Skip to main content
Contribution to Book
"Authoritarian Constitution Making: The Role of the Military in Latin America"
Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes (2014)
  • Gabriel L. Negretto

During the twentieth century, military dictatorships produced the largest number of authoritarian constitutions in Latin America. Why would military rulers invest time and resources in drafting constitutions? I argue that military leaders engage in constitution making to introduce more effective transformations of the political order during their rule and to have influence over the functioning of democracy after leaving power. However, in order to achieve all these goals, military dictators must be able to mobilize popular and partisan support for the authoritarian regime. Since this condition is rarely met, military rulers often fail in their constitution making strategy. I provide evidence in support of this argument using cross-national data and a qualitative analysis of the 1966-72, 1972-78, and 1964-84 military governments in Argentina, Ecuador, and Brazil.

  • Constitution Making,
  • Military Rulers,
  • Authoritarian Constitutions
Publication Date
Spring February, 2014
Tom Ginsburg and Alberto Simpser
Comparative Constitutional Law and Policy
Citation Information
Gabriel L. Negretto. ""Authoritarian Constitution Making: The Role of the Military in Latin America"" New YorkConstitutions in Authoritarian Regimes (2014)
Available at: