Essay Example on Latin American History

Published: 2021-08-11
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Latin America refers to the entire continent of South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean islands. Most inhabitants of the people in the region speak the romance language, and they share a characteristic of being colonized by the Portuguese and the Spaniards. From the fifteenth century to the early nineteenth century when the actions for independence began (Gwynne and Cristobal, p.256. 2014). In the period between the 16th and the 19th-century several reformations took place which ranged from political to economic spheres. During this time the lives of men and women were entirely different because men gained the upper hand in almost all the life issues and women were in a state of being dominated and had little to say pertaining several matters (Gwynne and Cristobal, p. 256.2014). Significant changes took place during this period, and women started gaining and exercising some degree of authority on pertinent issues not only in the family but also in leadership roles. Women began to viewed as better future citizens in leadership. Men and women play different roles

Regarding the Hispanics, ethnic background men played various positions from those of women. The family setup was guided and governed by the authorized principles know as patria potestas which gave the fathers an independent authority to dominate over their children and wives (Fowler, p.352 2003). The widows were required take care of their children and if they showed any sign of immorality the children could be taken away from them. The practices were deeply rooted among the Hispanics and women were very inferior to men. However, at the end of the eighteenth century the women's utility began to be considered as essential and reforms to reinstates their position in the society started to effect. The bourbon reforms led to the change in gender roles under the leadership of the Spaniards.

Initially, the role of women was that of giving birth and bringing up children although they were not allowed to have control over them. Besides, they were to perform all the house chores including taking care of the husbands because they were not entitled to education and therefore they became full-time housekeepers. Women were not allowed to make any contributions on any economic matters as this was viewed as the role of men (Fowler, p. 354.2003). They were also not entitled to an education, and they were just confined in their houses waiting for their husbands to provide. Additionally, all the leadership roles in the government and other positions were headed by men.

On the contrary, men were accorded a unique position, and they had total authority over their children. All the leadership positions were given to men including top government positions this gave them the autonomy to continue dominating women. Men could go to school to learn they were believed to bring change in the society (Fowler, p 354. 2003). They were not held responsible for any immoral behavior because all the blame was shouldered on women. Decisions pertaining any matters from the home to the government was made solely by men.

However, by the beginning of the 19th century, the Portuguese brought reforms under the influence of minister Pombal. The minister pushed for modernization, and they borrowed some lessons from Brazil upon Maria Graham visiting Brazil where she found Brazilian ladies expressing ideas freely. Although education for ladies was not valued, they were allowed to go to school. It led to the adoption of knowledge among the Hispanic girls(Fowler, p. 357.2003). The role of mothers was upheld, and childrearing became a noble task. Mothers became essential figures in the states, and this opened up more ways for their education. Women began to be viewed as critical leadership figures upon training. The Spanish enlightenment reforms suggested that knowledge could make girls intelligent, wise and sensible.

The term revolution refers to the change in the organization of a political structure of a nation which takes place within a short period (Edwin.p. 122.2009). It is characterized by people rising against the current governmental authorities through an act of rebelling. The Latin America had been led by political figures who oppressed the people and exploited them economically and forced them to ape their culture. It led to the uprising with the desire to obtain independence and self-rule (Edwin.p.124. 2009). Revolution is a fundamental change that takes place in a radical form. Among the revolutionary movements in the Latin America is the Mexican revolution and the Cuban revolution.

Mexican Revolution 1910-1920

Firstly the Mexican revolution took place between 1910-1920 which radically transformed the Mexican government and values. It was regarded as a genuine national revolution, and it was a tremendous armed struggle (Fowler, p.358.2003). The uprising began as a result of the failure of an extended period of 35 years rule of President Porfirio Diaz who could not find a solution to presidential succession. The problem indicated that there was a severe political crisis. An influential landowner Francisco Madero challenged Diaz following a rigged the election in favor of the incumbent president (Fowler, p. 359.2003). The military, however, forced Diaz out of power and a free and fair election was conducted, and Madero was elected. He faced a lot of criticism as he was considered too feeble to rule because of his liberal nature. He was then forced to resign and was assassinated (Bailyn, p.112.2017). The revolution spread among the organized labor, peasants and middle-class people. It was majorly led by elites Francisco Madero and Pancho Villa. The revolt led to a constant shifting of power in Mexico. The revolution was characterized by desire for change in leadership

Cuban Revolution 1953-1959

On the other hand, the Cuban revolution took place between 1953- 1959, and it was an armed revolt that was led by Fidel Castro movement and its associates against the authoritarian government of President Fulgencio Batista (Menton, p. 161.2014). The rebellion became successful because the regime of Batista was replaced by a socialist state which later followed the communist ideologies. Among the significant achievements of the Cuban revolution was the powerful domestic and global changes. For instance, a good relationship with the United States was established (Menton, p.163.2014). Fidel's government became a pillar of prosperity and brought political union and nationalization. Cuba's economy was transformed, and the status of the civil society changed. The leaders of the Cuban revolution were Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. The revolution was characterized by rebellions and the desire for change in political leadership. Women were accorded a role to play, and they were among the contributors of success of the revolution

The two examples discussed above will classify to be revolutions because they are characterized by the desire for change in the political structure under the current governments (Fowler, p.359.2003). Also, they involve rebellion and fights for the ousting of the leaders in power and replacing them with those who are believed to bring change and prosperity in the concerned nations.

Comparing the two revolutions Fidel Castro and Che Guevara on one hand and Francisco Madero and Pancho Villa on the other depict similar characteristic of the need to expel the incompetent presidents, and both achieved the goal (Fowler, p. 359 2003). They also brought economic change in their nations and improved the political and social lives of their people (Meade and Wiesner-Hanks p. 125.2008). On the contrary, the two revolutions were different. Firstly Mexican revolution did not achieve a previous success as some of the revolutionary leaders were assassinated. For instance Francisco and Pancho while the Cuban revolutionary leaders stayed in power for some time. Also, Cuban revolution had women playing a role in the revolt while in Mexican women are not involved.


Bailyn, B., 2017. The ideological origins of the American Revolution. Harvard University Press.

Edwin.W.,2009.The Penguin history of Latin America retrieved from

Fowler, W., 2003. John Charles Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America (New York and London: WW Norton and Company, 2001), pp. 352, $26.95, hb.-. Journal of Latin American Studies, 35(2), pp.397-398.

Gwynne, R.N. and Cristobal, K.A.Y., 2014. Latin America transformed: globalization and modernity. Routledge.

Meade, T.A. and Wiesner-Hanks, M.E., 2008. A companion to gender history. John Wiley & Sons.

Menton, S., 2014. Prose fiction of the Cuban revolution (Vol. 37). University of Texas Press.

Wiarda, H.J. and Kline, H.F. eds., 2013. Latin American politics and development. Westview Press.

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