American Transformation, 1800-1890 Essays

American Transformation, 1800-1890 Essays

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What major political changes did Western Hemisphere nations face in the nineteenth century? (The Earth and Its Peoples, 633)
The collapse of colonialism created various challenges for the newly free nations of the Western Hemisphere, in the 19th century. The rise of Personalist leaders, resurgence of Native American resistance, and immigration all affected the political environments of North and South America during that time. Young nations like The United States, Argentina, and Brazil found it difficult to manage themselves under their new constitutions. Regional separations and movements for women’s and black rights added to this difficulty, creating new political groups and questioning national identity.
Perhaps the most significant political change in the 19th century, the regionalization of western states challenged the growth of their respective identities. As Bulliet says, “after independence, new national governments were generally weaker than the colonial governments they replaced.” In Spanish America, initiatives like Gran Columbia failed because of debate over economic policy, power struggles, and other interprovincial conflict. The lands of New Spain (1521-1821) were wide and varied, and many of the natives never desired to live under such a flag to begin with. This was illustrated with the Caste War, a string of many battles that were waged between the Maya and the Spanish over rights and land in the Yucatán area of Mexico, starting in 1847. Regionalism also affected the United States. The size and composition of states influenced the drafting of the constitution. The smaller states, along the East Coast, feared that their say would be repressed by larger states. The states and western territori...


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...ves are as responsible for their oppression as those who oppress them. The third resolution voices, “the servile submission and quiet indifference of the Women of this country … are the fruit either of ignorance or degradation.” This seems quite logical, although, from what I’ve read, I think it was a combination of the two. Through the words of these resolutions, I can see the precursors to the feminist movement of the 60’s.
When learning about the reception of these resolutions by the constitutional convention, part of me isn’t surprised, given the prevailing views at the time; another part of me is shocked that these men can simply ignore the wrongs that have been so clearly laid out in front of them. It reminds me that we have wrongs that are allowed in today’s society, which may be more subtle, but no less important, and are ignored by our representatives.

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