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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 ...


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 ...


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

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

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.


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, ...


4

Chile has a long tradition of democracy and by 1941 already had 100 years of democracy, albeit with brief interludes. In 1941 Pedro Aguirre Cerda was president of Chile, elected in 1938. He died at the end of 1941 and was replaced by JeĆ³nimo Mendez until April 1942, when Juan Antonio Rios won the election. See ...


4

Heavily revised based on comments This question is NOT simple; I would argue that it cannot be answered, but I can outline what I think the parameters of the answer might be. In "The Origins of Political Order", Fukayama makes a throwaway comment that the key is that the government be accountable to the people; democracy is only one of the ways that ...


4

Has its accuracy changed since? North Vietnam won over South Vietnam. Taliban won over Northern Alliance prior to US getting involved in 2001 Hezbollah effectively won against everyone (forced Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, and squeezed 'liberals' out of Lebanese politics). Depending on your definition of liberal, theorcats won in Iran in 1979. ...


3

Its an interesting thesis. The problem is that "important" out he left himself essentially makes it a No true Scottsman argument. In other words, it isn't really a falsifiable statement. Any counter-argument I could possibly make can be dismissed as "not really an important war" (or failing that, you could try to argue against the liberality/fanacisim of the ...


3

I guess this depends on how far you want to go back in time, on how wide must be the suffrage for you to accept the election as "democratic", on whether the elected official would have a time limit for his rule, and on whether the next rule was expected to be elected as well. Arani's answer about Kerensky is correct as undisputed (except by Bolsheviks) ...


3

Since Samuel Huntington is quite popular in political science (which I guess BBC derived its source from), I suspect that this 11 democracies is based on Huntington's thesis of Third Wave Democracy. According to Huntington, the globe experienced three waves of democracy, starting from USA in 1828. For this first wave, Huntington used Jonathan Sunshine's ...


2

I believe this question puts the cart before the horse. It is not that (aspects of) Athenian democracy somehow motivated its citizens to great political activity; but that the highly motivated political activity of Athenian citizens created and sustained Athens' democracy. A people always get the government they deserve, and the citizens of ancient ...


2

You could make a counter-claim that the Napoleonic Wars do not fit his rules, and it certainly is in the time frame and is important. Having England mixed in with the half dozen Monarchies that had to pile on to knock out Napoleon doesn't increase the 'democratic average' much. And the French Government of the post revolution had elective parts like ...


2

Counterexamples: Spanish Civil War: one can argue that republicans were more liberal Chinese Civil War: one can argue that kuomitang was more liberal Russian Civil War: some anti-bolshevik factions were fighting under the slogan of support of the Russian Constituent Assembly - more liberal WW2: one can easily argue that USSR was less liberal than the 3rd ...


2

I think that @Anixx is onto something here, although I would phrase it rather differently. I'm not comfortable using the term "political party" prior to the 19th century. The meaning of the term changes around that time. I agree that the obstacle is not logistics. Secret Ballots can be carried out even in great adversity. The obstacle is that the ...


1

The main obstacle to universal election is not logistics as such. The most difficult problem is to keep a country where there are rivalling political parties united, avoid secessions and strong in the face of the enemies who can try to utilize the conflict for their purpose. I refer you to this answer of mine. In short, the means of control (the weapons) ...



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