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Latin America perspectives a series of information and comment about Latin America with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. These programs are recorded by station w s r u FM. Here now is Dr. Gardner nationalism is a sometime thing. By which I mean to say that sometimes the ingredients that make a nation are present and sometimes they're absent. We recall of course that the modern national state came upon the scene approximately 500 years ago. It was in that period that sizable groups of people by virtue of their common traits their common language common habits common ideals indeed common history as well as aspirations came to form groups that deservedly were cold nations and so out of the Middle Ages out of the break up of feudalism came the rise of the modern national state. Sometimes geography
assisted sometimes geography made difficult the creation of nationalism and the national state has to be remembered that the 13 colonies ranging as they did over a long north to south stretch were so separate and to their nature that for a long while it was difficult for a Virginian to be an American for a New Yorker to be an American for the local viewpoint and focus of loyalty to be superseded by something larger. Sometimes the geography that defies continuity of terrain is also a barrier to nationalism. Witness the difficulties of molding the citizens of thousands of islands in the Philippines into a single nation. A problem that to a degree also plagues modern Indonesia. Then too in many modern states there is an art officiality that comes upon the scene in the twentieth century by
way of the imperialism of advance powers in times past. I'm thinking of the trouble plagued area that is Nigeria Nigeria is a composite of tribal groups that have been artificially forced into a single state. As Britain saw fit to leave a large element on the African landscape instead of a small one as it emerged to statehood in the establishment of nationalism one of the most important case studies that can be made in the Western Hemisphere is that of Mexico a newly published volume penned by Frederick C. Turner is entitled The dynamic of Mexican nationalism. The publication of the University of North Carolina Press. This is the work of a political scientists is not based upon any ah priori reasoning is not the result of a
scientific mathematical approach to the analysis of the results of questionnaires but rather is a free ranging one with a humanistic approach to the historical background of the Mexican people as he author Turner comes to explain the explosive nationalism that has come to Mexico particularly in 20th century years since the revolution of nineteen ten. It's important that a people have heroes and though Mexico has a number of heroes from the period of the wars of independence there are no great early presidents who take the category of hero and establish a cult of hero worship. One looks in vain for the equivalent of a George Washington Thomas Jefferson a Madison and Adams in Mexican history. And so one leaps from Craig to Craig as it were from wars of independence down to the
period of watches and from wires on. One would say if in a liberal vein to the revolution of one thousand ten. But it is in this latter period the revolution of one thousand ten that Mexico has come upon a horde of Heroes Hero worship is directed to the civilian from the north. Madero the warrior patriot from the north of punch. The Statesman politician from the north of Mexico. Carranza and another from the North Country OBRA gone. It's noteworthy that a great deal of that revolution of one thousand ten was fostered by men thought an action out of northern Mexico and many would say that this came out of northern Mexico because there was the stimulus of comparison. The comparison of what the United States had with its stability and its progress that cause these people more than those at more distant points in Mexico to realize the difference
and give them the desire for change. But then too there are other heroes that come along in the 1910s 20s and 30s. Indeed President Cardenas of the 1000 thirties is almost a folk hero type though he still walks this earth and breathes the air of today. One can also say that nationalism in Mexico in this period of the revolution was much advanced by the construction of roads. It has sometimes been said that there were authorities in Mexico who forced to flip a coin in the use of certain limited funds would often decide to build another mile of road rather than hope to add another classroom to a school. The thought being that the road was itself going to be an avenue to the unification of the nation. That road was going to be the avenue by which goods moved to a national market. It was going to be the avenue by which
individuals came to move and rub shoulders with others and hence become part of the larger group the nation. And so come to have these common traits and habits and ideals that they would be welded even more completely into a truly Mexican nation. Literature has also played an important part in the well-being of Mexican nationalism by stressing cohesive nationalism and social equality literature can shape the way in which a national populace and its leaders perceive their own relation to the goals and problems before them. The cultural impact of literature gives social significance to the fact that the Mexican see the 1910 revolution as creating a new sensibility among Mexican artists and writers establishing a Mexican ization of national culture and bringing Mexico a truly
