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The most compelling intellectual exponent of revolutionary nationalism was Carlos Montenegro Quiroga, a cofounder and leading ideologue of the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (mnr) before his death in 1953 at age fifty. As a journalist in the 1940s, he edited the party’s influential newspaper La Calle. His famous treatise Nacionalismo y coloniaje (1943) won first prize in a competition on the history of the press in Bolivia. Written in a philosophical and existentialist vein, the most original feature of the essay was his use of literary genres—epic, drama, comedy, and novel—to classify the stages of the country’s historical development and social consciousness after independence in the early nineteenth century. Montenegro elaborated the idea that Bolivia remained a semicolonial society and had yet to attain true consciousness of itself as a nation. He held that only a revolution, extending the initial promise of independence, would allow the nation to fulfill its historical potential.

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