Free Comparison Contrast Essay

Mar 31, 2009 Filed under:Personal essays — admin @ 8:03 am

Free Comparison Contrast Essay

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Comparison Contrast Essay Sample

Religious differences between Protestantism and Catholicism have been stressed by many authors as among the most important factors causing differences in systems of race relations. We shall return to that point later. However, beyond the similarities between Spain and Portugal as Catholic powers and England and Holland as Protestant nations, there were important differences in the role of the Church in Brazil and in Mexico. In Mexico the Church was at once the 'religious branch of the Spanish colonial establishment and a major political and economic power in its own right. Mexican prelates were powerful by virtue of their position in the Church, but they were also rich aristocrats through their social origin. In Brazil the Church never enjoyed such political and economic parity with the state and the lay aristocracy. Its interests were subordinate of those of the lay settlers and indeed often clashed with them.

Indigenous Level of Social Organization. In Mexico the Spaniards encountered large centralized states, confederated into complex empires, with considerable social stratification, urbanization, intensive agriculture, and relatively dense settlement. In the United States and Brazil the Europeans clashed primarily with nomadic or seminomadic groups that were not urbanized and showed only incipient political centralization and social stratification. In South Africa the Boers first met nomadic pastoralists and hunters but later had to contend with medium-sized agricultural nation-states without urbanization but with some degree of stratification and a high amount of political centralization and military organization. On this dimension South Africa thus falls in between Mexico on the one hand and Brazil and the United States on the other.

Fate of the Indigenous Population. In the United States the indigenous population was nearly exterminated and its remnants were relegated to "reservations." Much the same happened in Brazil, but, in addition, significant numbers mixed genetically with the Europeans, adopted Portuguese culture, and became assimilated to the dominant group. In Mexico there was first a drastic reduction of the Indian population as a result mostly of epidemics and forced labor, but thereafter the indigenous people miscegenated with Spaniards and Africans and became hispanicized, except in some remote "refuge areas" where Indian communities survive to the present. In South Africa the Bushmen were wiped out or pushed back to the Kalahari Desert, the Hottentots intermixed with the Boers and became westernized, and the Bantu-speaking groups were politically subjected but retained to a considerable extent their cultural and genetic identity.

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