RSS

Category Archives: History

Chile – 1986 “No” Vote For Freedom

“I am not a dictator.  It’s just that I have a grumpy face.” – Augusto Pinochet

Augusto Pinochet ruled as a dictator over Chile from 1973 until 1988, after executing a successful, and heavily supported, coup d’état.  The years that followed his appointment as president gradually moved away from the historic democracy lived by Chileans.  His violent dictatorship, the weakened global economy, and political unrest in Chile, led citizens of Chile to unite and participate in subdued public displays against Pinochet’s continued dictatorship.  His zealous belief in his electability sealed his inevitable fait accompli.

Chile, Poland, the Philippines, South Africa, Ukraine and China; all of these revolutions largely can reflect back upon the waning of the Soviet Union’s strength and the end of the Cold War.  These countries depended, directly or indirectly, on the competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for monetary reinforcement and military support.  As the Soviet Union became weaker and less able to control its contributories, so too did the United States became less supportive of anti-Communist dictatorships.  The United States’ reduced support weakened those leaders previously supported by the United States solely to counter Communism.

Chile maintained a form of democracy with elected president and representatives, referred to as Presidential Republic, from 1925, until September 1973.  From 1970 until 1973, the Chilean President, Salvador Allende, struggled, unsuccessfully, through his term to maintain order within Chile.  However, ongoing pressures from the United States, coupled with economic recession, eventually weakened Allende’s position.  Allende also faced opposition from the forces of Christian Democrats and National Party (a moderate Socialist political party).

In 1973, a coup d’état, supported by the United States, ousted Allende and instituted a junta, or military dictatorship.  This placed General Augusto Pinochet in power.  Pinochet’s uprising received support from the United States.  In our textbook (Voyages 2010, 904), “Allende’s effort to build a socialist economy was strongly opposed by Chilean businessmen and landowners….” This influential economic group supported Pinochet to begin a free market system.  Under Pinochet’s rule, the Chilean junta government instituted strong military response to guerrillas.  The United States continued to support Pinochet for fear Chile would move toward a Communist government.  Unabated, Pinochet exercised extreme dictatorial control over the people of Chile.  As described in 1989 Democratic Revolutions, “…his regime arrested, tortured and killed thousands of opponents across the country.” Pinochet’s egregious abuse of power brought a new group of people out from the shadows to speak out against his heinous acts.  Women for Life, a group of mothers of missing children, came forward to defend their children.  The held silent protests for the “desaparecidos”; “disappeared ones.” Their sympathetic position forced Pinochet to restrain his otherwise hostile methods of dealing with dissidents.  Technological advancements allowed the use of mass media to disseminate these announcements even further.  The demonstrators could now resort to volume printing, radio broadcast, fax machines and cable television broadcasts.  The access to these tools removed much of the public relations purpose of using violence against demonstrators.

Pinochet’s economics relied heavily on foreign support, but as world economics began to slip, so too did Chile’s.  Pinochet’s free market is satirically portrayed in “The Contest” printed in “1989 Democratic Revolutions” (Los de Alvear 1982/Kenny 2000, 103).  Frioman, a characterization of the United States in “The Contest” is shown as dominant and unrelenting.  Frioman argues the beatitudes of “Miss Libertad Mercado,” or “Miss Free Market” and puerilely fights for her election to “Miss Economía.” The end of the story reveals “Free Market” has dirty secrets, such as “scarcity,” “high prices,” “recession,” and “unemployment,” appearing on stage as her children.  These lighthearted attacks allow the story and point of view to be easily remembered and told to other citizens.  It also elicits the response wanted by the opposition parties, partially based on the angst felt towards Americans and uber-businessmen.

Following in the footsteps of the Women for Life, the dissidents began to unite and form small groups offering resistance to Pinochet’s continued presidency.  In Gender and Social Movement Decline (Adams 2002, 292), Jacqueline Adams describes how these organizations came together.  “A resistance movement consisting of hundreds of [social movement organizations (SMOs)] operating in a clandestine or semiclandestine(sic) fashion arose early on.  The SMOs consisted of underground political parties, survival organizations (small groups of shantytown inhabitants working to solve their economic and health problems), and human rights organizations.” Adams goes on to describe the key role the Chilean Catholic Church played in bring these groups together.  This purposeful cooperation brings forward the dissidents aggravation and need for reformation.

