Few of her harshest critics could deny that America is possibly the greatest country in history in terms of strength, wealth, and power, and never once in its history has an administration changed with bloodshed. (Well, there was that Lincoln/Davis custody battle over Alabama, but that was straightened out.)
Mexico, Central, and South America were all settled before North America, were very rich in resources, were homes to ancient and sophisticated civilizations, and had massive amounts of farmable land and navigable rivers. In your opinion, what were the most important factors in the U.S. so far surpassing their southern neighbors in strength, stability, and productivity?
If you’re really interested in knowing things of this nature, may I suggest the book Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. It’s a wonderful, easy to read telling of why things happened the way they did. What brought it about?
Answers include everything from the types of animals available for domestication, plants available for cultivation, climate, minerals, and even things such as the general shape and length of the continent as a whole.
No, it doesn’t answer why Americans became a democracy and why Cubans or Columbians didn’t. What it explains is why Europeans were so much more advanced than Africans (and, likewise the South Americans) despite the latter having half a million year head start.
happyheather is right. The same reasons that kept government and society sterile and monolithic in Spain, kept the Spanish new world from developing as robustly and with the variety that North America did above the Rio Grande.
Natural resources have no bearing. The culture is the main factor. The US, Canada, Australia, etc are all countries with stable governments and productive economies. Now look at the Spanish colonies in Latin America and the Philippines. The one thing in common is the culture.
First of all, I think Sampiro that you are mixing things. One thing is to ask why were the spanish more adavnced than the Incas for example. The other is too compare U.S.A. with it’s southern neighbourghs. An remember those empires existed in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru and Ecuador. The rest of the sub-continent were as undeveloped as the sioux (this is a generalazation of course). Finally all those empires were completely wipe out by the Spanish.
Henry B. 85% of Argentina’s population can say the same. The same goes for Uruguay.
The influence of the French and also of the american revolution (and constitution) arealso manifest in Argentina. My country’s constitution of 1853 is the 5 oldest of the world, the problem is it isn’t always respected.
Also I don’t think Ender that you can compare Africa with Latin America. I am sure you can see many differences.
And now why I think U.S.A has managed to become a developed country in opposition to us.
The reason is cultural.
Reformation. Clearly protestantism has been a major factor in the development of capitalism.
Also the way the English colonies in America were governed differed a lot from the way we were. The spanish american colonies were exclusive property of the King, and he managed them with Viceroys who had absolute power over it’s subjects (again a generalazation, once the people of Buenos Aires “elected” the Viceroy of River Plate).
Third you manage to organanize yourselves rather rapidly. The same didn’t happen with us. 1853 is considered the year when Argentina finally organized itself (although it’s principal state, Buenos Aires only joined the republic in 1859) but since 1816 (our independence) till 1853 the former Viceroyalty was divided in 5 countries, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Fascinating thesis (and I’m not being sarcastic). That could serve as a doctoral research topic in economics, history, political science, religion, or sociology (and probably has- I’ll have to check it out).
Totally different subject, but I don’t know anybody from Argentina: one of my favorite authors (I almost start the day bowing towards the Buenos Aires meat market) is Jorges Luis Borges. Can you tell me if he is well respected in Argentina itself? (The reason I ask is that so many greatly admired people suffer from the “prophet in his own country” syndrome- for example, I grew up very close to the childhood homes of Truman Capote and Harper Lee and hardly anybody knows anything about them other than “oh yeah— he talked funny and she wrote something”- I currently live in the hometown of Flannery O’Connor and it’s the same story.) I understand that his (very much younger) widow makes the news a bit, but would the average man on the street know his name.
Also- the question you’re probably already sick of being asked by Americans and the English- what was Argentinian reaction to the movie EVITA? Is she still a “love her/hate her” figure, or is her cult essentially as gone from Argentina as Isabella Peron?
Back to the topic a bit, I’ve often wondered whether the urban pre-Columbian civilizations in central and South America helped or hindered post-conquistador Spanish settlement. There was of course nothing like it here- there were large towns, but they were usually of wood with waddle and daub and only a mound to serve as focal point, and thus easy to consider inferior to European intellect and culture by the conquerors, whereas the Incans were smelting gold and the Mayans were calculating the nature of light, etc…
To echo clairobscur’s comments, Sampiro, the protestantism --> capitalism thesis (the Weber thesis) is one of the most famous theses of modern Western history. If you’re interested, look into the work of German historian Max Weber.