Academic journal article Military Review

BETWEEN LEGITIMACY AND VIOLENCE: A History of Colombia, 1875-2002

Academic journal article Military Review

BETWEEN LEGITIMACY AND VIOLENCE: A History of Colombia, 1875-2002

Article excerpt

BETWEEN LEGITIMACY AND VIOLENCE: A History of Colombia, 1875-2002, Marco Palacios, Duke University Press, Durham, NC, 2006, 299 pages, $22.95.

Marco Palacios' Between Legitimacy and Violence: A History of Colombia, 1875-2002 is an analysis of how social, economic, and political conditions combined to create a hyper-violent outburst that has reverberated like shockwaves through Colombia's history. Palacios, a leading Latin American expert, organizes his work according to relevant historical events instead of the strict chronological sequence usually used in histories of Colombia. This technique allows readers to concentrate on the events, essentially grasping the relevance and impact of each.

The work begins by describing political struggles prevalent in the late 1800s, a period that saw three civil wars, as a contest between federalist radicals and centralist conservatives, both vying for constitutional control. Palacios then illustrates how the Catholic Church's strong influence led to reforms, now known as "the regeneration," which amounted to nothing more than the church regaining its control over society. He also examines the period between 1903 and 1930, years dominated by the struggle between capitalist entrepreneurs and their workers. According to Palacios, Colombia experienced economic growth during this period by opening up to foreign investments and entering the international trade arena. …

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