U.S. Polity and society: The lessons of Nicaragua

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In a front-page story of March 9, 1986, the Miami Herald outlined Reagan's request to Congress for aid to the contra armies, quoting its crucial paragraph authorizing the Central Intelligence Agency and any other "department or agency in the executive branch" to take over the war effort. The war against Nicaragua illustrates a typical feature of US democracy. Public opinion is irrelevant as long as the public is inert. The contents of the Herald story, though unremarkable, are informative with regard to US society and culture. The case of Nicaragua merely highlights far more general features of our society and culture. The public is similarly opposed to the other major programs of the Ronald Reagan administration, a fact that underscores some lessons about the US form of democracy: In a system of elite decision and occasional public ratification, it matters little what a passive and unorganized public may prefer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReagan Versus the Sandinistas
Subtitle of host publicationThe Undeclared War on Nicaragua
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781000237184
ISBN (Print)9780367285104
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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