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The Hispanic Nations of the New World by William R. Shepherd

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and education. While a traveler in Europe he had seen much of its
military organizations, and he had also gained no slight
acquaintance with the vices of its capital cities. This acquired
knowledge he joined to evil propensities until he became a
veritable monster of wickedness. Vain, arrogant, reckless,
absolutely devoid of scruple, swaggering in victory, dogged in
defeat, ferociously cruel at all times, he murdered his brothers
and his best friends; he executed, imprisoned, or banished any
one whom he thought too influential; he tortured his mother and
sisters; and, like the French Terrorists, he impaled his officers
upon the unpleasant dilemma of winning victories or losing their
lives. Even members of the American legation suffered torment at
his hands, and the minister himself barely escaped death.

Over his people, Lopez wielded a marvelous power, compounded of
persuasive eloquence and brute force. If the Paraguayans had
obeyed their earlier masters blindly, they were dumb before this
new despot and deaf to other than his word of command. To them he
was the "Great Father," who talked to them in their own tongue of
Guarani, who was the personification of the nation, the greatest
ruler in the world, the invincible champion who inspired them
with a loathing and contempt for their enemies. Such were the
traits of a man and such the traits of a people who waged for six
years a warfare among the most extraordinary in human annals.

What prompted Lopez to embark on his career of international
madness and prosecute it with the rage of a demon is not entirely
clear. A vision of himself as the Napoleon of southern South
America, who might cause Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay to cringe
before his footstool, while he disposed at will of their
territory and fortunes, doubtless stirred his imagination. So,
too, the thought of his country, wedged in between two huge
neighbors and threatened with suffocation between their
overlapping folds, may well have suggested the wisdom of
conquering overland a highway to the sea. At all events, he
assembled an army of upwards of ninety thousand men, the greatest
military array that Hispanic America had ever seen. Though
admirably drilled and disciplined, they were poorly armed, mostly
with flintlock muskets, and they were also deficient in artillery
except that of antiquated pattern. With this mighty force at his
back, yet knowing that the neighboring countries could eventually
call into the field armies much larger in size equipped with
repeating rifles and supplied with modern artillery, the "Jupiter
of Paraguay" nevertheless made ready to launch his thunderbolt.

The primary object at which he aimed was Uruguay. In this little
state the Colorados, upheld openly or secretly by Brazil and
Argentina, were conducting a "crusade of liberty" against the
Blanco government at Montevideo, which was favored by Paraguay.
Neither of the two great powers wished to see an alliance formed
between Uruguay and Paraguay, lest when united in this manner the
smaller nations might become too strong to tolerate further
intervention in their affairs. For her part, Brazil had motives
for resentment arising out of boundary disputes with Paraguay and
Uruguay, as well as out of the inevitable injury to its nationals
inflicted by the commotions in the latter country; whereas
Argentina cherished grievances against Lopez for the audacity
with which his troops roamed through her provinces and the
impudence with which his vessels, plying on the lower Parana,
ignored the customs regulations. Thus it happened that obscure
civil discords in one little republic exploded into a terrific
international struggle which shook South America to its

In 1864, scorning the arts of diplomacy which he did not
apparently understand, Lopez sent down an order for the two big
states to leave the matter of Uruguayan politics to his impartial
adjustment. At both Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires a roar of
laughter went up from the press at this notion of an obscure
chieftain of a band of Indians in the tropical backwoods daring
to poise the equilibrium of much more than half a continent on
his insolent hand. But the merriment soon subsided, as Brazilians
and Argentinos came to realize what their peril might be from a
huge army of skilled and valiant soldiers, a veritable horde of
fighting fanatics, drawn up in a compact little land, centrally
located and affording in other respects every kind of strategic

When Brazil invaded Uruguay and restored the Colorados to power,
Lopez demanded permission from Argentina to cross its frontier,
for the purpose of assailing his enemy from another quarter. When
the permission was denied, Lopez declared war on Argentina also.
It was in every respect a daring step, but Lopez knew that
Argentina was not so well prepared as his own state for a war of
endurance. Uruguay then entered into an alliance in 1865 with its
two big "protectors." In accordance with its terms, the allies
agreed not to conclude peace until Lopez had been overthrown,
heavy indemnities had been exacted of Paraguay, its
fortifications demolished, its army disbanded, and the country
forced to accept any boundaries that the victors might see fit to

Into the details of the campaigns in the frightful conflict that
ensued it is not necessary to enter. Although, in 1866, the
allies had assembled an army of some fifty thousand men, Lopez
continued taking the offensive until, as the number and
determination of his adversaries increased, he was compelled to
retreat into his own country. Here he and his Indian legions
levied terrific toll upon the lives of their enemies who pressed
onward, up or down the rivers and through tropical swamps and
forests. Inch by inch he contested their entry upon Paraguayan
soil. When the able-bodied men gave out, old men, boys, women,
and girls fought on with stubborn fury, and died before they
would surrender. The wounded escaped if they could, or, cursing
their captors, tore off their bandages and bled to death. Disease
wrought awful havoc in all the armies engaged; yet the struggle
continued until flesh and blood could endure no more. Flying
before his pursuers into the wilds of the north and frantically
dragging along with him masses of fugitive men, women, and
children, whom he remorselessly shot, or starved to death, or
left to perish of exhaustion, Lopez turned finally at bay, and,
on March 1, 1870, was felled by the lance of a cavalryman. He had
sworn to die for his country and he did, though his country might
perish with him.

No land in modern times has ever reached a point so near
annihilation as Paraguay. Added to the utter ruin of its
industries and the devastation of its fields, dwellings, and
towns, hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children had
perished. Indeed, the horrors that had befallen it might well
have led the allies to ask themselves whether it was worth while
to destroy a country in order to change its rulers. Five years
before Lopez came into power the population of Paraguay had been
reckoned at something between 800,000 and 1,400,000--so
unreliable were census returns in those days. In 1878 it was
estimated at about 230,000, of whom women over fifteen years of
age outnumbered the men nearly four to one. Loose polygamy was
the inevitable consequence, and women became the breadwinners.
Even today in this country the excess of females over males is
very great. All in all, it is not strange that Paraguay should be
called the "Niobe among nations."

Unlike many nations of Spanish America in which a more or less
anticlerical regime was in the ascendant, Ecuador fell under a
sort of theocracy. Here appeared one of the strangest characters
in a story already full of extraordinary personages--Gabriel
Garcia Moreno, who became President of that republic in 1861. In
some respects the counterpart of Francia of Paraguay, in others
both a medieval mystic and an enlightened ruler of modern type,
he was a man of remarkable intellect, constructive ability,
earnest patriotism, and disinterested zeal for orderliness and
progress. On his presidential sash were inscribed the words: "My
Power in the Constitution"; but is real power lay in himself and
in the system which he implanted.

Garcia Moreno had a varied career. He had been a student of
chemistry and other natural sciences. He had spent his youth in
exile in Europe, where he prepared himself for his subsequent
career as a journalist and a university professor. Through it all
he had been an active participant in public affairs. Grim of
countenance, austere in bearing, violent of temper, relentless in
severity, he was a devoted believer in the Roman Catholic faith
and in this Church as the sole effective basis upon which a state
could be founded or social and political regeneration could be
assured. In order to render effective his concept of what a
nation ought to be, Garcia Moreno introduced and upheld in all
rigidity an administration the like of which had been known
hardly anywhere since the Middle Ages. He recalled the Jesuits,
established schools of the "Brothers of the Christian Doctrine,"
and made education a matter wholly under ecclesiastical control.
He forbade heretical worship, called the country the "Republic of
the Sacred Heart," and entered into a concordat with the Pope
under which the Church in Ecuador became more subject to the will
of the supreme pontiff than western Europe had been in the days
of Innocent III.

Liberals in and outside of Ecuador tried feebly to shake off this
masterful theocracy, for the friendship which Garcia Moreno
displayed toward the diplomatic representatives of the Catholic
powers of Europe, notably those of Spain and France, excited the
neighboring republics. Colombia, indeed, sent an army to liberate
the "brother democrats of Ecuador from the rule of Professor
Garcia Moreno," but the mass of the people stood loyally by their
President. For this astounding obedience to an administration
apparently so unrelated to modern ideas, the ecclesiastical
domination was not solely or even chiefly responsible. In more
ways than one Garcia Moreno, the professor President, was a
statesman of vision and deed. He put down brigandage and
lawlessness; reformed the finances; erected hospitals; promoted
education; and encouraged the study of natural science. Even his
salary he gave over to public improvements. His successors in the
presidential office found it impossible to govern the country
without Garcia Moreno. Elected for a third term to carry on his
curious policy of conservatism and reaction blended with modern
advancement, he fell by the hand of an assassin in 1875. But the
system which he had done so much to establish in Ecuador survived
him for many years.

Although Brazil did not escape the evils of insurrection which
retarded the growth of nearly all of its neighbors, none of its
numerous commotions shook the stability of the nation to a
perilous degree. By 1850 all danger of revolution had vanished.
The country began to enter upon a career of peace and progress
under a regime which combined broadly the federal organization of
the United States with the form of a constitutional monarchy.
Brazil enjoyed one of the few enlightened despotisms in South
America. Adopting at the outset the parliamentary system, the
Emperor Pedro II chose his ministers from among the liberals or
conservatives, as one party or the other might possess a majority
in the lower house of the Congress. Though the legislative power
of the nation was enjoyed almost entirely by the planters and
their associates who formed the dominant social class, individual
liberty was fully guaranteed, and even freedom of conscience and
of the press was allowed. Negro slavery, though tolerated, was
not expressly recognized.

Thanks to the political discretion and unusual personal qualities
of "Dom Pedro," his popularity became more and more marked as the
years went on. A patron of science and literature, a scholar
rather than a ruler, a placid and somewhat eccentric philosopher,
careless of the trappings of state, he devoted himself without
stint to the public welfare. Shrewdly divining that the
monarchical system might not survive much longer, he kept his
realm pacified by a policy of conciliation. Pedro II even went so
far as to call himself the best republican in the Empire. He
might have said, with justice perhaps, that he was the best
republican in the whole of Hispanic America. What he really
accomplished was the successful exercise of a paternal autocracy
of kindness and liberality over his subjects.

If more or less permanent dictators and occasional liberators
were the order of the day in most of the Spanish American
republics, intermittent dictators and liberators dashed across
the stage in Mexico from 1829 well beyond the middle of the
century. The other countries could show numerous instances in
which the occupant of the chief magistracy held office to the
close of his constitutional term; but Mexico could not show a
single one! What Mexico furnished, instead, was a kaleidoscopic
spectacle of successive presidents or dictators, an unstable
array of self-styled "generals" without a presidential
succession. There were no fewer than fifty such transient rulers
in thirty-two years, with anywhere from one to six a year, with
even the same incumbent twice in one year, or, in the case of the
repetitious Santa Anna, nine times in twenty years--in spite of
the fact that the constitutional term of office was four years.
This was a record that made the most turbulent South American
states seem, by comparison, lands of methodical regularity in the
choice of their national executive. And as if this instability in
the chief magistracy were not enough, the form of government in
Mexico shifted violently from federal to centralized, and back
again to federal. Mad struggles raged between partisan chieftains
and their bands of Escoceses and Yorkinos, crying out upon the
"President" in power because of his undue influence upon the
choice of a successor, backing their respective candidates if
they lost, and waiting for a chance to oust them if they won.

