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Lima modernized rapidly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, expanding far beyond the walls that had surrounded the colonial city. Foreign capital poured in, and new mansions and neighborhoods epitomized the changes, which typically followed European aesthetic patterns. Lower-class groups demanded and exercised a larger presence in political and cultural life and in the city itself, and intellectuals such as José Carlos Mariátegui began to question the omnipotence of the upper classes and the closed political system. Many critics noted that modernization had not altered the old forms of hierarchy and domination.

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