Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Irving Leonard Markovitz

Committee Members

Kenneth Erickson

Benjamin Rivlin

Archibald Singham

Hobart Spalding

Subject Categories

Political Science


This study challenges the dependency perspective claim that Spanish American countries developed agro/mineral export economies in the nineteenth century as a result of their integration into the capitalist international economy. It offers an alternative interpretation which argues that the process of State building and the response of the emergent Spanish American States to internal political class struggles were chiefly responsible for setting the direction of their economies as well as the degree and character of their integration into the international economy.

Rather than focusing on the effects of the international economy in explaining the roots of dependency and underdevelopment in Spanish America, this study examines the historical development of inter and intra class conflicts in the aftermath of the Wars of Independence. These conflicts focused primarily on the role of the State in the political economies of the new countries because the various dominant classes each relied upon disparate forms of production and surplus appropriation which sometimes required incompatable political requisites for their maintenance and reproduction.

The importance of the State as a major determinant in economic development is outlined in an examination of the colonial period while an analysis of Peruvian and Argentine development during the nineteenth century finds that the new State administrations in these countries were too weak to manage conflicts within the dominant classes until agro/mineral export development provided them with the physical and institutional resources to do so. These States followed policies which encouraged the growth of agro/mineral export enterprises as a means of acquiring revenues to strengthen their bureaucratic apparatuses, create hegemonic ruling classes and eliminate or attenuate political conflicts between sectors of the dominant classes. The study concludes that while the international economy made this solution to political conflict and State consolidation possible, the internal political and class forces at work were the determining elements of agro/mineral export development.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.