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Abstract

Roberto Gargarella surveys the landscape of Latin American Constitutionalism from 1810 to 2010, with particular emphasis on efforts in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries to enhance protections of multiculturalism and human rights. Gargarella begins by surveying the "founding period" of Latin American constitutionalism, a period marked by compromise between liberals and conservatives. He proceeds to discuss the increasing incorporation of social rights—primarily economic and labor rights—during the early twentieth century. Gargarella then discusses a final wave of reforms, which introduced increasing human rights protections in the latter half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. Gargarella concludes that the latest wave of reforms did not go far enough in advancing human rights because the reforms failed to reach what Gargarella calls the "engine room of the constitution." The engine room consists of the power-granting provisions of constitution that determine the relative authority of governmental actors. Gargarella contends that the enshrinement of several additional rights in Latin American constitutions is undermined by a failure to reorganize power structures so as to ensure that these new rights will be enforced.

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