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33

Democratication came at the hands of improved communications, improved education, the industrial revolution and the agricultural revolution. Not at the hands of cheap weapons. The invention of the printing press democratised knowledge. Books became significantly cheaper to make and were more widely distributed. It was possible for a wider range of thoughts ...


19

I'll answer just the part about the Roman Republic, if that's alight for now. The Roman Republic is probably best described as a pseudo-democracy of sorts. Its creation and initial set-up actually pre-dated Athenian democracy by a single year, though even until its dying days it was more of a "democracy for the privileged" than anything. Hence, ...


16

I wouldn't characterize post-Magna Carta England as having a weak central government. Compared to the Holy Roman Empire it had a very efficient central government, in which the parliament played an important role alongeside the king. The early English Parliament already had a House of Commons. Hence not only the nobility was given rights but the common ...


12

As you have correctly implied, you can NOT equate these terms. Among other reasons, because the first couple are economic systems and the latter are political. There are certain correllations and causations betwene them, however. Just as a note, your question is nearly impossible to answer for 4 reasons: You don't actually define what democracy or ...


12

The question is poorly stated. The Founding Fathers were not all of one mind on many subjects— the Federalists saw danger in direct democracy, whereas the Anti-Federalists did not. Additionally, popular usage of terms like "democracy" or "republic" is quite different from a political scientist's use of such terms— indeed, quite a lot of things "don't mean ...


11

Note: This is a partial and indicative list. I am looking for more information to improve it. Update 2: It seems there is some controversy over the definition of democracy itself. Until further clarity it would be difficult to populate any such list. Parliamentary Democray Switzerland (1802) Haiti (1860) Estonia (1918) (See comment below from ...


10

First off the wikipedia page that you cite to is based on the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index ("EIUDI") which is not an academic source. The methodology used to assemble the report is not known, but that doesn't mean that it is not useful. With that in mind from the EIUDI 2011 Report: Flawed democracies: These countries also have free and ...


10

I doubt this is to do with a civil war, but instead to do with the voting system. This is Duverger's law. The USA & the UK use a first past the post system, as opposed to a proportional representation system, and under that, the system tends to 2 parties. The UK is in Europe, has had a civil war (though is irrelevant now), and has a 2 party system ...


10

First of all, I don't really buy the premise that elections were often limited to city states mainly because of logistical problems. I would rather argue that it was because the polis was the primary societal identification for most freemen in the Mediterranean lands, and therefore it was natural for the people of each city-state to want to govern their own ...


9

There may not be enough data to get any meaningful answers, but it's worth remembering that the U.S. has had a two-party system for most of its history, including before the civil war (Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists, Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans, Democrats vs. Whigs). As for other countries, remember that almost no country has a system as strong ...


9

The word "caliph" comes from the Arabic "khalifa", which means "successor [of the Prophet]". The caliph claims a religion-based legitimacy, instead of popular support as in republics. The philosophy is totally different. A caliphate's objective is to have a government based on the Sharia, while a republic seeks to have a government based on popular will. ...


8

In addition to what you list, the organizational structure, bookkeeping of the monarchs, and relative literacy levels (albeit not high levels absolutely) helped enable a democratic system to emerge. Townhalls and church organizations allowed for some census and accountability to emerge. The later monarchs kept relatively accurate and complete tax records ...


8

"The world must be made safe for democracy." - Woodrow Wilson The irony of Wilson's quote is that WWI did not directly make the world safe for democracy. In fact WWI directly led to the rise of state socialism in the former Russian Empire with its evolution into the USSR, and the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany. From a European standpoint WWI ...


8

Quite a few of them, especially in Central and South America. Here are lists of attempted and successful coups d'etat, listed by date in the former, by nation in the latter.


8

The person that comes to mind is Getulio Vargas of Brazil. He first took power in 1930, in a military-backed coup, after being defeated in a Presidential race, ousting the outgoing President and President-elect. He ruled as a virtual dictator until 1945, at which time he was forced to step down from the Presidency, and allow democratic elections, because his ...


