The Presidency of 

Calderón Guardia

By: Ian Holzhauer

University of Florida 

Senior Thesis in History

Copyright 2004



To download a copy of this history thesis on the Presidency of Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia, please see the link below:



The abstract of the piece is below:

Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia, President of Costa Rica from 1940 to 1944, created Central America’s first social security retirement and healthcare program.  Concurrently, he practiced considerable corruption in a country with a tradition of generally honest and democratic government.  

Calderón is both an extremely significant and highly controversial figure, yet he has attracted little attention from historians, largely because he is overshadowed by José Figueres.  Figueres, who overthrew Calderón in the Revolution of 1948, granted women’s suffrage, nationalized the banking system, abolished the military, and set up an election tribunal that has overseen a string of competitive and fair elections up to the present time. 

 This paper seeks to shed light on the sometimes overlooked Presidency of Calderón.