Liberalism in Costa Rica

Liberalism in Costa Rica took shape in the late 1800's. The first step toward the nation's current political identity occurred when an already sizable rift between the conservative, Catholic Church and the burgeoning liberal state expanded. After a dramatic divergence of ideals between the Bishop of Costa Rica and the influential policymakers, the Bishop was swiftly expelled from the country in 1884. This was met with little public opposition. The next year, there was a institutionalized condemnation of the church and state harmony designed to make Catholicism the official religion.

Costa Rica's first democratic election of 1889 stands today as a model of pure, unhindered democracy in action. (That is, however, with the exception of the fact that females were disallowed to vote.) While the Liberal party was influential in educating the citizens and actuating the public's confidence in the democratic process, the results of election came as a surprise to its members, who were already preparing their acceptance speeches. The opposition party had won the election, but infuriated liberals refused to accept the outcome. After 10,000 armed opposition members marched on San José to show their support for the rightfully-elected party, the liberals demonstrated their allegiance to their infant democratic system, and acknowledged the new president.


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Costa Rica 101

History of Costa Rica

Liberalism in Costa Rica took shape in the late 1800's. The first step toward the nation's current political identity occurred when an already sizable rift between the conservative, Catholic Church and the burgeoning liberal state expanded.

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