By Charles Kurzman
In the last decade prior to international warfare I, a wave of democratic revolutions swept the globe, eating greater than 1 / 4 of the world’s inhabitants. Revolution remodeled Russia, Iran, the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Mexico, and China. In each one case, a pro-democracy stream unseated a long-standing autocracy with startling pace. The nascent democratic regime held elections, convened parliament, and allowed freedom of the click and freedom of organization. however the new governments failed usually to uphold the rights and freedoms that they proclaimed. Coups d’état quickly undermined the democratic experiments.
How can we account for those unforeseen democracies, and for his or her quick extinction? In Democracy Denied, Charles Kurzman proposes that the collective agent so much without delay chargeable for democratization used to be the rising category of contemporary intellectuals, a gaggle that had received a world identification and a near-messianic feel of venture following the Dreyfus Affair of 1898.
Each bankruptcy of Democracy Denied specializes in a unmarried perspective of this tale, overlaying all six circumstances via reading newspaper money owed, memoirs, and executive studies. This completely interdisciplinary therapy of the early-twentieth-century upheavals provides to reshape debates concerning the social origins of democracy, the reasons of democratic cave in, the political roles of intellectuals, and the foreign movement of ideas.
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Extra resources for Democracy Denied, 1905-1915: Intellectuals and the Fate of Democracy
In China and Portugal, as described in Chapter 4, the intellectuals threatened to expropriate religious 28 | Intellectuals and Democratization buildings when they came to power in the 1910s. In some countries, however, intellectuals considered the religious scholars too powerful to be threatened openly. In Iran and the Ottoman Empire, lay intellectuals attempted to forge an alliance with progressive religious scholars. ”7 The second boundary was set by the intellectuals’ definition of themselves as outside the realm of capitalist production.
The first was a fixation on mass education, by which the intellectuals meant mass acceptance of expert knowledge. “Education is the basis of civilized progress,” wrote Ahmet Riza. ” Now that “the level of ability of the various classes of my people [has] been raised, thanks to the spread of instruction, I . . ” Even atheist or deist intellectuals went to considerable trouble to present Islamic arguments for their cause. ” The quotation was a prodemocracy interpretation introduced into modernist Islamic discourse by publicist Namik Kemal a generation earlier.
The details of these revolutionary transitions generally bear out the observation I made in my last book, The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran Introduction | 23 (2004), that in moments of revolutionary confusion, people replace their old routines with new paths based largely on estimates of what they think others will do. They join the revolution when they think others are going to join, and if enough people make the same calculation at the same time, revolution occurs. If not enough people do so, then the revolutionary movement fizzles.