social conscience and the desire far a homogeneous national life. There are obstacles However in assessing the role that literature plays in cultivating nationalist sentiment. One can be led to believe that more people are aware of a given work than actually have read it. It is also possible that one over generalizes from specific titles to include a great deal in literature that was valueless are with minimal influence. A large body of Mexican literature patently espouses cohesive nationalism while castigating foreigners racial and geographical divisiveness and economic and social inequalities. From most passages and viewpoints cited to illustrate the modes of national expression however there are similar and opposing sentiments. Furthermore although the aggregate audience for Mexican
literature is large and growing larger the number of Mexican studying any single piece of art or literature is limited. It must be borne in mind that in days immediately prior to the Mexican Revolution fewer than four in five could read. Indeed that is a number that would perhaps exceed the percentage of Literates in Mexico even to this day. Novels came to contain the best expression of nationalism that Mexican literature manifested and no other literary form was so widely read and perhaps in consequence so much of an influence upon the public. It's rather interesting to note that the man from Mandela Saturday sometimes referred to as the father of the Mexican novel. In writing his book El petechiae the parrot came forth with a work that was so highly nationalistic
in 1810 that it was suppressed. After the eleventh chapter had been published. It is difficult to find Mexican literature in the period immediately before the revolution in 1910 suggesting change in fact the novelist's of that period who criticized social conditions and some did so saw in revolution an obstacle to progress. In other words the novelist's in the immediate period before the revolution of 1910 were so dedicated to evolutionary progress they considered evolution an obstacle to it. Furthermore even the novelist's advocacy of limited means to effect social change is influenced by that number of people who read and understand and utilize the inequalities of Mexican society have been exploited in many Mexican novels has as the corruption of city government the exploitation of pay on the sacrifice of
daughters for the greed to get wealthy through the unhappy but fortunate financially speaking marriage. The idealism and corruption of the local bosses the robber barons all have been brought into stark contrast. One of the great novels of the Revolution lost the hole the underdogs presents the need for love of country by portraying men without patriotism and the need for human and national goals. By showing the brutality of a situation determined by circumstance and private concern. In fact it may be said that author us wella suggests the national cohesion and the ultra isn't needed in Mexico in the subsequent constructive period of the revolution by the lack of unifying ideals that he emphasizes in his writing. We have in the textbooks used in Mexico yet another force working toward the expanding nationalism.
This is true in the history books. It is true in the geography texts geography texts for example used at about the fourth grade level suggest through 59 colored pictures. The physical characteristics of Mexico and of the fifty nine only to indicate state divisions are primary school texts are especially designed to give students a sense of cohesive nationalism a reading book for second grade students for example focuses on Mexican racial unity with pictures of red brown and white hands joined together and the five boys have distinctly varying racial background arms around one another. Declaring that all boys who are part of the second tier group are friends and play together at recess. We have then. Whether it be in the roads whether it be in the literature whether it be in the textbooks indeed in the art
in the hero worship a great deal that has given Mexico the impetus toward a more keenly unified nation. The nationalism that exploits common traits and language and habits and ideals and history is very amply set forth in the volume entitled The dynamic of Mexican nationalism by Frederick S. Turner. This book published by the University of North Carolina Press. This was another program in the series Latin America perspectives with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. Join us for our next program when Dr. Gardner will comment on another interesting aspect of Latin American affairs. These programs are recorded by station WFIU FM and are made available to this station by the national educational radio network.
Latin American perspectives II
Episode Number
Episode 8 of 38
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3544. This prog.: The Dynamic of Mexican Nationalism by Frederick C. Turner
Global Affairs
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Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-3-18 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:35
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Chicago: “Latin American perspectives II; Episode 8 of 38,” 1968-03-18, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 8, 2023,
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