After a failed assassination attempt on his life in 1986, Pinochet, believing his constituents seen him as irreplaceable, relented to holding a presidential plebiscite.  Pinochet’s violent response to opposition, the effect of the global economic crisis on Chile, nonviolent public demonstrations, along with his grandiose bravado, resulted in a perfect storm for the ouster of General Augusto Pinochet.

Bibliography

Adams, Jacqueline.  Gender and Social Movement Decline: Shantytown Women and the Prodemocracy Movement in Pinochet’s Chile, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 2002, 31: 285, DOI: 10.1177/0891241602031003002,
web: http://jce.sagepub.com/content/31/3/285

Hansen, Valerie and Kenneth Curtis.  Voyages in World History, Volume 2 Since 1500.  Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010.

Kenney, Padraic, 1989: Democratic Revolutions at the Cold War’s End, The Bedford Series in History and Culture.  Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s, 2000.

Los de Alvear, “The Contest,” 1982, ed. Padraic Kenny (The Bedford Series in History and Culture) (Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s, 2000).

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 2, 2011 in Class Writing, History

 

Industrial Revolution, Why Britain: History 101 Exam Question

Exam 2 Unused Essay:
Question: In his book The Industrial Revolution and the New Economic History Joel Mokyr lays out several geographical, political and societal reasons why the Industrial Revolution started in Britain. While he refrains from singling out one of these factors as causal to the Industrial Revolution, he maintains that a combination of these factors, particularly the laissez-faire attitude of the government towards the economy and the societal factors favoring individual invention and innovation, led to this rapid change in Great Britain. On the basis of Mokyr’s text, please discuss which geographical, political and societal factors favored Britain to spearhead the Industrial Revolution.

Response:
Why Britain Led The Industrial Revolution

These key factors, geographical, political and societal, favored Britain at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The geographic construction of Britain provided it simple access to natural resources. Consequently, these readily available raw materials helped generate technological advancements. Additionally, the “natural fortress” barrier provided by the archipelagic nature of British Isles isolated Britain from events on the continent. Although not immune to war, the effect was less severe. Hence, Britain did not need to spend as much to protect itself. This meant fewer Britain intellects needed to “wasted their talents and energies on unproductive military careers.” (Mokyr)

Following the Civil Wars of the seventeenth century, Britain operated on a more stable economic platform. This stability helped to shelter the economy from pressure groups, providing greater flexibility to members. The Civil ware also improving property rights, this gave investors greater control of their investment and returns. With improved potential to increase retained revenue, entrepreneurs had greater incentive to be profitable, to increase revenue, and to invest in higher risk endeavors.

Bibliography:

Mokyr, Joel, “The Industrial Revolution and the New Economic History”, in The Industrial Revolution, ed. Steven M. Beaudoin (Boston: Houghton Mifflin 2003), 93-102.

Hansen, Valerie and Kenneth Curtis. Voyages in World History, Volume 2 Since 1500. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Class Writing, History

 

European Imperialism: History 101 Exam Question

Exam 2 Unused Essay:
Question: On the basis of the excerpt from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Chinua Achebe’s response and the course lecture, please describe the causes for the renewed European Imperialism in the second half of the 19th century. Which role did racism and Social Darwinism play, and how does racism show in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Do you share Chinua Achebe’s assessment that Conrad’s book was “obviously racist”, or did Conrad rather try to expose the racism of his main protagonist.

Response:
Racism Revealed Or Exposed?

As we learned in the course lecture and chapter 26 of Voyages, Europe had gone through some shifts in structure with the unification of Germany, the British expansion into overseas territories, as well as France’s expansion. These economies needed greater access to raw materials to boost their productions. This competition spurred greater innovations in technology and even more need raw materials. As a result, the competition forced these nations to adopt more self-centric policies, countering the free-market practices that preceded it.

Europe’s rapid growth put people in a perceived position of entitlement. They sought to deliver civility and Christianity to the people they characterized as “barbarians” in other regions of the world. In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, he often uses demeaning references to Africans. He exhibits this Social Darwinistic perspective in his descriptions of Africans; such as when he describes “The prehistoric man was cursing us, praying to us, welcoming us….” Chinua Achebe’s critique points out these obvious racial epitome. However, Achebe goes on to highlight other innuendo that suggests racism. Achebe writes about the setting, “Africa as a metaphysical battlefield devoid of all recognizable humanity, into which the wandering European enters at his peril.” Achebe suggests Conrad uses Africa to portray a place of inhumanity.

