Aftermath of Latin American independence has brought many changes into the concept of the “nationhood” related to South American community. First of all, it would be well to stress continuous but idle efforts of its politicians to improve financial and economic situation in Latin America. Although, there was a considerable transformation from complex and inconvenient colonial system to subordinacy to taxes from investments provided by European countries, the ruling class was still not willing to pay taxes that had significantly negative influence on economic stability of Latin America (Bauer 103). Oftentimes, the officials resorted to the financial help and interest-bearing debt from abroad being unable to sink a debt and thus driving the entire nation into a corner.
A number of reforms that took place during the first half of the nineteenth century served as a basis for socially important changes in life of Latin American nations. The abolition of slavery, the end of Indian tribute, guilds, and overlapping jurisdiction gave way to new waves of immigration, more sophisticated armies, and improvement of international relationships. It would be appropriate to note that the difference between urban and rural communities became even more contrasting as the trade capital flow was placed at the disposal of the nation’s upper crust, which primarily lived in big cities (Bauer 95).
Many historians believe that the colonial legacy has to great degree influenced the life of post-independence Latin American nations. However, it was characterized by both positive and negative changes that took place immediately after the independence was proclaimed. Unfortunately, the majority of them appeared to be the results of previous political campaigns and brought nothing encouraging or constructing to the population. The main features of the colonial legacy included:
q Community motionlessness. That is inability to move from one social class into another due to strict economic restrictions. A person born in the working class had almost no chance to considerably improve his family budget financial situation unless he had personal connections with the representatives from the elite.
q Lack of interest and unresponsiveness of the nation associated with overall disappointment in government. Additionally, people did not feel their opinion could somehow influence or change the political/economic situation in the country, as everything was concentrated in the hands of the ruling class.
q Inability to make individual decision due to European supremacy almost in all branches of social, political, and economic life of Latin American countries. This concerned religion (the Catholic Church), culture, education, etc.
q The educational system was arranged so it could meet the demand of the ruling class rather than improving the erudition and intellectual abilities of the whole nation (Bauer 213).
Due to the fact that European population made approximately 85% of the nations of South America, it would be fair to claim that race has played an important role in life of all Latin Americans. Constant miscegenation and immigration significantly contributed to demographical situation of Latin America and brought the notion of nationhood to the level of combination of various European and aboriginal cultures. United by indicated above obstacles during post-independence years people experienced the same feeling of insecurity, instability, and anxiety that made them solidary and strong.
Bauer, Arnold J. Goods, Power, History: Latin America’s Material Culture (New Approaches to the Americas). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.