Historia Critica, vol. 34 (2007) pp. 92-117
Liberal discourse justified the attacks of the expanding ranching economy against communal Indian lands (resguardos) of Old Bolívar, which were considered archaic social and economic institutions that stood in the way of civilization. This justification was rooted in a discourse that demanded the formal equality of all men before the law as citizens, the privatization of property, and the spread of the market economy. To defend themselves, the Indians and their allies relied on a symbiosis between the old ideas of a social pact originating in the colonial period, which required authorities to protect to the weak from the strong, and new historic, moral, legal and social arguments. Although they combined petitioning (representaciones) authorities and law suits with direct action and armed confrontations, the outcome of the conflict was unfavorable for the Indians: with the expropriation of their land, their communities began to break apart.
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