Achebe’s portrayal of Conrad’s book as racist appears to apply a modernized look at writing done under the pretext of a then current setting. A twenty-first century perspective openly exposes the racism in the characters. If placed in it’s historical context, I believe the point of the writing was to explore the enormity and uniqueness of Africa.

Bibliography:

Conrad, Joseph, “Heart of Darkness, 1899” and Chinua Achebe, “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, 1975”, in Worlds of History, ed. Reilly, 294-303

Hansen, Valerie and Kenneth Curtis. Voyages in World History, Volume 2 Since 1500. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Class Writing, History

 

Modernity Of The Holocaust: History 101 Exam Question

Exam Essay Question:
World War II and the Origins of the Cold War, 1939-49. The Holocaust
On the basis of Zygmund Bauman’s text Uniqueness and Normality of the Holocaust, please discuss in what way the Holocaust can be considered a modern crime. According to Bauman, how did modernity create the conditions for the Nazi mass murder, and to what extend did the existence of a modern bureaucracy and modern division of labor contribute to the crime?

Response:
Modernity Of The Holocaust

Modernity represents the mode we apply in today’s society to accomplish critical tasks. We divide otherwise insurmountable tasks into small, relatively simple, steps. Zygmunt Bauman describes how the modernity of the Holocaust sets it apart from other historical instances of genocide. The parenthetical categorization of the “modern … way” really highlights the “intellect” of these acts; “rational, planned, scientifically informed, expert, efficiently managed, co-ordinated” (Bauman, 89). Nazi German performed this well, beginning with ostracism of the Jews, segregation of the Jews and continuing to elimination of the Jews. With Germany’s expansion into surrounding regions, they felt it necessary to also “cleanse” these new areas.

Modern bureaucracy break the process into individual, autonomous steps; establishing a bureaucratic method as a means to an end. Each step serves no purpose on its own, but taken in whole finishes the task. Bureaucracy does not use internal advancement, so the upper echelon does not have first hand knowledge of the subordinates acts.

Modern division of labor assigns the steps to individual roles. These roles need no knowledge of what other steps are performed or the “final solution”. Division of labor separates the technical responsibility from the moral responsibility. Individuals perform their given step to achieve a greater good; a “clean” world.

To analogize these steps to the act of shooting someone: 1) Alex loads the gun; 2) Bob aims the gun; 3) Charles turns off the safety; and, 4) Dave pulls the trigger. If any of these steps are missing, the act is not executed. Likewise, the performance of any one of these steps on their own is, for the most part, harmless. Therefore, each respondent can dispel any responsibility by pointing at the others. For example, if Charles leaves the safety on, Bob aiming the gun and Dave pulling the trigger would have no consequences. This allows Bob and Dave to cast responsibility on Charles.

Bibliography:

Bauman, Zygmunt, “The Uniqueness and Normality of the Holocaust”, in The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings, eds. Neil Levi and Michael Rothberg, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh Uni Press, 2003), 82-89.

Hansen, Valerie and Kenneth Curtis. Voyages in World History, Volume 2 Since 1500. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Class Writing, History

 

Serfdom Compared To Slavery: History 101 Exam Question

Essay Unused for Exam 1:
Question: On the basis of the analysis of Peter Kolchin, please compare and contrast the differences and similarities between two institutions of human bondage in the 18th and 19th century: Slavery in the American South and serfdom in imperial Russia.

Response:
Difference Between Serfdom And Slavery

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Russia and America operated similar forms of human bondage. The differences included ownership direct involvement, omnipresence versus regionally, subjects level self-governance, and racial identification of subjects.

Russian serfs worked under a quasi-contract leading to possible exploitation through labor obligations or obrok. These Russian serf-owners often owned thousands of serfs; the largest owned tens of thousands so were not directly involved in daily operations. In Russian, serfdom was relatively evenly distributed throughout the country. Russian serfdom was not racially distinctive, peasants of all descents may become serfs. Often, serfs were descendants of conquered sects. Russian serfs had greater opportunities than American slaves, but this was rarely taken advantage of. The serfs could reach a superior serf status, granting them some serfs working under them.

In comparison, American slave-owners directly managed the slaves daily activities. The owners usually owned less than two hundred slaves; the largest couple of owners had possession of not much more than one thousand slaves. In comparison, American slavery was regionally secular, for the most part slaves were in the southern states. American slaves were almost entirely African and the owners were European. In addition, the physical appearance of American slaves made it impossible to blend into society.

