By Bolton Charles Knowles 1867-1950
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Extra resources for American Library History
The Waves of Democratization Political systems with democratic characteristics are not limited to modern times. In many areas of the world tribal chiefs were elected for centuries and in some places democratic political institutions long existed at the village level. In addition, the concept of democracy was, of course, familiar to the ancient world. The democracy of the Greeks and the Romans, however, excluded women, slaves, and often other categories of people, such as resident aliens, from participation in political life.
The current book focuses on democratization. I have written it because I believe that democracy is good in itself and that, as I argue in chapter 1, it has positive consequences for individual freedom, domestic stability, international peace, and the United States of America. As in Political Order, I have attempted to keep my analysis as detached as possible from my values; at least that is the case in 95 percent of this book. It did seem to me, however, that it might be useful occasionally to spell out explicitly the implications of my analysis for people wishing to democratize their societies.
By 1990, in contrast, close to 39 percent of humankind lived in free societies. In one sense, the democratization waves and the reverse waves suggest a two-step-forward, one-step-backward pattern. To date each reverse wave has eliminated some but not all of the transitions to democracy of the previous democratization wave. 1, however, suggests a less optimistic prognosis for democracy. States come in many shapes and sizes, and in the postWorld War II decades the number of independent states doubled.
American Library History by Bolton Charles Knowles 1867-1950