Democracy

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  • Ancient Greece c. 500 BCE

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    The Greek classical era (beginning c. 500 BCE) lasted around 200 years and saw the rise of democracy (‘people power’) when Athenian leader, Cleisthenes, created a political system that enfranchised adult men of Athenian descent. Many Greek city-states practised democracy, although there were exceptions, such as Sparta and ‘barbarian’ Epirus.... More
  • Congress 1872–79

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    The 44th Congress witnessed a massive shift from Republican to Democrat membership, overwhelmingly accounted for by the states of the former Confederate South. The instigators of this were the ‘Redeemer’ Democrats. During the Reconstruction that followed the Civil War, federal forces occupied the South and Republicans, backed by freed slaves,... More
  • Europe c. 2000

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    In 1992, Francis Fukuyama argued in The End of History and the Last Man that Western liberal democracy had become, in effect, the capstone of human socio-political evolution. Europe in 2000 ought perhaps to be Exhibit A for this thesis. The rapid collapse of communism in eastern Europe (1989–91), culminated... More
  • Poland 2000

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    In 1989–91, the Soviet Union experienced a political reformation, known as Perestroika, and allowed its satellite, the People’s Republic of Poland, to engage in a democratic transition, leading to the creation of the Third Polish Republic. By 1995, as a result of the Balcerowicz Plan (implemented in the early 1990s)... More
  • Post-1945 Military Involvement in Politics

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    Military rule was ingrained in Latin America from the establishment of the viceroyalties of New Spain and Brazil (the preceding Aztec, Maya and Inca were hardly pacific cultures). The prevailing land use model – vast haciendas, supported by encomienda forced labour or the mass import of slaves – spawned oligarchic... More
  • The Weimar Republic 1919–33

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    The Weimar Republic has become synonymous with weak government, but, in truth it was dealt a near impossible hand. As the administration was being established Communist rebels were fighting for control in Berlin and Munich. It was also unceasingly attacked by conservative purveyors of the ‘stab-in-the back’ myth, accusing its... More
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