The Constitution of Tyranny: Regimes of Exception in Spanish America

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University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993 - Civil-military relations - 481 pages
"This first comprehensive study of the constitutional foundations of dictatorship and political repression in Spanish America reveals the historical roles of regimes of exception in impeding democratization and buttressing military participation in the region's politics. Brian Loveman concludes that constitutional provisions for regimes of exception such as state of siege, suspensions of civil liberties and rights, and military jurisdiction over civilians have been pervasive elements of Spanish American politics since the early nineteenth century - and continue to constrain democracy at the end of the twentieth." "Founded on nineteenth-century European antecedents and reflecting constitutional developments in both the Old World and the New, such provisions were repeatedly invoked to impose constitutional dictatorships from Independence to the present day. Whether in the fragmented, caudillo-dominated Rio de la Plata, or in more stable and conservative Chile, or in theocratic Ecuador under Garcia Moreno, or in "liberal" Mexico after 1857, Spanish American political leaders resorted to constitutional political repression to protect the "internal security of the state."" "Loveman systematically analyzes constitutional change in sixteen countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean to demonstrate how the military dictatorships and human rights violations of recent decades are linked to political developments in nineteenth-century Europe and the New World. His provocative thesis, based on extensive original research, highlights the enduring tension between liberty and order in Spanish America, the emergence of the armed forces as a major political force, and the legal bases for press censorship, political oppression, and state terrorism." "In the name of popular sovereignty and defense of order, governments sought to legitimize barbaric repression of adversaries, to justify slavery, slaughter, and mayhem. Constitutions were also useful in sanctifying intolerance. Formal acceptance of democracy belied refusal by incumbent governments to tolerate political opposition and effective exercise of civil rights and liberties." "Loveman concludes by predicting that the regime transitions that periodically sweep Spanish America will continue unless there is drastic change in the constitutional foundations of Latin American politics. His subject is so timely that no student of Latin American history and politics can afford to miss this important book. It will permanently change how we think about the other nations of the Western Hemisphere."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Constitutional Government and Regimes of Exception
Iberian Origins of Spanish American Regimes of Exception

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