Mexican War of Independence

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  • Topic: Mexico, Mexican War of Independence, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
  • Pages : 9 (3077 words )
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  • Published : May 27, 2013
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* The Mexican Wars for Independence: Failed Ambitions
* Pablo A. L. Briger
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* US and Modern World I
* Mr. Segiel
* February 15, 2013
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* September 16 is a day of celebration all through Mexico. Even the president emerges from the royal palace, decorated with a sash to represent Mexico, rings a bell three times just as Miguel Hidalgo did on that same day in 1810 to commemorate the beginning of the revolution and to unite Mexico behind the ideals of equality and freedom that Miguel Hidalgo fought for. All Mexico celebrates on that day as one united country regardless of class or the color of one’s skin. Yet, the wars of independence from 1810 – 1821, according to Timothy J. Henderson in his historical account, The Mexican Wars of Independence, failed to realize the original ideals envisioned by its leaders. In the end, the compromise, ultimately reached in 1821, resulting in independence from Spain, deepened the already existing divisions of race, ethnicity, class, and regions. The revolution that was to ignite social, economic, and political change was doomed to fail not just because of military mistakes, class divisions and misunderstandings, but more importantly because of the deeply rooted social divisions created by 300 years of Spanish colonial rule, which were too difficult to change in a matter of years by the first leaders of the effort. Such change would take generations. Henderson’s argument is so well researched and written in a gripping style that it is impossible to attribute mythic status to the revolutionary heroes that Mexico values and praises to this day. Mexico still remains a society of divisions that were never addressed through Mexico’s independence because the final leader of the war of independence avoided it. * In the 300 years of Spanish reign, they instilled a social hierarchy and economic ideal, which became impossible to overcome with the passing of time. Since the Conquista, the Spanish based their relationship with the native Indians on brutality, exploitation, and prejudice. This became the basis of the society. The Spanish inability to integrate the Indians into society became the start of the Spanish down fall, and a reason that Mexico still suffers today. Mexico was divided into three social groups: at the bottom were the native Indians, blacks, and the castes; then came the creoles (Mexican-born Spaniards), and then at the top where the peninsulares, the Spaniards. Creoles, although economically equal to the peninsulares, were discriminated against for being white Europeans born in the new world, and therefore they were deprived of positions of power in New Spain. The social barriers were immense between the races making the culture and the economy rely mostly on the work of the poor. While Indians were made to pay tribute but the whites were not expected to. Henderson describes the system as “intended to perpetuate inequality, in accordance with the Spanish conviction that God designed human society along hierarchical lines.” The Indians were mistreated and deprived in all aspects of life by the governing Spanish, although they were still educated by Catholic missionaries, who came to the New World to convert the Indians, teaching them a loose version of the Catholic Bible and Spanish ideals. While badly mistreated, according to Henderson, the Indians “may have despised the Spaniards in general, but they revered the distant king, a figure no less abstract or perennially popular than god”. The peninsulares were the royalty of New Spain, but with the decline of Spanish power the peninsular population diminished. With fewer peninsulares the creoles came to power in New Spain, buying their way into powerful positions. As Spain itself was declining rapidly, under both Charles III and his son Charles IV, Spain ended up in the hands of Ferdinand VII. Under...
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