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Gaucho Life Essay, Research Paper

Explain How the Social and Economic Changes Affected Gaucho Life.

Due to the huge migration to Latin America, foreigners introduced the gauchos to many changes that would have a lasting effect. Two of the main changes felt by the gauchos included social and economic restructuring. One must understand that history about the gauchos can potentially be biased. This is due to the fact that only news that is interesting is reported and only bad news is interesting. This clash of recorded history and actual history causes us to question what actually occurred during this time period. The gauchos’ lifestyle suffered greatly because of these social and economic changes.

New institutions, values and beliefs all aided the transformation and elimination of the gaucho. Imported values like family, religion, education and government impacted the daily lives of the gaucho. Whether the gauchos’ lives changed in a negative or positive way, is up to you to decide. I would say it just continued to evolve this specific lifestyle, all the way out existence.

This acknowledged value of family affected the gaucho in the area of marriage specifically. Previously the gauchos impregnated multitudes of women and did not follow through with the responsibilities included with this action. They would just continue on with their normal lives. The importance of monogamy by others cramped the gauchos’ style. Marriage did have one positive result. Women’s worth increased in the peoples’ eyes. Prostitution became more controversial. With religion on the rise, this act also crossed over to the inappropriate list. The value of education left the gaucho in the dark. The gaucho had no formal education at all. Schools began educating others, but not them. This meant that the gaucho was falling on the social ladder due to lack of education. Europeans imported this value and importance of education.

Gauchos’ social lives covered many interesting areas. These traditional acts decreased because of the new laws. Previously, gauchos would roam the pampa, continuously moving onward to unknown destinations. This freedom became restricted with the invention of the fence. The fence also impacted other areas of the gauchos’ lives including economically. The fence forced the change from a ranching to farming. The need for ranchers decreased, which put gauchos out of work. These fences also kept animals contained to specific pastures. Before this gauchos would kill roaming horses for fun, cattle for food and skins, and ostrich for feathers. These fences set territories that kept the gaucho from wandering freely.

Another change that kept the gaucho from wandering freely involved vagrancy laws. The government targeted to the gaucho and aimed to get rid of them, or at least tame them. Gauchos now had to carry something similar to a travel permit. This again restricted their unique lifestyle.

Because the government viewed the gauchos as good fighters, they enlisted many to serve in the military. This impacted their lives socially and economically. Gauchos’ social lives slowed down enormously because of the military. They had to work continuously. Economically they benefited because they no longer had to look for ways to support their basic needs. The government took care of making them sustain life. In addition to forced military enlistment, the government forced gauchos to work in agriculture and mining in exchange for a place to sleep, food to eat, and protection. Gauchos did not necessarily want to change socially, however the pressures of the government often times overruled their own decisions.

New technology spurred changes in the economic life of the gaucho. As discussed previously, fences played a major role. Mechanization became very popular. Guns and bikes could now be purchased, and many people took advantage of these advancements. No longer could the gaucho rob and steal from anyone just with a knife. People now had guns as protection from thieves and bandits. This effected the gauchos’ economic life. These are example of the Enlightenment era that promoted violence and fear of change.

Along with enlightenment and prosperity came ignorance and poverty. The rich had no reason to share education with those they controlled. This educational advancement helped create a status system. The gauchos occupied the lowest step. They lived and died poor with not much of a chance for advancement. This gave the gaucho no choice but to agree with the proverb, “if you can’t beat’em, join’em.” The gaucho fell victim to urbanization with little hope for upward mobility. This spawned a movement from the pampa to the city to fill employment opportunities.

The life of the gaucho changed for good. Evolution and fate worked hard enough to push the gaucho down and eventually out of existence. With all of these advancement socially and economically, gauchos lost their heritage. The government acted in a way they felt necessary and portrayed the gaucho in a light that led others to make negative judgements. The gaucho dissolved to a worker, they transformed from cowboy to citizen. Resistance could be seen through villains like Poncho Villa. Unfortunately, it would take more than his rebellion to reverse fate. Although in the long run gauchos received an improved standard of living in our eyes, they also lost their lifestyle they loved.


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