The Enlightenment Age

Austin Griffith
April 21, 2016
HIS 244
Liberals Clash with Conservatives in Latin America
Latin American Independence began to occur around 1808 after the French Revolution and the Napoleon Wars that engulfed all of Europe. In Europe, especially France, revolutionaries began to adopt an intellectual awakening they called the Enlightenment, which supported the ideas of positivism, individualism, reason rather than tradition and challenged traditional authority. Educated European men who were mostly on trips of exploration to the newly discovered Americas brought this Enlightenment movement to Latin America. Liberals in Latin America quickly adopted the ideas of liberty, equality, popular sovereignty, and separation of church and state while Conservatives opposed all of these ideals and wanted to keep systems in place that were already setup. The Enlightenment movement gained much support from Liberals in Latin America due to systems that were in place which governed the people by absolute power of a monarchy, had no separation of church and state, and upheld social hierarchy with no intention of equality for all people. Conservatives in Latin America after the war for Independence did not support the fundamental ideas and beliefs of the Liberals due to their efforts to gain equality for all people, to form a representational type of government and to abolish slavery forever.
The social system of early Latin America was a place where social distinctions were very apparent and a person would know their place. In the colonial period, a person’s social position was defined and protected by law. Classes had rights and privileges because there was a hierarchical order and people of the lower class deferred to people of higher status. This did not mean the people of Latin America had equality; moreover they had a strict set of rules defined by their class. The conservatives of the 19th century wanted to preserve this social order and many of them believed God and...