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The Cambridge History of Latin America
  • Volume 5: c.1870 to 1930
  • Edited by Leslie Bethell, University College London

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    The Cambridge History of Latin America
    • Online ISBN: 9781139055208
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173
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Book description

The Cambridge History of Latin America is the first authoritative large-scale history of the whole of Latin America - Mexico and Central America, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean (and Haiti), Spanish South America and Brazil - from the first contacts between the native peoples of the Americas and Europeans in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries to the present day. A major work of collaborative international scholarship, The Cambridge History of Latin America has been planned, co-ordinated and edited by a single editor, Dr Leslie Bethell, Reader in Hispanic American and Brazilian History at University College London. It will be published in eight volumes. Each volume or set of volumes examines a period in the economic, social, political, intellectual and cultural history of Latin America.

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  • 1 - Mexico: Restored Republic and Porfiriato, 1867–1910
    pp 1-78
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.002
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Liberals who came to power in 1855, 34 years after Mexico's independence from Spain, had hoped to give Mexico the productivity and stability of its northern neighbour, the United States. In the years after 1884 the Diaz regime became the first effective and long-lasting dictatorship to emerge in Mexico since the advent of Independence. The consolidation of the dictatorship was closely tied to two processes: the achievement of internal stability (the Pax Porfiriana) and the emergence of an effective and powerful Mexican state. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century the Mexican state began to assert its dominion over Mexico's northern frontier: Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon and Durango. Until the end of the century, the economic and social changes produced by the political and economic absorption of the north by both central Mexico and the United States led to substantial improvements for important segments of not only the upper but also the middle and lower classes of society.
  • 2 - The Mexican Revolution, 1910–1920
    pp 79-154
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Three theoretical assumptions in liberal sociology long ruled historical study of the Mexican Revolution: mass action is consensual, intentional, and redistributive; collective violence measures structural transformation; and nationalism aggregates interests in a limited division of labour. Economic and social conditions improved in accordance with revolutionary policies, so that the new society took shape within a framework of official revolutionary institutions. During the Revolution, Mexican society did undergo extraordinary crises and serious changes. Peasant movements and labour unions became important forces. The subject is no longer so much social revolution as political management. And the interpretation here is primarily a political history. It is short on social movements, because however important their emergence, their defeat or subordination mattered more. It is long on the politics that created the new state, because where fortuna and virtu do their damnedest, only the details reveal the reason for the result.
  • 3 - Mexico: revolution and reconstruction in the 1920s
    pp 155-194
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Mexican Revolution was initiated and directed for the most part by the upper and middle classes of the Porfiriato. There were, however, several revolutions within the Revolution. In 1920 the words 'revolution' and 'reconstruction' were synonymous. Jose Vasconcelos could light up the sky with his education policy. In 1924 Vasconcelos went into exile and his ministry was disbanded. Enthusiasm was then transferred to finance, industry and commerce. The year before the United States had recognized the Alvaro Obregon regime; international credit had been restored and the hour was ripe for the great undertakings which had been planned between 1920 and 1924. In 1923 Obregon declared that his successor would be Calles, a man little known nationally and unpopular with many generals, but supported by the CROM and the agraristas. The presidential succession crisis of 1923-24 put an end to what remained of political liberalism in Mexico.
  • 4 - Central America: the Liberal era, c. 1870–1930
    pp 195-228
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The six decades from 1870 to 1930 witnessed the somewhat late full integration of Central America into the capitalist world market through the expansion of its export economies. Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador, from 1870 to 1930, may be seen as more advanced countries economically and politically than Honduras and, to a lesser degree, Nicaragua. The evolution of the population of Central America is explained more in terms of internal demographic movements than in terms of immigration. Within Central America, the growth of coffee and banana production provoked considerable internal migration. In examining the extent to which economic and political change in the period under discussion affected Central American social structures, it should be noted first that the composition of the upper, dominant groups in society was not significantly changed by the coffee expansion and Liberal reforms.
