Historically Nicaragua has been mired in poverty and political conflict, yet the country has become a model for the successful emergence of democracy in a developing nation. Learning Democracy tells the story of how Nicaragua overcame an authoritarian government and American interventionism by engaging in an electoral revolution that solidified its democratic self-governance. By analyzing nationwide surveys conducted during the 1990, 1996, and 2001 Nicaraguan presidential elections, Leslie E. Anderson and Lawrence C. Dodd provide insight into one of the most unexpected and intriguing recent advancements in third world politics. They offer a balanced account of the voting patterns and forward-thinking decisions that led Nicaraguans to first support the reformist Sandinista revolutionaries, only to replace them with a conservative democratic regime a few years later. Addressing issues largely unexamined in Latin American studies, Learning Democracy is a unique and probing look at how the country's mass electorate moved beyond revolutionary struggle to establish a more stable democratic government by realizing the vital role of citizens in democratization processes.
Leslie E. Anderson is associate professor of political science at the University of Florida. She is the author of The Political Economy of the Modern Peasant. Lawrence C. Dodd is the Manning J. Dauer Eminent Scholar Chair in Political Science at the University of Florida. He is the author of Coalitions in Parliamentary Government and coeditor of seven editions of Congress Reconsidered.