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Title: Caudillismo in the age of Guano : a study in the political culture of mid-nineteenth century Peru : 1840-1860
Author: Sobrevilla Perea, Natalia.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University of London
Date of Award: 2005
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This dissertation studies the political culture of a period plagued by recurrent instability as efforts to create a stable government were hampered by warring caudillos and deeply entrenched regional differences. This period has evaded analysis, dismissed as a meaningless personalistic scramble for spoils, utter chaos which only began making sense with the arrival of guano in the 1840s, when Peru became very rich very suddenly. Recent historical work has re-evaluated this vision focusing primarily on economics, but reducing the debate to the issue of free trade and concluding that guano ushered a more stable polity that resulted from the opening of the domestic market. My thesis argues that instability was not simply due to economic fragility, but had deeper causes. Funds from guano had allowed for a more tranquil period between 1845 and 1850, but regional and ideological conflicts came to the fore in the uprisings of 1854 and 1857, well after the introduction of free trade in 1852. The two most important issues to inform the political culture of this period were the efforts to counter regionalism by imposing a functioning centralised government and the ideological conflict between liberalism, which was radicalised after 1848, and the conservative reaction to it. Regional differences between the north and the south were more complex than has been hitherto assumed as the south, in particular, was not monolithic but instead mired with intra regional conflicts. Rivalry was not reduced to the competition for resources, but was linked to the ambition for local political power. The first part of my dissertation analyses the regional dynamics, as well as the initial difficulties for centralisation and the later more successful experiments. The second part charts the radicalisation of liberalism and its surge as a political force at mid-century opposed by a resurgence of conservatism. This makes it possible to show how the political culture of this period developed and functioned.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available