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RAGAZA, Mary Tonette L.


HIST17 MW 7:30 9:00 AM

December 2, 2015

The Challenges and Responses of the Nineteenth Century

- reaction paper

Understanding Jose Rizals role in building the Filipino nation according to the author of this
chapter, means understanding the context of his time which is the nineteenth century the era of
challenges and responses. It was the period when men all over the world embraced major changes
brought up in the society. The first of these important changes is the struggle for nationalism of most
nations. Revolution had progressed and lead to the independence of some countries. Along with the
growth of nationalism is the gradual spread of democracy. Although a struggle, it resulted to a series
of reforms such as the abolishment of slavery, the extension of suffrage and democratic
advancement. Another significant change was the industrial revolution which modernized living but
was partnered by the growth of social problems. This spurred conflict among parties who do not share
the same theoretical remedies for the issues. Science in this century became a prime interest.
Investments in research were booming. Also, the march of imperialism was welcomed by its advocates
who find its effects good for the conquered countries. While there are those who opposed it for they
believed it has done more harm than good. And in the latter part of the century man made a
noteworthy progress in various fields along with these changes in the society. Individualism was the
nineteenth centurys cornerstone.
This article highlighted the relevance of revisiting Rizals time to better understand his impact
on Filipino nationalism. It placed emphasis on the six major developments during the nineteenth
century and how these changes shaped Jose Rizals ideals, works, and actions which in turn, rippled to
the Filipinos to fight for freedom and justice. Id like to underscore the two statements that struck me
most in this article. First is about individualism that said, The individual citizen entered the century a
weak man before the law and the government; he left it with the conviction that government exists
for the welfare of all citizens. The second one which I strongly agree with said, It is not possible to
brutalize the inhabitants of the Philippines. My attention was also drawn to the part when the author
said the nineteenth century was an era of challenges and responses.
The chapter as a whole was a helpful tool for every reader like me to gain knowledge of this
era. It gave me a peek of Rizals time. It aided me to better understand what he and the people of his
time went through and how these experiences affected their thinking and actions. I learned that it was
the unjust execution of the three friars Gomez, Burgos and Zamora that stimulated the nationalism of
the Filipinos. The injustices during that time pushed the Filipinos to fight for democracy. There were
many challenges in the nineteenth century and it feels good to know that the Philippines was one with
the world in responding to those changes. Filipinos were not left behind in these developments.
Remarkably, writers, free thinkers, historiographers, chemists, physicians, artists, jurists and many
other successful Filipinos emerged no matter how much the Spaniards tried to keep the Filipinos
ignorant. Filipinos victoriously made it through the tests of industrial revolution and science
advancement. Rizal was the excellent example of that Filipino. This transformation was the pinnacle of
this historical era. The citizens awareness to his rights in the government prophesied their freedom.
That was Rizals goal in his literary works, to educate the Filipinos about our very own country
because it is only by knowing about our rights that we dont get stepped on by others. The Philippines
belonged to the Filipinos and we arent supposed to be slaves in our own land. That was the idea that
took time to be realized by the Filipinos back then. Indeed, the nineteenth century was packed with
important historical points. Society then was filled with challenges that if did not happen, Philippines
wouldnt be as democratic as it is right now. Or we wouldnt have known Dr. Jose Rizal and we
wouldnt have hailed him as national hero because he wouldnt be who he was if he was not
influenced by these changes during the nineteenth century. Learning from this article, I somehow

understand how much struggle it was to fight for our countrys independence. I am now more
appreciative of our countrys heroes, of Rizals character which was greatly formed in this period and
the responsibility he took in his pursuit of enlightening the Filipinos.