The Crucible

Critical Thinking Worksheet 22 John Hernandez
World History 1
June 7, 2010
Latin American Economic Stance
      Even though Latin American countries gained their independence during the 19th century, they remained economically dependent to Western nations for three reasons. First of all, the effect of the wars for independence in North America on the Latin American Nations deeply affected the sight of the rulers of the Latin American that they can also gain independence. Secondly, the rule of the Caudillos helped most Latin American nation’s gains control and stability of their own nation. Lastly, the emphasis on exporting raw materials and importing finished products built the economy of the Latin nations. These are the reasons why Latin American countries remain economic colonies of Western Nations when they were no longer political colonies.
      The successful revolution in North America was beginning to affect Latin America, and European control would soon be in peril. One of the men who took the lead in liberating South America from Spanish and Portuguese control was Simon Bolivar. Before the main independence movements began, an unusual revolution took place in the French colony of Saint Domingue. Haiti announced its freedom and became the first independent state in Latin America.
      Soon after independence, strong leaders know as caudillos gained control. Caudillos ruled chiefly by military force and were usually supported by many landed elites. Many kept the new national states together and some were also modernizers who built roads and canals, ports, and schools. Others were destructive. Unfortunately, the caudillo’s authority depended on his personal power. So when he died or lost power, civil wars often erupted.
      After 1870, Latin America began an age of prosperity based to a large extent on the export of a few basic items. One result of the prosperity that came from increased exports was...