Indigenous Identity: Ayala, Mariátegui And Menchú Free Sample

It could hardly be doubted that indigenous identities represent a highly important area of concern in social studies. The way people understand themselves, the world around them, and social relations within the society are considerably affected by their cultural background. This statement is especially relevant to indigenous people, whose social, psychological, and cultural premises are significantly different from those of the Western world. This paper aims to investigate how indigenous identities are defended and promoted by three different authors. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the writing by Guamán Poma de Ayala, Jose Carlos Mariátegui, and Rigoberta Menchú to compare and contrast their ideas about indigenous people.

For the beginning of the discussion, it is essential to provide a brief overview of the authors’ personalities to put further analysis into proper context. The first author under consideration is Rigoberta Menchú. She is a Guatemalan woman whose family was killed by the Guatemalan army. Menchú is a social activist who is known to openly speak about the injustices of the life of indigenous people in Latin America. In 1992, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to spreading awareness about social problems in Latin America. The second author is Jose Carlos Mariátegui, who was born in 1894 in a lower-middle-class family.

Due to the absence of his father, the author’s mother had to work as a seamstress, and thus Mariátegui spent his childhood in poverty. However, he was able to become a prominent journalist and writer who is known to speak for indigenous identities and promote social justice. Finally, it is essential to mention Guamán Poma de Ayala, who appears to be a significantly cryptic figure. Very little is known about him: there is no information concerning his birth and death and who his relatives were. However, it is known that he was a self-taught writer who left a significant legacy, describing the life of millions of native Peruvians in the 17th century.

Further, since it is essential to compare and contrast the mentioned authors’ accounts on indigenous identities, it is possible to state that one of the major differences is that every author describes a different country and culture. Menchú comes from Guatemalan background, and while Mariátegui and Poma were born and lived in Peru, their experience is significantly different because they lived in different time periods. These aspects have a significant influence on the positions of the writers. Menchú describes the life of poor Guatemalan people by exemplifying her life. She mentions poverty, lack of education, inaccessible medicine, the necessity to work hard, and other aspects.

This personal and highly empathetic approach could be contrasted with Mariátegui’s approach since he focuses more on such topics as economic evolution, the influence of religion on politics along with policies of regionalism and centralism. Poma’s perspective on the history of Peruvians is somewhat similar to Menchú’s position because he tends to view the history of his country from a very personal angle.

Another distinct aspect of Poma’s work is his perception of time that is considered to be elastic, unlike very strict dedication to the chronological order of years in Western chronicles. Overall, it could be stated that Menchú’s idea appears to be the most compelling among other authors’ perspectives since Mariátegui’s approach is significantly affected by his journalist background, and Poma’s chronicle reads more like a half-fictional, yet the considerably interesting perception of Peruvian history.

World War I: Pan-Slavism In German-Speaking States

Nationalism as a Cause

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and the ensuing chaos triggered a cascade of events that later culminated in the First World War. While scholars agree that the shooting and killing of the Austrian heir sparked the war, issues surrounding nationalism, imperialism, and militarism contributed significantly to it. This section analyzes the role of these forces and especially the rise of Pan-Slavism in Eastern Europe and the corresponding rise of nationalism in German-speaking states.

Nationalists are concerned with the well-being of their countries. The majority of Europeans were overconfident in the economic and military capabilities of their nations (Sluga, 2016).). This belief was fuelled by nationalistic speeches and warmongering amongst the ruling elite, assuring citizens that their countries were ready to win any battle. For instance, the Russian tsar claimed that his throne was protected by God, and coupled with 1.5 million military personnel; he would certainly win any war (Sluga, 2016).

On the other side, the Germans trusted their extensive military establishments and armaments to subdue any enemy in case of a confrontation. They even had the Schlieffen Plan, which would allegedly topple Russia and France without resistance (Henig, 2001). As such, Slavic nationalism defined Russian interests in the Balkans and especially in Serbia, where Austria-Hungary was trying to establish a presence.

