Latin America in the Age of Mass Politics

History 103E

Spring 2015
225 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
W 4-6P

Beginning in the 1920s and 1930s, mass political – often referred to as “populist” – governments emerged in much of Latin America.  These governments were marked by the incorporation of previously politically marginalized groups, such as rural agricultural workers and unionized urban industrial laborers, into ruling coalitions, a move away from the liberal export economic model of the nineteenth century, and the promotion of new forms of cultural nationalism.  This course will seek answers to important questions about these governments, which lasted until the 1960s and 1970s.  How and why were these new ruling coalitions formed?  Who joined them?  What limits did these coalitions face?  What economic policies did these governments adopt?  How did they promote the new nationalism?  And what was the relationship between mass political leaders and the rank-and-file?  Because they are the best-documented and best-studied cases, we will focus primarily on Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, although we will also discuss the cases of Chile and Colombia.