States and Social Evolution: Coffee and the Rise of National Governments in Central America / Edition 1

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Overview

The national governments of Central America were constructed between 1840 and 1900, a time when coffee was transformed from a botanical curiosity to the region's most important export. In spite of their geographic proximity, the national governments that emerged were strikingly different, from Costa Rica's participatory democracy to Guatemala's military despotism. Robert Williams explores Central America's political diversity by following the story of coffee through the nation-building period. With a sensitivity to cultures and institutions before the advent of widespread coffee cultivation, he reveals the various ways that land, labor, and capital were harnessed as coffee advanced from one locale to the next, provoking cultural clashes and sometimes violent reactions as it altered landscapes, people's lives, and even governments. Through careful scrutiny of a tiny region and a single crop in a restless age, States and Social Evolution develops a theory of state formation relevant to other places and times as well.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Williams has written an ambitious comparative history.

Choice

A major contribution to the historiography of modern Central America.

International Labor and Working Class History

A highly effective presentation of what we currently know about coffee, society, and politics in Central America.

Lowell Gudmundson, Mount Holyoke College

A work of exceptional quality.

Ralph Lee Woodward, Jr., Tulane University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807844632
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 10/14/1994
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 397
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert G. Williams, Voehringer Professor of Economics at Guilford College, is author of Export Agriculture and the Crisis in Central America.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Note on the Illustrations
1 Introduction 1
2 The Coffee Boom and the World Capitalist System 15
3 Land and the Coffee Boom 41
4 Labor and the Coffee Boom 105
5 Capital, Commerce, and the Coffee Elite 147
6 Coffee, Class, and the Creation of National States 197
7 States and Social Evolution: Lessons from the Nineteenth Century 235
8 Reflections on the Twentieth Century in the Light of the Nineteenth 251
Statistical Appendix 263
Notes 295
Bibliography 329
Index 349
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