Chronology of Modern Democracy

compiled by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University for the World History of Democracy site

1: The View of Francis Fukuyama

from his 1992 book,  The End of History and the Last Man

In 1989, the philosopher Francis Fukuyama wrote an article called "The End of History?" (in the journal The National Interest), in which he described what he saw as a growing "consensus concerning the legitimacy of liberal democracy as a system of government," and the delegitimization of all rival ideologies.   The article immediately became very controversial, and was often praised immoderately or identified as a symptom of post-Cold War triumphalism.

Fukuyama's book, The End of History and the Last Man (New York, 1992) went into his philosophical conclusions and concerns about the post-Cold War world.   In the course of his discussion, he assembled a chronology of liberal democracies, based on an earlier list by Michael Doyle, in "Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs," Philosophy and Public Affairs 12 (1983):  205-235.  Doyle and Fukuyama both adopted a standard that a "liberal democracy" must have a market economy and representative government, and maintain juridical rights.   Countries with populations of under a million were not considered.  Fukuyama's list did not take into account any events after 1990.

A number of the countries here identified as "liberal democracies" other people have considered less than democratic.   However, the list has the advantage of attempting a snap-shot of the state of the democratic world at a number of points back to the late 18th century.    This list reminds us, as the other two in this section of World History of Democracy site do not, that France, Belgium, Norway, and other countries were not under democratic rule during World War II.
 
 
Countries
1790
1848
1900
1919
1940
1960
1975
1990
United States
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Canada    
x
x
x
x
x
x
Switzerland
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Great Britain  
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
France
x
 
x
x
 
x
x
x
Belgium  
x
x
x
 
x
x
x
Netherlands  
x
x
x
 
x
x
x
Denmark    
x
x
 
x
x
x
Italy    
x
x
 
x
x
x
Spain              
x
Portugal              
x
Sweden    
x
x
x
x
x
x
Norway      
x
 
x
x
x
Countries
1790
1848
1900
1919
1940
1960
1975
1990
Greece  
 
x
 
 
x
 
x
Austria      
x
 
x
x
x
West Germany      
x
 
x
x
x
East Germany      
x
     
x
Poland      
x
     
x
Czechoslovakia      
x
     
x
Hungary              
x
Bulgaria              
x
Romania              
x
Turkey          
x
x
x
Latvia              
x
Lithuania               
x
Estonia      
 x
     
x
Countries
1790
1848
1900
1919
1940
1960
1975
1990
Finland      
x
x
x
x
x
Ireland        
x
x
x
x
Australia      
x
x
x
x
x
New Zealand      
x
x
x
x
x
Chile    
x
x
 
x
 
x
Argentina    
x
x
     
x
Brazil          
x
 
x
Uruguay      
x
x
x
 
x
Paraguay              
x
Mexico         
x
x
x
x
Colombia      
x
x
x
x
x
Costa Rica      
x
x
x
x
x
Countries
1790
1848
1900
1919
1940
1960
1975
1990
Bolivia          
x
 
x
Venzuela          
x
x
x
Peru          
x
 
x
Ecuador          
x
 
x
El Salvador          
x
 
x
Nicaragua              
x
Honduras              
x
Jamaica            
x
x
Dominican Rep.            
x
x
Trinidad &Tabago          
x
x
x
Japan          
x
x
x
India          
x
x
x
Countries
1790
1848
1900
1919
1940
1960
1975
1990
Sri Lanka          
x
x
x
Singapore            
x
x
S. Korea              
x
Thailand              
x
Philippines          
x
 
x
Mauritius              
x
Senegal            
x
x
Botswana              
x
Namibia              
x
Countries
1790
1848
1900
1919
1940
1960
1975
1990
Papua New Guinea              
x
Israel          
x
x
x
Lebanon          
x
   
Totals
3
5
13
25
13
36
30
61