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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

9 - Christian Democracy in the Americas

from Part II - History and Future Prospects of Christian Democracy as a Political Phenomenon


This chapter examines the Christian Democratic ideology’s trajectory of diffusion and implantation outside its primary context of origin, focusing in particular on the two American continents. Most of the analysis will concentrate on the experience of Latin American Christian Democracy, since this is where Christian Democratic ideas and principles have had the greatest historical impact. As I already mentioned in the Introduction, in fact, almost all Latin American countries have had some sort of Christian Democratic party compete in national elections, and in several – notably in Chile, Mexico and Venezuela – these parties also succeeded in rising to power, even though Latin American Christian Democracy never acquired the degree of political hegemony it exercised in Europe during the second postwar period. In the final section of the chapter, I will also briefly consider the question of why no comparable Christian Democratic party or movement ever developed in the United States. This will offer the opportunity to examine the historical relevance of Christian Democratic ideas and principles to this context too, and to shed further light on some of this ideology’s distinctive features.

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