Moving beyond the traditional historiographical division between Eurocentric and dependency theories, the essays attempt to account for a uniquely Latin American liberal ideology and politics by exploring the political dynamics of such countries as Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Peru. Contributors discuss liberal efforts to build a viable legal order through elections and to implement a means of public finance that could fund the states' operations. Essays that span the entire century address issues such as the emergence of caudillos, the role of artisans, and popular participation in elections in light of fiscal, and other, impediments to progress.
In their introduction, Vincent C. Peloso and Barbara A. Tenenbaum provide a hemispheric overview of liberalism that illustrates its similarities across Latin America. By exploring the liberal constitutional and economic order lying beneath apparently dictatorial states, this pathbreaking volume underlines the importance of fiscal policy in the fashioning of state power. Liberals, Politics, and Power serves not only as a guide to the liberal principles and practices that governed state formation in nineteenth-century Latin America but also as a means to evaluate the complex relationship between ideas and practical politics....Continua