Mexican Political Culture
As once put by Mexican Nobel laureate Octavio Paz, Mexico is a land of “super-imposed pasts” (McCormick, p.326). It continues to be and is seen as a melding pot of its European and Native American ideas about society, law and government. Its history has had a major influence on the political culture of Mexico, seen through years of revolution, violence and corruption. Mexico is a considered a new democracy, but there is a tension still seen between democracy and authoritarianism. The country we see today has impressive growth yet is still enduring poverty. It’s a geographically diverse country, with a population of approximately 106million people. Latin American political culture is seen as “elitist, hierarchical, authoritarian, corporatist and patrimonial.” Various economic pressures and calculated changes being made to the system of government are now challenging these traditions in Mexico, hopefully to ultimately restore the relationship between the government and people. (McCormick, pg.333) Today, many of the politics we see in Mexico do still reflect the centralized and hierarchical system of the Aztecs, but we see much change in the country after the arrival of Europeans. Until the 15th century, native peoples inhabited the current Mexico. The Mayans and Azteks built a surprisingly sophisticated empire with their own local governments, centralized taxes and court system and beyond. The Spanish arrived in 1519 and by the mid-sixteenth century all of what the native peoples had built had been conquered. The Spaniards left Mexico with a huge influence; they brought religious heritage in Catholicism, which has gone beyond just a religion in Mexico and is embedded in their political culture. “Spanish Catholicism was based on the idea that political authority emanated from God, and all lower levels of society had progressively less power and status.” (McCormick, p. 334). We see this hierarchical influence still in Mexican political...
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