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Questions tagged [democracy]

From the Greek "rule of the many", describes some form of popular representation in the governance of a political or economic unit such as a nation state or a corporation. Democracy ranges from the more limited electoral representation to full voting participation on all issues before the aforementioned political/economic unit (the later is also known as anarchy, a system where all members have equal representation and political status).

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Have there been any countries that voted themselves out of existence?

I'm interested in countries that voted themselves out of existence because they believe that joining another country is best for them (see e.g. world government). For example, say New Zealand votes to ...
Allure's user avatar
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30 votes
6 answers
4k views

Besides Magna Carta and general decentralization, what specifically led to democratization in England?

In England, the gradual weakening of the central government (starting with the Magna Carta), and the gradual rights given to nobility slowly pushed England to a democratic form of government. Yet in ...
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28 votes
4 answers
8k views

Why did some Enlightenment thinkers despise democracy?

The wikipedia page on the Enlightenment has this interesting quote: The leaders of the Enlightenment were not especially democratic, as they more often look to absolute monarchs as the key to ...
Asvin's user avatar
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20 votes
1 answer
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Was Hitler released from jail in 1924 on condition that he ran democratically?

In 1924, Adolf Hitler served only 264 days in prison after his failed coup d'état. Was his release politically ordered? I suppose that the motive could've been that it is better to have him lead the "...
LocalFluff's user avatar
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18 votes
3 answers
2k views

What was Libya's form of direct democracy (Jamahiria) like in practice?

I've been following the recent events in Libya and I learned about the Green Book, which outlines Gaddafi's vision for a democratic socialism. Published in 1975, it proposed a form of direct democracy ...
Andrew Vit's user avatar
17 votes
5 answers
25k views

Which 11 countries were democratic in 1941?

Relistening to the BBC's History of Democracy broadcast in July 2011. The historian on the show talked about the low point for democracies being 1941 when there were just 11 parliamentary democracies ...
Tea Drinker's user avatar
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17 votes
6 answers
9k views

Was democracy present in India before British colonization?

My friend claims that India had democracy before the British colonized it. I am skeptical and have failed to find any references to democracy in India within the last thousand years. I found one weak ...
Dale's user avatar
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17 votes
8 answers
3k views

Dictators who came back through elections?

Were there any dictators1 who, after being toppled by a revolution or the like, managed to get back to power via what is (or was considered by the norms applied at the time) free and transparent2 ...
ahmed's user avatar
  • 505
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

Do most of today's democratic nations with two-party system exhibit a civil war in recent past?

I was thinking about the two-party system in USA and comparing it to mostly multi-party systems in Europe and was wondering, if this national state of democracy is mainly caused by political decisions ...
Hauser's user avatar
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14 votes
5 answers
1k views

Are modern handguns a major reason for democratization?

I had a history teacher who argued that a major reason for the fall of the feudal system, was that the knights lost their military superiority because of development in weapon technology (longbow, ...
David's user avatar
  • 1,676
14 votes
3 answers
2k views

What factors contributed to earlier democratic states failing?

Conventional wisdom says that democracy is the superior form of government. If this is true, then factors might have contributed to earlier democratic states like Athens in 500 BCE and the Roman ...
Orion's user avatar
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13 votes
5 answers
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Athenian Democracy - How were the citizens motivated to be so politically active?

Considering the city-state of Athens and its interesting idea of a direct democracy (550 B.C.), I am comparing and contrasting the political activity of ancient Athenians and modern Americans. ...
Fixed Point's user avatar
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13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Did the Founding Fathers of the USA really make a distinction between a Republic and a Democracy (and despised the latter)?

I've come across this video that makes a distinction between a Democracy (rule of majority) vs Republic (rule of law). It contests that a Republic is a state that is designed to protect the rights of ...
Jake Jay's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
430 views

How big were the biggest elections during the ancient era?

According to this question - Why did non-monarchic rule meet with so little success in ancient China?, elections in the ancient era were mostly conducted in city-states, due to feasibility, logistical ...
Louis Rhys's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why did The Crown give assent to Apartheid legislation during the 1950s?

Why did The Crown give assent to Apartheid legislation during the 1950s? For example, the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, Act No 49 of 1953 was assented to by the crown. The relevant law in ...
Samuel Russell's user avatar
11 votes
7 answers
2k views

Has there ever been an attempted military takeover of a democracy in the western world?