Bibliography:

Kolchin, Peter, Foreword to Up from Serfdom. In: Alexander Nikitenko, Up from Serfdom. My Childhood and Youth in Russia 1804-1824 (New Haven: Yale University Press 2001). p.IX-XX.

Hansen, Valerie and Kenneth Curtis. Voyages in World History, Volume 2 Since 1500. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Class Writing, History

 

Mughal India Religious Tolerance: History 101 Exam Question

Essay Unused for Exam 1:
Question: Please discuss the how Mughal India addressed the problems arising from religious diversity. Which religious groups were present in 16th century India, and how did Emperor Akbar incorporate other Muslim and non-Muslim religious groups (see text Bada’Uni). How did his successors change Akbar’s policy, and how did this affect the Mughal Empire in the 17th and 18th century?

Response:
Religious diversity, incorporation of the religious groups, and Akbar’s successors.

In the sixteenth century, Mughal Empire expanded through war and other forms of acquisition to incorporate numerous regions in South Asia. Emperor Akbar, the ruler of the Mughal Emperor, controlled a large area and as many as 100 million subjects (Voyages, 461). “Akbar was keenly interested in religion,” (Voyages, 471). Akbar’s politic allowed him to effectively administer over these diverse groups. He incorporated these groups into his political structure and engaged them intellectually.

The Mughal Empire expansion crossed through various religious sects, including Muslim, Sufism, Sikhism, Hinduism, and, eventually with the exploration by the Europeans, Catholicism and Christianity. Akbar incorporated these groups into the Mughal administrative system by maintaining their social customs after establishing relationships with local aristocrats (Voyages, 462). Akbar encouraged religious and political debate and exchange with learned scholars in these groups. From this, he promoted a unified religious theory, “Divine Faith.”

Bada’Uni points out in “Akbar and Religion” how Akbar’s continued engagement with non-Muslim is against the Muslim law and will “eventually lead to license and open heresy….” The failure in these religious doctrine is pointed out but Bada’uni’s highlighting of the pope’s ability to change the interpretation of the Bible. The religious  attitude continued through his successor Jahangir. However, Akbar’s grandson, Aurangzeb, reversed this neutral position during the late seventeenth century. This change weakened the solidarity of the Mughal Empire and largely contributed to it’s downfall.

Bibliography:

Hansen, Valerie and Kenneth Curtis. Voyages in World History, Volume 2 Since 1500. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010.

Bada’Uni. (The Mughal Emperor, 1556-1605) Akbar and Religion. In: Reilly, Worlds of History, p.102-105

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Class Writing, History

 

Governing of Suleiman: History 101 Exam Question

Exam 1 Essay:
Please discuss the strength of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. How did Suleiman govern this vast and most diverse empire, and how does the inscription mentioned in the source below reveal his claim to spiritual guardianship of Islam and political power over non-Muslim areas? How did the Ottomans treat non-Muslim minorities in general, and what position did ‘elite slaves’ occupy in the empire? 

The Ottoman Empire’s military strength and rapid growth produced a need for advanced management and cultural awareness. The conquered, non-Islamic people became slaves. The rapid expansion required the Ottoman soldiers, or ghazis, to begin to operate in an administrative context more than combatants. This also compelled a change in hierarchy. The Ottoman’s began promoting slaves into these positions of “elite slaves,” also referred to as Janissaries or professional soldiers, to maintain control of the slave segments.

In the inscription cited in “Suleiman the Lawgiver and Ottoman Military Power,” Suleiman begins by introducing himself as “God’s slave and sultan of this world.”  Suleiman continues by referring to himself as shah, Caesar, Mahgrib, sultan, and others. These titles convey and establish his position of superior sovereignty in all kingdoms, both spiritually and politically.

With the magnitude of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman allowed local religious communities to manage their own affairs, as long as they remained loyal and paid their taxes. Suleiman also brought the Islamic cultures together under a common religious doctrine.

Suleiman the Lawgiver and Ottoman Military Power (1520-1556) In: Peter Stearns, Stephen Gosch, Erwin Grieshaber, Documents in World History. Vol.2: The Modern Centuries: From 1500 to the Present (New York: Longman 2006) p.46-53.

Hansen, Valerie and Kenneth Curtis. Voyages in World History, Volume 2 Since 1500. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 17, 2011 in Class Writing, History