THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC EXPERIENCED many setbacks on the road to the democratic system under which it functioned in the late 1980s. The nation did not enjoy full independence until 1844, when it emerged from twenty-two years of occupation by Haiti; this liberation came later than that of most Latin American countries. Reacceptance of Spanish rule from 1861 to 1865 demonstrated the republic's insecurity and dependence on larger powers to protect it and to define its status. Dominican vulnerability
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showed last 75 words of 306 total
and held nearly absolute power throughout his rule. The apparent establishment of a democratic process in 1978 was a promising development; however, the survival of democracy appeared to be closely linked to the country's economic fortunes, which had declined steadily since the mid-1970s. As it had throughout its history, the republic continued to struggle with the nature of its domestic politics and with the definition of its economic and political role in the wider world.