American Civilization essay
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Keen’s Latin American Civilization provides an insight of life in Latin America from the conquest to the colonial, as well as, the republican eras to the contemporary Latin America. With reference to Chapter 12: Searching for a New Road, the author discusses two main episodes, the fatal legacy and in defense of Spain. The editors of the book document the recent dramatic changes in Latin America, focusing on the insurgence of the leftist government in the South and Central America, and the feminization of politics ranging from the grassroots’ level up to the higher levels that constitute the presidency. The topics provide important information on the history of American civilization from the pre-Hispanic time to the 21st century. Furthermore, it provides an important coverage of the current trend of Latin American politics, and social movements as well. The issues covered also embrace the history of gender and society with important opinions of the current changes experienced in Latin America (Buffington & Caimari, 2008).
In the fatal legacy, it is documented that the age of the Spanish conquerors was completely over by the end of the 17th century. However, the Native Americans who inhabited the North and South lived under the oppression that was more likely to continue. However, in Spain, the conquerors marked an age of wealth and power, hence, making this legend of the conquerors be flawed for many years. Therefore, these terrible legacies experienced by the soldiers and the explorers will continue to have an effect on the current society. The conquerors were Spanish soldiers and explorers who travelled around most parts of the world in the name of Spain with the main objective of acquiring wealth and power through subjugating native people, particularly in South and North America into hard labor and poor treatment. The main motives of the conquerors were bounded around wealth and power; since they were commissioned to bring back spices and treasure, make Spain prestigious and powerful, and to conquer land, in order, to enlarge the Spanish empire (Buffington & Caimari, 2008).
After arriving into the New World, the conquerors used the Encomienda system to oppress people. Individuals were required to pay taxes to the conquerors in exchange for protection and religious instructions through crusades. However, since the conquerors were stationed miles away from the central government of Spain, the systems were mostly abused by subjecting the natives into abuses, murder and mostly degraded.
The topics discussed in the book support the liberal’s political program, since the liberals believe in promoting maximum individual freedom and open-mindedness. Liberals support the exploration and implementation of new ideologies, such as, the creation of new concepts of liberalism that embodies ideas, such as the creation of a large government with big spending. On the other hand, conservatives have political ideologies that focus on preserving and restoring traditional institutions and the prevailing conditions. Thus, the document, in defense of Spain, is more convincing, because a true citizen must work towards keeping his country safe from foreign aggressors and a government that protects citizens from predators of capitalism. There should be labor laws that ensure justice and equitable treatment of citizens, regardless of the class hierarchy. In addition, a good government should ensure that there are legislations that prohibit corruption, even at the expense of corporate benefits. The liberals believe the freedom to choose, and avoid the morality that is imposed by others. Thus, a true citizen should believe in product liability laws, and have the right to collective bargaining, as well as in a manner that does not subject others to any harm. Furthermore, a true citizen should have a responsibility to pay taxes and serve the country in times of need.