This tumultuous epoch had scarcely begun when Spain in 1829 made
a final attempt to recover her lost dominion in Mexico. Local
quarrels were straightway dropped for two months until the
invaders had surrendered. Thereupon the great landholders, who
disliked the prevailing Yorkino regime for its democratic
policies and for favoring the abolition of slavery, rallied to
the aid of a "general" who issued a manifesto demanding an
observance of the constitution and the laws! After Santa Anna,
who was playing the role of a Mexican Warwick, had disposed of
this aspirant, he switched blithely over to the Escoceses,
reduced the federal system almost to a nullity, and in 1836
marched away to conquer the revolting Texans. But, instead, they
conquered him and gained their independence, so that his reward
was exile.

Now the Escoceses were free to promulgate a new constitution, to
abolish the federal arrangement altogether, and to replace it by
a strongly centralized government under which the individual
States became mere administrative districts. Hardly had this
radical change been effected when in 1838 war broke out with
France on account of the injuries which its nationals, among whom
were certain pastry cooks, had suffered during the interminable
commotions. Mexico was forced to pay a heavy indemnity; and Santa
Anna, who had returned to fight the invader, was unfortunate
enough to lose a leg in the struggle. This physical deprivation,
however, did not interfere with that doughty hero's zest for
tilting with other unquiet spirits who yearned to assure national
regeneration by continuing to elevate and depose "presidents."

Another swing of the political pendulum had restored the federal
system when again everything was overturned by the disastrous war
with the United States. Once more Santa Anna returned, this time,
however, to joust in vain with the "Yankee despoilers" who were
destined to dismember Mexico and to annex two-thirds of its
territory. Again Santa Anna was banished--to dream of a more
favorable opportunity when he might become the savior of a
country which had fallen into bankruptcy and impotence.

His opportunity came in 1853, when conservatives and clericals
indulged the fatuous hope that he would both sustain their
privileges and lift Mexico out of its sore distress. Either their
memories were short or else distance had cast a halo about his
figure. At all events, he returned from exile and assumed, for
the ninth and last time, a presidency which he intended to be
something more than a mere dictatorship. Scorning the formality
of a Congress, he had himself entitled "Most Serene Highness," as
indicative of his ambition to become a monarch in name as well as
in fact.

Royal or imperial designs had long since brought one military
upstart to grief. They were now to cut Santa Anna's residence in
Mexico similarly short. Eruptions of discontent broke out all
over the country. Unable to make them subside, Santa Anna fell
back upon an expedient which recalls practices elsewhere in
Spanish America. He opened registries in which all citizens might
record "freely" their approval or disapproval of his continuance
in power. Though he obtained the huge majority of affirmative
votes to be expected in such cases, he found that these
pen-and-ink signatures were no more serviceable than his
soldiers. Accordingly the dictator of many a day, fallen from his
former estate of highness, decided to abandon his serenity also,
and in 1854 fled the country--for its good and his own.


Apart from the spoliation of Mexico by the United States, the
independence of the Hispanic nations had not been menaced for
more than thirty years. Now comes a period in which the plight of
their big northern neighbor, rent in twain by civil war and
powerless to enforce the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine, caused
two of the countries to become subject a while to European
control. One of these was the Dominican Republic.

In 1844 the Spanish-speaking population of the eastern part of
the island of Santo Domingo, writhing under the despotic yoke of
Haiti, had seized a favorable occasion to regain their freedom.
But the magic word "independence" could not give stability to the
new state any more than it had done in the case of its western
foes. The Haitians had lapsed long since into a condition
resembling that of their African forefathers. They reveled in the
barbarities of Voodoo, a sort of snake worship, and they groveled
before "presidents" and "emperors" who rose and fell on the tide
of decaying civilization. The Dominicans unhappily were not much
more progressive. Revolutions alternated with invasions and
counterinvasions and effectually prevented enduring progress.

On several occasions the Dominicans had sought reannexation to
Spain or had craved the protection of France as a defense against
continual menace from their negro enemies and as a relief from
domestic turmoil. But every move in this direction failed because
of a natural reluctance on the part of Spain and France, which
was heightened by a refusal of the United States to permit what
it regarded as a violation of the Monroe Doctrine. In 1861,
however, the outbreak of civil war in the United States appeared
to present a favorable opportunity to obtain protection from
abroad. If the Dominican Republic could not remain independent
anyway, reunion with the old mother country seemed altogether
preferable to reconquest by Haiti. The President, therefore,
entered into negotiations with the Spanish Governor and Captain
General of Cuba, and then issued a proclamation signed by himself
and four of his ministers announcing that by the "free and
spontaneous will" of its citizens, who had conferred upon him the
power to do so, the nation recognized Queen Isabella II as its
lawful sovereign! Practically no protest was made by the
Dominicans against this loss of their independence.

Difficulties which should have been foreseen by Spain were quick
to reveal themselves. It fell to the exPresident, now a colonial
governor and captain general, to appoint a host of officials and,
not unnaturally, he named his own henchmen. By so doing he not
only aroused the animosity of the disappointed but stimlated that
of the otherwise disaffected as well, until both the aggrieved
factions began to plot rebellion. Spain, too, sent over a crowd
of officials who could not adjust themselves to local conditions.
The failure of the mother country to allow the Dominicans
representation in the Spanish Cortes and its readiness to levy
taxes stirred up resentment that soon ended in revolution. Unable
to check this new trouble, and awed by the threatening attitude
of the United States, Spain decided to withdraw in 1865. The
Dominicans thus were left with their independence and a
chance--which they promptly seized--to renew their commotions. So
serious did these disturbances become that in 1869 the President
of the reconstituted republic sought annexation to the United
States but without success. American efforts, on the other hand,
were equally futile to restore peace and order in the troubled
country until many years later.

The intervention of Spain in Santo Domingo and its subsequent
withdrawal could not fail to have disastrous consequences in its
colony of Cuba, the "Pearl of the Antilles" as it was proudly
called. Here abundant crops of sugar and tobacco had brought
wealth and luxury, but not many immigrants because of the havoc
made by epidemics of yellow fever. Nearly a third of the insular
population was still composed of negro slaves, who could hardly
relish the thought that, while the mother country had tolerated
the suppression of the hateful institution in Santo Domingo, she
still maintained it in Cuba. A bureaucracy, also, prone to
corruption owing to the temptations of loose accounting at the
custom house, governed in routinary, if not in arbitrary,
fashion. Under these circumstances dislike for the suspicious and
repressive administration of Spain grew apace, and secret
societies renewed their agitation for its overthrow. The symptoms
of unrest were aggravated by the forced retirement of Spain from
Santo Domingo. If the Dominicans had succeeded so well, it ought
not to be difficult for a prolonged rebellion to wear Spain out
and compel it to abandon Cuba also. At this critical moment news
was brought of a Spanish revolution across the seas.

Just as the plight of Spain in 1808, and again in 1820, had
afforded a favorable opportunity for its colonies on the
continents of America to win their independence, so now in 1868
the tidings that Queen Isabella had been dethroned by a liberal
uprising aroused the Cubans to action under their devoted leader,
Carlos Manuel de Cespedes. The insurrection had not gained much
headway, however, when the provisional government of the mother
country instructed a new Governor and Captain General--whose
name, Dulce (Sweet), had an auspicious sound--to open
negotiations with the insurgents and to hold out the hope of
reforms. But the royalists, now as formerly,would listen to no
compromise. Organizing themselves into bodies of volunteers, they
drove Dulce out. He was succeeded by one Caballero de Rodas
(Knight of Rhodes) who lived up to his name by trying to ride
roughshod over the rebellious Cubans. Thus began the Ten Years'
War--a war of skirmishes and brief encounters, rarely involving a
decisive action, which drenched the soil of Cuba with blood and
laid waste its fields in a fury of destruction.

Among the radicals and liberals who tried to retain a fleeting
control over Mexico after the final departure of Santa Anna was
the first genuine statesman it had ever known in its history as a
republic--Benito Pablo Juarez, an Indian. At twelve years of age
he could not read or write or even speak Spanish. His employer,
however, noted his intelligence and had him educated. Becoming a
lawyer, Juarez entered the political arena and rose to prominence
by dint of natural talent for leadership, an indomitable
perseverance, and a sturdy patriotism. A radical by conviction,
he felt that the salvation of Mexico could never be attained
until clericalism and militarism had been banished from its soil

Under his influence a provisional government had already begun a
policy of lessening the privileges of the Church, when the
conservative elements, with a cry that religion was being
attacked, rose up in arms again. This movement repressed, a
Congress proceeded in 1857 to issue a liberal constitution which
was destined to last for sixty years. It established the federal
system in a definite fashion, abolished special privileges, both
ecclesiastical and military, and organized the country on sound
bases worthy of a modern nation. Mexico seemed about to enter
upon a rational development. But the newly elected President,
yielding to the importunities of the clergy, abolished the
constitution, dissolved the legislature, and set up a
dictatorship, in spite of the energetic protests of Juarez, who
had been chosen Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and who, in
accordance with the terms of the temporarily discarded
instrument, was authorized to assume the presidency should that
office fall vacant. The rule of the usurper was short-lived,
however. Various improvised "generals" of conservative stripe put
themselves at the head of a movement to "save country, religion,
and the rights of the army," drove the would-be dictator out, and
restored the old regime.

Juarez now proclaimed himself acting President, as he was legally
entitled to do, and set up his government at Vera Cruz while one
"provisional president" followed another. Throughout this trying
time Juarez defended his position vigorously and rejected every
offer of compromise. In 1859 he promulgated his famous Reform
Laws which nationalized ecclesiastical property, secularized
cemeteries, suppressed religious communities, granted freedom of
worship, and made marriage a civil contract. For Mexico, however,
as for other Spanish American countries, measures of the sort
were far too much in advance of their time to insure a ready
acceptance. Although Juarez obtained a great moral victory when
his government was recognized by the United States, he had to
struggle two years more before he could gain possession of the
capital. Triumphant in 1861, he carried his anticlerical program
to the point of actually expelling the Papal Nuncio and other
ecclesiastics who refused to obey his decrees. By so doing he
leveled the way for the clericals, conservatives, and the
militarists to invite foreign intervention on behalf of their
desperate cause. But, even if they had not been guilty of
behavior so unpatriotic, the anger of the Pope over the treatment
of his Church, the wrath of Spain over the conduct of Juarez, who
had expelled the Spanish minister for siding with the
ecclesiastics, the desire of Great Britain to collect debts due
to her subjects, and above all the imperialistic ambitions of
Napoleon III, who dreamt of converting the intellectual influence
of France in Hispanic America into a political ascendancy, would
probably have led to European occupation in any event, so long at
least as the United States was slit asunder and incapable of

Some years before, the Mexican Government under the clerical and
militarist regime had made a contract with a Swiss banker who for
a payment of $500,000 had received bonds worth more than fifteen
times the value of the loan. When, therefore, the Mexican
Congress undertook to defer payments on a foreign debt that
included the proceeds of this outrageous contract, the
Governments of France, Great Britain, and Spain decided to
intervene. According to their agreement the three powers were
simply to hold the seaports of Mexico and collect the customs
duties until their pecuniary demands had been satisfied.
Learning, however, that Napoleon III had ulterior designs, Great
Britain and Spain withdrew their forces and left him to proceed
with his scheme of conquest. After capturing Puebla in May, 1863,
a French army numbering some thirty thousand men entered the
capital and installed an assemblage of notables belonging to the
clerical and conservative groups. This body thereupon proclaimed
the establishment of a constitutional monarchy under an emperor.
The title was to be offered to Maximilian, Archduke of Austria.
In case he should not accept, the matter was to be referred to
the "benevolence of his majesty, the Emperor of the French," who
might then select some other Catholic prince.

