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1822: Partay!!! Brazil just gained its independence from Portugal- all thanks to our friends, the creoles. Brazil is now a monarchy, not a republic in which independent states granted military authrority to yours truly. We and our allies, the creole elites, allowed the constitution of slavery, repressed any lower orders, and basically granted most of the wealth and authority to the good ole Roman Catholic church.
1852: Hey guys, it's me, Juan Manuel de Rosas. This year marks the last year of my rule over Argentina. I give myself credit for being able to rule for 17 years, though. I mean, during my entire reign Argentina was divided among urban elites and those cattle-herders. Looking back on my outstanding rule, I think I used the best tactic of manipulating my cattle ranching skills to subdue you all, my fellow caudillos, and establish my control in Buenos Aires. My big thing was regional autonomy and believe it or not, but I did try to centralize the very government I overthrew. I did what we do best, used terror as a tool and restored order. Sigh, I am gonna miss those days :(

1872: Santa Anna here! We all know why I'm posting today....yup, you got it- Juarez is dead! I know, I know, I should not be displaying such joy on the day our President has passed, but let's recall what he did to our glorious rule with his stupid La Reforma! It all began in the 1850s when Juarez launched la Reforma to limit the power of not only the Roman Catholic Church, but also the military. He and his folowers wanted liberal reform from our "harsh" rule. Puh-lease! Remember that Constitution of 1857? The thing that shot down what we and other military elites had been opting for. Who was he to be granting stuff like universal male suffrage and civil liberties?! If it makes you guys feel any better, let's remember how much division Juarez's La Reforma created. Because the liberals and conservatives were so divided, Juarez was forced out of the country in 1861! :)

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Portrait of a Caudillo




We used our military prowess to execute their rule and force allegiance upon those they conquered. The only way we remained in power as effective rulers was to out-fight lower authorities and other caudillos. This was done using our military technique.


Since we typically held power by controlling a patronage network that brooked no rival structure, some of us took up an anti-clerical stand. Many of us used our newly gained power, which was unchecked because it was extra-constitutional, to promote our own wealth and interests. At the height of caudillismo, as in Venezuela, the national army was rendered superfluous by the personal armies of us: in 1872 Venezuela's federal troops were dismissed entirely.
Durng the decades of revolution, leaders who could draw themselves bands of loyal followers could assume the title of general. We began to attain this power in the course of the South American Wars of Independence, where the militias did much of the fighting and earned a heroic reputation. We pulled a fast one and used their small armed bands to overthrow the vulnerable newly independent states in South America. Some of us were large landowners who sought to secure private interests, but more often, we started off as vigilantes keeping the local peace for the hacienda and then gaining independence of action and developed an anti-oligarchic public stance and finished by supporting an acquiescent establishment that included the Catholic Church.
=Relgion=We were not associated with particular ideologies or political philosophies. Although we began our career by opposing the oligarchy, we almost invariably became oligarchs and rarely upset the existing social order. In power, their authority was largely unchecked. While in power with the creole elites, however, the confirmed authority was the Roman Catholic Church.


The Wall

You guys are terrible people. All we wanted to do was live normal, peaceful lives on our pampas and you had to come and take it all away. Gauchos live free, and you are taking away our freedom to further your cause. We are symbols of all that is courageous and brave, and picking on us is the wrong way to go.


Major language was Spanish (or shall we say...espanol?)


Heroes and Hero Cults in Latin America. University of Texas Press. <http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/excerpts/exbruher.html>.
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