History of Latin America, 1825 to 1945

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIS 234

       Course Name: History of Latin America, 1825 to 1945

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course surveys the political, social, economic and cultural development of Central and South America from independence to the beginning of the Cold War.  Content focus is on role of literature, film, music and popular art in understanding the complexities of Latin American history.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the essential historical figures and events of the period covered.
  2. Describe the ethnic, cultural, and political diversity of Latin America, between 1825 and 1945, and interpret its historical consequences.
  3. Explain the religious, social, economic, and political ideas that emerged in Latin America during the period covered.
  4. Evaluate major religious, literary, and philosophical works produced during the period.
  5. Analyze the relationship between historical events and contemporary issues in the region.
  6. Evaluate conflicting interpretations of the history of Latin America between 1825 and 1945.
  7. Analyze primary and secondary sources pertaining to the period covered.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Background and consequences of the Wars of Independence, 1810 to 1825.
  2. Society, race and culture in the 19th century.
  3. Post-independence politics and the rise of neocolonialism, 1825 to 1910.
  4. Literature and social change, 1880 to 1910.
  5. Mexico: 1910 to 1945.
  6. Brazil: 1910 to 1945.
  7. Argentina: 1910 to 1945.
  8. Chile: 1910 to 1945.
  9. Andean Region: Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, 1910 to 1945.
  10. Central America: from the United Provinces of Central America to independence, 1865 to 1945.
  11. Foreign investment, urbanization and class formation, 1920 to 1945.
  12. Literature and Music in early 20th century Latin American politics and society.
  13. U.S. – Latin American relations, 1898 to 1945.
  14. Latin America and the beginning of the Cold War:  Guerilla movements, dictatorships and the impact of international finance.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:

  1. Read a standard textbook and research materials
  2. Write outside of class the equivalent of 12‑14 double‑spaced typed pages, in the form of a term paper, summaries of Journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing.
  3. Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.
  4. Engage in a group research project that will examine some aspects of race, ethnic, class, or gender inequality in Latin American history.  The project will conclude with both a written and oral presentation.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course. 

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  • Cheryl E Martin and Mark Wasserman. Latin America and Its People, 1st ed. (New York: Pearson), 2005.
  • Thomas E. Skidmore and Peter H. Smith, Modern Latin America, 4th ed. (New York: Oxford University Press), 1997.
  • Domingo F. Sarmiento.  Facundo or Civilization and Barbarism (any edition)
  • Gabriel García Márquez. The General in His Labyrinth (any edition)
  • Alma Guillermoprieto, The Heart that Bleeds. Latin America Now. (NY: Knopf, 1994).


X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

Support Services: Tutoring is available at the Learning Center. However, if you are experiencing any problems with the materials we are covering in class, I would prefer that you make an appointment to see me in my office.  General Academic Support Services: If you find you have troubles reading the textbook material, if you don't do a very good job of taking notes or exams, or if writing is a struggle for you, you can get help at the Academic Assistance Center. (There's one located on each campus).

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.