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Nation-building in the Nineteenth Century


  • What, in Sarmiento’s view, were the obstacles to the establishment of effective government in Argentina, or in Latin America more generally?
  • How did nineteenth-century elites “imagine” their nations?
  • Did all sections of society share this vision?

Required Reading

  • Sarmiento, Domingo Faustino, Life in the Argentine Republic in the Days of the Tyrants, or, Civilization and Barbarism, 1845 (trans. Mary Tyler Peabody Mann, 1868), chapter one. There are many electronic versions; try Google Books.
  • Earle, Rebecca, “Sobre Héroes y Tumbas: National Symbols in Nineteenth-Century Spanish America,” Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 85:3 (2005), pp. 375-416. Here.
  • Murilo de Carvalho, José. “Political Elites and Statebuilding: The Case of Nineteenth-Century Brazil,” Comparative Studies in Society & History, 24:3 (July 1982): 378-99

Additional Readings


  • Barman, Roderick, Brazil: the Forging of a Nation, Stanford University Press (Stanford, 1998), chapters 4-8
  • Bethell, Leslie (ed.), The Cambridge History of Latin America, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 1984+), vol. 3, chapters by Tulio Halperín Donghi and Frank Safford, available as E-book at library
  • Bradford Burns, E., The Poverty of Progress: Latin America in the Nineteenth Century, University of California Press (Berkeley, 1980).
  • Kraay, Hendrik. “ ‘As Terrifying as Unexpected’: The Bahian Sabinada, 1837-1838,” The Hispanic American Historical Review, 72:4 (November 1992): 501-27 [provides a useful comparative perspective on historiography of Brazilian independence]
  • Larson, Brooke, Trials of Nation-Making: Liberalism in the Andes, 1810-1910 (Cambridge University Press, 2004) [e-book at Library]
  • Levine, Robert, and John Crocitti, eds.,The Brazil Reader History, Culture and Politics, Duke University Press (Durham, 1999), chapter 2: ‘Imperial and Republican Brazil’.
  • Stein, Stanley and Barbara, The Colonial Heritage of Latin America, Oxford University Press (London, 1970).
  • Williamson, Edwin, The Penguin History of Latin America, Penguin (London, 1992), chapters 7-8

Elite Nationalism

  • Earle, Rebecca, “Padres de la Patria and the Ancestral Past: Celebrations of Independence in Nineteenth-Century Spanish America,” Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 34:4 (2002), pp. 775-805.
  • Fernández Bravo, Alvaro, “Ambivalent Argentina, Nationalism, Exoticism, and Latin Americanism at the 1889 Paris Universal Exposition,” Nepantla: Views from South, vol. 2.1 (2001), pp. 115-139.
  • Sábato, Hilda, “On Political Citizenship in 19th Century Latin America,” American Historical Review, vol. 106:4 (October 2001).
  • Thurner, Mark, ‘“Republicanos” and “La Comunidad de Peruanos”: Unimagined Political Communities in Postcolonial Andean Peru’, Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 27:2 (1995), pp. 291-318.

Popular Politics

  • De la Fuente, Ariel, “Facundo and Chacho in Songs and Stories: Oral Culture and the Representations of Caudillos in the Nineteenth-Century Argentine Interior,” Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 80:3 (2000), pp. 503-535.
  • Guardino, Peter, “Barbarism or Republican Law. Guerrero’s Peasants and National Politics, 1820-1846,” Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 75:2 (1995).
  • Sanders, James, “Atlantic Republicanism in Nineteenth-Century Colombia: Spanish America's Challenge to the Contours of Atlantic History,” Journal of World History, vol. 20:1 (2009).
  • Thomson, Guy, “Popular Aspects of Liberalism in Mexico, 1848-1888,” Bulletin of Latin American Research, vol. 10 (1991).


Matthias Rohrig Assuncao, ‘Elite Politics and Popular Rebellion in the Construction of the Post Colonial Order. The Case of Maranhao, Brazil (1820-41) Journal of Latin American Studies, 31 1999

Hendrik Kraay, “As Terrifying as Unexpected”: The Bahian Sabinada, 1837-1838,” Hispanic American Historical Review, 72:4 (Nov 1992): 501-27

Leslie Bethell, ed. Brazil: Empire and Republic, chapter 2 [e-book @ Library]

João José Reis, “Slave Resistance in Brazil: Bahia, 1807-1835,” Luso-Brazilian Review, 25:1 (1988).

•Hendrik Kraay, “Between Brazil and Bahia: Celebrating Dois de Julho in Nineteenth-Century Salvador,” Journal of Latin American Studies, 31:2 (1999): 255-86

Kraay, Hendrik. Days of National Festivity in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1823-1889. Stanford University Press, 2013.

•José Murilo de Carvalho, “Political Elites and Statebuilding: The Case of Nineteenth-Century Brazil,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 42:3 (July 1982): 378-399