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The First America: The Spanish Monarchy, Creole Patriots and the Liberal State 1492-1867 Revised ed. Edition
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'Brading offers a study of impressive scope, rich content and suggestive argument, … it is a major addition to the historiography of the Hispanic world and will undoubtedly become a standard work of reference.' The Times Higher Education Supplement
- Item Weight : 2.15 pounds
- Paperback : 780 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0521447966
- ISBN-10 : 0521447968
- Dimensions : 6.14 x 1.76 x 9.21 inches
- Publisher : Cambridge University Press; Revised ed. edition (September 24, 1993)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #570,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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But hey both of these points only emphasize the quirky and racist nature of United States culture and actually reinforce the author's thesis that Spanish America developed, like Galapagos, almost in a kind of isolation from the old world and the British-French new world, acquiring a strong moral and intellectual honesty all its own and shedding many of the vices of the old world and of the British-French new world along the way. One may come away with greater insight concerning why Cuba arguably has a better health care system than the United States and a world class School of Dance which places its students in the world's best ballet companies. Most importantly Latin American Indians were protected from slavery and the worst abuses of the encomienda system by the New Laws of 1542. Unfortunately such laws did not extend to slaves imported from Africa and actually accelerated the use of African slaves in Latin America. The basis for such humanitarian laws was the Papal charter to gather the indigenous peoples of Latin America into the fold of the Catholic Church, a charter which, unfortunately, did not extend to African slaves. But the Papal charter and its implementation by Catholic monarchs would seem to underlie why native Americans appear to have been assimilated into Latin American society rather than being isolated in "sovereign" Indian Reservations as in the United States. The moral good accomplished by laws whose basis secularists may question as religiously motivated reminds me of Newton's Principia, in which Newton worked out the mathematics of planetary motion while at the same time saying that he believed in a divinely inspired cosmological harmony. It appears that Newton was an early advocate for intelligent design.
I received this book on time and in good condition.
Beginning with the work of Las Casas, who was probably the first to compose a unified defense of the indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere, the book traces the path of latin america from being basically the grocery mart of the spanish empire, to a land with people who could affirm their own mixed identity as mestizos and demand freedom from the greed and violence of the spanish absolutist state.
The book discusses such figures as Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Alexander Humbolt and many other artistic and political figures who planted the idea of the nation where all semblance of any order had been razed at the time of the conquest.
The sad and unstated coda to the book is that the work is not done, and the sins of the absolutist fathers are still being visited upon the sons and daughters of latin america.
This is without a doubt the single best volume on the development of the consciousness of latin america as a political and cultural entity separate from the spanish empire, written clearly and concisely and with great respect for the historical heritage and burdens of these countries that make up the region.