79

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 is the very literal Athenian democracy - which might be regarded as government by plebiscite. Here every significant public decision is made by a direct appeal ...


68

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 Legislature voted the country out of existence in 1933 when collapsing fish prices led to the threat of default on its World War One debt. This returned the country ...


39

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 ongoing conflict, the US recognized it from 1837. It is worth noting that (at least in most tellings) the goal was always to join the US, but politics within ...


27

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechoslovakia You could also include the reunification of Germany, or the various states of the Italian peninsula deciding to become a ...


20

Since Samuel Huntington is quite popular in political science (which I guess the BBC derived its source from), I suspect that this group of 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 ...


18

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 ...


17

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 ...


15

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 ...


13

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. ...


13

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 ...


13

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 surely return a ministry bound to dismiss the existing Governor General, and, potentially, force a republic. Westminster inspired Crowns have generally sought ...


13

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 to the Parliament in Westminster. The vote was highly suspect; Scottish MPS were openly bribed with land and money to vote for the Union. As a result, a ...


12

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.


12

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 Germany.


11

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, ...


11

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 Bangladesh) so it was at least half a civil war, but still two democratic powers fought. Another conflict, on a smaller scale, between India and Pakistan (the ...


11

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 masses for change. Although the percentage of spoiled or blank ballots has increased over the past 30 years, the numbers have rarely been dramatic. The main ...


10

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 assume that the difference between a monarchy and a republic and between a non democracy and a democracy are more or less identical, which is not correct. There ...


10

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 actively with the law and the public authorities in the repression of evil-doers. A people who are more disposed to shelter a criminal than to apprehend him; who, ...


9

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 ...


9

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 "countries", but even today many armies fight for a leader, not a country. To enumerate some of the armies or non-armies of the past: (1) The Constitution of the ...


8

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 and Bundesrat. After the Parliament of United Kingdom, the Reichstag was one of the most progressive parliaments in Europe. Members of the Reichstag were ...


8

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): C'est là que les hommes civilisés devaient essayer de bâtir la société sur des fondements nouveaux, et qu'appliquant pour la première fois des théories ...


8

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 questionable?


7

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, theocrats won in Iran in 1979. ...


7

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 ...


7

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 ...


7

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 jurisdiction of the Congress was probably laid out best (among the surviving documents) by James Madison: The indispensable necessity of complete authority ...


7

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 referendum put up in all 50 states for the same election. That may sound a bit daunting, but candidates for president (at least in the primaries), have to go through ...


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