Date of Completion


Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

Peter VonDoepp


Authoritarianism, Regime Support, Legitimacy, Military Rule, Strongman Rule, Political Culture


In this thesis, I investigate the sources of differing levels of support for the idea of an authoritarian regime across new democracies in Latin America, Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe. Various cross-national surveys demonstrate that in some countries, the population is quite hesitant to embrace authoritarian alternatives while in others there is a strong desire for military or strongman rule. Beginning with insights from the literature, I investigate the impact of the economic system, the nature of politics and the cultural landscape at the regional level. The investigation then turns to a smaller-scale country analysis of Ukraine followed by a comparative study of Nicaragua and Guatemala. This thesis identifies many region specific drivers of authoritarian support and finds that it may be a phenomenon best investigated at the country level, paying particular attention to country-specific contextual factors.