On his arrival, a year later, the amiable and well-meaning
Maximilian soon discovered that, instead of being an "Emperor,"
he was actually little more than a precarious chief of a faction
sustained by the bayonets of a foreign army. In the northern part
of Mexico, Juarez, Porfirio Diaz,--later to become the most
renowned of presidential autocrats,--and other patriot leaders,
though hunted from place to place, held firmly to their resolve
never to bow to the yoke of the pretender. Nor could Maximilian
be sure of the loyalty of even his supposed adherents. Little by
little the unpleasant conviction intruded itself upon him that he
must either abdicate or crush all resistance in the hope that
eventually time and good will might win over the Mexicans. But do
what they would, his foreign legions could not catch the wary and
stubborn Juarez and his guerrilla lieutenants, who persistently
wore down the forces of their enemies. Then the financial
situation became grave. Still more menacing was the attitude of
the United States now that its civil war was at an end. On May
31, 1866, Maximilian received word that Napoleon III had decided
to withdraw the French troops. He then determined to abdicate,
but he was restrained by the unhappy Empress Carlotta, who
hastened to Europe to plead his cause with Napoleon. Meantime, as
the French troops were withdrawn, Juarez occupied the territory.

Feebly the "Emperor" strove to enlist the favor of his
adversaries by a number of liberal decrees; but their sole result
was his abandonment by many a lukewarm conservative. Inexorably
the patriot armies closed around him until in May, 1867, he was
captured at Queretaro, where he had sought refuge. Denied the
privilege of leaving the country on a promise never to return, he
asked Escobedo, his captor, to treat him as a prisoner of war.
"That's my business," was the grim reply. On the pretext that
Maximilian had refused to recognize the competence of the
military court chosen to try him, Juarez gave the order to shoot
him. On the 19th of June the Austrian archduke paid for a
fleeting glory with his life. Thus failed the second attempt at
erecting an empire in Mexico. For thirty-four years diplomatic
relations between that country and Austria-Hungary were severed.
The clericalmilitary combination had been overthrown, and the
Mexican people had rearmed their independence. As Juarez
declared: "Peace means respect for the rights of others."

Even if foreign dreams of empire in Mexico had vanished so
abruptly, it could hardly be expected that a land torn for many
years by convulsions could become suddenly tranquil. With Diaz
and other aspirants to presidential power, or with chieftains who
aimed at setting up little republics of their own in the several
states, Juarez had to contend for some time before he could
establish a fair amount of order. Under his successor, who also
was a civilian, an era of effective reform began. In 1873
amendments to the constitution declared Church and State
absolutely separate and provided for the abolition of peonage--a
provision which was more honored in, the breach than in the


During the half century that had elapsed since 1826, the nations
of Hispanic America had passed through dark ages. Their evolution
had always been accompanied by growing pains and had at times
been arrested altogether or unduly hastened by harsh injections
of radicalism. It was not an orderly development through gradual
modifications in the social and economic structure, but rather a
fitful progress now assisted and now retarded by the arbitrary
deeds of men of action, good and bad, who had seized power.
Dictators, however, steadily decreased in number and gave place
often to presidential autocrats who were continued in office by
constant reelection and who were imbued with modern ideas. In
1876 these Hispanic nations stood on the threshold of a new era.
Some were destined to advance rapidly beyond it; others, to move
slowly onward; and a few to make little or no progress.

The most remarkable feature in the new era was the rise of four
states--Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile--to a position of
eminence among their fellows. Extent of territory, development of
natural resources, the character of the inhabitants and the
increase of their numbers, and the amount of popular intelligence
and prosperity, all contributed to this end. Each of the four
nations belonged to a fairly well-defined historical and
geographical group in southern North America, and in eastern and
western South America, respectively. In the first group were
Mexico, the republics of Central America, and the island
countries of the Caribbean; in the second, Brazil, Argentina,
Uruguay, and Paraguay; and in the third, Chile, Peru, and
Bolivia. In a fourth group were Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela.

When the President of Mexico proceeded, in 1876, to violate the
constitution by securing his reelection, the people were prepared
by their earlier experiences and by the rule of Juarez to defend
their constitutional rights. A widespread rebellion headed by
Diaz broke out. In the so-called "Plan of Tuxtepec" the
revolutionists declared themselves in favor of the principle of
absolutely no reelection. Meantime the Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court handed down a decision that the action of the
Congress in sustaining the President was illegal, since in
reality no elections had been held because of the abstention of
voters and the seizure of the polls by revolutionists or
government forces. "Above the constitution, nothing; above the
constitution, no one," he declared. But as this assumption of a
power of judgment on matters of purely political concern was
equally a violation of the constitution and concealed, besides,
an attempt to make the Chief Justice President, Diaz and his
followers drove both of the pretenders out. Then in 1876 he
managed to bring about his own election instead.

Porfirio Diaz was a soldier who had seen active service in nearly
every important campaign since the war with the United States.
Often himself in revolt against presidents, legal and illegal,
Diaz was vastly more than an ordinary partisan chieftain.
Schooled by a long experience, he had come to appreciate the fact
that what Mexico required for its national development was
freedom from internal disorders and a fair chance for
recuperation. Justice, order, and prosperity, he felt, could be
assured only by imposing upon the country the heavy weight of an
iron hand. Foreign capital must be invested in Mexico and then
protected; immigration must be encouraged, and other material,
moral, and intellectual aid of all sorts must be drawn from
abroad for the upbuilding of the nation.

To effect such a transformation in a land so tormented and
impoverished as Mexico--a country which, within the span of
fifty-five years had lived under two "emperors," and some
thirty-six presidents, nine "provisional presidents," ten
dictators, twelve "regents," and five "supreme
councilors"--required indeed a masterful intelligence and a
masterful authority. Porfirio Diaz possessed and exercised both.
He was, in fact, just the man for the times. An able
administrator, stern and severe but just, rather reserved in
manner and guarded in utterance, shrewd in the selection of
associates, and singularly successful in his dealings with
foreigners, he entered upon a "presidential reign" of thirty-five
years broken by but one intermission of four--which brought
Mexico out upon the highway to new national life.

Under the stable and efficient rulership of Diaz, "plans,"
"pronunciamentos," "revolutions," and similar devices of
professional trouble makers, had short shrift. Whenever an
uprising started, it was promptly quelled, either by a
well-disciplined army or by the rurales, a mounted police made up
to some extent of former bandits to whom the President gave the
choice of police service or of sharp punishment for their crimes.
Order, in fact, was not always maintained, nor was justice always
meted out, by recourse to judges and courts. Instead, a novel
kind of lynch law was invoked. The name it bore was the ley fuga,
or "flight law," in accordance with which malefactors or
political suspects taken by government agents from one locality
to another, on the excuse of securing readier justice, were given
by their captors a pretended chance to escape and were then shot
while they ran! The only difference between this method and
others of the sort employed by Spanish American autocrats to
enforce obedience lay in its purpose. Of Diaz one might say what
Bacon said of King Henry VII: "He drew blood as physicians do, to
save life rather than to spill it." If need be, here and there,
disorder and revolt were stamped out by terrorism; but the
Mexican people did not yield to authority from terror but rather
from a thorough loyalty to the new regime.

Among the numerous measures of material improvement which Diaz
undertook during his first term, the construction of railways was
the most important. The size of the country, its want of
navigable rivers, and its relatively small and widely scattered
population, made imperative the establishment of these means of
communication. Despite the misgivings of many intelligent
Mexicans that the presence of foreign capital would impair local
independence in some way, Diaz laid the foundations of future
national prosperity by granting concessions to the Mexican
Central and National Mexican companies, which soon began
construction. Under his successor a national bank was created;
and when Diaz was again elected he readjusted the existing
foreign debt and boldly contracted new debts abroad.

At the close of his first term, in 1880, a surplus in the
treasury was not so great a novelty as the circumstance
altogether unique in the political annals of Mexico-that Diaz
turned over the presidency in peaceful fashion to his properly
elected successor! He did so reluctantly, to be sure, but he
could not afford just yet to ignore his own avowed principle,
which had been made a part of the constitution shortly after his
accession. Although the confidence he reposed in that successor
was not entirely justified, the immense personal popularity of
Diaz saved the prestige of the new chief magistrate. Under his
administration the constitution was amended in such a way as to
deprive the Chief Justice of the privilege of replacing the
President in case of a vacancy, thus eliminating that official
from politics. After his resumption of office, Diaz had the
fundamental law modified anew, so as to permit the reelection of
a President for one term only! For this change, inconsistent
though it may seem, Diaz was not alone responsible. Circumstances
had changed, and the constitution had to change with them.

Had the "United Provinces of Central America," as they came forth
from under the rule of Spain, seen fit to abstain from following
in the unsteady footsteps of Mexico up to the time of the
accession of Diaz to power, had they done nothing more than
develop their natural wealth and utilize their admirable
geographical situation, they might have become prosperous and
kept their corporate name. As it was, their history for upwards
of forty years had little to record other than a momentary
cohesion and a subsequent lapse into five quarrelsome little
republics--the "Balkan States" of America. Among them Costa Rica
had suffered least from arbitrary management or internal
commotion and showed the greatest signs of advancement.

In Guatemala, however, there had arisen another Diaz, though a
man quite inferior in many respects to his northern counterpart.
When Justo Rufino Barrios became President of that republic in
1873 he was believed to have conservative leanings. Ere long,
however, he astounded his compatriots by showing them that he was
a thoroughgoing radical with methods of action to correspond to
his convictions. Not only did he keep the Jesuits out of the
country but he abolished monastic orders altogether and converted
their buildings to public use. He made marriage a civil contract
and he secularized the burying grounds. Education he encouraged
by engaging the services of foreign instructors, and he brought
about a better observance of the law by the promulgation of new
codes. He also introduced railways and telegraph lines. Since the
manufacture of aniline dyes abroad had diminished the demand for
cochineal, Barrios decided to replace this export by cultivating
coffee. To this end, he distributed seeds among the planters and
furnished financial aid besides, with a promise to inspect the
fields in due season and see what had been accomplished. Finding
that in many cases the seeds had been thrown away and the money
wasted in drink and gambling, he ordered the guilty planters to
be given fifty lashes, with the assurance that on a second
offense he would shoot them on sight. Coffee planting in
Guatemala was pursued thereafter with much alacrity!

Posts in the government service Barrios distributed quite
impartially among Conservatives and Democrats, deserving or
otherwise, for he had them both well under control. At his behest
a permanent constitution was promulgated in 1880. While he
affected to dislike continual reelection, he saw to it
nevertheless that he himself should be the sole candidate who was
likely to win.