Russia was convinced that Austria-Hungary had sinister motives in Serbia, especially after the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 (Sluga, 2016). Therefore, Russia supported Serbia’s expansion plans into Bosnia, which was under the control of Austria-Hungary. In 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia, and the nationalists in Serbia wanted their country back (Sluga, 2016).). On the other side, Germans, with their bellicose nationalism, supported Austria-Hungary in the quest to cling to Bosnia.

These nationalistic advancements created tensions in the Balkans. Therefore, when a Serbian shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand, it was seen as an act of aggression in an already volatile relationship. Gavrilo Princip belonged to a terrorist cell that had support from the Serbian authorities. The shooting of Franz Ferdinand was a statement that Serbia was a force to reckon with, and thus Austria-Hungary retaliated. In the ensuing confrontation, Germans backed Austria-Hungary while Russia supported Serbia, and thus it became a worldwide debacle.

The alliance system contributed significantly to the war. On one side, Serbians were boisterous in the region because they had support from the Russians. On the other side, Austria-Hungary had assurance from Germany that it would assist in any way should a war break out. Even before the shooting of Franz Ferdinand, France and Russia had partnered to extend territory towards East Prussia by building a railway in the region (Henig, 2001).

This move inflamed Germany as it feared encirclement from the advancing coalition. Therefore, Germany joined Austria-Hungary to have a strategic footing should its enemies decide to attack. Ultimately, given the bellicose nature of Germany, Austria-Hungary was confident to attack Serbia in retaliation. If Austria-Hungary did not have an alliance with Germany, it would not have attacked Serbia, given the involvement of Russia.

America’s Neutrality Between 1914-1917

The United States adopted a neutral stand between 1914 and 1917 due to political and economic reasons. Politically, the US sought to preserve its foreign policy of not entangling alliances as envisioned by Thomas Jefferson in his inaugural address at the start of the 19th century. Therefore, based on this idealism, President Wilson wanted to promote the culture of not taking sides during wars. However, the main reason for neutrality was economic.

The US economy was growing consistently at the start of the 20th century, and thus President Wilson did not want to lose the gains that the country had achieved. Additionally, the US saw an opportunity to profit from the war by supplying munitions to the warring sides. It is estimated that the US exported war materials worth $1.29 billion between 1914 and 1917 (Finney, 2017). This economic perspective explains why the US remained neutral even after Germany killed hundreds of Americans in different instances.

Role of Ethnicity in America’s Neutrality

During the first decade of the 20th century, over 3 million immigrants had settled in the US from different countries across Europe. This was the largest number of immigrants to enter the country in such a short period, and by the time the war broke out in 1914, close to 30 percent of Americans or their parents were born in foreign countries. Therefore, given the diversity that the country had at the time, it was difficult for the nation to take sides in the war. The immigrants identified with their countries of origin, and supporting one side would have sparked ethnic tension in the US.

Events that Led to America’s entrance into the War

The US was finally drawn into the war by Germany’s aggression and rejection of peace talks. In May 1915, Germany killed 128 Americans on board a British ocean liner. In 1916, it torpedoed an Italian liner killing 27 Americans despite promises to avoid such occurrences. In 1917, Germany hit several other American liners, and these events forced the US to enter the war officially on April 6, 1917 (Finney, 2017).

America’s Contribution to the War Effort

The US contributed to the war by supplying the warring sides with munitions and especially the Allies. However, when 14,000 US troops arrived in France on June 26, 1917, it changed the correlation of forces (Finney, 2017). German troops could not stand the new coalition between the Allies and the US, and in 15 months, the war ended on November 11, 1918. Therefore, the entry of the US contributed largely towards the end of the war.

Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, and effectively ended the war. It demanded that Germany would assume the responsibility for the war and compensate the affected countries. However, the involved parties were divided in views of how Germany would be punished. While France pushed for the dismembering of the country, the British and Americans had a different view of not creating pretexts for another war (Thorntveit, 2011). Germany signed the treaty, albeit unwillingly. France seemed to pursue the enforcement of the treaty, but it was forced to retreat by financial pressures occasioned by the US and Britain.

