Latin-American Political Thought and Ideology

Latin-American Political Thought and Ideology

Latin-American Political Thought and Ideology

Latin-American Political Thought and Ideology

Synopsis

In this well-balanced review of major expositions of political thought and ideology in Latin America, attention is focused on the independence period--the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Intellectual trends and schools of social and philosophical thought are traced, and representative individuals and their writings are examined in detail.

Originally published 1970.

Excerpt

Beginning with the Spanish and Portuguese Empires in their final death throes, the nineteenth century came to reflect a broad conflict between liberty and authority. From the writings of the precursors of independence to the revolutionary wars, and moving through successive periods of romantic liberalism, positivism, and idealism, liberty was conceived as meaning protection for the individual against possible abuses of power by the rulers. For the majority of Latin-American thinkers, this appeared to be the main dilemma of political thought. Freedom from colonial abuses was crucial to the ideas of the revolutionary period, and in the immediate postindependence era this was extended to cover social and intellectual as well as more obvious political emancipation. In time, the pensadores came to recognize that the majority of the people did not enjoy genuine individual liberty, whether political or socioeconomic. This prepared the ground for the acceptance of European positivism and, later, of idealism. The underlying assumption continued to be the conviction that, given a proper intellectual and philosophical framework, individual freedoms might be enhanced. Once the protection of the individual was definitively attained, accompanying national problems, be they social, economic, educational, or other, would be eventually and inevitably solved. Or such, at least, was the reasoning of most thinkers.

Initially, the ideas that inspired the emancipation of the American . . .

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