“Spain & The Loss Of America” By Timothy E. Anna – A Review Book Reviews Examples
Understanding the world of today looks at the historical underpinnings of how nations formed and evolved into the 21st century from the imperialist colonization of the European countries over a period of centuries. First, among those nations established in the New World with its “discovery” by Columbus establishing a strong foothold in the Americas for the monarchy of Spain are the Spanish Americas of today. Anna’s book “Spain & the Loss of America” describes the history of the accumulation of vast spans of territory in the north, central, and southern hemispheres of the New World along with others spanning the globe and the loss of most of it by the 19th century. Researching Spanish archives dated form 1808 to 1825 Anna argues the loss of Spanish America “demonstrated the essential continuity of the imperial structure” (6). The first of Spain’s holdings in America to come closest to separation from the rule of the monarchy took place midway through 1808 as Napoleon wreaked havoc on Europe claiming monarchy after monarchy as he took control including Spain. One review of Anna’s approach to the historical record on the loss of Spanish America by Spain describes how Anna provides a “chronological narrative (and) has skillfully woven the intricate tale into a comprehensive and readable history” (Hamill 443). The following academic review of this historical account of the events ascribed to Spain’s loss of its American land holdings includes discourse on the central argument Anna posits that Spain was not destined to lose its American colonies due to any failure of trying compromise and accommodation. Further, an analysis of how effectively the author backs the argument adds to the discussion and whether it develops convincingly and whether subjective views on the subject emerges different then before reading the book. Numerous interpretive considerations in this scholastic endeavor considers the intellectual validity of the interpretive aspects of the author’s approach in researching and writing Spain & the Loss of America contribute to the following assessment and review of Anna’s “Spain and the Loss of America”.
Though not the main purpose of writing this textbook, one important central idea emerging from this historical account of Spain’s loss of the Americas is how the nations freed from the monarchy evolved into their own identifies with political ideologies, a greater focus on the indigenous population contribution to the mixture of European and native cultures making each country. In doing so, each nation’s position in the global community stands recognized for their individuality and importance as such from this perspective as the author clearly points out.
Since the story of the fall of vast empires lends itself naturally to a certain patina of romanticism, a word of warning is in order. There is no room for nostalgia in the story of Spain's loss of empire; the facts do not warrant it. But this is not a tragic story for Spain either, for the collapse of the center released the hitherto tethered powers of more than a score of former colonies that were now free to make their unique contributions to the world. (Anna xvi) [Sic]
As a contribution to the bevy of existing accounts of texts on the fall of the Spanish, rule of the Americas Hamill points out his perspective of the central theme is the consistency of Anna pursuing “the royalist research trajectory to its logical center” (443). In doing so, according to Hamill, in producing two previous volumes on the subject with the progression showing the fall of Spain’s monarchy affect across the Atlantic on both Mexico and Peru, this third takes on the more specific argument as stated in the introduction of the disintegration-taking place at the center- at the core of government. In other words, Anna views the center of the Spanish government of 1808 as those upper echelons of power levels – from “‘the king, the Cortes, the councils,’ (qtd. in Anna xiii) and his chronological narrative” (443) based on the archives of those pivotal years from 1808 through 1825 within the Spanish court.
The consequences surrounding the issues in the Americas as connected to the issues in the Spanish government meant compromise and accommodation to the Spanish Americans as never tasked upon the Court in response to any demands of colonies in previous centuries. While the Court watched as Mexico declared its independence in 1816, and the United States recognizing the sovereignty of the neighbor to the south and other holdings of the monarchy in South America, the important aspect of all of this Anna provides the reader is the clear context of Spain’s refusal to give up. Anna writes, “"The reason for Spain's obstinate dedication to the proposition that it would not recognize independence was Madrid's view, long simmering and now fully formed, that the political instability of the Spanish American states, the rise of party factionalism and of military caudillism, guaranteed the emergence of some movement to reunite with Spain" (273).
Personal Perspective and Conclusion
It is Ann’s explanation about the traditional ideologies of the Spanish Court determined to save its governance of the American colonies that makes this argument presented by Anna of historical importance. Subjectively, a new understanding of the changing times of the ideas of liberty, independence, and the freedom espoused by the Age of Enlightenment. "'The Spanish American Enlightenment was a dual process of creating such discursive space and consolidating a public sphere“(Withers 38) and therefore, from the view of the Spanish Court, remained a plausible activity of holding out on freeing these colonies from its rule. This argument contributes to a new subjective perspective of the entire story of the Spanish loss of the Americas. Specifically, the use of the archived records of this process by Anna therefore, gives validity to the argument Spain tried in vain to work with the Spanish Americans to keep the status quo of colonial Spanish Court rule in the New World. The intellectual interpretation of the archives in presenting this historical view stands by itself as a worthwhile perspective in reviewing these times of change leading to the conditions of these places in the 21st century.
In conclusion, review and assessment of Anna’s Spain and the Loss of the Americas indeed, offered as discussed, valid and numerous interpretive considerations in this scholastic endeavor. From this account of the Spanish Court vigorously looking for any diplomatic means of keeping the monarchy, hold on accommodating the Spanish Americas goes beyond providing the typical historical renderings of these times of change.
Anna, Timothy E. Spain, and the Loss of America. University of Nebraska Press. 1983. Book
Hamill, Hugh M. “Spain and the Loss of America” The Americas. Published by Academy of American Franciscan History. January 40:3:443-445 1984 Print
Withers, Charles W. J. Placing the Enlightenment: Thinking Geographically about the Age of Reason. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2007.
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