The Caudillo Tradition in Spanish America
Caudillism developed in response to specific historical events: the war of independence, the emergence of nation-states, the post-war tendency to social anarchy, each stage invoking and legitimizing a particular function, and lasting so long that by the time people looked up it was too late. The caudillos were there to stay. But the political conjuncture was also significant in the creation of caudillos and the permanence of their rule. Independence gave an impulse to liberalism and made it a first choice for new governments. This chapter examines the origins and growth of caudillos and caudillism in Latin America, the caudillo in political theory, and the three ages of dictatorship in Latin America.
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