Instructions: Choose one of the following questions and write a 1,500-word essay on
it. You are not expected to do outside readings (though you can if you want).
However, you are expected to draw on the relevant readings from the unit.
1. Beginning in the late 1990s, a wave of left-wing governments were elected in
Latin America in rapid succession. Within this “left turn,” however, there was
considerable variation among governments, both in terms of economic policy
and orientation toward liberal democracy. What explains this variation?
Whatever you argue, be sure to consider alternative explanations.
2. Juan Linz famously wrote about the “perils of presidentialism.” Much of his
thinking on this subject was based on the Latin American experience, since all
Latin American countries use presidentialism. Linz published most of his
work on this subject in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today, decades later,
we can use the benefit of hindsight to evaluate his claims. Was Linz right?
Whatever you argue, be sure to consider the alternative view, as well.