The Authoritarian Consensus: A Legacy of Military Rule in Latin America
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This thesis provides an analysis on the legitimization of military dictatorships, through the process of consensus building. Military rule was strongly prevalent throughout Latin America during the 1970s-1980s. In both Argentina and Chile, the military regimes tried to inspire consensus among its population, however with different results. The aim of this thesis is to explain these different outcomes, by looking at four different factors. By constructing a theoretical framework, which is later applied through a comparative case study analysis, it becomes clear that in Argentina the military government failed to achieve economic success, relied on ideology and nationalism, lacked strong leadership and was antagonistic in its foreign policy. In contrast, the military dictatorship in Chile successfully stabilized the economy, more pragmatically appealed to ideology and nationalism, relied on strongman leadership and maintained a cooperative foreign policy. These results illustrate that consensus building in Argentina had failed, while it was relatively successful in Chile. These findings are useful, as the focus on consensus building can predict potentially aggressive behaviour of military dictatorships. Also, the theoretical framework provided in this thesis can be used to analyse other historic cases of military dictatorships.