Date of Award


Honors Thesis Number



Political Science


The victorious Sandinistas and their governing junta stood on the threshold of a Nicaragua eager to be transformed form the exploited, dependent, and terribly poor nation-state it had been virturally since its independence from Spain into a truly new society based on popular will and welfare. After a decade of governing with this goal in sight, however, the Sandinista government led by President Daniel Ortega was defeated in the 1990 elections. I will examine this electoral defeat as the last in a series of setbacks that prevented a revolutionary society from emerging. I will attempt to demonstrate how it was that despite the overwhelming support of the Nicaraguan people, substantial foreign assistance, and a clear policy agenda, the Sandinistas failed. I will also attempt to explain that failure as a result of their inability to withstand a sustained armed civil conflict, and of their inability to diversify their monoclutural economic system to break their historic pattern of dependency.