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BOB — University of Nebraska Press / Page 45 / / Case of the Ugly Suitor / Jeffrey M. Shumway 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 [First Page] [45], (1) Lines: 0 to 15 ——— 0.0pt PgVar ——— Normal Page PgEnds: TEX [45], (1) 3. “Accept Us as Free Men” Ruptures in Society and Family Being from Spain had been a great advantage for men who had migrated to Spain’s New World colonies, men like José Nazareno y López. During the colonial period, royal officials felt that peninsulares (Spaniards born in Spain) were superior to criollos (Spaniards born in the Americas), not to mention the others who represented varieties of interracial mixes found in the New World. Peninsular Spaniards were granted special commercial privileges and the highest political offices were reserved for them. Although criollos resented the discrimination, many wanted their daughters to marry Spaniards because it brought them into the privileged circle. These structures and sentiments changed in Buenos Aires after the May Revolution of 1810. Formerly prized as ideal suitors for the native daughters of Buenos Aires, Spaniards, now representative of monarchy and repression, were shunned, then banished from the land. Anti-Spanish sentiment appears to have been the case with José Nazereno y López, even fifteen years after the May Revolution. In 1825, José set his eye on Bonifacia Ruiz Moreno, but her father refused to grant his permission. José went to court, where he told that judge that Bonifacia’s father opposed the marriage because José was a Spaniard. Apparently José understood the prejudice against Spaniards in Buenos Aires, because he tried to divert attention from his national origin: at least he had been educated in the Americas—across the river in Montevideo. 1 The anti-Spaniard attitude exhibited by Bonifacia’s father had an official political side soon after the May Revolution. In a decree issued on 3 December 1810, the new governing junta referred to native Spaniards as “foreign persons” who were no longer “a precious part of ourselves.” In March of the next year the junta banished all unmarried Spaniards from Buenos Aires, and other measures were taken to prevent marriages between creole women and peninsular men.2 The shift in attitudes against Spaniards hinted at larger processes of BOB — University of Nebraska Press / Page 46 / / Case of the Ugly Suitor / Jeffrey M. Shumway 46 ‘‘accept us as free men’’ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 [46], (2) Lines: 15 to 22 ——— 0.0pt PgVar ——— Normal Page PgEnds: TEX [46], (2) change after 1810. To be sure, many social and economic continuities linked the colonial and national periods, but the break from Spain, and the nation-building efforts that followed,produced important social and cultural changes in porteño society. The idea of a new nation called for new identities and attitudes. These include the well-known political changes but also encompass ruptures (though by no means complete ones) that challenged social hierarchy, secularized society, and altered family relationships. Throughout the nineteenth century, by way of new educational programs and through the court system, the state increased its power to intervene in family life as national leaders tried to consolidate their nation-building project. Society, Culture and the May Revolution When the town council met at the Cabildo on 25 May 1810, many of its liberal members already had plans to separate from Spain. The influence of the Enlightenment, emanating from both Spain and the rest of Europe , had been present in Buenos Aires since the late eighteenth century. One future revolutionary leader, Manuel Belgrano, wrote of his reaction as he observed the French Revolution during an extended stay in Europe: “The ideas of liberty, equality, security, and property consumed me.”He concluded that only tyrants were opposed to giving mankind“the rights that God and nature have given them.”3 Belgrano returned to Buenos Aires,where he helped foment the break from Spain in May of 1810. After the May Revolution, Enlightenment literature poured into Buenos Aires as never before. Printing presses multiplied, improving on the abysmal publishing environment of the colonial period. Newly begun...


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