In a recent visit to Mexico, last summer, I realized that the losers of the presidential election more than two years ago (which was discussed in the very first post of this Blog) do not yet recognize the incumbent president of the republic as a legitimate one. Meanwhile, kidnappings and assassinations by drug-traffickers rise up. The Mexican peso is falling down against foreign currencies. I found my colleagues and friends there more pessimistic than ever in the ten years since I went to
In a lecture at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), I tried to summarize remote and recent factors of
FRUSTRATED POLITICAL ‘MODERNITY’ IN
A few basic elements of political ‘modernity’ imply the building of a sovereign nation state with representative government. There are several factors that can explain the relatively low levels of political ‘modernity’ in most countries in Latin America, including
1) Legacies of the Spanish colony, which was strongly ‘ancient regime’, in contrast to more ‘modern’ dominations by other colonial metropolis.
3) Institutional choices, strongly oriented towards the concentration of presidential power.
For three hundred years, Spanish colonial rule had been arranging or creating ancient regime, medievalizing social and economic structures in which no effective administration or clear or enforceable civil or private property rights were established.
Most Spanish colonies in North, Central, and
In situations of low population density and weak administrative and technical capacities, the new independent rulers were unable to project their control over large territories and incorporate dispersed and ethnically varied groups into a single institutional framework. Many provinces and towns were in the hands of generals, colonels, and lieutenants who, fearful of the large group's corresponding domination and invested in their own local relations, struck out on their own and separated from their previous allegiances.
In contrast to the unifying federal process in the former British territory in the North (where 13 initial units formed a broad union, lately enlarged to up to 50), the initial four Spanish viceroyalties organized in North-Central America, the continental Caribbean, the Andean region, and the Southern Cone very quickly split into a high number of 20 states of disparate size and composition. Several of the new smaller states and closed societies proved to be rather inviable, not having achieved minimal degrees of institutionalization and social and political stability in the ensuing two hundred years.
Continuing into the 21st century, majority or large portions of the population in
In conditions of ancient regime social structures, precarious state resources, small size, lack of common language, and isolation, any minor social conflict, unrest or riot within a state tends to become a general political crisis, fostering reactions and counter-reactions questioning the basis of the community itself. Massive and steady emigration –mostly to the
The new independence political leaders in 19th century
Leandro Prados said...
I have just received the latest post in your blog, which I read regularly. Congratulations for an excellent work!
I am attaching some extension of my previous work, which will be published in the Journal of Latin American Studies in 2009.
Leandro Prados de la Escosura
Professor of Economic History
Universidad Carlos III
Lost Decades? Economic Performance in Post-Independence
In this paper economic performance in post-independence
International Political Science Association said...
Dear Dr. Colomer,
Your work is now on our website. See the Members books section at www.ipsa.org
Membership & External Relations / Adhésions et des relations externes
International Political Science Association / Association internationale de science politique
Montréal (Québec), Canada.