Ariel and Letter to Colonel Patrick Campbell

Both Rodó’s Ariel and Bolívar’s Letter to Colonel Patrick Campbell show the fear of American dominion that Latin Americans possessed during the 19th and 20th centuries. Rodó states “I want each of you to be aware that when in the name of the rights of the spirit I resist the mode of North American utilitarianism, which they want to impose on us as the summa and model of civilization…” (Rodó, 37). Similarly, Bolívar demonstrates his anxiety concerning American domination when discussing the U.S.’s reaction to if a European were to be the next head of Colombia , “Can you imagine the opposition that would come from the new American states, and from the United States, which seems destined by Providence to plague America with miseries in the name of Freedom?” (Bolívar, 173). Both Rodó and Bolívar state that America seems hellbent upon imposing their values of liberty and virtue on the rest of the world, regardless of if they want to receive it or not. One difference between the two primary sources is the fact that Rodó praises American efficiency and lifestyle, despite it being devoid of individuality or diversity. Rodó first criticizes America: “I do not, however, see what is to be gained from denaturalizing the character- the personality- of a nation, from imposing an identification with a foreign model, while sacrificing irreplaceable uniqueness” (Rodó, 32). Rodó fears that if Latin America were to model their society after the U.S., they would lose touch with their traditional culture. However, Rodó can not help but acknowledge the positives of an American lifestyle: “Although their culture is far from being refined or spiritual, it is admirably efficient…” (Rodó, 35).