British,
Spanish, and Portuguese colonies.
Toward the end of the colonial era, European nations strove to control the
expansion of their peoples in an effort to end the perpetual fighting with
Independence removed that check on expansion, but at the same time the
revolutionary struggles for freedom weakened newly independent peoples.
Amerindians took advantage of that temporary weakness to push back EuroAmerican advances.
Amerindians continued to resist expansion, adapting in unique ways to new
technologies and opportunities, such as horses and firearms.
Euro-American setbacks were only temporary, however.
In places such as the United States, military efforts led by the national
government forcibly removed Amerindians to more remote and less viable
In Argentina, powerful Amerindian groups were kept at peace only through
an elaborate system of gift giving and prisoner exchanges.
Ultimately, however, Amerindians lost their land. Increases in population and
new technologies enabled their opponents to overwhelm them.
Discuss the processes of development and
All western hemisphere economies grew between
1800 and 1900.
The growth of markets, technology, and population
caused increases in wealth; however, growing
economic interdependence and increased competition
also caused structural problems in some cases.
Two distinct tracks of development evolved:
development and underdevelopment.
Development included industrial development and
prosperity and underdevelopment included continued
colonial dependence on exports of raw materials and
low-wage industries.
What was the nature of immigration to the Americas in the
nineteenth century? What were some of the problems and
contributions of immigration?
As the African slave trade came to an end, the nature, sources, and
numbers of immigrants to the Americas changed dramatically.
For instance, hundreds of thousands of Indian and Chinese emigrants came
to North and South America.
Still, most free immigrants came from Europe, particularly those emigrating
to the United States, Canada, Argentina, and other nations of southern
South America.
This was due in part to discrimination against Asian immigrants in the United
States, Canada, and other countries.
While this influx of people contributed to the Industrial Revolution in the
Americas, supplying the labor for new factories and agriculture, workers in
the Americas viewed immigrants differently. To workers, immigrants were a
threat—pawns used by capitalists to lower wages and degrade working
conditions. Native-born Americans blamed the immigrants’ cultures for these
immigration-related problems. However, aside from the previously
mentioned economic benefits, immigrants made many significant
contributions—in food, music, literature, folklore, and other areas of their
cultural heritage. Schools attempted to assimilate immigrants through
acculturation. Patriotic songs, symbols, and history lessons were used to this
What factors led to the alteration of the American
environment? How was the environment altered?
Population growth, economic expansion, new technologies, and the introduction of plants and
animals to new regions dramatically altered the American environment.
Many of Cuba’s forests were cut to expand sugar production.
The expansion of livestock raising put a heavy burden on the fragile environments in Argentina,
Uruguay, southern Brazil, and the southwestern United States.
Commercial agriculture, such as increases in cotton production, led to soil exhaustion and
erosion. The use of plows on the North American prairies and the Argentine pampas eliminated
many native grasses and increased the threat of soil erosion.
Coffee planters in Brazil exhausted soil fertility with a destructive cycle of over-planting.
In addition, rapid urbanization put heavy pressure on the environment. New York, Chicago, Rio
de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City were among the fastest growing cities.
Governments strained to keep up with the need for sewers, clean water, and garbage disposal.
The rising demand for building materials led to the spread of the timber industry.
Mining also advanced into Nevada, Montana, and California after 1860 and erosion and
pollution resulted.
Also, efforts to meet increasing domestic demand for food and housing and to satisfy foreign
demands for exports led to environmental degradation but also contributed to the world
economy and regional prosperity.
By the end of the nineteenth century, small-scale conservation efforts were under way in many
Compare and contrast the revolutionary
movements in Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil
Venezuelan independence was initiated by creoles (colonial-born whites), who were large landowners
seeking to hold on to their power and wealth.
They wanted to retain slavery and keep power from the black and mixed-race populace.
Their narrow aims angered most Venezuelans, who broadened the movement, unifying behind Simón Bolívar.
Although defeated on many occasions, Bolívar successfully adapted his objectives and policies to attract new
allies and build coalitions.
Although initially opposed to the abolition of slavery, he agreed to support emancipation in order to draw
slaves and freemen to his cause and to gain supplies from Haiti.
Bolívar made astute adjustments in his goals both politically and militarily and won independence.
Mexico was much more conservative and wealthier than other Spanish colonies, with a higher percentage of
Spanish-born settlers as well.
On hearing of Napoleon’s invasion of Spain, the wealthiest Spaniards in Mexico feared that the local viceroy
would be too sympathetic to the creoles, and so they overthrew him.
Establishing a precedent of undermining the colonial government, the revolution spread to the rural and urban
It was the news of a military revolt in Spain in 1820 that shattered the conservative coalition.
In 1821, Colonel Agustin de Iturbide and other loyalist commanders forged an alliance and declared Mexico’s
However this transition to independence was conservative and highlighted by the decision to create a
monarchial form of government and crown Iturbide emperor.
In 1823, Mexico became a republic.
The situation in Brazil was different mainly because of its Portuguese affiliation. When Napoleon invaded
Portugal, the Portuguese royal family fled into exile in Brazil.
Even after the French in Portugal were defeated, the royal family remained in America.
The king returned to Portugal only when a liberal revolt threatened the Iberian government. His son Pedro
declared Brazilian independence in 1822 and established a constitutional monarchy with himself as its head.