Barrios doubtless could have remained President of Guatemala for
the term of his natural life if he had not raised up the ghost of
federation. All the republics of Central America accepted his
invitation in 1876 to send delegates to his capital to discuss
the project. But nothing was accomplished because Barrios and the
President of Salvador were soon at loggerheads. Nine years later,
feeling himself stronger, Barrios again proposed federation. But
the other republics had by this time learned too much of the
methods of the autocrat of Guatemala, even while they admired his
progressive policy, to relish the thought of a federation
dominated by Guatemala and its masterful President. Though he
"persuaded" Honduras to accept the plan, the three other
republics preferred to unite in self-defense, and in the ensuing
struggle the quixotic Barrios was killed. A few years later the
project was revived and the constitution of a "Republic of
Central America" was agreed upon, when war between Guatemala and
Salvador again frustrated its execution.

In Brazil two great movements were by this time under way: the
total abolition of slavery and the establishment of a republic.
Despite the tenacious opposition of many of the planters, from
about the year 1883 the movement for emancipation made great
headway. There was a growing determination on the part of the
majority of the inhabitants to remove the blot that made the
country an object of reproach among the civilized states of the
world. Provinces and towns, one after another, freed the slaves
within their borders. The imperial Government, on its part,
hastened the process by liberating its own slaves and by imposing
upon those still in bondage taxes higher than their market value;
it fixed a price for other slaves; it decreed that the older
slaves should be set free; and it increased the funds already
appropriated to compensate owners of slaves who should be
emancipated. In 1887 the number of slaves had fallen to about
720,000, worth legally about $650 each. A year later came the
final blow, when the Princess Regent assented to a measure which
abolished slavery outright and repealed all former acts relating
to slavery. So radical a proceeding wrought havoc in the
coffee-growing southern provinces in particular, from which the
negroes now freed migrated by tens of thousands to the northern
provinces. Their places, however, were taken by Italians and
other Europeans who came to work the plantations on a cooperative
basis. All through the eighties, in fact, immigrants from Italy
poured into the temperate regions of southern Brazil, to the
number of nearly two hundred thousand, supplementing the many
thousands of Germans who had settled, chiefly in the province of
Rio Grande do Sul, thirty years before.

Apart from the industrial problem thus created by the abolition
of slavery, there seemed to be no serious political or economic
questions before the country. Ever since 1881, when a law
providing for direct elections was passed, the Liberals had been
in full control. The old Dom Pedro, who had endeared himself to
his people, was as much liked and respected as ever. But as he
had grown feeble and almost blind, the heiress to the throne, who
had marked absolutist and clerical tendencies, was disposed to
take advantage of his infirmities.

For many years, on the other hand, doctrines opposed to the
principle of monarchy had been spread in zealous fashion by
members of the military class, notable among whom was Deodoro da
Fonseca. And now some of the planters longed to wreak vengeance
on a ruler who had dared to thwart their will by emancipating the
slaves. Besides this persistent discontent, radical republican
newspapers continually stirred up fresh agitation. Whatever the
personal service rendered by the Emperor to the welfare of the
country, to them he represented a political system which deprived
the provinces of much of their local autonomy and the Brazilian
people at large of self-government.

But the chief reason for the momentous change which was about to
take place was the fact that the constitutional monarchy had
really completed its work as a transitional government. Under
that regime Brazil had reached a condition of stability and had
attained a level of progress which might well enable it to govern
itself. During all this time the influence of the Spanish
American nations had been growing apace. Even if they had fallen
into many a political calamity, they were nevertheless
"republics," and to the South American this word had a magic
sound. Above all, there was the potent suggestion of the success
of the United States of North America, whose extension of its
federal system over a vast territory suggested what Brazil with
its provinces might accomplish in the southern continent. Hence
the vast majority of intelligent Brazilians felt that they had
become self-reliant enough to establish a republic without fear
of lapsing into the unfortunate experiences of the other Hispanic

In 1889, when provision was made for a speedy abdication of the
Emperor in favor of his daughter, the republican newspapers
declared that a scheme was being concocted to exile the chief
military agitators and to interfere with any effort on the part
of the army to prevent the accession of the new ruler. Thereupon,
on the 15th of November, the radicals at Rio de Janeiro, aided by
the garrison, broke out in open revolt. Proclaiming the
establishment of a federal republic under the name of the "United
States of Brazil," they deposed the imperial ministry, set up a
provisional government with Deodoro da Fonseca at its head,
arranged for the election of a constitutional convention, and
bade Dom Pedro and his family leave the country within
twenty-four hours.

On the 17th of November, before daybreak, the summons was obeyed.
Not a soul appeared to bid the old Emperor farewell as he and his
family boarded the steamer that was to bear them to exile in
Europe. Though seemingly an act of heartlessness and ingratitude,
the precaution was a wise one in that it averted, possible
conflict and bloodshed. For the second time in its history, a
fundamental change had been wrought in the political system of
the nation without a resort to war! The United States of Brazil
accordingly took its place peacefully among its fellow republics
of the New World.

Meanwhile Argentina, the great neighbor of Brazil to the
southwest, had been gaining territory and new resources. Since
the definite adoption of a federal constitution in 1853, this
state had attained to a considerable degree of national
consciousness under the leadership of able presidents such as
Bartolome Mitre, the soldier and historian, and Domingo Faustino
Sarmiento, the publicist and promoter of popular education. One
evidence of this new nationalism was a widespread belief in the
necessity of territorial expansion. Knowing that Chile
entertained designs upon Patagonia, the Argentine Government
forestalled any action by conducting a war of practical
extermination against the Indian tribes of that region and by
adding it to the national domain. The so-called "conquest of the
desert" in the far south of the continent opened to civilization
a vast habitable area of untold economic possibilities.

In the electoral campaign of 1880 the presidential candidates
were Julio Argentino Roca and the Governor of the province of
Buenos Aires. The former, an able officer skilled in both arms
and politics, had on his side the advantage of a reputation won
in the struggle with the Patagonian Indians, the approval of the
national Government, and the support of most of the provinces.
Feeling certain of defeat at the polls, the partisans of the
latter candidate resorted to the timeworn expedient of a revolt.
Though the uprising lasted but twenty days, the diplomatic corps
at the capital proffered its mediation between the contestants,
in order to avoid any further bloodshed. The result was that the
fractious Governor withdrew his candidacy and a radical change
was effected in the relations of Buenos Aires, city and province,
to the country at large. The city, together with its environs,
was converted into a federal district and became solely and
distinctively the national capital. Its public buildings,
railways, and telegraph service, as well as the provincial debt,
were taken over by the general Government. The seat of provincial
authority was transferred to the village of Ensenada, which
thereupon was rechristened La Plata.

A veritable tide of wealth and general prosperity was now rolling
over Argentina. By 1885 its population had risen to upwards of
3,000,000. Immigration increased to a point far beyond the
wildest expectations. In 1889 alone about 300,000 newcomers
arrived and lent their aid in the promotion of industry and
commerce. Fields hitherto uncultivated or given over to grazing
now bore vast crops of wheat, maize, linseed, and sugar. Large
quantities of capital, chiefly from Great Britain, also poured
into the country. As a result, the price of land rose high, and
feverish speculation became the order of the day. Banks and other
institutions of credit were set up, colonizing schemes were
devised, and railways were laid out. To meet the demands of all
these enterprises, the Government borrowed immense sums from
foreign capitalists and issued vast quantities of paper money,
with little regard for its ultimate redemption. Argentina spent
huge sums in prodigal fashion on all sorts of public improvements
in an effort to attract still more capital and immigration, and
thus entered upon a dangerous era of inflation.

Of the near neighbors of Argentina, Uruguay continued along the
tortuous path of alternate disturbance and progress, losing many
of its inhabitants to the greater states beyond, where they
sought relative peace and security; while Paraguay, on the other
hand, enjoyed freedom from civil strife, though weighed down with
a war debt and untold millions in indemnities exacted by
Argentina and Brazil, which it could never hope to pay. In
consequence, this indebtedness was a useful club to brandish over
powerless Paraguay whenever that little country might venture to
question the right of either of its big neighbors to break the
promise they had made of keeping its territory intact. Argentina,
however, consented in 1878 to refer certain claims to the
decision of the President of the United States. When Paraguay won
the arbitration, it showed its gratitude by naming one of its
localities Villa Hayes. As time went on, however, its population
increased and hid many of the scars of war.

On the western side of South America there broke out the struggle
known as the "War of the Pacific" between Chile, on the one side,
and Peru and Bolivia as allies on the other. In Peru unstable and
corrupt governments had contracted foreign loans under conditions
that made their repayment almost impossible and had spent the
proceeds in so reckless and extravagant a fashion as to bring the
country to the verge of bankruptcy. Bolivia, similarly governed,
was still the scene of the orgies and carnivals which had for
some time characterized its unfortunate history. One of its
buffoon "presidents," moreover, had entered into boundary
agreements with both Chile and Brazil, under which the nation
lost several important areas and some of its territory on the
Pacific. The boundaries of Bolivia, indeed, were run almost
everywhere on purely arbitrary lines drawn with scant regard for
the physical features of the country and with many a frontier
question left wholly unsettled. For some years Chilean companies
and speculators, aided by foreign capital mainly British in
origin, had been working deposits of nitrate of soda in the
province of Antofagasta, or "the desert of Atacama," a region
along the coast to the northward belonging to Bolivia, and also
in the provinces of Tacna, Arica, and Tarapaca, still farther to
the northward, belonging to Peru. Because boundary lines were not
altogether clear and because the three countries were all eager
to exploit these deposits, controversies over this debatable
ground were sure to rise. For the privilege of developing
portions of this region, individuals and companies had obtained
concessions from the various governments concerned; elsewhere,
industrial free lances dug away without reference to such

It is quite likely that Chile, whose motto was "By Right or by
Might," was prepared to sustain the claims of its citizens by
either alternative. At all events, scenting a prospective
conflict, Chile had devoted much attention to the development of
its naval and military establishment--a state of affairs which
did not escape the observation of its suspicious neighbors.

The policy of Peru was determined partly by personal motives and
partly by reasons of state. In 1873 the President, lacking
sufficient financial and political support to keep himself in
office, resolved upon the risky expedient of arousing popular
passion against Chile, in the hope that he might thereby
replenish the national treasury. Accordingly he proceeded to pick
a quarrel by ordering the deposits in Tarapaca to be expropriated
with scant respect for the concessions made to the Chilean
miners. Realizing, however, the possible consequences of such an
action, he entered into an alliance with Bolivia. This country
thereupon proceeded to levy an increased duty on the exportation
of nitrates from the Atacama region. Chile, already aware of the
hostile combination which had been formed, protested so
vigorously that a year later Bolivia agreed to withdraw the new
regulations and to submit the dispute to arbitration.

Such were the relations of these three states in 1878, when
Bolivia, taking advantage of differences of opinion between Chile
and Argentina regarding the Patagonian region, reimposed its
export duty, canceled the Chilean concessions, and confiscated
the nitrate deposits. Chile then declared war in February, 1879,
and within two months occupied the entire coast of Bolivia up to
the frontiers of Peru. On his part the President of Bolivia was
too much engrossed in the festivities connected with a masquerade
to bother about notifying the people that their land had been
invaded until several days after the event had occurred!

