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Mexico's War For Independence

Essay by 24  •  September 20, 2010  •  1,628 Words (7 Pages)  •  855 Views

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Introduction

Mexico is the northernmost country of Latin America. It lies just south of the United States. The Rio Grande forms about two-thirds of the boundary between Mexico and the United States. Among all the countries of the Western Hemisphere, only the United States and Brazil have more people than Mexico. Mexico City is the capital and largest city of Mexico. It also is one of the world's largest metropolitan areas in population.

Hundreds of years ago, the Indians of Mexico built large cities, developed a calendar, invented a counting system and used a form of writing. The last Indian empire in Mexico, the Aztec, fell to Spanish invaders in 1521. For the next 300 years, Mexico was a Spanish colony. The Spaniards took Mexico's riches, but they also introduced many changes in farming, government, industry and religion. The descendants of the Spaniards became Mexico's ruling class. The Indians remained poor and uneducated.

During the Spanish colonial period, a third group of people developed in Mexico. These people, who had both Indian and white ancestors, became known as Mestizos. Today, the great majority of Mexicans are Mestizos, and they generally take great pride in their Indian ancestry. A number of government programs stress the Indian role in Mexican culture. In 1949, the government made an Indian the symbol of Mexican nationality.

The war for independence is sometimes considered a revolutionary war. It is not, however. The war for independence was fought to end colonial rule. The war was based on politics and a separation of powers. In this essay I will start from the rising discontent

amongst the indigenous population and how the higher ranking classes exploited their failures for their own societal class gain in a system where they have always been favored more by societal leaders.

Once New Spain settled in its new territory, inner cores were created as part of the system. New Spain, from now on, would be under direction of the mother country Spain. Its colonial system would be entrenched in the new colony and therefore, its economy would strive to gain profit and make Spain richer and stronger. The economy was based on agriculture, ranching, mining, industry, and commerce. The majority of labor that would go into doing these jobs would be from the indigenous people, or "Indians". Although some "Indians" were paid decent wages, most were treated unfairly or poorly. They worked long, hard hours. While working in the mines, the "Indians" would suffer from the dust and fumes inhaled in the damp, dark shafts. Countless "Indians" died from having worked there.

The ranching industry in the north would gain most of its production from the cultivation of large amounts of livestock through labor from the "Indians". Haciendas, with again the labor of "Indians", would provide throughout New Spain agricultural needs such as fruits, vegetables, and grains introduced by the Spaniards. "Without slaves and forced labor, who was to carry out the necessary takes of labor?" (Leone, B, 1996). The answer would be the "Indians". They would go on to build New Spain's lower aspect of the economy. Soon after many other resisting "Indians" gave in to their new occupant's demands for labor and started to work for them. Shortly thereafter, some "Indians" found refuge.

During the earlier years of conquest, the colonial church was still in-tact. The church organization had created two distinct branches, secular and regular clergy. This would then spread around the word of Christianity to save souls. By assimilating this belief into the population of the "Indians", the "Indians" would then get acculturated into thinking their way of living was evil and to abandon their beliefs and always praise the lord. As a result, many "Indians" found shelter in the hands of their newfound religion and the guidance of their priests.

There were frequent disputes between the friars and the priests who would argue in favor of the "Indians" to the Spaniards describing the poor treatment to the "Indians". At times disputes would end in violence which would ripple throughout other areas in Mexico. Although there were restrictions in the organization of the church which kept "Indians" from converting, the main one was the Inquisition. Under the rule of Spain, churches were to investigate culprits who didn't follow the rules and such culprits were given a hefty punishment. This would keep many on their toes. Many "Indians" were still secure in their new religion but found it hard to deal.

"Indians" were always to remain at the bottom of the social status. Actually, Indian women and children were to be the last ones to be recognized, or were not recognized at all. Mestizos, those of "Indian" descent and another race, were the next level up. Those born in Mexico but of full-blooded Spanish descent were called Criollos. The highest of all would be the Spaniards. In this structure of power and rank, the only way for one to rise to the top would be through the military. Otherwise, if you were born "Indian", you were destined to be a laborer. If one was lucky enough to become a priest or a member of the church, becoming educated would be a better way to climb into politics and gain knowledge.

With the economy in the mother country, Spain, in shambles due to wars, Spain decided they would look towards their colonies in search of financial benefit. "Ð'...The Spanish would borrow heavily from individuals and institutions in the colony to pay for its involvement in European conflicts" (Stefoff, R, 1993). This made many upset, but it would not cause the "Indians" to revolt until the reform of the church occurred. Spain ordered the expulsion of the Jesuits, who helped in educating and converting many "Indians". The Criollos, who were educated by the "Indians", became angered as well. It was true that "dependency of the colonists to the mother country remained a fundamental tenet of the imperial system."

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