“The past due Robert Dahl’s On Democracy is the resource for a way to control democratically. Following the tools and channeling the perception of Dahl, Ian Shapiro’s re-creation completes Dahl’s venture and is needs to analyzing for the subsequent iteration and crucial re-reading for the present.”—Michael Doyle, Columbia University
“Dahl’s tersest precis of the teachings of his profoundly influential interrogation of democracy’s strengths and weaknesses. Ian Shapiro indicates forcefully what we've discovered on account that its preliminary publication.”—John Dunn, writer of Breaking Democracy’s Spell
“Robert A. Dahl’s On Democracy admirably synthesized the contributions of the world’s top democratic theorist of the 20th century. Now Ian Shapiro intelligently incorporates Dahl’s queries and matters into our personal century.”—Robert D. Putnam, writer of Our little ones: the yankee Dream in Crisis
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Extra info for On Democracy: Second Edition
Some scholars contend that the Latin American combination of presidential government with PR has contributed to the breakdowns of democracy that have been so frequent among the republics of Central and South America. 6 Although it is difficult to sort out the effects of constitutional form from the adverse conditions that were the underlying causes of political polarization and crisis, democratic countries would probably be wise to avoid the Latin American option. Moved by his optimism about the French and American revolutions, Thomas Jefferson once asserted that a revolution about every generation would be a good thing. That romantic idea was shot down during the twentieth century by the numerous revolutions Page 141 that failed tragically or pathetically or, worse, produced despotic regimes. Yet it might not be a bad idea if a democratic country, about once every twenty years or so, assembled a group of constitutional scholars, political leaders, and informed citizens to evaluate its constitution in the light not only of its own experience but also of the rapidly expanding body of knowledge gained from the experiences of other democratic countries. Page 142 Page 143 PART IV Conditions Favorable and unfavourable Page 144 Page 145 CHAPTER 12 What Underlying Conditions Favor Democracy? The twentieth century was a time of frequent democratic failure. On more than seventy occasions democracy collapsed and gave way to an authoritarian regime. 1 Yet it was also a time of extraordinary democratic success. Before it ended, the twentieth century had turned into an age of democratic triumph. The global range and influence of democratic ideas, institutions, and practices had made that century far and away the most flourishing period for democracy in human history. So we face two questions—or, rather, the same question put two ways. How can we account for the establishment of democratic institutions in so many countries in so many parts of the world? And how can we explain its failure? Although a full answer would be impossible, two interrelated sets of factors are undoubtedly of crucial significance. FAILURE OF THE ALTERNATIVES First, in the course of the century the main alternatives pretty much lost out in the competition with democracy. Even by the end of the century's first quarter the nondemocratic forms of government that from time immemorial had dominated beliefs and practices throughout most of the world—monarchy, hereditary aristocracy, and open oligarchy—had fatally declined in legitimacy and ideological strength. Although they were replaced by more widely Page 146 popular antidemocratic alternatives in the form of fascism, Nazism, Leninism, and other authoritarian creeds and governments, these flourished only briefly. Fascism and Nazism were mortally wounded by the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II. Later in the century, military dictatorships, notably in Latin America, fell under the weight of their failures economic, diplomatic, and even military (Argentina).