Father Miguel Hidalgo


Father Miguel Hidalgo

Father Miguel Hidalgo (May 8, 1753 - July 30, 1811) was a Creole priest who had a large impact as a leader in the Independence Movement which began Mexico's war for freedom. His revolt is considered to be an "uprising from below" in that he appeared from nowhere and was able to make such a significant influence. The book describes Father Hidalgo as "impulsive noncomformist" (Chasteen 95). This is because he was very much opposed to the rules that were set as policy, and he felt that things should change for him to do as he wanted.

For instance, in the book Father Miguel Hidalgo was described as "a reader of French banned books who also studied indigenous languages and defied that Catholic rule of sexual abstinence for clergy" (Chasteen 95). This statement represents how during this time, the main component of the idealic machismo characteristic was sexuality. Hidalgo possessed the machismo characteristic and was viewed as a father figure in multiple ways. His country distinguished him as a father of his religion, a father to his parishioners and then of course he was a father to his illegitimate children.

When the Inquisition began, he was already under surveillance for his connection to the peasant rebellion. This was before he began his work with the Independence Movement. Hidalgo felt that he had nothing to lose. Thus, he stood up for which he believed in and demonstrated courage. He went to the town church where he rang the bell and preached to the people in religious language because Hidalgo felt that they would better understand him. He knew which words to speak and how to deliver them to make sure his proclaimation would not only be heard but understood, and the people would trust both his opinions and respect his situation. Hidalgo texplained to the crowd that the "Spanish conquerors had stolen Indian lands" (Chasteen 96). He was enthusiastic about his cause and demonstrated that through his speeches. He expressed his passion for defending the Indigenous people and their rights through descriptive speeches. Hidalgo can be considered representative of another ideal machismo characteristic: perseverance. He acted as a protector of the weak and defenseless. He helped the Latin American people fight for their right to Nativism. He continued fighting for the rights of many indigenous while facing countless obstacles. 

During battle, Hidalgo was captured and executed. His head was dangled in a metal cage as an example of the fate of anyone who tried to revolt. It was believed by the Spanish that Hidalgo had such a strong influence on the people that his execution would surely discourage them. However, it did the exact opposite. The martyred leader encouraged the people to continue to fight for him and for Mexico. Father Hidalgo is celebrated in history as an ideal Latin American, because he demonstrated machismo through sexuality, the protection of indigenous people and being a strong leader to his followers. He accomplished this by being trustworthy, confident, and enthusiastic about his cause.

Agustín de Iturbide

Agustin de Interbide

Agustín de Iturbide

Agustín de Iturbide (September 27, 1783 - July 19, 1824) is world renowned for his role in the Mexican War of Independence. At the time, Mexico was still a Spanish territory. The lives of all the indigenous were being controlled by the followers of the Spanish king who were peninsulares or creoles with Spanish blood. There were many small revolts that broke out. Most of them were quickly crushed by the stronger party of Spanish loyalists. However, a man named Agustín de Iturbide was able to create a revolt that would more greatly challenge Spain.

In no time at all, Agustín inspired a large following of Mexican citizens who were willing to follow him into battle. However strong the will of his followers, his revolt was eventually crushed by Spanish forces. Although he was not immediately sucessful, Agustín had been able to inspire such a strong following from his fellow citizens that he still had a lot of people on his side (Chasteen 105).

Agustín's charisma and confidence made him the type of leader who could rally a revolt and who people desired to have as a leader. Through the work of inspired citizens Mexico eventually did gain its freedom. Once Mexico had independence, Agustín was able to declare himself emperor. He adopted the Agustín I of Mexico. He reigned as emperor from May 19, 1822 until March 19, 1823, and he was briefly removed from his position in a military coup. He was accused of having corrupted elections for his candidacy once the leader selection process became more "democratic." This charge, however, would turn out to not be a major offense because it began common practice in Latin American countries for the election winners to be "the ones who were counting the votes."

Agustín was soon returned to a military reign after once again using his prowess for speech to his advantage. He insisted repeatedly that his predecessors were sacrilegious. This was considered to be a major flaw back then and even today. The ideal Latin American has a strong love of God and Catholicism. His gift for speaking and concern for God were the most important traits for Latin Americans during a time when the main focus was achieving independence.

People looked up to Agustín de Inturbide and valued many of his machismo characteristics such as his strength and his dominant self-perception. He had the personality to be the strong leader that was needed for Mexico to develop its character and independence.

Simón Bolívar


Simón Bolívar

Simón Bolívar (July 24, 1783 – December 17, 1830) was a Venezuelan born military leader, as well as political leader, who played a key role in Latin America's struggle for independence. Know as El Libertador (The Liberator), he led and assisted with revolutions throughout Latin America, ultimately bringing independence to Venezuela, Colombia (including Panama), Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Eventually, he served as President of Venezuela, Gran Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. The Liberator embodied many ideals which Latin Americans valued.

Bolívar was born into a plantation owning, aristrocratic family, but he gained the respect, and eventually the following, of a variety of social classes. He viewed himself primarily as American; therefore, he saw the peninsulares and the Spanish crown as "meddling outsiders." Bolívar was a Creole white who used nativism, like many other leaders, to gain popular support. As he fought for universal independence, more and more people joined the cause. Many were willing to die under his proclaimed banner of Americanos. Bolivar's machismo also played an important role, which he improved with "feats of physical prowess" (Chasteen 105). His machismo was very dominant and father-like. This gave commoners someone to idolize. Llaneros, tough Venezuelan and Colombia cowboys, greatly respected Bolivar for his American nativism and machismo. They fought valiently for him. Once he had the support of the llaneros, the revolutions turned in his favor, to the dismay of the Spanish. By 1824, all of Spanish America (except Cuba and Puerto Rico) had become independent from Spain (Chasteen 107). Near the end of his life, Bolivar believed Americanos "did not understand their own best interests" (Chasteen 109). His patriarchal machismo became very authoritarian. Today, Simón Bolívar is regarded as a hero, revolutionary, father of democracy and liberator to the Latin American people.

Commoners and the Influence of Women

Father Miguel Hidalgo, Agustín de Iturbide and Simón Bolívar were three very different and very influential leaders from Latin America's Independence Period. Each man had his own personality and way of leading people; although, they all maintained characteristics that were thought of as characteristics of an ideal Latin American. Everything was changing during this time period, as the indigenous fought back for what they believed to be right. Ordinary Latin Americans looked up to these men and admired their characteristics. Their admiration inspired immitation and a desire for these qualities. These immitators all developed machismo characteristics in the form of protective, strong and working natures.

As for the women during the Independence Period, they became very powerful symbols. The women stood up for what they believed in, and some were even willing to die for it (Chasteen 108). One woman by the name of "Juana Azurduy dressed up in a man's uniform and lead a calvary charge in which she personally captured the enemy flag" (Chasteen 108). These women stepped out of their ideal marianismo roles during the war. However, after they gained independence from Spain, the womens' work roles became virtually nonexistent as women faded back into obscurity. Everything reverted to how it was before the Independence Movement, where a woman's ideal role was to maintain her marianismo characteristics. These included being gentle, loving, submissive, selfless, and motherly. A woman was supposed to care for her husband and not work, because that was his role.

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