Document Type

Honors Project


In 1983, Argentina began its process of transitioning to democracy and away from a repressive military dictatorship that had ruled the nation for the past 7 years. With this democratic transition came the process of transition justice aimed at confronting and rectifying the human rights violations committed under the authoritarian regime. Out of this transitional period arose many questions: How do principles of democracy and human rights overlap? How does one define concepts such as justice, truth, and rights? What responsibility does democracy have to upholding human rights? And most importantly, how does a transitional regime institute long-lasting norms regarding respect for human rights and democratic principles? In this paper, I argue that rhetoric and discourse during the transitional period play a crucial role in determining how a nation will conceptualize democracy and human rights in the long-term, ultimately affecting policy decisions. I utilize transitional democracy theory, transitional justice theory, and rhetorical analysis of Argentina’s presidencies over the past 35 years to demonstrate how rhetoric can have enduring effects for transitional regimes.



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