Following brought about a much needed change. The

Following the independent of Spanish America up until midcentury, political authority was weak and unsteady. This lead to leaders such as  Diego in Chile and Juan Manuel de Rosas in Argentine coming into power and leading a dictatorship in an attempt to strengthen their own countries which at the time seemed lost and in need of strict guidance as the independence brought about a much needed change. The first issue in need of discussion is the fact that there were not any clear leaders who had been democratically elected to run countries. Therefore, there was a vacuum left in which ‘Caudillos’ were able to interject themselves and seize power. The Caudillos were military men who used brutality and force when needed in order to maintain control. They gained and withheld their power through personal connections. Whilst appearing to resemble dictators, they were in fact highly powerful and educated men who were catering for the demands of the elite who demanded protection and stability from authoritarian leaders. Despite the distasteful image painted, some came from humble begins and struggled to rise to power. These people were enabled to take control as despite regions having strong governments, their states were inadequate which created instability and allowed individuals to take control thus creating what could be described as an oligarchic democracy.This created political instability due to the unnecessary and usually violent methods in which these men retained their power. There was also a lack of democracy as voting was only limited to those with a *HIGHER* literacy rate, and dependant on race, gender and financial status. Another political problem was the difference between Liberals and Conservatives. There was a divide between liberal and conservatives.  Liberals were in favour of individuals and were against colonialism and wanted a secular society run by a federalist government; much like that of the United States. Essentially, they wanted to model themselves socially and economically on Western Europe. On the other hand, the conservatives preferred a more colonial society whilst maintaining catholic heritage. Politically this created tensions and during the years of 1832-1835, whilst the liberals were in control, there were severe reactions by the conservative due to the liberals attack on the church.There was also the issue of regions being socially and politically influenced by the elite who claimed that democracy would be a foolish resolution as the public was not prepared for such change so therefore liberals and conservatives should construct their own government.This left spanish America politically unstable as there wasn’t a clear political direction and frequently there were ideological clashed between those who identified and Liberals and those who were Conservatives.There were also other issues that had to be dealt with in order to ensure political stability. For example, following the independence of Latin America, many nations were faced by the issue of legitimacy within their newly constructed governments. Previously, in Iberian culture, there would have been a monarchy which would have possessed the power over a region and who had the ability to control other powerful groups such as the military and the church. However once the spanish king was removed from power this created an issue as Creole elites struggled to come up with a new way in which to govern their regions, whilst maintaining order and respect; as the idea of a representative government was so alien to them. Instead of returning to old ways, they adapted models from Europe and US and set up republics across South America in order to solidify the separation from Spain and also as a way to model themselves on places such as US and GB, who they admired greatly. Initially this proved to be a success especially between the upper classes. On the other hand, there were issue with regards to written constitutions as they failed to maintain order in the newly set up regions. Newly found political systems in most areas struggled in being strong and effective as national governments were changing so frequently.In additions to this, in many parts of Spanish America before the new governments had chance to address rebuilding their economies, they had questions concerning public debts and ways in which to resolve these problems. These debts came from such things as army funding. Furthermore, the  national treasuries were empty, so consequently, governments were forced look elsewhere for additional funding. A prime source was Britain where bankers supported the regimes with loans particularly in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Mexico. Thus the new governments immediately ran up debts to foreign lenders. Due to governments lacking strong finances, it meant that they were also highly vulnerable to being overthrown. Additionally, political fragmentation developed as early leaders involved in the independence wanted a unified nation but political divisions made this impossible. This could be seen through Mexico’s government which remained volatile and unstable due to military coups, foreign intervention and political turmoil. To conclude, amongst numerous contributing factors which caused political instability in Spanish America in the 19th century, it could be argued that the main issue was down to the lack of authority. As previously stated there weren’t any clear leaders who came to power democratically, there were only men who either fought their way to the top, or were put in that position of power due to their contacts and this had a detrimental effect politically in these regions as there wasn’t any key guidance as this type of ruling had never been seen before, especially in the Iberian culture.


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