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Creole leaders promoted a national identity beyond internal divisions, and this discourse opened another space of negotiation for blacks and Indians. Argentine General José de San Martín stated in 1821 that "in the future the aborigines shall not be called Indians or natives; they are children and citizens of Perú and they shall be known as Peruvians."5 Meisel argued that San Martín's pronunciation marked a shift in the conception of the social role of 'Americans'; they had been subjects thus far, and now they were to become citizens. Indians and blacks could now appeal to this common identity in order to assert their equality.

Meisel warned that slaves, in adopting the political discourse of independence, demanded their liberty individually but did not, in general, challenge slavery as an institution. Creoles promoted patriarchal self-representations (later perpetuated in the myth of the "founding fathers") to legitimize their hegemony; slaves adopted these very representations to their own struggle for freedom-like Angela Batallas, they appealed to creoles as paternalistic figures that could grant them liberty.6


5. John Lynch, The Spanish-American Revolutions, 1808-1826 (New York: Norton, 1973), 276, as cited in Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983), 52.
6. For Meisel's commentary on the role of patriarchal discourse as both constructed by creoles and adapted by slaves, see question 3 in the Interview.
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