HIST 4520-01 Latin America II, Spring 2005

Midterm Exam


Instructions:  Choose one essay from A and one essay from B. Essays should be typed, and 500-700 words. This is due in class March 3. Skipping class that day in order to work on your essays is frowned upon.


Set A

  1. Discuss Sarmiento’s opinion and description of the rural people of “Argentina.” What does he regard to be their strengths and weaknesses? What role does he think they could play in the country’s future?
  2. Discuss Sarmiento’s understanding of what causes history to happen. How important is geography and the nature of the land? What role does he give to larger social and historical forces, such as the influence of the Catholic Church or the importance of the economy? How important are the personalities and actions of important individuals?

Set B


  1. Consider two characters from The Underdogs, one male and one female. Discuss their social status and their motivations for fighting. What does the revolution mean for these two characters, and how do their goals and understanding of the revolution relate to the ideologies of the major revolutionary leaders? How do they relate to the actual outcome of the Revolution?
  2. In the forward to The Underdogs, Harriet de Onís quotes the Spanish proverb, “As a sample, a button will do.” In terms of the Mexican Revolution, how well does this proverb apply to The Underdogs? How well does this novel represent the realities of the Revolution? Consider the goals, background, and ideologies of both the fictional characters and of the leaders and masses who participated in the actual Revolution.