"Modernismo" and politics: criticism of United States expansionism in Latin America (1891-1905)



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"Modernismo" can be divided onto two distinct epochs: one from 1888 to 1898 that was shaped by French Parnassian and Formalist poetry, and the second epoch, after 1898, influenced by French symbolism and the socio-political conditions of Latin America. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the United States caused and presented the most fear for Latin America with its expansionist ambitions.

This dissertation will investigate the second epoch of "Modernismo" through discussion and analysis of three major writers: Jose Marti (Cuba, 1853-1895), Jose Enrique Rodo (Uruguay, 1872-1917), and Ruben Dario (Nicaragua, 1867-1916). From each writer's perspective and opinions, the reader will gain a greater insight into the frustration felt by Latin Americans as a result of United States aggressive policies toward the area. While the United States desired to establish world dominance, Latin Americans feared the expansionism would cause a loss of culture, history, and linguistic traditions for them. Each selected writer presented a type of "plan" for Latin American resistance against North American aggression and displayed a fear for Latin America's cultural and independent future.