Political Science ETDs

Publication Date



This thesis examines Colombian political ideology, as expressed through a body of political literature, in an effort to ascertain the presence of a Thomistic-Neo-Thomistic influence. That Thomistic influence is considered, for the purposes of this paper, to have a conservative effect on the political ideology of the nation.

This objective is undertaken first by the establishment of a model of Thomistic-Neo-Thomistic thought. The model draws together and explicates the basic elements of a medieval Catholic world view with respect to persistent political issues. It is hypothesized that this theoretical framework will be evident in the rhetoric and orientation of the Colombian political literature under scrutiny.

Prior to analyzing the literature, a chapter is devoted to demonstrating the extent to which Thomism, as presented in the model, was part and parcel of the Spanish medieval state, from whence it was exported to the New World region which became Colombia. This chapter explains how Spanish colonial policies assured the transmission to Colombia of a Thomistic theoretical orientation.

The analysis of Colombian political literature focuses, in this order, on the constitution, literature of the Conservative Party, literature of the Liberal Party. In each instance an effort is made to demonstrate the constant recurrence of Thomistic rhetoric and attitude. And, the broad range of literature studied does indeed yield ample evidence of Thomistic themes. With equal consistency, Colombia's most recent constitutions manifest the same Thomist influence as did her earliest. Moreover, the Liberal literature studied reveals as much concern with the Thomist value scheme as does the Conservative.

This finding is significant because the two parties overtly stress their ideological distinctions; these distinctions, in turn, are granted them by most North American students of Colombian politics. In short, this thesis suggests that the basic similarity between Liberals and Conservatives is at least as great as any difference that might separate them.

A corollary of this conclusion is the idea that within that vocal body of public rhetoric which speaks constantly of "progress" and "change," runs a contradictory strain favoring the status quo.

Resulting from these conclusions is the inference that "democratization," "economic progress" and "social change" in Colombia must come to grips with the deep and persistent influence of medieval Thomism in the nation’s political ideology.

Degree Name

Political Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Political Science

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lawrence Littwin

Second Committee Member

Harold V. Rhodes

Third Committee Member


Fourth Committee Member

Donald David Sullivan



Document Type