Misfortunes far worse than anything which had fallen to the lot
of its ally now awaited Peru, which first attempted an officious
mediation and then declared war on the 4th of April. Since Peru
and Bolivia together had a population double that of Chile, and
since Peru possessed a much larger army and navy than Chile, the
allies counted confidently on victory. But Peru's army of eight
thousand--having within four hundred as many officers as men,
directed by no fewer than twenty-six generals, and presided over
by a civil government altogether inept--was no match for an army
less than a third of its size to be sure, but well drilled and
commanded, and with a stable, progressive, and efficient
government at its back. The Peruvian forces, lacking any
substantial support from Bolivia, crumpled under the terrific
attacks of their adversaries. Efforts on the part of the United
States to mediate in the struggle were blocked by the dogged
refusal of Chile to abate its demands for annexation. Early in
1881 its army entered Lima in triumph, and the war was over.

For a while the victors treated the Peruvians and their capital
city shamefully. The Chilean soldiers stripped the national
library of its contents, tore up the lamp-posts in the streets,
carried away the benches in the parks, and even shipped off the
local menagerie to Santiago! What they did not remove or destroy
was disposed of by the rabble of Lima itself. But in two years so
utterly chaotic did the conditions in the hapless country become
that Chile at length had to set up a government in order to
conclude a peace. It was not until October 20, 1883, that the
treaty was signed at Lima and ratified later at Ancon. Peru was
forced to cede Tarapaca outright and to agree that Tacna and
Arica should be held by Chile for ten years. At the expiration of
this period the inhabitants of the two provinces were to be
allowed to choose by vote the country to which they would prefer
to belong, and the nation that won the election was to pay the
loser 10,000,000 pesos. In April, 1884, Bolivia, also, entered
into an arrangement with Chile, according to which a portion of
its seacoast should be ceded absolutely and the remainder should
be occupied by Chile until a more definite understanding on the
matter could be reached.

Chile emerged from the war not only triumphant over its northern
rivals but dominant on the west coast of South America. Important
developments in Chilean national policy followed. To maintain its
vantage and to guard against reprisals, the victorious state had
to keep in military readiness on land and sea. It therefore
looked to Prussia for a pattern for its army and to Great Britain
for a model for its navy.

Peru had suffered cruelly from the war. Its territorial losses
deprived it of an opportunity to satisfy its foreign creditors
through a grant of concessions. The public treasury, too, was
empty, and many a private fortune had melted away. Not until a
military hand stronger than its competitors managed to secure a
firm grip on affairs did Peru begin once more its toilsome
journey toward material betterment.

Bolivia, on its part, had emerged from the struggle practically a
landlocked country. Though bereft of access to the sea except by
permission of its neighbors, it had, however, not endured
anything like the calamities of its ally. In 1880 it had adopted
a permanent constitution and it now entered upon a course of slow
and relatively peaceful progress.

In the republics to the northward struggles between clericals and
radicals caused sharp, abrupt alternations in government. In
Ecuador the hostility between clericals and radicals was all the
more bitter because of the rivalry of the two chief towns,
Guayaquil the seaport and Quito the capital, each of which
sheltered a faction. No sooner therefore had Garcia Moreno fallen
than the radicals of Guayaquil rose up against the clericals at
Quito. Once in power, they hunted their enemies down until order
under a dictator could be restored. The military President who
assumed power in 1876 was too radical to suit the clericals and
too clerical to suit the radicals. Accordingly his opponents
decided to make the contest three-cornered by fighting the
dictator and one another. When the President had been forced out,
a conservative took charge until parties of bushwhackers and
mutinous soldiers were able to install a military leader, whose
retention of power was brief. In 1888 another conservative, who
had been absent from the country when elected and who was an
adept in law and diplomacy, managed to win sufficient support
from all three factions to retain office for the constitutional

In Colombia a financial crisis had been approaching ever since
the price of coffee, cocoa, and other Colombian products had
fallen in the European markets. This decrease had caused a
serious diminution in the export trade and had forced gold and
silver practically out of circulation. At the same time the
various "states" were increasing their powers at the expense of
the federal Government, and the country was rent by factions. In
order to give the republic a thoroughly centralized
administration which would restore financial confidence and bring
back the influence of the Church as a social and political
factor, a genuine revolution, which was started in 1876,
eventually put an end to both radicalism and states' rights. At
the outset Rafael Nunez, the unitary and clerical candidate and a
lawyer by profession, was beaten on the field, but at a
subsequent election he obtained the requisite number of votes
and, in 1880, assumed the presidency. That the loser in war
should become the victor in peace showed the futility of
bloodshed in such revolutions.

Not until Nunez came into office again did he feel himself strong
enough to uproot altogether the radicalism and disunion which had
flourished since 1860. Ignoring the national Legislature, he
called a Congress of his own, which in 1886 framed a constitution
that converted the "sovereign states" into "departments," or mere
administrative districts, to be ruled as the national Government
saw fit. Further, the presidential term was lengthened from two
years to six, and the name of the country was changed, finally,
to "Republic of Colombia." Two years later the power of the
Church was strengthened by a concordat with the Pope.

Venezuela on its part had undergone changes no less marked. A
liberal constitution promulgated in 1864 had provided for the
reorganization of the country on a federal basis. The name chosen
for the republic was "United States of Venezuela." More than
that, it had anticipated Mexico and Guatemala in being the first
of the Hispanic nations to witness the establishment of a
presidential autocracy of the continuous and enlightened type.

Antonio Guzman Blanco was the man who imposed upon Venezuela for
about nineteen years a regime of obedience to law, and, to some
extent, of modern ideas of administration such as the country had
never known before. A person of much versatility, he had studied
medicine and law before he became a soldier and a politician.
Later he displayed another kind of versatility by letting
henchmen hold the presidential office while he remained the power
behind the throne. Endowed with a masterful will and a pronounced
taste for minute supervision, he had exactly the ability
necessary to rule Venezuela wisely and well.

Amid considerable opposition he began, in 1870, the first of his
three periods of administration--the Septennium, as it was
termed. The "sovereign" states he governed through "sovereign"
officials of his own selection. He stopped the plundering of
farms and the dragging of laborers off to military service. He
established in Venezuela an excellent monetary system. Great sums
were expended in the erection of public and private buildings and
in the embellishment of Caracas. European capital and immigration
were encouraged to venture into a country hitherto so torn by
chronic disorder as to deprive both labor and property of all
guarantees. Roads, railways, and telegraph lines were
constructed. The ministers of the Church were rendered submissive
to the civil power. Primary education became alike free and
compulsory. As the phrase went, Guzman Blanco "taught Venezuela
to read." At the end of his term of office he went into voluntary

In 1879 Guzman Blanco put himself at the head of a movement which
he called a "revolution of replevin"--which meant, presumably,
that he was opposed to presidential "continuism," and in favor of
republican institutions! Although a constitution promulgated in
1881 fixed the chief magistrate's term of office at two years,
the success which Guzman Blanco had attained enabled him to
control affairs for five years--the Quinquennium, as it was
called. Thereupon he procured his appointment to a diplomatic
post in Europe; but the popular demand for his presence was too
strong for him to remain away. In 1886 he was elected by
acclamation. He held office two years more and then, finding that
his influence had waned, he left Venezuela for good. Whatever his
faults in other respects, Guzman Blanco--be it said to his credit
--tried to destroy the pest of periodical revolutions in his
country. Thanks to his vigorous suppression of these uprisings,
some years of at least comparative security were made possible.
More than any other President the nation had ever had, he was
entitled to the distinction of having been a benefactor, if not
altogether a regenerator, of his native land.


During the period from 1889 to 1907 two incidents revealed the
standing that the republics of Hispanic America had now acquired
in the world at large. In 1889 at Washington, and later in their
own capital cities, they met with the United States in council.
In 1899, and again in 1907, they joined their great northern
neighbor and the nations of Europe and Asia at The Hague for
deliberation on mutual concerns, and they were admitted to an
international fellowship and cooperation far beyond a mere
recognition of their independence and a formal interchange of
diplomats and consuls.

Since attempts of the Hispanic countries themselves to realize
the aims of Bolivar in calling the Congress at Panama had failed,
the United States now undertook to call into existence a sort of
inter-American Congress. Instead of being merely a supporter, the
great republic of the north had resolved to become the director
of the movement for greater solidarity in thought and action. By
linking up the concerns of the Hispanic nations with its own
destinies it would assert not so much its position as guardian of
the Monroe Doctrine as its headship, if not its actual dominance,
in the New World, and would so widen the bounds of its political
and commercial influence - a tendency known as "imperialism."
Such was the way, at least, in which the Hispanic republics came
to view the action of the "Colossus of the North" in inviting
them to participate in an assemblage meeting more or less
periodically and termed officially the "International Conference
of American States," and popularly the "Pan-American Conference."

Whether the mistrust the smaller countries felt at the outset was
lessened in any degree by the attendance of their delegates at
the sessions of this conference remains open to question.
Although these representatives, in common with their colleagues
from the United States, assented to a variety of conventions and
passed a much larger number of resolutions, their acquiescence
seemed due to a desire to gratify their powerful associate,
rather than to a belief in the possible utility of such measures.
The experience of the earlier gatherings had demonstrated that
political issues would have to be excluded from consideration.
Propositions, for example, such as that to extend the basic idea
of the Monroe Doctrine into a sort of self-denying ordinance,
under which all the nations of America should agree to abstain
thereafter from acquiring any part of one another's territory by
conquest, and to adopt, also, the principle of compulsory
arbitration, proved impossible of acceptance. Accordingly, from
that time onward the matters treated by the Conference dealt for
the most part with innocuous, though often praiseworthy, projects
for bringing the United States and its sister republics into
closer commercial, industrial, and intellectual relations.

The gathering itself, on the other hand, became to a large extent
a fiesta, a festive occasion for the display of social amenities.
Much as the Hispanic Americans missed their favorite topic of
politics, they found consolation in entertaining the
distinguished foreign visitors with the genial courtesy and
generous hospitality for which they are famous. As one of their
periodicals later expressed it, since a discussion of politics
was tabooed, it were better to devote the sessions of the
Conference to talking about music and lyric poetry! At all
events, as far as the outcome was concerned, their national
legislatures ratified comparatively few of the conventions.

Among the Hispanic nations of America only Mexico took part in
the First Conference at The Hague. Practically all of them were
represented at the second. The appearance of their delegates at
these august assemblages of the powers of earth was viewed for a
while with mixed feelings. The attitude of the Great Powers
towards them resembled that of parents of the old regime:
children at the international table should be "seen and not
heard." As a matter of fact, the Hispanic Americans were both
seen and heard--especially the latter! They were able to show the
Europeans that, even if they did happen to come from relatively
weak states, they possessed a skillful intelligence, a breadth of
knowledge, a capacity for expression, and a consciousness of
national character, which would not allow them simply to play
"Man Friday" to an international Crusoe. The president of the
second conference, indeed, confessed that they had been a
"revelation" to him.

