Introduction: The Nature of the Problem
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This book is guided by three goals. The first objective is to identify the challenges encountered by the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, as each struggled to create its own state and form its own political regime. The analysis begins with the colonial period and then discusses the challenges each state encountered from the moment it sought to attain independence to the present. The second goal is to postulate a set of time-related hypotheses that capture each state’s evolutionary processes of state creation and political-regime formation. The third goal is to explain why some of those states have been more effective than others at forming a democratic regime.
Chapter 2 discusses alternative theories of state creation and democratization, and their applicability to this study. Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 analyze the processes of state creation and regime formation of the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. The final chapter postulates hypotheses that explain why some states in the Americas were faster and more effective than others in creating the state and democratizing its political system. This chapter also discusses the future of democracy in the six aforementioned American states.
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