Preface
In January
1891
Cuban exile leader, writer, and orator Jose
Marti wrote in an article entitled "Our America" that for Latin
Americans "to govern well, [they] must see things as they are."
To govern well, he continued, a Latin American ruler "must
know the elements that compose his own country, and how to
bring them together, using methods and institutions originating
within the country, to reach that desirable state where each man
can attain self-realization and all may enjoy the abundance that
Nature has bestowed on everyone in the nation to enrich with
their toil and defend with their lives." "The government must
originate in the country," Marti emphasized, and "the spirit of
the government must be of the country. Its structure must con-
form to rules appropriate to the country." Indeed, "Good gov-
ernment is nothing more than the balance of the country's natu-
ral elements."! In this article Marti expressed a sentiment that
would in a short time become a central feature of a strong
nationalist wave throughout Latin America.
Nationalism, of course, did not first emerge in Latin America
at the end of the nineteenth century. Those who led the region
out of the Spanish empire were nationalists, but they operated
under the assumptions of an earlier age. Unlike Marti in
1891,
they set out to create societies in the image of Europe and the
United States. From Argentina to Mexico, Latin America's
leaders embraced the tenets -of classical liberalism and social
darwin ism in their effort to create viable, independent societies.
In consolidating their national independence, Latin American
nationalists relied on European political models, developed
export economies that benefited primarily the elites, and ad-
hered to social doctrines that celebrated European culture and
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