Hence, as time went on, the progress and possibilities of the
republics of Hispanic America came to be appreciated more and
more by the world at large. Gradually people began to realize
that the countries south of the United States were not merely an
indistinguishable block on the map, to be referred to vaguely as
"Central and South America" or as "Latin America." The reading
public at least knew that these countries were quite different
from one another, both in achievements and in prospects.

Yet the fact remains that, despite their active part in these
American and European conferences, the Hispanic countries of the
New World did not receive the recognition which they felt was
their due. Their national associates in the European gatherings
were disinclined to admit that the possession of independence and
sovereignty entitled them to equal representation on
international council boards. To a greater or less degree,
therefore, they continued to stay in the borderland where no one
either affirmed or denied their individuality. To quote the
phrase of an Hispanic American, they stood "on the margin of
international life." How far they might pass beyond it into the
full privileges of recognition and association on equal terms,
would depend upon the readiness with which they could atone for
the errors or recover from the misfortunes of the past, and upon
their power to attain stability, prosperity, strength, and

Certain of the Hispanic republics, however, were not allowed to
remain alone on their side of "the margin of international life."
Though nothing so extreme as the earlier French intervention took
place, foreign nations were not at all averse to crossing over
the marginal line and teaching them what a failure to comply with
international obligations meant. The period from 1889 to 1907,
therefore, is characterized also by interference on the part of
European powers, and by interposition on the part of the United
States, in the affairs of countries in and around the Caribbean
Sea. Because of the action taken by the United States two more
republics--Cuba and Panama--came into being, thus increasing the
number of political offshoots from Spain in America to eighteen.
Another result of this interposition was the creation of what
were substantially American protectorates. Here the United States
did not deprive the countries concerned of their independence an
d sovereignty, but subjected them to a kind of guardianship or
tutelage, so far as it thought needful to insure stability,
solvency, health, and welfare in general. Foremost in the
northern group of Hispanic nations, Mexico, under the guidance of
Diaz, marched steadily onward. Peace, order, and law; an
increasing population; internal wealth and well-being; a
flourishing industry and commerce; suitable care for things
mental as well as material; the respect and confidence of
foreigners--these were blessings which the country had hitherto
never beheld. The Mexicans, once in anarchy and enmity created by
militarists and clericals, came to know one another in
friendship, and arrived at something like a national

In 1889 there was held the first conference on educational
problems which the republic had ever had. Three years later a
mining code was drawn up which made ownership inviolable on
payment of lawful dues, removed uncertainties of operation, and
stimulated the industry in a remarkable fashion. Far less
beneficial in the long run was a law enacted in 1894. Instead of
granting a legal title to lands held by prescriptive rights
through an occupation of many years, it made such property part
of the public domain, which might be acquired, like a mining
claim, by any one who could secure a grant of it from the
Government. Though hailed at the time as a piece of constructive
legislation, its unfortunate effect was to enable large
landowners who wished to increase their possessions to oust poor
cultivators of the soil from their humble holdings. On the other
hand, under the statesmanlike management of Jose Yves Limantour,
the Minister of Finance, the monetary situation at home and
abroad was strengthened beyond measure, and banking interests
were promoted accordingly. Further, an act abolishing the
alcabala, a vexatious internal revenue tax, gave a great stimulus
to freedom of commerce throughout the country. In order to insure
a continuance of the new regime, the constitution was altered in
three important respects. The amendment of 1890 restored the
original clause of 1857, which permitted indefinite reelection to
the presidency; that of 1896 established a presidential
succession in case of a vacancy, beginning with the Minister of
Foreign Affairs; and that of 1904 lengthened the term of the
chief magistrate from four years to six and created the office of
Vice President.

In Central America two republics, Guatemala and Costa Rica, set
an excellent example both because they were free from internal
commotions and because they refrained from interference in the
affairs of their neighbors. The contrast between these two quiet
little nations, under their lawyer Presidents, and the bellicose
but equally small Nicaragua, Honduras, and Salvador, under their
chieftains, military and juristic, was quite remarkable.
Nevertheless another attempt at confederation was made. In 1895
the ruler of Honduras, declaring that reunion was a "primordial
necessity," invited his fellow potentates of Nicaragua and
Salvador to unite in creating the "Greater Republic of Central
America" and asked Guatemala and Costa Rica to join. Delegates
actually appeared from all five republics, attended fiestas, gave
expression to pious wishes, and went home! Later still, in 1902,
the respective Presidents signed a "convention of peace and
obligatory arbitration" as a means of adjusting perpetual
disagreements about politics and boundaries; but nothing was done
to carry these ideas into effect.

The personage mainly responsible for these failures was Jose
Santos Zelaya, one of the most arrant military lordlets and
meddlers that Central America had produced in a long time. Since
1893 he had been dictator of Nicaragua, a country not only
entangled in continuous wrangles among its towns and factions,
but bowed under an enormous burden of debt created by excessive
emissions of paper money and by the contraction of more or less
scandalous foreign loans. Quite undisturbed by the financial
situation, Zelaya promptly silenced local bickerings and devoted
his energies to altering the constitution for his presidential
benefit and to making trouble for his neighbors. Nor did he
refrain from displays of arbitrary conduct that were sure to
provoke foreign intervention. Great Britain, for example, on two
occasions exacted reparation at the cannon's mouth for ill
treatment of its citizens.

Zelaya waxed wroth at the spectacle of Guatemala, once so active
in revolutionary arts but now quietly minding its own business.
In 1906, therefore, along with parties of Hondurans,
Salvadoreans, and disaffected Guatemalans, he began an invasion
of that country and continued operations with decreasing success
until, the United States and Mexico offering their mediation,
peace was signed aboard an American cruiser. Then, when Costa
Rica invited the other republics to discuss confederation within
its calm frontiers, Zelaya preferred his own particular
occupation to any such procedure. Accordingly, displeased with a
recent boundary decision, he started along with Salvador to fight
Honduras. Once more the United States and Mexico tendered their
good offices, and again a Central American conflict was closed
aboard an American warship. About the only real achievement of
Zelaya was the signing of a treaty by which Great Britain
recognized the complete sovereignty of Nicaragua over the
Mosquito Indians, whose buzzing for a larger amount of freedom
and more tribute had been disturbing unduly the "repose" of that
small nation!

To the eastward the new republic of Cuba was about to be born.
Here a promise of adequate representation in the Spanish Cortes
and of a local legislature had failed to satisfy the aspirations
of many of its inhabitants. The discontent was aggravated by lax
and corrupt methods of administration as well as by financial
difficulties. Swarms of Spanish officials enjoyed large salaries
without performing duties of equivalent value. Not a few of them
had come over to enrich themselves at public expense and under
conditions altogether scandalous. On Cuba, furthermore, was
saddled the debt incurred by the Ten Years' War, while the island
continued to be a lucrative market for Spanish goods without
obtaining from Spain a corresponding advantage for its own

As the insistence upon a removal of these abuses and upon a grant
of genuine self-government became steadily more clamorous, three
political groups appeared. The Constitutional Unionists, or
"Austrianizers," as they were dubbed because of their avowed
loyalty to the royal house of Bourbon-Hapsburg, were made up of
the Spanish and conservative elements and represented the large
economic interests and the Church. The Liberals, or
"Autonomists," desired such reforms in the administration as
would assure the exercise of self-government and yet preserve the
bond with the mother country. On the other hand, the Radicals, or
"Nationalists"--the party of "Cuba Free"--would be satisfied with
nothing short of absolute independence. All these differences of
opinion were sharpened by the activities of a sensational press.

>From about 1890 onward the movement toward independence gathered
tremendous strength, especially when the Cubans found popular
sentiment in the United States so favorable to it. Excitement
rose still higher when the Spanish Government proposed to bestow
a larger measure of autonomy. When, however, the Cortes decided
upon less liberal arrangements, the Autonomists declared that
they had been deceived, and the Nationalists denounced the utter
unreliability of Spanish promises. Even if the concessions had
been generous, the result probably would have been the same, for
by this time the plot to set Cuba free had become so widespread,
both in the island itself and among the refugees in the United
States, that the inevitable struggle could not have been

In 1895 the revolution broke out. The whites, headed by Maximo
Gomez, and the negroes and mulattoes by their chieftain, Antonio
Maceo, both of whom had done valiant service in the earlier war,
started upon a campaign of deliberate terrorism. This time they
were resolved to win at any cost. Spurning every offer of
conciliation, they burned, ravaged, and laid waste, spread
desolation along their pathway, and reduced thousands to abject
poverty and want.

Then the Spanish Government came to the conclusion that nothing
but the most rigorous sort of reprisals would check the excesses
of the rebels. In 1896 it commissioned Valeriano Weyler, an
officer who personified ferocity, to put down the rebellion. If
the insurgents had fancied that the conciliatory spirit hitherto
displayed by the Spaniards was due to irresolution or weakness,
they found that these were not the qualities of their new
opponent. Weyler, instead of trying to suppress the rebellion by
hurrying detachments of troops first to one spot and then to
another in pursuit of enemies accustomed to guerrilla tactics,
determined to stamp it out province by province. To this end he
planted his army firmly in one particular area, prohibited the
planting or harvesting of crops there, and ordered the
inhabitants to assemble in camps which they were not permitted to
leave on any pretext whatever. This was his policy of
"reconcentration." Deficient food supply, lack of sanitary
precautions, and absence of moral safeguards made conditions of
life in these camps appalling. Death was a welcome relief.
Reconcentration, combined with executions and deportations, could
have but one result--the "pacification" of Cuba by converting it
into a desert.

Not in the United States alone but in Spain itself the story of
these drastic measures kindled popular indignation to such an
extent that, in 1897, the Government was forced to recall the
ferocious Weyler and to send over a new Governor and Captain
General, with instructions to abandon the worst features of his
predecessor's policy and to establish a complete system of
autonomy in both Cuba and Porto Rico. Feeling assured, however,
that an ally was at hand who would soon make their independence
certain, the Cuban patriots flatly rejected these overtures. In
their expectations they were not mistaken. By its armed
intervention, in the following year the United States acquired
Porto Rico for itself and compelled Spain to withdraw from Cuba.*

* See "The Path of Empire", by Carl Russell Fish (in "The
Chronicles of America").

The island then became a republic, subject only to such
limitations on its freedom of action as its big guardian might
see fit to impose. Not only was Cuba placed under American rule
from 1899 to 1902, but it had to insert in the Constitution of
1901 certain clauses that could not fail to be galling to Cuban
pride. Among them two were of special significance. One imposed
limitations on the financial powers of the Government of the new
nation, and the other authorized the United States, at its
discretion, to intervene in Cuban affairs for the purpose of
maintaining public order. The Cubans, it would seem, had
exchanged a dependence on Spain for a restricted independence
measured by the will of a country infinitely stronger.

