Essay on Historical Legacies of Social and Economic Inequality

2021-07-28 02:10:10
3 pages
606 words
University/College: 
Middlebury College
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Essay
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History includes the role that certain institutions played on political, economic and social aspects. It can be perceived that individuals from the western region including the Spanish, French, and Portuguese employed various strategies in their administration which significantly impacted the social, economic and political conditions of the regions that they occupied. The analysis puts into view the social, economic and political structures that were introduced by the Spanish and how they contributed to the high levels of social and economic inequality in the region.

The Spanish are viewed to be among the major conquerors of the 16th century whereby they introduced the concept of an absolute state, Catholicism, and mercantilist economics (Munck 10). It is perceived that between the 1500s and 1600s, the number of individuals moving from Spain to America was three hundred thousand. From a social perspective, the Spanish are viewed to have focused on subjugating individuals from the Native American community in addition to forcing them to engage in bonded labor for them to work on the mines and farms. They were driven by the need for gaining economic stability in which, despite having the Native Americans as their slaves, they also acquired slaves from Africa to increase the level of labor. This is perceived to have contributed to social inequality whereby some races are viewed to be superior when compared to others (Munck 23).

From a political perspective, tactics regarding divide and rule, technology in addition to plagues played a significant role in giving the Spanish the power to gain control of the west. Similarly to the Portuguese, the Spanish focused on creating an America that depicted its image. Iberian-style cities and complex social structures were soon springing up under the political jurisdiction of colonial virreinatos (viceroys) appointed by the crown, (Munck 23). It is also perceived that the Catholic Church contributed greatly in promoting Monarchical rule in the region. Social differentiation occurred gradually in the regions occupied by Spain which resulted in its decline. Its loss of prominence attracted other European groups whereby its fall made Americas a field of Inter-European competition. Nonetheless, the Spanish crown focused on strengthening its control in the region, but the resistance to its rule was gradually developing. Revolts opposing the taxes imposed by the crown increased by the beginning of the 1800s (Munck 23).

From an economic perspective, the view is that at the beginning of the 19th century, the British had gained more power when compared to the Spanish (Munck 23). Colonies are viewed to focus on their needs as trading with Britain did not require any intermediaries. As highlighted earlier, Spain was driven by the need for gaining economic stability in which, despite having the Native Americans as their slaves, it also acquired slaves from Africa to increase the level of labor. This implies that with its power, its regions had developed more when compared to others (Munck 11). Nonetheless, the end of the slave trade at the start of the 19th century implied that Spain would no longer access slaves to work in the mines and farms (Munck 24).

As stated earlier, the analysis puts into view the social, economic and political structures that were introduced by the Spanish and how they contributed to the high levels of social and economic inequality in the region. The group of focus was the Spanish who, together with the Portuguese, had plenty of control of the Americas during the 16th century. Some of the highlighted that factors that contributed to the social and economic inequality include slave trade, monarchical control and the decline of Spain that resulted in rivalry among other European nations.

Work Cited

Munck, Ronaldo. Contemporary Latin America. Palgrave: Palgrave Macmillan.

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