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Electoral Juggling: A Comparative History of the Corruption of Suffrage in Latin America, 1830–1930

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2000

EDUARDO POSADA-CARBÓ
Affiliation:
Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London

Abstract

This article examines, from a comparative perspective, those electoral practices labelled as ‘corrupt’ in Latin America between 1830 and 1930, in order to gain a fuller appreciation of the significant role played by elections in the history of the region. The article starts by using the term ‘electoral corruption’ in its general sense, as often used by contemporaries themselves when referring to the various practices that, in their view, distorted the vote, and therefore the meaning of suffrage. From this general definition, the article moves on to distinguish between the different types of corrupt practice, with the aim of identifying the extent to which they affected electoral competition. By offering a revision of the assumptions that have hitherto served to undermine the historical meaning of the suffrage, this article aims to encourage the study of electoral history in the region. The examination of electoral corruption is therefore preceded by a brief survey of the historiography of Latin American elections.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2000 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the X Congress of Colombian History in Medellín in August 1997 and at the Institute of Latin American Studies in the University of Liverpool in October 1998. I would like to thank Malcolm Deas, J. Samuel Valenzuela, Carlos Malamud, Laurence Whitehead and the anonymous JLAS referee for their useful comments and reading suggestions.
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