Cuba began its life as a republic in 1902, under a government for
which a form both unitary and federal had been provided. Tomas
Estrada Palma, the first President and long the head of the Cuban
junta in the United States, showed himself disposed from the
outset to continue the beneficial reforms in administration which
had been introduced under American rule. Prudent and conciliatory
in temperament, he tried to dispel as best he could the bitter
recollections of the war and to repair its ravages. In this
policy he was upheld by the conservative class, or Moderates.
Their opponents, the Liberals, dominated by men of radical
tendencies, were eager to assert the right, to which they thought
Cuba entitled as an independent sovereign nation, to make
possible mistakes and correct them without having the United
States forever holding the ferule of the schoolmaster over it.
They were well aware, however, that they were not at liberty to
have their country pass through the tempestuous experience which
had been the lot of so many Hispanic republics. They could vent a
natural anger and disappointment, nevertheless, on the President
and his supporters. Rather than continue to be governed by Cubans
not to their liking, they were willing to bring about a renewal
of American rule. In this respect the wishes of the Radicals were
soon gratified. Hardly had Estrada Palma, in 1906, assumed office
for a second time, when parties of malcontents, declaring that he
had secured his reelection by fraudulent means, rose up in arms
and demanded that he annul the vote and hold a fair election. The
President accepted the challenge and waged a futile conflict, and
again the United States intervened. Upon the resignation of
Estrada Palma, an American Governor was again installed, and Cuba
was told in unmistakable fashion that the next intervention might
be permanent.

Less drastic but quite as effectual a method of assuring order
and regularity in administration was the action taken by the
United States in another Caribbean island. A little country like
the Dominican Republic, in which few Presidents managed to retain
their offices for terms fixed by changeable constitutions, could
not resist the temptation to rid itself of a ruler who had held
power for nearly a quarter of a century. After he had been
disposed of by assassination in 1899, the government of his
successor undertook to repudiate a depreciated paper currency by
ordering the customs duties to be paid in specie; and it also
tried to prevent the consul of an aggrieved foreign nation from
attaching certain revenues as security for the payment of the
arrears of an indemnity. Thereupon, in 1905, the President of the
United States entered into an arrangement with the Dominican
Government whereby, in return for a pledge from the former
country to guarantee the territorial integrity of the republic
and an agreement to adjust all of its external obligations of a
pecuniary sort, American officials were to take charge of the
custom house send apportion the receipts from that source in such
a manner as to satisfy domestic needs and pay foreign creditors.*

* See "The Path of Empire", by Carl Russell Fish (in "The
Chronicles of America").


Even so huge and conservative a country as Brazil could not start
out upon the pathway of republican freedom without some unrest;
but the political experience gained under a regime of limited
monarchy had a steadying effect. Besides, the Revolution of 1889
had been effected by a combination of army officers and civilian
enthusiasts who knew that the provinces were ready for a radical
change in the form of government, but who were wise enough to
make haste slowly. If a motto could mean anything, the adoption
of the positivist device, "Order and Progress," displayed on the
national flag seemed a happy augury.

The constitution promulgated in 1891 set up a federal union
broadly similar to that of the United States, except that the
powers of the general Government were somewhat more restricted.
Qualifications for the suffrage were directly fixed in the
fundamental law itself, but the educational tests imposed
excluded the great bulk of the population from the right to vote.
In the constitution, also, Church and State were declared
absolutely separate, and civil marriage was prescribed.

Well adapted as the constitution was to the particular needs of
Brazil, the Government erected under it had to contend awhile
with political disturbances. Though conflicts occurred between
the president and the Congress, between the federal authority and
the States, and between the civil administration and naval and
military officials, none were so constant, so prolonged, or so
disastrous as in the Spanish American republics. Even when
elected by the connivance of government officials, the chief
magistrate governed in accordance with republican forms.
Presidential power, in fact, was restrained both by the huge size
of the country and by the spirit of local autonomy upheld by the

Ever since the war with Paraguay the financial credit of Brazil
had been impaired. The chronic deficit in the treasury had been
further increased by a serious lowering in the rate of exchange,
which was due to an excessive issue of paper money. In order to
save the nation from bankruptcy Manoel Ferraz de Campos Salles, a
distinguished jurist, was commissioned to effect an adjustment
with the British creditors. As a result of his negotiations a
"funding loan" was obtained, in return for which an equivalent
amount in paper money was to be turned over for cancellation at a
fixed rate of exchange. Under this arrangement depreciation
ceased for awhile and the financial outlook became brighter.

The election of Campos Salles to the presidency in 1898, as a
reward for his success, was accompanied by the rise of definite
political parties. Among them the Radicals or Progressists
favored a policy of centralization under military auspices and
exhibited certain antiforeign tendencies. The Moderates or
Republicans, on the contrary, with Campos Salles as their
candidate, declared for the existing constitution and advocated a
gradual adoption of such reforms as reason and time might
suggest. When the latter party won the election, confidence in
the stability of Brazil returned.

As if Uruguay had not already suffered enough from internal
discords, two more serious conflicts demonstrated once again that
this little country, in which political power had been held
substantially by one party alone since 1865, could not hope for
permanent peace until either the excluded and apparently
irreconcilable party had been finally and utterly crushed, or,
far better still, until the two factions could manage to agree
upon some satisfactory arrangement for rotation in office. The
struggle of 1897 ended in the assassination of the president and
in a division of the republic into two practically separate
areas, one ruled by the Colorados at Montevideo, the other by the
Blancos. A renewal of civil war in 1904 seemed altogether
preferable to an indefinite continuance of this dualism in
government, even at the risk of friction with Argentina, which
was charged with not having observed strict neutrality. This
second struggle came to a close with the death of the insurgent
leader; but it cost the lives of thousands and did irreparable
damage to the commerce and industry of the country.

Uruguay then enjoyed a respite from party upheavals until 1910,
when Jose Batlle, the able, resolute, and radical-minded head of
the Colorados, announced that he would be a candidate for the
presidency. As he had held the office before and had never ceased
to wield a strong personal influence over the administration of
his successor, the Blancos decided that now was the time to
attempt once more to oust their opponents from the control which
they had monopolized for half a century. Accusing the Government
of an unconstitutional centralization of power in the executive,
of preventing free elections, and of crippling the pastoral
industries of the country, they started a revolt, which ran a
brief course. Batlle proved himself equal to the situation and
quickly suppressed the insurrection. Though he did make a wide
use of his authority, the President refrained from indulging in
political persecution and allowed the press all the liberty it
desired in so far as was consistent with the law. It was under
his direction that Uruguay entered upon a remarkable series of
experiments in the nationalization of business enterprises.
Further, more or less at the suggestion of Battle, a new
constitution was ratified by popular vote in 1917. It provided
for a division of the executive power between the President and a
National Council of Administration, forbade the election of
administrative and military officials to the Congress, granted to
that body a considerable increase of power, and enlarged the
facilities for local self-government. In addition, it established
the principle of minority representation and of secrecy of the
ballot, permitted the Congress to extend the right of suffrage to
women, and dissolved the union between Church and State. If the
terms of the new instrument are faithfully observed, the old
struggle between Blancos and Colorados will have been brought
definitely to a close.

Paraguay lapsed after 1898 into the earlier sins of Spanish
America. Upon a comparatively placid presidential regime followed
a series of barrack uprisings or attacks by Congress on the
executive. The constitution became a farce. No longer, to be
sure, an abode of Arcadian seclusion as in colonial times, or a
sort of territorial cobweb from the center of which a spiderlike
Francia hung motionless or darted upon his hapless prey, or even
a battle ground on which fanatical warriors might fight and die
at the behest of a savage Lopez, Paraguay now took on the aspect
of an arena in which petty political gamecocks might try out
their spurs. Happily, the opposing parties spent their energies
in high words and vehement gestures rather than in blows and
bloodshed. The credit of the country sank lower and lower until
its paper money stood at a discount of several hundred per cent
compared with gold.

European bankers had begun to view the financial future of
Argentina also with great alarm. In 1890 the mad careering of
private speculation and public expenditure along the roseate
pathway of limitless credit reached a veritable "crisis of
progress." A frightful panic ensued. Paper money fell to less
than a quarter of its former value in gold. Many a firm became
bankrupt, and many a fortune shriveled. As is usual in such
cases, the Government had to shoulder the blame. A four-day
revolution broke out in Buenos Aires, and the President became
the scapegoat; but the panic went on, nevertheless, until gold
stood at nearly five to one. Most of the banks suspended payment;
the national debt underwent a huge increase; and immigration
practically ceased.

By 1895, however, the country had more or less resumed its normal
condition. A new census showed that the population had risen to
four million, about a sixth of whom resided in the capital. The
importance which agriculture had attained was attested by the
establishment of a separate ministry in the presidential cabinet.
Industry, too, made such rapid strides at this time that
organized labor began to take a hand in politics. The short-lived
"revolution" of 1905, for example, was not primarily the work of
politicians but of strikers organized into a workingmen's
federation. For three months civil guarantees were suspended, and
by a so-called "law of residence," enacted some years before and
now put into effect, the Government was authorized to expel
summarily any foreigner guilty of fomenting strikes or of
disturbing public order in any other fashion.

Political agitation soon assumed a new form. Since the
Autonomist-National party had been in control for thirty years or
more, it seemed to the Civic-Nationalists, now known as
Republicans, to the Autonomists proper, and to various other
factions, that they ought to do something to break the hold of
that powerful organization. Accordingly in 1906 the President,
supported by a coalition of these factions, started what was
termed an "upward-downward revolution"--in other words, a series
of interventions by which local governors and members of
legislatures suspected of Autonomist-National leanings were to be
replaced by individuals who enjoyed the confidence of the
Administration. Pretexts for such action were not hard to find
under the terms of the constitution; but their political
interests suffered so much in the effort that the promoters had
to abandon it.

Owing to persistent obstruction on the part of Congress, which
took the form of a refusal either to sanction his appointments or
to approve the budget, the President suspended the sessions of
that body in 1908 and decreed a continuance of the estimates for
the preceding year. The antagonism between the chief executive
and the legislature became so violent that, if his opponents had
not been split up into factions, civil war might have ensued in

To remedy a situation made worse by the absence-- usual in most
of the Hispanic republics--of a secret ballot and by the refusal
of political malcontents to take part in elections, voting was
made both obligatory and secret in 1911, and the principle of
minority representation was introduced. Legislation of this sort
was designed to check bribery and intimidation and to enable the
radical-minded to do their duty at the polls. Its effect was
shown five years later, when the secret ballot was used
substantially for the first time. The radicals won both the
presidency and a majority in the Congress.

One of the secrets of the prosperity of Argentina, as of Brazil,
in recent years has been its abstention from warlike ventures
beyond its borders and its endeavor to adjust boundary conflicts
by arbitration. Even when its attitude toward its huge neighbor
had become embittered in consequence of a boundary decision
rendered by the President of the United States in 1895, it abated
none of its enthusiasm for the principle of a peaceful settlement
of international disputes. Four years later, in a treaty with
Uruguay, the so-called "Argentine Formula" appeared. To quote its
language: "The contracting parties agree to submit to arbitration
all questions of any nature which may arise between them,
provided they do not affect provisions of the constitution of
either state, and cannot be adjusted by direct negotiation." This
Formula was soon put to the test in a serious dispute with Chile.

In the Treaty of 1881, in partitioning Patagonia, the crest of
the Andes had been assumed to be the true continental watershed
between the Atlantic and the Pacific and hence was made the
boundary line between Argentina and Chile. The entire Atlantic
coast was to belong to Argentina, the Pacific coast to Chile; the
island of Tierra del Fuego was to be divided between them. At the
same time the Strait of Magellan was declared a neutral waterway,
open to the ships of all nations. Ere long, however, it was
ascertained that the crest of the Andes did not actually coincide
with the continental divide. Thereupon Argentina insisted that
the boundary line should be made to run along the crest, while
Chile demanded that it be traced along the watershed. Since the
mountainous area concerned was of little value, the question at
bottom was simply one of power and prestige between rival states.

