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Liberal Reform

Decent Essays
The Catholic clergy initially supplied the independence movement with some of its important early leaders, the relationship between the Church and the independent states had been troubled. Liberals of the independence movement opposed the Church’s power over political life, their monopoly over the education system, its vast real estate and landholdings, and the exploitative fees that its priest charged. Liberals aimed to completely reform the relationship between church and state.

In the mid-nineteenth century Latin America experienced a number of political, economic, and ideological changes that had a major impact on relations between church and state. Nineteenth-Century liberals demanded freedom from restrictions that impeded each individuals
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Nonetheless, Liberals read them, and after the break with Spain and Portugal tried to implement liberal reform s. Civil wars between liberals and conservatives became common. Invariably, the Church allied itself with the Conservatives, who made the defense of the Church one of their top priorities. Versions of this conflict played out in every Latin American country as the age of the caudillo disappeared in the 1850s and 1860s. In Mexico tensions by the Liberal-Conservative split were unparalleled in their intensity. The period of liberal activism was dominated by liberal leader Benito Juarez, who served as president for multiple terms. He established tough new laws that curbed the power of the Church. On July 12, 1857, Juárez confiscated all church properties, suppressed all religious orders, and empowered the state governors to designate what buildings could be used for religious services. The new constitution was derived from that of 1824, but it reflected a more liberal vision of society through its incorporation of the Reform Laws. It affirmed secularized education, the abolition of slavery, and guaranteed basic civil liberties for all Mexicans. Both the Reform Laws and the constitution, however, divided the political classes and set the stage for a civil…show more content…
The new liberal generation that emerged during the 1840s were for the most part ambitious provincials whose ability for social mobility was made possible by growth of secondary education during the Independence period. Young men of such social backgrounds had particular reasons to challenge the established power. Their goal was to destroy those colonial institutions that could potentially block their social mobility. Specifically, the Catholic church. This new generation of politicians looked to form their own identity, and were receptive to European influences that had very little appeal to the already established politicians. These new external forces helped to polarize the political field. The root of the polarization was what to do with religion. Liberal attitudes toward the Church were shaped not only be ideological considerations but also by Conservative exploitation of clerical grievances. Relations between the federal government deteriorated during the presidential term of Tomas Mosquera (1866-67). Tension became increasingly severe after 1870, mainly because of clerical opposition to the educational program that was launched by the Salgar administration that year. This caused a Conservative revolution that that was openly supported by clergy men, which won support even among some liberals. Columbian Conservatives were no more uniform than their
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