Ignoring the Spanish 1981 and Greek 1967 coups. Are there any other examples of the military attempting (or even managing) to overthrow an elected government in an advanced democracy in the western ...
Karlth's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
6k views

Did the Romans "copy" their political system from the Greeks?

This is an outgrowth of the discussion here. My sense is that the Romans developed their system autochthonously, probably with some influence from their Etruscan neigbours and one-time-overlords. ...
Felix Goldberg's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
371 views

At which point did election in a large country become feasible?

According to this answer by Anixx In the ancient world, democracy or oligarchical republics existed only in city-states because it was unfeasible to conduct elections in a large country and ...
Louis Rhys's user avatar
  • 6,855
9 votes
5 answers
981 views

Why, even, various developed countries faced Coup D'etat, Dictatorship and/or Civil War but India didn't? [closed]

Various countries even that have highly developed democracy, economy and knowledge-based society faced Coup D'etat, Dictatorship and/or Civil War. India was an underdeveloped society, economy and had ...
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9 votes
1 answer
304 views

What is the reason for Burma/Myanmar's recent reforms?

In the last couple of days, the press has been granted much greater freedoms in Burma. They held elections last year and even released Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest (only a year or 2 after they ...
Jay's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
6k views

How democratic was Imperial Germany?

How democratic was Imperial Germany? How much power did the Reichstag actually have? How did the Imperial German government compare to other contemporary democracies?
Brian J Murray's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
495 views

What is the historical significance of spoilt votes?

In discussions about voting, it is often claimed that voting with an intentionally spoilt ballot sends a message to the candidates while not voting at all signifies indifference and your concerns as a ...
OganM's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
15k views

What specific changes were made to political ideologies around during and before World War I?

I'm studying the influence of democracy and the United States' advocacy of it during the early 20th century, and the effect that the Allied Powers' victory in World War I had in the shifting of ...
Purag's user avatar
  • 183
8 votes
1 answer
665 views

Are there any known instances of sub-Saharan African democracy before European colonialism?

I've been reading up on pre-Athenian democracy (sometimes referred to as primitive or tribal democracy) where leaders were selected by some or most members of a group and were subject to established ...
David of America's user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
304 views

How accurate is Russell on liberalism versus fanaticism in war?

After the second world war, reflecting on the rule of empiricism versus various kinds of dogmatism in political philosophy, Bertrand Russell writes (Philosophy and Politics, 1947; emphasis mine): ...
Artem Kaznatcheev's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Who were the first two democratically elected leaders of Russia?

On Boris Yeltsin's page in Wikipedia there's the fact that on 12th June, 1991, he was elected by popular vote to the newly created post of President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic ...
guriguri's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
625 views

Were there political parties in ancient Greece?

So I'm reading a Spanish translation of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War and he frequently mentions a "popular party". For example: That is why the Athenians made many other ...
Ventolinmono's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

How were political factions in the late Roman republic different from political parties today?

I've read that in the 1st century BCE, Rome came to be dominated by a dispute between two political factions: the Optimates, representing the traditionalist patrician families, who wanted to lock down ...
Random's user avatar
  • 3,658
6 votes
5 answers
826 views

What were the origins of democracy?

I realize that many people say that Athens is where democracy started, but is there any solid proof that it was the first? On Wikipedia, it is stated that: there is evidence to suggest that ...
Reliable Source's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
96 views

Was the issue of women's suffrage debated during the drafting of the 1809 Instruments of Government?

The Kingdom of Sweden had a limited vote for women between 1718 and 1772, during the Age of Liberty, which was based on the 1719 Instruments of Government. This was only the case in two of the four ...
gktscrk's user avatar
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4 votes
5 answers
1k views

Does History confirm that prosperity, capitalism, and some form "democracy" or representative republican form of government always go hand in hand?

Many historians, politicians and economists find a link between the economic success of a nation and its form of government. For example, the idea that the USA's form of government was responsible ...
user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
3k views

What are major differences between a Caliphate and a modern Republic?

As far as I know, a Caliphate elects a leader for a lifetime term, rather than having regular elections. Some caliphates choose their leader by a small group rather than have the masses choose, but ...
Muz's user avatar
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4 votes
4 answers
3k views

Correlation between capitalism/democracy and communism/dictatorship?

Some people often equate capitalism with democracy and communism with dictatorship, is this necessarily true? What are good examples and counter-examples of these associations? Should kingdoms etc. ...
apoorv020's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
547 views

Is Costa Rica's refusal to maintain a standing army unique?

