The history of elections and of elite politics in nineteenth-century Bolivia is one of the most important issues in the country’s history. The images that we still have are those of early-twentieth-century scholars such as Alcides Arguedas, who, through their racist views, saw nineteenth-century politics as populated by caudillos, military dictators, and the undisciplined rabble. Marta Irurozqui has taken it on herself to revise our understanding of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-centuries politics and this book is one result of these efforts.

Her main analysis regards how democracy was practiced in Bolivia and how the rhetoric of democracy eventually enabled subalterns to become citizens. She does this through four main chapters: one chapter discusses the rhetoric of democracy in Bolivia from 1825 to 1925; another focuses on the issue of electoral rhetoric (and the uses of rhetoric about fraud); a third chapter deals with actual...

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