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Caudillos in Spanish America 1800–1850$
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John Lynch

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198211358

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198211358.001.0001

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Independence: Nursery of Caudillos

Independence: Nursery of Caudillos

(p.35) 2 Independence: Nursery of Caudillos
Caudillos in Spanish America 1800–1850

John Lynch

Oxford University Press

The caudillo was a child of war and a product of independence. When, in 1808, the French invasion of Spain severed the metropolis from its colonies and created a crisis of authority among its subjects, the political landscape was transformed and familiar signposts disappeared. The wars of independence incorporated two processes, the constitutionalism of the politicians and the personal power of the caudillos. To compete and rule in such circumstances, a soldier had to be a politician, and politicians had to control the soldiers. The wars were a struggle for power as well as for independence. In the Rio de la Plata, caudillos emerged in two stages, first as delegates of the centre in the war effort against Spain, then as leaders of the regions in conflict with the centre. This chapter looks at the guerrillas of Upper Peru, the montoneros of Central Peru, caudillo prototypes in Venezuela, clerical caudillos in Mexico, and how the wars of independence implanted caudillism in Spanish America.

Keywords:   Spain, wars, independence, caudillo, caudillism, guerillas, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Spanish America

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