Friday, April 07, 2006

Democracy's Place in World History

My friend and sometime collaborator Phil Paine and I published an article with this title in the Journal of World History (1993) v. 4, pages 23-45. Phil just discovered that it's now got enough currency to be quoted by politicians: specifically Richard Gephardt, former Democratic Leader in the US House of Representatives in a speech of March, 2005 (PDF). (Also here in a HTML version.) As Phil says, though, Mr. Gephardt seems to have missed the point of the article. Have a look at Phil's comments in his blog at April 4, 2006.

If you are interested in what Phil and I have said about democracy, have a look at the various essays at our site, World History of Democracy. The book referred to at the site has stalled, as both of us have significant responsibilities distracting us. Nevertheless, some of that material may be of use. Anyone who wants a thought-provoking summary of the history of democracy that doesn't start or end with either the American or French Revolutions should have a look at John Markoff's Waves of Democracy: Social Movements and Political Change. Pine Forge Press, 1996. I'm also fond of Robert A. Dahl's Democracy and Its Critics. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1989.


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