7

Presumably this would be ancient Rome during the early Empire. The best numbers available come, I think, from Augustus' official autobiography. The English text can be found here. In paragraph 8 he says that in the Empire-wide census of 14CE "were counted 4,937,000 of the heads of Roman citizens". Now, it seems to be a vexing questions for historians what ...


7

The Graeco-Roman world is a unique example of intertwined cultures, the geographical and historical proximity of the two civilizations is such that's it's often impossible to distinguish where the one ends and the other begins. In extremely broad terms, it wouldn't be inaccurate to say that the political system of the Romans were heavily influenced by the ...


6

The rise of democracy and the fall of feudalism are two separate questions, though arguably the latter was a prerequisite for the former. It is possible that cheap hand guns were a minor factor in either of these, but I doubt it was a major factor. The importance of cavalry in the Middle Ages shouldn't be exaggerated: infantry and archers were usually more ...


6

I'm not sure. The democratization in the XIXth century was also due to the increasing power of labour movements, which was not gained by the use of weapons, but by strikes, mostly. When industrialists rule the political system, the labour class doesn't need to shoot - all they need to do to exert influence is collectively refuse to work.


6

The availability of weapons to ordinary people has often gone hand in hand with with democratization. Early Greece and Rome were blessed by hilly terrain that allowed yeoman farmers to produce high value added crops like grapes and olives, that could be traded for cheaper wheat and cloth, leaving a surplus for them to buy their own weapons. Plus the fact ...


6

Democracies were not necessarily more stable than other forms of government. Polybius describes a cycle of three forms of government - monarchy, then aristocracy, then democracy, then back to monarchy again (of course, this was not always the case in practice). The important point to note is that each first degenerates into an inferior form (tyranny, ...


6

The 1973 Pinochet coup in Chile seems to fit the criteria you outline. A democratically elected president of a Western country ousted by the military. The 1973 Chilean coup d'état was a watershed event of the Cold War and the history of Chile. Following an extended period of social and political unrest between the conservative-dominated Congress of Chile ...


5

There was a medieval saying, "Stadluft macht Frei." (City air makes one free.) One important aspect of England (and Greece and Rome before it) was the relative urbanization of its time. The most "progressive" and democratic elements of society tend to concentrate in cities, whereas the most conservative and pro monarchic influences are generally found in ...


5

Was democracy present in India when British colonization began? Democracy, in some fashion, has appeared in India throughout its history. However, just prior to the British arrival in India; representative democracy was not being practiced in regards to government. Though the following is largely a depiction of South Asia the text and links represent the ...


5

No. It does not always go hand in hand. In fact, if history is any guide, it tended to be the opposite. There are a lot more successful, stable empires than democracy. Many empires saw long period of peace and prosperity that they were called "Pax something", like Pax Romana, Pax Mongolica and Pax Ottomana. Other than those we also have the Imperial China, ...


5

First of all, less than 20% of Athenians were citizens, so comparing to the total population voter turnout in the USA may actually be higher. Second, because of the smaller size of Attica as compared to USA the decisions the citizens would vote for had direct consequences to each of them. Third, the voting class was also the class with most citizenship ...


5

Michael's answer is a very good one but I'd like to add a couple of details. First, Athenian citizens were not always as enthusiastic about voting as you'd think: voting required a whole day which meant they'd be missing out on one day of revenue from labor. To compensate for this, Athenians were paid (type f3 and search for paid) about as much as the daily ...


5

Georgy Lvov and Alexander Kerensky. Though not specifically elected to be the head of the country, they had nevertheless been democratically elected in legitimate elections.


4

One reason could be the numerical size of the diversity present in thought and culture within India which keeps pulling the nation in different directions and acts as a check to the momentum any dramatic activity within the system generates. Coups, Dictatorships etc may appear to be driven by one man but they are brought about by a collective feeling within ...


4

India might have faced civil war, during the 1947 partition. It was largely through the efforts of Gandhi and other peace seekers that it didn't happen. The influence of Gandhi and other advocates of non-violence helps explain the lack of coups or dictatorships. Basically, "strong men" were not a fixture of Indian society as they were in others.



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