Due to the Great Depression, Germany was excused from paying the reparations in 1932 before Hitler rejected the treaty in 1935 (Finney, 2017). Towards the end of the war, President Wilson came up with14 points that would guide the peace process and rebuild the nations affected by the conflict. However, during the Paris Peace Conference on January 18, 1919, Wilson’s 14 points were rejected (Thorntveit, 2011).

However, he was lauded for his proposal to establish the League of Nations. Back home, he faced stiff opposition from the Senate. Ultimately, the US did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles or join the League of Nations. These events downplayed the role of America in the world during the 1920s and 1930s as it did not come out as a strong nation that could influence international politics significantly.


Henig, R. (2001). The origins of the First World War. New York, NY: Routledge.

Finney, P. (2017). Politics and technologies of authenticity: The Second World War at the close of living memory. Rethinking History, 21(2), 154-170.

Sluga, G. (2016). Nationalism, the First World War, and sites of international memory. History of Education Review, 45(2), 212-227.

Thorntveit, T. (2011). The Fable of the Fourteen Points: Woodrow Wilson and national self-determination. Diplomatic History, 35(3), 445-481.

American Welfare State And Income Inequality

Roosevelt and Welfare

The creation and the growth of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s welfare state had a significant effect on the development of American society, including the economy, health, welfare, corporate affairs, as well as the overall well-being of the population. Through his continuous efforts to establish control and care for the population, FDR managed to be effective in providing financial support to citizens in need of recovering from the consequences of the WWII. Post-1945, FDR’s welfare focused its efforts on establishing a secure world for its citizens through supporting cooperation within the United Nations (Leuchtenburg, 2017). Furthermore, the reshaping of the American presidency also occurred under FDR’s rule; the president used technologies such as radio to deliver speeches to a wide audience and thus making a connection between himself and the society to shape an image that the President was not only a chief executor or legislator but also the society’s caretaker.

Government Welfare

It has been hypothesized that governmental welfare contributed to the dependency of the society on benefits, with 49% of the American population living in a home where at least one family member receives benefits such as Social Security, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or other types of financial support (Spalding, 2012). Building a culture of dependency is an alarming trend that shifts the culture of opportunities in the United States, which suffers from individuals not seeking work but expecting the government to provide assistance. Despite the good intentions of some anti-poverty programs, earning income tax credit or child refundable credit is only possible when people work for benefits, which they do not do and subsequently perpetuate the culture of dependency in American society.

Income Inequality

Income inequality in the United States has been growing for decades and continues thriving to this day. While some experts offered explanations as to why the gap is expanding by pointing to the uneven relationship between average and median wages, true reasons for the growing inequality are unclear (Bernasek, 2013). If to take into account the growth of median and average wages, it can be concluded that when the average wage increases at a faster rate than the median, the lower-earning individuals fall further behind (Bernasek, 2013). It is important to understand that the weak labor market along with the modern trends associated with the globalization of labor that involves technologies that replace human labor harm income inequality the most. These factors are essential to take into account since it was the society that inflicted, such problems and now has to deal with the worsening of the conditions in the labor market.


Immigration policies created by the Federal Government has always been subjected to debate because of the opposing views on the economy, social and political security of the nation, as well as humanitarian concerns (Felter & Renwick, 2018). While 72% of the American population thinks that immigration is a positive thing, governmental policies to guide immigration processes have not been particularly effective (Felter & Renwick, 2018). For instance, under the Obama administration, undocumented immigrants have received temporary legal relief while the current US President focuses on border security and the removal of any protective conditions that allowed illegal immigrants to stay in the country. Therefore, the lack of unity in the efforts to establish comprehensive immigration policies contributes to the government’s inability in addressing this issue.


Bernasek, A. (2013). Income gap grows wider (and faster). The New York Times. Web.

Felter, C., & Renwick, D. (2018). The U.S. immigration debate. Web.

Leuchtenburg, W. (2017). Franklin D. Roosevelt: Impact and legacy. Web.

Spalding, M. (2012). Why the U.S. has a culture of dependency. Web.

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