Lentner analyzes four basic components in the formation of states: the capacity to govern, security and freedom of action, economic development strategy, and citizenship and political participation. He focuses on five Central American countries--Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. His conceptual guidelines apply to the worldwide strivings today for autonomy, unity, economic development, and democracy. His extensive research into original and little-known secondary sources from the independence of these states to the present both in the United States and Central America make this an unusually rich text for graduate students and scholars dealing with Latin American studies, Inter-American affairs, and U.S. foreign policy.
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