Arnulfo Arias Madrid colored the history of Panama with his eccentric, jingoistic, and often humorous escapades. His presidencies were brief, but provided a lasting influence on the country's political system.
Arias formed the first really cohesive political party, made up largely of the Panamanian middle class. The party has survived more than four decades, unlike any other political party in that country. It has, however, changed its name with the times. Arias ostensibly based his party on long-term national goals, but once in off ice sought to advance his personal interests and to centralize power. In so doing he deprived. Panamanians of the opportunity to develop a true democratic, two-party or multi-party system. This pattern has been repeated over and over again in Latin America. The caudillo, strong man, attains power based on the needs and desires of his party members. Once in power the caudillo forgets the reason for the struggle and his roots.
In addition, Arias set a dangerous precedent--that of instability-when he led the first successful coup against a duly-elected government. It was only appropriate that this chapter of Panamanian republicanism ended with a military coup against Arias.
This is an attempt to examine the effects of Panama's foremost caudillo on the political life of the country.
Delmer G. Ross
Frederick G. Hoyt
Master of Arts (MA)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Panama -- Politics and government -- 1946-; Panama -- Presidents; Arias Madrid, Arnulfo, 1901-
Subject - Local
History Program -- Dissertations; History, 20th Century--Panama; Caudillo; Republicanism--Panama
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Blackman, Sandra, "The Legacy of the Three Presidencies of Arnulfo Arias Madrid" (1985). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 535.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives