Blood and debt: War and taxation in nineteenth-century Latin America

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139 Scopus citations


Using data from 11 Latin American countries, this article challenges the universality of the positive relationship between war and state making. Availability of external resources, state organizational capacity, and alliances with social actors are shown to help determine the political response to armed conflict. Overall, the article emphasizes the importance of causal sequence in determining the effect of war. War did not make states in Latin America because it occurred under very different historical circumstances than during the European "military revolution." Without the prior establishment of political authority and without a link between such an organization and social actors, war will not contribute to institutional development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1565-1605
Number of pages41
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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