Date of Award

1985

Document Type

Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Hal Bass

Second Advisor

Dr. Mike Thomson

Third Advisor

Dr. David G. Anderson

Abstract

In traditional and popular political analysis South American nations have never been seen as particularly democratic. Yet recently there has been a developing trend toward more moderate political systems on the continent. Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia and Peru all have relatively democratic systems, and reforms are being promised even in such repressive regimes as Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. This trend is due not to external influences or forces, but to internal upheaval and change. It is perhaps inevitable that change come to South America as the nations become economically and politically developed, throwing off the traditions of the past. South American nations have had a unique past, which makes it difficult, if not irrelevant, to analyze and categorize her nations solely using traditional western definitions and methods. However, by tempering traditional comparative politics methodology with South American concepts and traditions, it is possible to arrive at some conclusions as to just how democratic South American political systems really are.

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