Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Political Science


Political Science – International Relations and Comparative Politics

Faculty Mentor Department


Faculty Mentor

Jody Pavilack


constitution, constitutional comparison, Chile, United States, post-independence

Subject Categories

American Politics | Comparative Politics | European History | Latin American History | Political History | Political Theory | United States History


This paper is a comparative analysis of the American Constitution of 1789 and the Chilean Constitution of 1833, as well as the political writings of major political theorists prior to the making of each constitution. In comparing the historical development and making of Constitutions in post-war, newly independent American nations, this paper seeks to understand the similarities between American and Chilean Constitutional institutions and underlying political theory from a historical perspective. Bearing this purpose in mind, this paper asks, “In what ways were the Constitution making measures of Chile and the United States in 1833 and 1789, respectively, a reflection of each nation’s history, political thought and experiences of post-independence?” To answer this question, the political thought of major thinkers in America like Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson are analyzed. In Chile, he writings of Diego Portales are analyzed. In addition to political primary documentation, each constitution will be compared in relation to each nation’s pre-independence and immediate post-independence history to analyze the purpose and nature of the documents. Beyond primary source documentation, a wide variety of secondary sources have been consulted pertaining to both American and Chilean independence movements to gain a sense of independence history and each country’s experiences. As a result of this research, it is clear that while each nation’s Constitution is distinct from the other, both are a reflection of national identity during post-independence with the primary goal of obtaining and maintaining stability via a strong central government. Constitutions today are said to be the primary reflection of national identities, but they only came to be that way through trial and error, as well as intentional drafting processes. The Constitutions considered in this research served as the first binding documents which tied the nation together legally, as well as, culturally based on each country’s shared, but distinct, values and history.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project




© Copyright 2020 Zoe E. Nelson