  • 5 - Cuba, c. 1860–1934
    pp 229-264
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In the 1860s, Cuba, the richest and most populated of Spain's two remaining American colonies, faced serious economic and political problems. The three most important developments in the period between the Zanjon peace, 1878, and the Second War of Independence which began in 1895 were the rise and decline of the Autonomist party; the United States' displacement of Spain as Cuba's economic metropolis; and the formation and growing influence of Jose Marti's Cuban Revolutionary party. Following the war Cuba's political future seemed clouded. Victory in the 'splendid little war' had encouraged American expansionist tendencies which saw no difference between Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. The turmoil of 1930-34 proved to be much more than another episode of political violence in Cuba. The nationalistic, social and political forces unleashed transformed the island and opened a new era. The leaders, parties and ideas which emerged in 1933 dominated and controlled the destinies of Cuba for the next 25 years.
  • 6 - Puerto Rico, c. 1870–1940
    pp 265-286
    • By Angel Quintero-Rivera, Center for the Study of Puerto Rican Reality (CEREP) and the University of Puerto Rico
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Puerto Rican economy and society developed only slowly during the first three centuries of Spanish colonization. During the nineteenth century, Puerto Rican society experienced a very important transformation: from a basically smallholding peasant economy of subsistence production to a predominantly seignorial economy of moderate-sized haciendas producing cash crops for export. Linked to the capitalist world through their export production, 'bourgeois' liberalism provided the ideological tools of the hacendados' self-affirmation vis-a-vis Spanish colonial rule. Liberalism gave the political organization of the hacendados the character of a broad front; it included other social groups, such as the emerging nuclei of professionals and the artisans, who were in favour of the liberalization of the colonial regime. By the second decade of the century the main industries of capitalist development, sugarcane and tobacco-processing, had found ways of increasing production without an increase in labour.
  • 7 - The Dominican Republic, c. 1870–1930
    pp 287-306
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The period following the Dominican Republic's second independence from Spain in 1865 was one of administrative chaos, revolution and civil war. Towards the end of the 1870s politics began to stabilize. Gregorio Luperon, hero of the War of Restoration, was increasingly recognized as political and military leader of the 'blues'. The political stability wrought by Luperon hardened into a dictatorship. In his cabinets, besides the 'blues' Heureaux increasingly included members from other political factions. The length of Heureaux's dictatorship certainly had much to do with the exceptional political sagacity of this caudillo. The regime of Heureaux had witnessed the transformation of the Dominican Republic from a Europe-orientated producer of tobacco and fine woods to a country in which sugar reigned and the United States dominated. In Heureaux's time a feeble beginning was made to professionalize the civil service and the armed forces. The country's infrastructure was considerably expanded to fit its new economic role.
  • 8 - Haiti, c. 1870–1930
    pp 307-324
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Haiti of the period before the US occupation, despite its economic and political problems, manifested a vigorous intellectual life among the small elite of the country. In the early years of the twentieth century a lively debate took place in Haiti on whether the mentality of the people was essentially Latin or Anglo-Saxon and which of these two cultural traditions should constitute the pattern that the country should follow. The US invasion and occupation of Haiti on 28 July 1915 is to be explained by a number of interrelated factors. In the first place it must be seen as part of a general US plan for the strategic control of the Caribbean. Throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century there had been efforts by a number of foreign powers to gain a foothold in Haiti, either by establishing a naval base at the Mole St Nicolas, or by securing the island of La Tortue.
  • 9 - The growth of the Argentine economy, c. 1870–1914
    pp 325-358
    • By Roberto Cortés Conde, Centro de Investigations Económicas, Institute Torcuato di Telia, Buenos Aires
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The economic history of Argentina from the 1870s to the first world war can be divided into three periods. The first period, began with the end of the 1873-76 crisis and reached its climax with the 1890 crash, was one of rapid and dynamic growth. The second period, which began in 1890 and ended in the second half of the decade, was one of depression, and the last period, from the late 1890s, was one of great expansion. The factor which determined whether there was expansion or recession in the short or medium term was the balance of payments, which was in turn determined by trade and the movement of capital. Variations in these figures affected money supply, levels of employment and the demand for labour. Other variables which had an important effect on the economy, such as the extent of land under cultivation and private construction, fluctuated independently of changes in the external sector.
