Posts Tagged ‘Labyrinth of Solitude’

Octavio Paz, writing about the Mexican independence movement in The Labyrinth of Solitude:

The eighteenth century prepared the way for the Independence movement.  In fact, the science and philosophy of the epoch… were necessary intellectual antecedents of the Grito de Dolores.  [p. 118]

…the insurgents vacillated between Independence (Morelos) and modern forms of autonomy (Hidalgo).  The war began as a protest against the abuses of the metropolis and the Spanish bureaucracy, but it was also, and primarily, a protest against the great native landholders.  It was not a rebellion of the local aristocracy against the metropolis but of the people against the former.  Therefore the revolutionaries gave greater importance to certain social reforms than to Independence itself:  Hidalgo proclaimed the abolition of slavery and Morelos broke up the great estates. 

Banner on Oaxaca's Municipal Building; reproduction of mural by José Clemente Orozco of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.

The Revolution of Independence was a class war, and its nature cannot be understood correctly unless we recognize the fact that unlike what happened in South America, it was an agrarian revolt in gestation.  This is why the army (with its criollos like Iturbide), the Church and the great landowners supported the Spanish crown… [p. 123]

Paz, Octavio.  The labyrinth of solitude, the other Mexico; Return of the labyrinth of solitude; Mexico and the United States; The philanthropic ogre.  New York:  Grove Press, 1985

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