Latin America since Independence

A History with Primary Sources, 2nd Edition

By Alexander Dawson

© 2010 – Routledge

420 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415854375
pub: 2014-09-19
Hardback: 9780415854368
pub: 2014-09-22

Comp Exam Copy Companion Website

About the Book

What is Latin America, after all? While histories of the "other" Americas often link disparate histories through revolutionary or tragic narratives, Latin America since Independence begins with the assumption that our efforts to imagine a common past for nearly thirty countries are deeply problematic. Without losing sight of chronology or regional trends, this text offers glimpses of the Latin American past through carefully selected stories. Each chapter introduces students to a specific historical issue, which in turn raises questions about the history of the Americas as a whole. Key themes include:

    • Race and Citizenship
    • Inequality and Economic Development
    • Politics and Rights
    • Social and Cultural Movements
    • Globalization
    • Violence and Civil Society

The short, thematic chapters are bolstered by the inclusion of relevant primary documents – many translated for the first time – including advertisements and posters, song lyrics, political speeches, government documents, and more. Each chapter also includes timelines highlighting important dates and suggestions for further reading. Richly informative and highly readable, Latin America since Independence provides compelling accounts of this region’s past and present.

This second edition brings the story up to the present, with revised chapters, new primary documents and images, and a new ‘At A Glance’ feature that uses a selection of maps and tables to illuminate key issues like the economy, the environment, and demographics.

For additional information and classroom resources please visit the Latin America since Independence companion website at


"Dawson writes with marvelous insight into Latin America's grand themes, capturing broad patterns concisely and challenging preconceived notions. This is a book that will deeply inform newcomers but also lead more advanced students to reconsider their understandings of the region. The well-chosen documents enrich the text and facilitate open debate."

—Bryan McCann, Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University

"Latin America since Independence pursues a thematic approach to understanding modern Latin America that loosens chronological moorings without casting them aside. It is custom-built to facilitate discussion about the ways in which history is actively and interminably constructed over time. This revised edition has preserved the best features of the original while expanding an already robust collection of primary sources. New images, charts, and chapter inserts make Latin America since Independence a dynamic complement to lectures in the undergraduate classroom."

—Zachary Brittsan, Assistant Professor of History, Texas Tech University

Table of Contents

Introduction: Latin America's Useable Past

1. Independence Narratives, Past and Present

At a Glance: Political Divisions

2. Caudillos versus the Nation State

3. Race and Citizenship in the New Republics

At a Glance: People

4. The Export Boom as Modernity

5. Signs of Crisis in a Gilded Age

At a Glance: Economy

6. Commerce, Coercion, and America's Empire

7. Power to the People

At a Glance: Urbanization

8. A Decade of Revolution in Cuba

9. The Terror

At a Glance: Environment

10. Speaking Truth to Power

At a Glance: Technology

11. Towards an Uncertain Future





About the Author

Alexander Dawson is Professor of Latin American History at Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, Canada. He is the author of First World Dreams: Mexico since 1989 and Indian and Nation in Revolutionary Mexico.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Latin America / General
HISTORY / Modern / General