  • 10 - Argentina: society and politics, 1880–1916
    pp 359-392
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    From 1880 Argentina, enjoyed several decades of relative political unity and stability. This coincided with, itself facilitated and was underpinned by exceptional economic growth at an average rate of 5 percent per annum up to the first world war, and beyond. The profound economic changes which occurred after 1870 had a pronounced influence on Argentine society, and, among other things, led to new social conflicts. However, these conflicts were in their turn conditioned by increasing well-being, the high rate of social mobility, and the success of an economic process that produced more beneficiaries than victims. In 1916 the principal opposition party, the Radical Civic Union, came to power after winning the presidential elections of that year. Between 1912 and 1914 the Radicals obtained a number of governorships, and on two occasions, 1913 and 1914, the Socialists won in the Federal Capital.
  • 12 - Argentina from the first world war to the Revolution of 1930
    pp 419-452
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The decade and a half from the outbreak of the first world war to the onset of the world depression witnessed overall a continuation of Argentina's prewar economic prosperity based on the growth of its export sector. Politically the years between 1916 and 1930 witnessed the first and also the most prolonged of Argentina's many abortive experiments with representative democracy. During the election campaign of 1928 the Yrigoyenistas emerged with an issue which proved crucial in carrying their leader back into the presidency: a state monopoly over oil. This nationalist campaign also focused against American oil interests, particularly against Standard Oil of New Jersey. Here it became bound up in the wider question of relations between Argentina and the United States. Less than two years afterwards, in September 1930, his reputation in ruins, Yrigoyen was ignominiously ejected by a military coup d'etat.
  • 13 - The formation of modern Uruguay, c. 1870–1930
    pp 453-474
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    By the end of the nineteenth century, the incorporation of Uruguay into the world economy on the basis of its rural sector exports was complete. The price paid for this degree of integration and prosperity was economic instability. Wool, the most important single export item after 1884, was adversely affected by declining stocks and falling world prices during 1890-91. From the time of his first election in 1903 until his death in 1929, Jose Batlle y Ordonez dominated the political life of Uruguay. Twice president, 1903-07 and 1911-15, his command of the country was due in large part to his ability to give expression both to its urge to modernize and to the new social forces which were emerging in what was no longer a society dominated by the elite. Batlle's reforms considerably broadened the base for the modernization of the country.
  • 14 - Paraguay from the War of the Triple Alliance to the Chaco War, 1870–1932
    pp 475-496
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    General Bernardino Caballero was the greatest living hero to nationalistic Paraguayans, for he had fought by the Marshal's side to the last, having fallen into the enemy's hands only at Cerro Cora. General Caballero's coup brought about an era of political stability lasting nearly a quarter of a century. Orderly government made it possible to attend to Paraguay's serious economic problems. Argentine investors such as the Casado, Sastre, and Pinasco families bought huge estates in the Chaco and along the northern reaches of the Paraguay river. Their interests extended to cattle raising and timber. Having defeated their common enemy, the Radical and Civic Liberals resumed their old quarrel. Cecilio Baez, the Radicals' leader, was arrogant, uncompromising, and aloof; for him, liberalism was a civilizing force, imported from Europe, whose mission was to raise Paraguay out of barbarism. Eligio Ayala, who governed Paraguay from 1923 to 1928, gave Paraguay one of her most progressive administrations.
  • 15 - Chile from the War of the Pacific to the world depression, 1880–1930
    pp 497-552
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The War of the Pacific, 1879-83, ensued, at a time when Chile was quite unprepared for it both politically and economically. The war itself had given considerable impetus to Chilean industrialization in the provision of materiel, and to both agriculture and transport facilities through the necessity to provision from central Chile the army in the desert and the forces subsequently occupying Peru. This galvanization of the Chilean economy from its state of torpor in 1879 was to be sustained in the 1880s by the dynamic growth of the new nitrate industry. No two Chilean statesmen of the nineteenth century better embodied the combination of national aspiration and patriotic pride than the two incumbents of the presidency during the 1880s, Domingo Santa Maria and Jose Manuel Balmaceda. Both were to preside over the paradox of Chile's greatest material progress the century was to see, combined with the political and constitutional collapse of the system created after Independence by Diego Portales.
