This book explores the history of the Dominican Republic as it evolved from the first European colony in the Americas into a modern nation under the rule of Rafael Trujillo. Turits reveals how the seemingly unilateral imposition of power by Trujillo in fact depended on the regime's mediation of profound social and economic transformations, especially through agrarian policies that assisted the nation's large independent peasantry. Most of the existing literature casts the Trujillo dictatorship as the paradigm of despotic rule through coercion and terror alone. This book elucidates instead the hidden foundations of the regime, portraying everyday life and economy in the Dominican countryside and the exchanges between state and society under Trujillo. Winner of the American Historical Association's John Edwin Fagg Prize for the best publication in Latin American history.