The Ideological Framework
Economic prosperity spawned discontent when the native beneficiaries saw a new world of affluence opening for themselves and their class. They attained a new consciousness and hence, a new goal - that of equality with the peninsulares - not in the abstract, but in practical economic and political terms. Hispanization became the conscious manifestation of economic struggle, of the desire to realize the potentialities offered by the period of expansion and progress. Hispanization and assimilation constituted the ideological expression of the economic motivations of affluent indios and mestizos. Equality with the Spaniard meant equality of opportunity. But they did not realize as yet that real equality must be based on national freedom and independence. The were still in the initial phases of nationalist consciousness - a consciousness made possible by the market situation of the time. The lordly friar who had been partly responsible for the isolation of the islands became the target of attacks. Anti-clericalism became the ideological style of the period. [p. 134]
These then were the salient economic and ideological features of Rizal's time. A true historical review would prove that great men are those who read the time and have a deeper understanding of reality. It is their insights that make them conversant with their periods and which enable them to articulate the needs of the people. To a large extent, Rizal, the ilustrado, fulfilled this function, for in voicing the goals of his class he had to include the aspirations of the entire people. Though the aims of this class were limited to reformist measures, he expressed its demands in terms of human liberty and human dignity and thus encompassed the wider aspirations of all the people. This is not to say that he was conscious that these were class goals; rather, that typical of his class, he equated class interest with people's welfare. He did this in good faith, unaware of any...
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