After a 44-day bloody civil war in 1948, the rebel fighters of Costa Rica banned the country from having a standing army. Other than conquered nations under the dominion of another, is there any self-...
Bruce James's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
234 views

Which were the four villages in Attica affected by Cleisthenes' reforms? What happened to them?

Cleisthenes reformed the Athenian society and the Athenian politics. He organized the Athenian society into 10 artificial tribes, and further divided them into thirds. I am told that earlier, there ...
taninamdar's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
221 views

What is the first election where we have the specific numbers of votes and the names of candidates?

What is the earliest political vote where we have the exact details of the specific numbers of votes and the names of the candidates? The "candidates" could be persons, teams, policies, ...
dodo's user avatar
  • 258
4 votes
1 answer
108 views

How was ethnicity's role in the voting enfranchisement envisioned after the English Civil War?

I am reading Democracy in Europe: A History by Luciano Canfora. In his short section on the English Civil War he states There is another element in the Levellers' thinking that should also be taken ...
16π Cent's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
11k views

Why are the democracies of France, Israel and India rated "Flawed Democracies"? [closed]

What does the term "Flawed Democracy" actually mean? Why are some of the world's successful democracies like France, Israel and India rated "Flawed Democracies" by the Economist Intelligence Unit?
user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
11k views

Which edition of de Tocqueville contains the phrase "The great experiment"?

The line "The great experiment" has become famous for being used by Tocqueville for describing the birth of modern democracy in America. It is supposed to be in the last paragraph of the ...
Marcel's user avatar
  • 545
3 votes
2 answers
560 views

Is there a quote that expresses Mill's opposition to Indian democracy?

I heard in a talk that John Stuart Mill was in favor of democracy in his own country but against democracy in India, I read the following in a paper - Mill’s support of British imperialism may seem ...
Michael's user avatar
  • 199
3 votes
1 answer
234 views

Were there socioeconomic reasons for the decline of Athenian democracy?

Historians often emphasize socioeconomic causes when describing the fall of the Roman republic, which began centuries before Augustus won the civil wars. For example, the sudden influx of wealth and ...
Random's user avatar
  • 3,658
3 votes
2 answers
342 views

How did Athenian citizens living standards compare to that of other Greek city-states?

Athenian democracy Athenian democracy is described as having been a direct democracy whereby the citizens directly controlled all parts of the political process. World History Encycopedia In Athenian ...
John Strachan's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
659 views

When did democracy become popular? [closed]

After the Greek and Rome, democracy died out. So when have this system become popular? Which country were the first to adopt it after Rome? And how did it become so widely used?
TBBT's user avatar
  • 357
2 votes
3 answers
1k views

Did two unquestionably democratic states ever engage in war? [closed]

I was just reading A.fm.'s comment on this question. [...] and history shows democratic states don't fight one another. At first I thought this statement was wrong, but thinking further I couldn't ...
Bregalad's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why did the Government of India Act create separate electorates for the depressed classes?

The Communal Award, in 1932, conceded to the demands of B.R. Ambedkar and the ilk to have separate electorates for depressed classes. But Gandhji held fast unto death to undo this. So, Poona Pact ...
aarbee's user avatar
  • 211
2 votes
1 answer
647 views

Voting enfranchisement in the USA in the 18th century

It is frequently asserted that when the US constitution was ratified in 1788, it was a very progressive piece of legislation because it gave everyone the right to vote, making the US the first modern ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
155 views

Why didn't Sir John Kerr just call an election? [closed]

During the Australian constitutional crisis of 1975, the Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed the sitting Prime Minister and appointed the Leader of the Opposition as PM in order to trigger an ...
Bill Peet's user avatar
  • 121
2 votes
0 answers
196 views

A comparison between the reforms of Athens and Rome

Question: What made it possible that, during the times of Solon, Athens underwent reforms characterized by isonomia, — that is, equality among citizens, — whereas their approximately contemporary ...
James Cook's user avatar
  • 1,661
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

Has the US ever held a referendum? Would it be possible according to the constitution? [closed]

Many western countries (Switzerland more than anyone) now and then arrange referendum about issues like membership in the EU, or keeping or abolishing military conscription, or whether or not to shift ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
  • 1,337
1 vote
1 answer
302 views

Are there notes by the Founding Fathers which indicate why DC citizens were denied a vote in Congress?

Are there any records from the Constitutional Convention that establish why the District of Columbia was denied voting representation in the Senate and the House? Was there even any expression of ...
Bruce James's user avatar
  • 5,124