78 votes

Why did some Enlightenment thinkers despise democracy?

One must be careful in reading the word "democracy" as it has multiple meanings - and many writers will deliberately conflate and inter-change the meanings with intent to deceive. One sense ...
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70 votes
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Have there been any countries that voted themselves out of existence?

Frequently. Newfoundland and Labrador The most recent example might be Newfoundland and Labrador, which in 1949 voted to join Canada as its tenth province. A Dominion from 1907, the Newfoundland ...
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40 votes

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

The present US state of Texas was (at least in its own eyes) an independently sovereign country from 1836 until joining the US in 1846. Mexico never really recognized its independence and there was ...
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27 votes

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

Another interesting example - though almost the opposite of voting to join another country - is Czechoslovakia, which voted to divide itself into two countries, Slovakia and the Czech Republic: https:/...
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  • 2,865
13 votes
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At which point did election in a large country become feasible?

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 ...
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  • 416
13 votes
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Why did The Crown give assent to Apartheid legislation during the 1950s?

The Crown could not refuse assent without launching a coup d'etat against parliament in circumstances that would have produced outrage against the Crown sufficient to result in an election that would ...
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13 votes

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

In 1707, the parliament of the sovereign state that was Scotland (with its own currency, parliament and legal system) voted to join an incorporating Union with England. This led to Scottish MPs going ...
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12 votes

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

In 1938 Austria had a referendum on becoming part of Germany. The vote was not democratic as Austria had been occupied by Germany at the time, but it still led to the „Anschluss“ of Austria to ...
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11 votes
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Did two unquestionably democratic states ever engage in war?

The Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 was fought between Pakistan and India. Both were run by democratic governments at the time. Obviously there was also the matter of the secession of East Pakistan (now ...
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11 votes
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What is the historical significance of spoilt votes?

Despite some interesting exceptions (detailed below), the spoiling of ballots or the casting of blank votes as a protest has not, for the most part, been an effective 'political instrument' of the ...
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10 votes
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Which edition of de Tocqueville contains the phrase "The great experiment"?

Tocqueville originally didn't talk of a mere "experiment" at all. Instead, the french original (De la démocratie en Amérique, Paris: Gosselin, 1835, p. 41) has the following lines (emphasis mine): ...
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  • 3,191
10 votes

Has a democracy ever transitioned (or reverted back) to a monarchy?

Short Answer: Yes. Long answer: JacobIRR's question is badly flawed. They assume that the royal family owns the country as their private property in all monarchies which is highly inaccurate. They ...
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  • 16.7k
10 votes

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

Yes, he was. The book you're looking for is Considerations on Representative Government. [A] people must be considered unfit for more than a limited and qualified freedom who will not co-operate ...
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  • 12.8k
9 votes
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Is Costa Rica's refusal to maintain a standing army unique?

There is a current List of Countries with no Armed Forces on Wikipedia. Before the 20th century, most armies were private or answerable to only individuals, not the state. You assume men fight for "...
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  • 37.2k
8 votes
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How democratic was Imperial Germany?

The Reichstag was the Parliament of the German Empire from 1871- 1918. It had less force than government, but still was very powerful. The legislature was bicameral; the two houses were the Reichstag ...
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  • 2,283
8 votes

Did two unquestionably democratic states ever engage in war?

Does the War of 1812 count as two democracies? Enfranchisement was incomplete for both countries, and one even had slavery, but they were still democratic states. Or do those two qualities make them ...
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  • 97
7 votes
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Are there notes by the Founding Fathers which indicate why DC citizens were denied a vote in Congress?

Such concern likely existed, and there is evidence of some cursory discussion to that effect during the proceedings of the Continental Congress. The rationale for creating a federal district with sole ...
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  • 5,902
7 votes
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Has the US ever held a referendum? Would it be possible according to the constitution?

In the US, referendums are handled on a statewide basis. There's no constitutional basis for having a national one. So if you wanted to effect a national referendum, you'd need to get the same ...
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  • 109k
7 votes
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How were political factions in the late Roman republic different from political parties today?

In addition to the "patrician" Optimates and "plebeian" Populares, there was also a third group - the Equites - which today we might think of as a kind of 'upper middle class'. To complicate matters ...
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  • 76.2k
7 votes

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

Since you posit the country remaining in some form as a subnational unit, such examples are actually rather common. Apart from the examples already given, from modern history see the admission of ...
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7 votes

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

The Kingdom of Sikkim voted to unite with India, in a referendum in 1975. It was in culmination of the internal strife in the country between the Crown and the pro-democracy Sikkim National Congress. ...
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  • 3,702
6 votes
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Which were the four villages in Attica affected by Cleisthenes' reforms? What happened to them?

According to The Formation of the Greek People, by A. Jarde: The new system took no account of the old politico-religious associations, but created new cults for the new groups; of the four ...
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  • 3,121
6 votes
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What is the reason that European Democracies developed without judicial independence?

Both separation of powers and checks and balances are important and in a way these two concepts contradict each other. The judiciary has to be independent to check the executive, but it must itself be ...
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  • 16k
6 votes

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

German post-World War II history has two examples of a free democratically elected goverment deciding to give up independence and join another state; in both cases, the state they joined was the ...
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  • 472
6 votes
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Is it reasonable to claim that peaceful transfers of power began, globally, in the United States?

I think this is probably one of those things that is technically "true" as long as you very carefully define your terms. (I have seen a similar claim made which focused on the election ...
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  • 6,811
5 votes

What are recent historically significant accounts of direct democracy?

The system you describe is only possible with very small population. Something like this existed in the city-states of ancient Greece, and city-states elsewhere, on their early stages. (But of course ...
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  • 37.3k
5 votes

Dictators who came back through elections?

What about Simeon II of Bulgaria? After WW2, he was exiled: On 15 September 1946, a referendum was held in the presence of the Soviet army. It resulted in a 97% approval for republic and ...
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5 votes

Was there ever a democracy where the three branches went to war?

To assume each branch of government will "go to war" is simply a misunderstanding of parliamentarism ("Parliament is supreme"). If OP did not mean, literally, the branches fight each other physically,...
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