Blood and Debt: War and the Nation-State in Latin America by Miguel Angel Centeno

By Miguel Angel Centeno

What function does struggle play in political improvement? Our realizing of the increase of the geographical region relies seriously at the Western eu adventure of struggle. tough the dominance of this version, Blood and Debt seems at Latin America's a lot diverse event as extra proper to politics this present day in areas as diverse because the Balkans and sub-Saharan Africa. The book's illuminating evaluate of the rather peaceable heritage of Latin the USA from the overdue eighteenth during the early 20th centuries unearths the shortcoming of 2 severe must haves wanted for struggle: a political and army tradition orientated towards foreign violence and the kingdom institutional ability to hold it out. utilizing cutting edge new facts equivalent to tax receipts, naming of streets and public monuments, and conscription files, the writer conscientiously examines how struggle affected the monetary improvement of the kingdom, the production of nationwide identification, and claims to citizenship. instead of development realms and fostering democratic citizenship, he indicates, warfare in Latin the USA destroyed associations, proven inner divisions, and killed many with out function or glory.

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45 Seen this way, states are above all fighters of wars, and their development has to be understood within the broader context of geopolitical conflict and competition. That is, war partly determines all aspects of states, from their authority structures, administrative capacities, and legitimacy to their levels of inclusion. Each of these in turn helps determine how states fight. The bellicist perspective represents a potentially rich guide for analyzing the Latin American state. First, more than most theories of state formation, it provides a straightforward historical model that can be abstracted and applied to different locales.

In the following pages I provide a summary of the major conflicts in Mexico and South America over the past two centuries, an overview that both serves as background for the analysis to follow and foreshadows some of the central arguments of this book. 8 It is impossible to classify these as international or civil; they contained elements of both. Formally fought against an external power, Spain, the wars were often conflicts between different elite groups or even—at their bloodiest—between different social classes and different castes.

The underdeveloped administrative capacity of the Latin American state, the divisions within the dominant classes, and the control exercised by European powers helped shape both the occasions of war and their subsequent developments. Latin America was relatively peaceful because it did not form sophisticated political institutions capable of managing wars. No states, no wars. Moreover, given this history, the military as an institution appears to have identified the critical national enemy as an internal one.

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