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Spanish Democracies: A Comparison between Success (1979) and Failure (1931)

Blaise Katter

Blaise Katter will graduate this spring with majors in Political Science and West European Studies, and a minor in Spanish. He will begin Law School in the fall. During his time at OSU he not only studied abroad in Toledo, Spain, but completed an honors thesis entitled "Spanish Democracies: A Comparison between Success (1979) and Failure (1931)." Here is his abstract:

Thesis Abstract

Since the fall of the Spanish dictatorship in 1977, Spain has emerged as one of the leading economic powers in the modern world. Their successful transition to democracy is one of the leading worldwide examples for other countries trying to transition from totalitarianism to democracy. However, this is Spain's second attempt for a successful transition. In 1931, the Second Republic failed to usher in a stable, successful democracy following centuries of Monarchical rule. This paper looks at the institutions, parties, and electoral law to analyze the successes and failures of each regime. What were the structural deficiencies in the Second Republic that led to its collapse, and how did the successful transition overcome these hurdles? Relying on interviews, newspaper articles, and literature written about the period, this paper attempts to isolate and explain the impact the electoral law and party development had on the longevity, stability, and operation of Spain's two democracies.