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Democracy is perhaps the defining characteristic of modern Western society, but even as late as the nineteenth century it was often viewed with suspicion by many who saw it as akin to anarchy and mob rule. It was not until the French and American revolutions of the eighteenth century that electoral democracy began to gain momentum as a serious force, which was eventually to shape political discourse on a broad, international scale. Taking as its focus the French Revolution, this book explores how the experience in France influenced the emergence of electoral democracy, arguing - contrary to recent revisionist studies - that it was indeed the progenitor of modern representative democracy. Rejecting the revisionist semiotic approach to political culture; it instead adopts a definition emphasizing the shared values that govern political behavior, arguing that the Revolution's essential contribution to modern political culture is its concept of citizenship, embracing widespread political participation. In a broader sense, the book studies the grass-roots democracy, focusing on participation in the primary and secondary electoral assemblies. It is primarily concerned with electoral behavior and practices: how can we explain the electoral process and its results? It analyzes electoral procedures and practices, and voter turnout, based on extensive quantitative data. While focused on political history, this work also examines political sociology, giving careful attention to the occupational composition of elected officials. While acknowledging the democratic shortcomings of the French Revolution (the absence of political parties, electoral campaigns, and declared candidates), the book’s comprehensive study of revolutionary elections concludes that, together with its American counterpart, the French Revolution did indeed give birth to modern electoral democracy. As such, this book is essential reading for historians, political scientists, sociologists and readers inte
This book explores the vital but neglected issue of elections in the French Revolution. Based on extensive research in different regions of France, it is the only general survey to examine the full range of local and national contests, from the Estates General to the advent of Napoleon. Focusing on electoral behaviour, it reveals a fascinating experiment with a quasi-universal suffrage, which established enduring features of French elections. The retention of the traditional practice of voting in assemblies, and a refusal to acknowledge candidates, canvassing and competing political parties, inhibited the emergence of a pluralistic electoral culture. Nonetheless, frequent polling offered unprecedented political opportunities to millions. This revolutionary apprenticeship in democracy left a lasting imprint on the development of modern French citizenship.
Democracy is perhaps the defining characteristic of modern Western society, but even as late as the nineteenth century it was often viewed with suspicion by many who saw it as akin to anarchy and mob rule. It was not until the French and American revolutions of the eighteenth century that electoral democracy began to gain momentum as a serious force, which was eventually to shape political discourse on a broad, international scale. Taking as its focus the French Revolution, this book explores how the experience in France influenced the emergence of electoral democracy, arguing - contrary to recent revisionist studies - that it was indeed the progenitor of modern representative democracy. Rejecting the revisionist semiotic approach to political culture; it instead adopts a definition emphasizing the shared values that govern political behavior, arguing that the Revolution's essential contribution to modern political culture is its concept of citizenship, embracing widespread political participation. In a broader sense, the book studies the grass-roots democracy, focusing on participation in the primary and secondary electoral assemblies. It is primarily concerned with electoral behavior and practices: how can we explain the electoral process and its results? It analyzes electoral procedures and practices, and voter turnout, based on extensive quantitative data. While focused on political history, this work also examines political sociology, giving careful attention to the occupational composition of elected officials. While acknowledging the democratic shortcomings of the French Revolution (the absence of political parties, electoral campaigns, and declared candidates), the book’s comprehensive study of revolutionary elections concludes that, together with its American counterpart, the French Revolution did indeed give birth to modern electoral democracy. As such, this book is essential reading for historians, political scientists, sociologists and readers interested in the origin of modern liberal democracy.
Was ist eigentlich der Sinn und Zweck des Wählens? Warum gelten Wahlen seit dem 20. Jahrhundert für nahezu alle Staaten als unverzichtbar? Um die Erfolgsgeschichte und die variierenden Bedeutungen von Wahlen zu verstehen, gilt es, die historische Dimension zu berücksichtigen und mit einem anthropologisch interessierten Blick neue Fragen zu stellen. Diese Neue Wahlgeschichte lässt den scheinbar so selbstverständlichen Gegenstand „Wahlen“ erklärungsbedürftig erscheinen. Sie fragt nach Praktiken, Materialität, Ideen und Diskursen, um die Funktionen politischer Wahlen in verschiedenen historischen und politischen Kontexten von Europa über Nordamerika bis hin nach Lateinamerika zu ergründen. Da das Interesse dem Massenwahlrecht als Grundlage moderner Demokratien gilt, richtet sich der Fokus auf das 19. und 20. Jahrhundert.
Ausgezeichnet mit dem NDR Kultur Sachbuchpreis 2018 als bestes Sachbuch des Jahres Demokratien sterben mit einem Knall oder mit einem Wimmern. Der Knall, also das oft gewaltsame Ende einer Demokratie durch einen Putsch, einen Krieg oder eine Revolution, ist spektakulärer. Doch das Dahinsiechen einer Demokratie, das Sterben mit einem Wimmern, ist alltäglicher – und gefährlicher, weil die Bürger meist erst aufwachen, wenn es zu spät ist. Mit Blick auf die USA, Lateinamerika und Europa zeigen die beiden Politologen Steven Levitsky und Daniel Ziblatt, woran wir erkennen, dass demokratische Institutionen und Prozesse ausgehöhlt werden. Und sie sagen, an welchen Punkten wir eingreifen können, um diese Entwicklung zu stoppen. Denn mit gezielter Gegenwehr lässt sich die Demokratie retten – auch vom Sterbebett.

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