Date of Award

Fall 2021

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts


Interdisciplinary Studies


Dr. Dexter Boniface

Committee Member

Dr. Dan Chong

Committee Member

Dr. Donald Davison


Set against a backdrop of widespread democratization in Latin America, the foundation of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) in 1991 represents an effort to both harmonize interstate relations and enhance the region’s collective standing on the global stage. This work takes particular interest with the principles of democracy protection enshrined within the 1998 Ushuaia Protocol on Democratic Commitment. Stable democratic function is often viewed as an end unto itself and can also promote economic and macropolitical stability within a framework of strong regional interdependence. This work will provide a literature review which merges scholarly insights on the role of hegemonic interests, existing liberal norms, ideological movements, and more in democracy protection initiatives. It is found that Mercosur and other regional organizations may operate most decisively to enforce democracy clauses when doing so aligns with the strategic interests of the regional hegemon. In the absence of specific guidelines for enforcement, democracy protection is also heavily influenced by the emergence of transnational ideological movements, as is the case with South America’s ‘New Left.’ Stronger standards of basic constitutional function would lend more credibility to Mercosur’s democracy clause, and possible provide for more effective tutelage of democratic norms throughout the continent.

Rights Holder

Matthew Willis