How do democracies form and what makes them die? Daniel Ziblatt revisits this timely and classic question in a wide-ranging historical narrative that traces the evolution of modern political democracy in Europe from its modest beginnings in 1830s Britain to Adolf Hitler's 1933 seizure of power in Weimar Germany. Based on rich historical and quantitative evidence, the book offers a major reinterpretation of European history and the question of how stable political democracy is achieved. The barriers to inclusive political rule, Ziblatt finds, were not inevitably overcome by unstoppable tides of socioeconomic change, a simple triumph of a growing middle class, or even by working class collective action. Instead, political democracy's fate surprisingly hinged on how conservative political parties – the historical defenders of power, wealth, and privilege – recast themselves and coped with the rise of their own radical right. With striking modern parallels, the book has vital implications for today's new and old democracies under siege.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Comprehensive, enlightening, and terrifyingly timely.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice) WINNER OF THE GOLDSMITH BOOK PRIZE • SHORTLISTED FOR THE LIONEL GELBER PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Time • Foreign Affairs • WBUR • Paste Donald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we’d be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one. Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die—and how ours can be saved. Praise for How Democracies Die “What we desperately need is a sober, dispassionate look at the current state of affairs. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, two of the most respected scholars in the field of democracy studies, offer just that.”—The Washington Post “Where Levitsky and Ziblatt make their mark is in weaving together political science and historical analysis of both domestic and international democratic crises; in doing so, they expand the conversation beyond Trump and before him, to other countries and to the deep structure of American democracy and politics.”—Ezra Klein, Vox “If you only read one book for the rest of the year, read How Democracies Die. . . .This is not a book for just Democrats or Republicans. It is a book for all Americans. It is nonpartisan. It is fact based. It is deeply rooted in history. . . . The best commentary on our politics, no contest.”—Michael Morrell, former Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (via Twitter) “A smart and deeply informed book about the ways in which democracy is being undermined in dozens of countries around the world, and in ways that are perfectly legal.”—Fareed Zakaria, CNN
This study explores the following puzzle: Upon national unification, why was Germany formed as a federal state and Italy a unitary state? Ziblatt's answer to this question will be of interest to scholars of international relations, comparative politics, political development, and political and economic history.
In this incisive and razor-sharp analysis of one of the most important issues facing us today, leading Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt draw on their combined expertise of over 40 years to examine how dictators come to power, and how they help to foster a poisonous culture of polarisation, fear and suspicion that persists even after their time in power is over. Using contemporary examples including the Capitol riots and voter suppression in the US, as well as global examples from history including post-1945 Germany and Brazil and Chile during the '60s and '70s, the authors dissect conservative resistance to pluralism and modern threats to multiracial democracy (including the unwillingness of political parties to adapt to modern times, and a growing disregard for constitutional norms and free and fair elections) while imploring readers to stand up in its defence. Focusing on the forthcoming American election as an essential case study, Saving Democracy offers us imperative tools for implementing urgent democratic reform, brilliantly illuminating how we can respond to the political battles ahead.
A New York Times Editors’ Choice An “essential” (Jane Mayer) account of the dangerous marriage of plutocratic economic priorities and right-wing populist appeals — and how it threatens the pillars of American democracy. In Let Them Eat Tweets, best-selling political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson argue that despite the rhetoric of Donald Trump, Josh Hawley, and other right-wing “populists,” the Republican Party came to serve its plutocratic masters to a degree without precedent in modern global history. To maintain power while serving the 0.1 percent, the GOP has relied on increasingly incendiary racial and cultural appeals to its almost entirely white base. Calling this dangerous hybrid “plutocratic populism,” Hacker and Pierson show how, over the last forty years, reactionary plutocrats and right-wing populists have become the two faces of a party that now actively undermines democracy to achieve its goals against the will of the majority of Americans. Based on decades of research and featuring a new epilogue about the intensification of GOP radicalism after the 2020 election, Let Them Eat Tweets authoritatively explains the doom loop of tax cutting and fearmongering that defines the Republican Party—and reveals how the rest of us can fight back.
The United States seems to be more ideologically divided than ever, with political polarization at an all-time high in recent history. Political differences can be positive, as when they drive an increase in political engagement or push both sides to come to better conclusions. But taken to an extreme, they can be dangerous. The viewpoints in this volume examine extremists on both the right and the left, how domestic extremism has evolved since the advent of the internet and social media, and how law enforcement at various levels should address it, particularly in the prevention of extremist attacks.
"Conservatism focuses on an exemplary core of France, Britain, Germany and the United States. It describes the parties, politicians and thinkers of the right, bringing out strengths and weaknesses in conservative thought"--Provided by publisher.
Where do strong conservative parties come from? While there is a growing scholarly awareness about the importance of such parties for democratic stability, much less is known about their origins. In this groundbreaking book, James Loxton takes up this question by examining new conservative parties formed in Latin America between 1978 and 2010. The most successful cases, he finds, shared a surprising characteristic: they had deep roots in former dictatorships. Through a comparative analysis of failed and successful cases in Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, and Guatemala, Loxton argues that this was not a coincidence. The successes inherited a range of resources from outgoing authoritarian regimes that, paradoxically, gave them an advantage in democratic competition. He also highlights the role of intense counterrevolutionary struggle as a source of party cohesion. In addition to making an empirical contribution to the study of the Latin American right and a theoretical contribution to the study of party-building, Loxton advances our understanding of the worldwide phenomenon of authoritarian successor parties--parties that emerge from authoritarian regimes but that operate after a transition to democracy. A major work, Conservative Party-Building in Latin America will reshape our understanding of politics in contemporary Latin America and the realities of democratic transitions everywhere.
The design of democratic institutions includes a variety of barriers to protect against the tyranny of the majority, including international human rights, cultural minority rights, and multiculturalism. In the twenty-first century, majorities have re-asserted themselves, sometimes reasonably, referring to social cohesion and national identity, at other times in the form of populist movements challenging core foundations of liberal democracy. This volume intervenes in this debate by examining the legitimacy of conflicting majority and minority claims. Are majorities a legal concept, holding rights and subject to limitations? How can we define a sense of nationhood that brings groups together rather than tears them apart? In this volume, world-leading experts are brought together for the first time to debate the rights of both majorities and minorities. The outcome is a fascinating exchange on one of the greatest challenges facing liberal democracies today.
This book explores the origins of the post-war Welfare State in the UK, the creation of which is almost universally considered—to an extent which is regarded here as being tantamount to a myth—as being solely a Labour Party creation. The book examines the various contributions to the development of ‘welfarism’ across the first half of the twentieth century, and in particular those of Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain and William Beveridge. It assesses the effects of two World Wars; the daunting economic challenges of the 1920s and 1930s; the stimuli to post-war reconstruction; the 1945 Labour government’s implementation of the wartime Coalition Government’s post-Beveridge conclusions; and the Conservative Party’s attitude after 1945 to Labour’s legislative programme. The book invites the reader to accept that, taking developments over the half-century as a whole, the greater share of the credit for the creation of a welfare state belongs to the Conservative Party.