For a quarter century after attaining complete independence on July 4, 1946, the Philippines functioned as a working democracy, with elections held on a regular basis. Two major parties, the Liberals and the Nationalists, dominated the political scene. The fact that there were six presidents drawn from the two rival parties and that none of them was reelected showed that the electoral process had been given a reasonably fair trial. The political parties were dominated by a small oligarchy, largely drawn from the landholding class; this group controlled appointments, distributed the spoils of office among relatives and friends, and exploited the unlimited opportunities for corruption and self-gratification through control of licenses, leases, and foreign-exchange permits. Political opportunism, including wholesale defection of large numbers of elected representatives from one party to another, was not uncommon and was even deemed respectable. Despite its Western trappings, Filipino democracy was truly indigenous, understood and enjoyed by its people, until Ferdinand Marcos clamped down on individual freedoms in the 1972–1973 period.