As the dispute waxed warmer, a noisy press and populace clamored
for war. The Governments of the two nations spent large sums in
increasing their armaments; and Argentina, in imitation of its
western neighbor, made military service compulsory. But, as the
conviction gradually spread that a struggle would leave the
victor as prostrate as the vanquished, wiser counsels prevailed.
In 1899, accordingly, the matter was referred to the King of
Great Britain for decision. Though the award was a compromise,
Chile was the actual gainer in territory.

By their treaties of 1902 both republics declared their intention
to uphold the principle of arbitration and to refrain from
interfering in each other's affairs along their respective
coasts. They also agreed upon a limitation of armaments--the sole
example on record of a realization of the purpose of the First
Hague Conference. To commemorate still further their
international accord, in 1904 they erected on the summit of the
Uspallata Pass, over which San Martin had crossed with his army
of liberation in 1817, a bronze statue of Christ the Redeemer.
There, amid the snow-capped peaks of the giant Andes, one may
read inscribed upon the pedestal: "Sooner shall these mountains
crumble to dust than Argentinos and Chileans break the peace
which at the feet of Christ the Redeemer they have sworn to
maintain!" Nor has the peace been broken.

Though hostilities with Argentina had thus been averted, Chile
had experienced within its own frontiers the most serious
revolution it had known in sixty years. The struggle was not one
of partisan chieftains or political groups but a genuine contest
to determine which of two theories of government should
prevail--the presidential or the parliamentary, a presidential
autocracy with the spread of real democracy or a congressional
oligarchy based on the existing order. The sincerity and public
spirit of both contestants helped to lend dignity to the

Jose Manuel Balmaceda, a man of marked ability, who became
President in 1886, had devoted much of his political life to
urging an enlargement of the executive power, a greater freedom
to municipalities in the management of their local affairs, and a
broadening of the suffrage. He had even advocated a separation of
Church and State. Most of these proposals so conservative a land
as Chile was not prepared to accept. Though civil marriage was
authorized and ecclesiastical influence was lessened in other
respects, the Church stood firm. During his administration
Balmaceda introduced many reforms, both material and educational.
He gave a great impetus to the construction of public works,
enhanced the national credit by a favorable conversion of the
public debt, fostered immigration, and devoted especial attention
to the establishment of secondary schools. Excellent as the
administration of Balmaceda had been in other respects, he
nevertheless failed to combine the liberal factions into a party
willing to support the plans of reform which he had steadily
favored. The parliamentary system made Cabinets altogether
unstable, as political groups in the lower house of the Congress
alternately cohered and fell apart. This defect, Balmaceda
thought, should be corrected by making the members of his
official family independent of the legislative branch. The
Council of State, a somewhat anomalous body placed between the
President and Cabinet on the one side and the Congress on the
other, was an additional obstruction to a smooth-running
administration. For it he would substitute a tribunal charged
with the duty of resolving conflicts between the two chief
branches of government. Balmaceda believed, also, that greater
liberty should be given to the press and that existing taxes
should be altered as rarely as possible. On its side, the
Congress felt that the President was trying to establish a
dictatorship and to replace the unitary system by a federal
union, the probable weakness of which would enable him to retain
his power more securely.

Toward the close of his term in January, 1891, when the Liberals
declined to support his candidate for the presidency, Balmaceda,
furious at the opposition which he had encountered, took matters
into his own hands. Since the Congress refused to pass the
appropriation bills, he declared that body dissolved and
proceeded to levy the taxes by decree. To this arbitrary and
altogether unconstitutional performance the Congress retorted by
declaring the President deposed. Civil war broke out forthwith,
and a strange spectacle presented itself. The two chief cities,
Santiago and Valparaiso, and most of the army backed Balmaceda,
whereas the country districts, especially in the north, and
practically all the navy upheld the Congress.

These were, indeed, dark days for Chile. During a struggle of
about eight months the nation suffered more than it had done in
years of warfare with Peru and Bolivia. Though the bulk of the
army stood by Balmaceda, the Congress was able to raise and
organize a much stronger fighting force under a Prussian
drillmaster. The tide of battle turned; Santiago and Valparaiso
capitulated; and the presidential cause was lost. Balmaceda, who
had taken refuge in the Argentina legation, committed suicide.
But the Balmacedists, who were included in a general amnesty,
still maintained themselves as a party to advocate in a peaceful
fashion the principles of their fallen leader.

Chile had its reputation for stability well tested in 1910 when
the executive changed four times without the slightest political
disturbance. According to the constitution, the officer who takes
the place of the President in case of the latter's death or
disability, though vested with full authority, has the title of
Vice President only. It so happened that after the death of the
President two members of the Cabinet in succession held the vice
presidency, and they were followed by the chief magistrate, who
was duly elected and installed at the close of the year. In 1915,
for the first time since their leader had committed suicide, one
of the followers of Balmaceda was chosen President--by a strange
coalition of Liberal-Democrats, or Balmacedists, Conservatives,
and Nationalists, over the candidate of the Radicals, Liberals,
and Democrats. The maintenance of the parliamentary system,
however, continued to produce frequent alterations in the
personnel of the Cabinet.

In its foreign relations, apart from the adjustment reached with
Argentina, Chile managed to settle the difficulties with Bolivia
arising out of the War of the Pacific. By the terms of treaties
concluded in 1895 and 1905, the region tentatively transferred by
the armistice of 1884 was ceded outright to Chile in return for a
seaport and a narrow right of way to it through the former
Peruvian province of Tarapaca. With Peru, Chile was not so
fortunate. Though the tension over the ultimate disposal of the
Tacna and Arica question was somewhat reduced, it was far from
being removed. Chile absolutely refused to submit the matter to
arbitration, on the ground that such a procedure could not
properly be applied to a question arising out of a war that had
taken place so many years before. Chile did not wish to give the
region up, lest by so doing it might expose Tarapaca to a
possible attack from Peru. The investment of large amounts of
foreign capital in the exploitation of the deposits of nitrate of
soda had made that province economically very valuable, and the
export tax levied on the product was the chief source of the
national revenue. These were all potent reasons why Chile wanted
to keep its hold on Tacna and Arica. Besides, possession was nine
points in the law!

On the other hand, the original plan of having the question
decided by a vote of the inhabitants of the provinces concerned
was not carried into effect, partly because both claimants
cherished a conviction that whichever lost the election would
deny its validity, and partly because they could not agree upon
the precise method of holding it. Chile suggested that the
international commission which was selected to take charge of the
plebiscite, and which was composed of a Chilean, a Peruvian, and
a neutral, should be presided over by the Chilean member as
representative of the country actually in possession, whereas
Peru insisted that the neutral should act as chairman. Chile
proposed also that Chileans, Peruvians, and foreigners resident
in the area six months before the date of the elections should
vote, provided that they had the right to do so under the terms
of the constitutions of both states. Peru, on its part, objected
to the length of residence, and wished to limit carefully the
number of Chilean voters, to exclude foreigners altogether from
the election, and to disregard qualifications for the suffrage
which required an ability to read and write. Both countries,
moreover, appeared to have a lurking suspicion that in any event
the other would try to secure a majority at the polls by
supplying a requisite number of voters drawn from their
respective citizenry who were not ordinarily resident in Tacna
and Arica! Unable to overcome the deadlock, Chile and Peru agreed
in 1913 to postpone the settlement for twenty years longer. At
the expiration of this period, when Chile would have held the
provinces for half a century, the question should be finally
adjusted on bases mutually satisfactory. Officially amicable
relations were then restored.

While the political situation in Bolivia remained stable, so much
could not be said of that in Peru and Ecuador. If the troubles in
the former were more or less military, a persistence of the
conflict between clericals and radicals characterized the
commotions in the latter, because of certain liberal provisions
in the Constitution of 1907. Peru, on the other hand, in 1915
guaranteed its people the enjoyment of religious liberty.

Next to the Tacna and Arica question, the dubious boundaries of
Ecuador constituted the most serious international problem in
South America. The so-called Oriente region, lying east of the
Andes and claimed by Peru, Brazil, and Colombia, appeared
differently on different maps, according as one claimant nation
or another set forth its own case. Had all three been satisfied,
nothing would have been left of Ecuador but the strip between the
Andes and the Pacific coast, including the cities of Quito and
Guayaquil. The Ecuadorians, therefore, were bitterly sensitive on
the subject.

Protracted negotiations over the boundaries became alike tedious
and listless. But the moment that the respective diplomats had
agreed upon some knotty point, the Congress of one litigant or
another was almost sure to reject the decision and start the
controversy all over again. Even reference of the matter to the
arbitral judgment of European monarchs produced, so far as
Ecuador and Peru were concerned, riotous attacks upon the
Peruvian legation and consulates, charges and countercharges of
invasion of each other's territory, and the suspension of
diplomatic relations. Though the United States, Argentina, and
Brazil had interposed to ward off an armed conflict between the
two republics and, in 1911, had urged that the dispute be
submitted to the Hague Tribunal, nothing would induce Ecuador to

Colombia was even more unfortunate than its southern neighbor,
for in addition to political convulsions it suffered financial
disaster and an actual deprivation of territory. Struggles among
factions, official influence at the elections, dictatorships, and
fighting between the departments and the national Government
plunged the country, in 1899, into the worst civil war it had
known for many a day. Paper money, issued in unlimited amounts
and given a forced circulation, made the distress still more
acute. Then came the hardest blow of all. Since 1830 Panama, as
province or state, had tried many times to secede from Colombia.
In 1903 the opportunity it sought became altogether favorable.
The parent nation, just beginning to recover from the disasters
of civil strife, would probably be unable to prevent a new
attempt at withdrawal. The people of Panama, of course, knew how
eager the United States was to acquire the region of the proposed
Canal Zone, since it had failed to win it by negotiation with
Colombia. Accordingly, if they were to start a "revolution," they
had reason to believe that it would not lack support--or at
least, connivance--from that quarter.

On the 3d of November the projected "revolution" occurred, on
schedule time, and the United States recognized the independence
of the "Republic of Panama" three days later! In return for a
guarantee of independence, however, the United States stipulated,
in the convention concluded on the 18th of November, that,
besides authority to enforce sanitary regulations in the Canal
Zone, it should also have the right of intervention to maintain
order in the republic itself. More than once, indeed, after
Panama adopted its constitution in 1904, elections threatened to
become tumultuous; whereupon the United States saw to it that
they passed off quietly.

Having no wish to flout their huge neighbor to the northward, the
Hispanic nations at large hastened to acknowledge the
independence of the new republic, despite the indignation that
prevailed in press and public over what was regarded as an act of
despoilment. In view of the resentful attitude of Colombia and
mindful also of the opinion of many Americans that a gross
injustice had been committed, the United States eventually
offered terms of settlement. It agreed to express regret for the
ill feeling between the two countries which had arisen out of the
Panama incident, provided that such expression were made mutual;
and, as a species of indemnity, it agreed to pay for canal rights
to be acquired in Colombian territory and for the lease of
certain islands as naval stations. But neither the terms nor the

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