The independence achieved in Latin America freed nations from colonial rule. Despite this freedom, there were many similarities between the colonial and post-independence eras in terms of goals, rhetoric, and actions. Even so, historical actors like Simon Bolivar, Domingo Sarmiento, and Juan Manuel de Rosas viewed themselves as making a significant break with the past.
Bolivar was determined to win independence against European rule. A soldier schooled in classical liberalism, ôsix Latin American republics owe their freedom from Spanish ruleö to Bolivar (Notes, 2006). BolivarÆs resistance to colonial rule was staunch and resulted in numerous victories and liberations of Latin American nations. Historians continue to portray him as one of the most, if not the most, successful soldier-statesman in Latin American history. BolivarÆs goal of creating an American Revolution type federation among the newly independent republics broke from the past.
De Rosas also fought European rule. However, a supporter or caudillismo and personalism, RosasÆ goals were closer to those of colonialism than post-colonialism. The separatism and different factions that would ultimately prevent greater unity in Latin America were characteristic of De RosasÆ political role, though he did use the aid of gauchos to help defeat the Europeans. Sarmiento was a liberal who fought for a heterogeneous culture among gauchos, blacks, and indigenous individuals. His rule focused on education as a means of freedom. Sarmiento took a dim view of the gauchos, however, considering them uneducated and expandable, a view not much different than the one of them under colonial rule. As Graham (1990) asserts, ôSarmientoÆs theorizing appeared closer to their European models than to the changing reality of Argentinaö (p. 43).
Despite Bolivar, Sarmiento, and de Rosas viewing themselves as making a distinct break with the past, not all historians view them in ...