Elections and Democracy in Central America - Vol. 8

By John A. Booth; Mitchell A. Seligson | Go to book overview

Introduction From Uncertainty to Uncertainty
The Institutionalization of Elections in Central America

Mitchell A. Seligson

"The process of establishing a democracy is a process of institutionalizing uncertainty...." -- Adam Przeworski, "Some Problems in the Study of the Transition to Democracy"

F or at least the past five centuries, Central Americans have lived in a highly uncertain world. The basic necessities of life, food, clothing, and shelter, so long taken for granted by the great majority of their North American neighbors, have never been assured to Central Americans. While journalistic accounts stress the poverty of the region as it stands today, and blame it for some, if not all, of the current civil strife, impoverishment has been an almost constant feature of life in Central America throughout its recorded history.

Indeed, although most agree that the Spanish conquest and colonization exploited the region unmercifully and, more important, produced a series of pandemics that decimated the native population, poverty and starvation were prominent in the isthmus long before the arrival of the Spaniards. Hence, although the debates among archaeologists have yet to be definitively resolved, the disappearance of the Mayan civilization in Guatemalaprior to the arrival of the Spanish colonizers is generally linked to the failure of the fragile ecology of the land to support its growing population. In short, the uncertainty of survival is not a novel condition in Central America.

But if survival has been characterized by extreme uncertainty in Central America, politics has been highly predictable, indeed, almost totally certain in one regard. For centuries, there was never much doubt as to who would rule these mini-states: soldiers, strongmen, and foreign armies. Rarely did popular sentiment play an important role. While it is true that since Independence in

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Elections and Democracy in Central America - Vol. 8
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 214

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.