  • 16 - Bolivia from the War of the Pacific to the Chaco War, 1880–1932
    pp 553-586
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The year 1880 marked a major turning point in Bolivian history. Bolivia entered the Chaco War as a highly traditional, underdeveloped and export-dominated economy, and emerged from that conflict with the same characteristics. But from being one of the least mobilized societies in Latin America, in terms of radical ideology and union organization, it had become one more advanced than many of its neighbours. For the war shattered traditional elite assumptions and led to a fundamental rethinking of the nature of Bolivian society. The result was the creation of a revolutionary political movement that embraced some of the most radical ideas to emerge on the continent. The war would also create the climate for the development of one of the most powerful, independent and radical labour movements in the Americas. From these perspectives, the Chaco War, like the War of the Pacific before it, would prove to be one of the major turning points in Bolivian history.
  • 18 - Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, c. 1880–1930
    pp 641-682
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.019
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The articulate inhabitants of the Republics of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela in the half century from 1880 to 1930 usually expressed themselves rather more cautiously on the subject of progress than their contemporaries in more fortunate parts of the world. Politically New Granada (Colombia) and Ecuador had diverged as soon as they separated from Gran Colombia. Rafael Nunez in 1880 saw the problem of order as first in importance in Colombia, and there should be no need to justify examining at some length its partial solution in the 50 years to 1930, both in the light of what had passed and what was to come. Political problems have their own autonomy, and no simple relationship with economic change, here as elsewhere. Economic and social changes in this half-century in some ways had less obvious political effect than one might expect from their magnitude. They were accommodated within existing political practices.
  • 19 - The Brazilian economy, 1870–1930
    pp 683-724
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.020
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The 60 years between 1870 and 1930 represent the apogee of export orientation in Brazilian economic history. Export orientation was a strategy carried out by a bureaucratic elite to promote government stability and economic growth in the interests of a landowning class whose horizons did not extend far beyond short-run speculation. It was not really a national much less a redistributive policy. Brazil's participation in the great expansion of world trade and finance after 1870, modest as it was, had the important consequence of initiating economic growth and development. The transformations it worked upon society were, however, uneven, and they were muffled by a dominant class whose developmental goals fell considerably short of the available opportunities. The means of production and the organizational resources amassed during the phase of export orientation constituted nevertheless a valuable resource, to be marshalled in the succeeding crises of the world economy for purposes of development more ambitiously conceived.
  • 20 - Brazil: the age of reform, 1870–1889
    pp 725-778
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.021
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In Brazil, as in many other Latin American countries, the 1870s and 1880s were a period of reform and commitment to change. In general, one can say that reform in Brazil, as in other Latin American countries, was a response to the new economic and social realities that resulted from capitalist development not only as a world phenomenon but in its specifically Brazilian manifestations. To understand the purpose and the rhetoric of the reformers, the nature of their demands, and their motives for opposing some institutions rather than others, one ought to look beyond economic change to the prevailing political and cultural institutions they attacked. The political system created at the time of Independence reflected the needs of an elite of landowners and merchants and their clientele. They shared an interest in the maintenance of traditional structures of production based on slave labour and the export of colonial staples to the international market.
  • Bibliographical essays
    pp 831-924
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245173.023
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This bibliography contains a list of reference materials and works related to the history of Latin America. In 1958 Daniel Cosio Villegas, one of Mexico's greatest historians whose special field was the history of Mexico from 1867 to 1910, stated that, quite apart from the period of the Restored Republic, nearly 2,000 books and pamphlets had been written on the Porfirian period alone. Yet, with a number of significant exceptions, the most important works on this period of Mexican history have appeared since the 1950s. The secondary literature on the period 1867-1910, and especially on the Porfiriato, is assessed in Daniel Cosio Villegas. One of the most important points of dispute, closely linked to the economic development of Mexico from 1867 to 1910, is the discussion of the origins of Mexico's economic underdevelopment. A more recent subject of discussion has been the nature and the real power and effectiveness of the Mexican state.

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