By Nicole Banks Barrantes - Student of the School of International Relations

During the Age of Enlightenment, thinkers questioned traditional authority and adopt the concept that humanity could possibly improve through rational change. The Enlightenment produced numerous books, essays, scientific discoveries, laws and revolutions; it became a door to change and constant mindful evolution. Thinkers who expressed their beliefs during this time period, displayed and valued the importance of reason, religious tolerance, science, and what was called as “natural rights”. These rights involved life, liberty and property, which mostly John Locke proposed. He believed that the most basic human law of nature is the conservation of mankind. In order to preserve the purpose given, individuals must have both the right and duty to preserve their own lives.

These ideas globalized the “new world” by opening minds into believing and contemplating alternatives outside the status quo. The idea of popular sovereignty connected the Age of Reason with the Latin American revolutions, in which authors expanded their minds and set their perspectives on the matter. Literature became a tool in which several viewpoints could reach citizens; making them either support the writers or get to a different conclusion on their own. Consequently, either the case, opinions were not necessarily for only one type of population or economic status, but for several categories of people.

During the Latin American revolutions, the thought of how people could run themselves and participate in government arose after countries achieved freedom; this became a possible reality. The population started believing that they should have a valuable voice in who runs their country. These revolutions resulted in the creation of multiple new Latin American countries; it also led to a new type of trade, in which people could exchange goods with not only their mother country. (Lockhart & Kittleston, 2019).

The Enlightenment thought process emerged in Latin America with its core beliefs, involving reason, liberty, progress, nature, happiness, among others. Because of each subject matter, major thematic trends in Latin America grew. During the 19th century, romanticism, naturalism and realism expanded; even magical realism spread stronger, due to the perfectionism and political critique it presented. The wars of independence that were mostly motivated with the Enlightenment period, led to literary themes of identity, resistance, science and human rights. (Bleichmar, 2011).

Juana Manuela Gorriti, the Florence Nightingale of Peru, was born in Argentina and had links to both Peru and Bolivia. She became a battlefield nurse, risking her life to evacuate the wounded when the Spanish Navy attacked ports in Chile and Peru. After her heroism, she went on to write about her experiences in articles and short stories. She became an influential journalist, where she talked about political critique, social troubles, liberty and progress. The Age of Reason opened the door for a new literary world in Latin America that was linked to liberty and the battle to a new system that is capable to endorse the population.


MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (, producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas.  Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.

Bibliographic references: