Defending 'la patria,' or 'homeland,' is the historical mission claimed by Latin American armed forces. For la Patria is a comprehensive narrative history of the military's political role in Latin America in national defense and security. Latin American civil-military relations and the role of the armed forces in politics, like those of all modern nation-states, are framed by constitutional and legal norms specifying the formal relationships between the armed forces and the rest of society. In actuality, they are also the result of expectations, attitudes, values, and practices evolved over centuries-integral aspects of national political cultures. Military institutions in each Latin American nation have resulted from that country's own blend of local and imported influences, developing a distinctive pattern of civil-military relations as defender of the fatherland and guarantor of security and order. Written by Latin American specialist Brian Loveman, For la Patria includes tables, maps, photographs, and a glossary that will assist the student in better understanding the military's intervention in politics in Latin America. This new text will give students a thorough and accessible history of Latin American armed forces and their actions in Latin American politics from colonial times to the present.