Social Composition of the Dominican Republic  book cover
1st Edition

Social Composition of the Dominican Republic

ISBN 9781138889835
Published April 6, 2016 by Routledge
292 Pages

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Book Description

Composición social dominicana (Social Composition of the Dominican Republic), first published in 1970 in Spanish, and translated into English here for the first time, discusses the changing structure of social classes and groups in Dominican society from the first encounter between Europeans and Natives until the mid-twentieth century. This influential and pioneering book details the struggles of the Dominican people as they evolved from pre-colonial and colonial subjects to sovereign actors with the task of moving a republic forward, amidst imperialist desires and martial ambitions.

Juan Bosch, one of the most well-known and best-loved Dominican politicians and scholars, here sets out the important themes that define modern Dominican society. He tackles topics such as the inter-imperialist rivalry between France, Spain, England, and Holland and its subsequent impact on the Caribbean region, as well as the U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic from 1916-1924. He also discusses the aftermath of political alliances between liberals and conservatives during the birth of the Dominican Republic, the Restoration War fought against the Spanish Crown, the role of the petit bourgeoisie and the hateros (cattle-ranchers) in the formation of a Dominican oligarchy, the emergence of dictator Rafael Trujillo, and the composition of society during his time in power.

This translation, introduced and contextualized by leading Dominican Studies scholar Wilfredo Lozano, opens up Bosch’s work for a new generation of scholars studying the Caribbean.

Table of Contents

1. Origin of Social Classes in Santo Domingo

2. The Emergence and Decline of a Sugar Oligarchy

3. From Sugar Mills to Cattle

4. Development of a Cattle Society

5. The Peculiar Buccaneer Society

6. Saint-Domingue: The French Colony

7. The Century of Misery

8. From Immobility in the 17th Century to the Dynamism of the 18th Century

9. Half a Century of Relative Economic Growthy

10. Santo Domingo within the Context of the Caribbean

11. The Haitian Revolution

12. The Case of Migration

13. The Government of Cattle-Ranchers and the Society of Tobaco Harvesters

14. Causes of the Haitian Invasion in 1822

15. The Petit Bourgeoisie in Dominican History

16. The Petit Bourgeoisie Opposes the Power of the Cattle Ranchers

17. 1857-1861: Struggles within the Petit Bourgeoisie

18. The Restoration: A Deed of the Petit Bourgeoisie

19. The Long-Lasting Reign of the Petit Bourgeoisie in Dominican National Politics

20. The Era's Social Composition and Political Parties

21. The Blue Regime or Toward the Bourgeois Society

22. From the Death of Heureaux to the Death of Caceres

23. Imperialism in Action

24. Social Composition through 1930

25. Trujillo or the Transition of the Petit Bourgeoisie to Bourgeoisie

26. Social Composition to the Death of Trujillo

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Juan Bosch, (1909-2001) the first democratically-elected president of the Dominican Republic, was a politician, historian, writer, and educator. Before his election, he led the exiled Dominican opposition against the dictator Rafael Trujillo. He is remembered as one of the most influential figures in Dominican politics and letters.


This excellent translation captures magnificently the superb qualities that combined to elevate Juan Bosch to the highest echelon of Caribbean intellectuals. He was enviably well-informed, incredibly thoughtful, uniquely insightful, powerfully articulate and zealously determined. His impressive command of the history of the Atlantic World rivaled his commanding knowledge of the Dominican Republic and that made Juan Bosch not only an extraordinary nationalist but also an outstanding Caribbean internationalist. This book, therefore, acutely addresses themes relevant to all the societies across the Americas.

-Franklin W. Knight, author of The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism

Written in exile after a United States invasion put down a movement that sought to return the democratically elected Bosh to power, The Social Composition of the Dominican Republic is a fundamental primary source for understanding the history of Latin American social and political thought during the Cold War. Even four decades later it also remains an illuminating analysis of history, class relations, and the predicaments of modernization in the post-colonial Caribbean. This elegant English translation will introduce a new generation of students to Bosch, and to the long scope of Dominican history. Wilfredo Lozano’s excellent introduction offers a wide-ranging and accessible guide to the origins, impact, strengths, and weaknesses of the text.

-Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof, author of A Tale of Two Cities: Santo Domingo and New York after 1950