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Which 11 countries were democratic in 1941?

Which 11 countries were democratic in 1941?



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Relistening to the BBC's History of Democracy broadcast in July 2011. The historian on the show talked about the low point for democracies being 1941 when there were just 11 parliamentary democracies remaining across the globe.

So, there was Britain and the US of course. Then there were the European neutrals, Ireland, Switzerland and Sweden. That's five. The commonwealth democracies: Canada, Australia and NZ. Let's add South Africa too (they had a parliament).

Maybe Finland (even though allied to the Nazis, possibly still democratic?) Ten?

So, I only make that nine or ten. Which country or countries am I missing?


Since Samuel Huntington is quite popular in political science (which I guess the BBC derived its source from), I suspect that this group of 11 democracies is based on Huntington's thesis of Third Wave Democracy.

According to Huntington, the globe experienced three waves of democracy, starting from USA in 1828. For this first wave, Huntington used Jonathan Sunshine's minimal qualification for democratic state: (1) 50 percent of adult males are eligible to vote; and (2) a responsible executive who either must maintain majority support in an elected parliament or is chosen in periodic popular elections.

At the peak of first wave democracy, there were 29 democratic states in the world. Then Italy rose to fascism in 1922, and the reversal of first wave democracy began.

The first wave had its worst year in 1942, where there were only a few states which remained democratic:

  1. Finland
  2. Iceland
  3. Ireland
  4. Sweden
  5. Switzerland
  6. United Kingdom
  7. Australia
  8. Canada
  9. New Zealand
  10. United States
  11. Chile

You can read more about this on Huntington's Third Wave Democracy, or Roland Rich's introduction on his Pacific Asia in Quest of Democracy.


Note: This is a partial and indicative list. I am looking for more information to improve it.

Update 2: It seems there is some controversy over the definition of democracy itself. Until further clarity it would be difficult to populate any such list.


Parliamentary Democray

  • Switzerland (1802)
  • Haiti (1860)
  • Finland (1919)
  • Turkey (1923)
  • Ireland (1936)
  • Lebanon (1941)

That makes it - 6

Presidential System of Democracy

  • USA (1776)
  • Mexico (1917) (Thanks to @World Engineer)

Constitutional Monarchy

  • UK (1688) (I am not sure of its inclusion, because if this is included then a significant region of western Europe may also be included so also Australia and New Zealand, which will take the number way beyond 11)
  • Canada (1867) Independence through British North American Act 1867.

That makes it - 10


Depends on how you define "democracy". Do you mean "one person, one vote" (universal adult suffrage)? Up until the early years of the 20th century women couldn't vote.

One could claim the USA didn't have full adult suffrage until after the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Likewise South Africa wasn't exactly a paragon of "one person, one vote" until the end of apartheid.

If however you define "democracy" as "anything that's not fascist or communist", then the situation changes. (Victors writing the history books and all that)


Chile has a long tradition of democracy and by 1941 already had 100 years of democracy, albeit with brief interludes. In 1941 Pedro Aguirre Cerda was president of Chile, elected in 1938. He died at the end of 1941 and was replaced by Jeónimo Mendez until April 1942, when Juan Antonio Rios won the election. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_Chile


Ireland (1936)… I don't want to open a can of worms but there are good arguments for that to read any of the following

Parliamentary Democracy: Ireland (1922) Ireland (1937) (One could also argue that it transitioned in 1949)

Constitutional Monarchy: Ireland (1922) Ireland (1936) Ireland (1937)

It depends how you define constitutional monarchy. Ireland was definitely one in 1922 (or at least was the same as U.K. and Canada). In 1936 a new constitution was established, which transferred some powers of the King (delegated to the Governor General) to the new President (effective 1937) However the King remained head of state officially (particularly when it came to foreign affairs and diplomatic relations) and Ireland remained in the Commonwealth.

The Republic of Ireland Act 1948 made Ireland a republic and removed any remaining powers of the King (automatically leaving the Commonwealth). At that point, Ireland was (and remains) a parliamentary democracy with an elected President as head of state (similar to Italy and Germany today) and with the president as the guardian of the constitution.


Historical Events in 1941

    27th Rose Bowl: #2 Stanford beats #7 Nebraska, 21-13 7th Sugar Bowl: #4 Boston College beats #6 Tennessee, 19-13 7th Orange Bowl: #9 Mississippi State beats #13 Georgetown, 14-7 World War II: German bombing severely damages the Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, Wales World War II: The U.S. government announces its Liberty ship program to build freighters in support of the war effort. Canada & US acquire air bases in Newfoundland (99 yr lease) Italian counter offensive in Albania Sergei Rachmaninov's "Symphonic Dances" premieres in Philadelphia American National Collegiate Football Rules Committee announces a new rule permitting free substitution of players Resistance fighters counter d'Estienne d'Orves/Jan Doornik, 1st meet British Australian troops conquer Bardia, Libya

Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms

Jan 6 US President Franklin Roosevelt makes his "Four Freedoms" speech (freedom of speech and worship freedom from want and fear) during his US State of Union address

Event of Interest

Jan 7 Chinese Kuomintang forces under orders from Chiang Kai-shek open fire on the surrounded Communist New Fourth Army at Maolin, Anhui Province, killing or capturing 7,000 troops


The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom World War II and Post War (1940&ndash1949)

In the spring of 1941, hundreds of thousands of whites were employed in industries mobilizing for the possible entry of the United States into World War II. Black labor leader A. Philip Randolph threatened a mass march on Washington unless blacks were hired equally for those jobs, stating: “It is time to wake up Washington as it has never been shocked before.” To prevent the march, which many feared would result in race riots and international embarrassment, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order that banned discrimination in defense industries. His Executive Order 8802, June 25, 1941, established the Committee on Fair Employment Practices (known as FEPC) to receive and investigate discrimination complaints and take appropriate steps to redress valid grievances.

The fight against fascism during World War II brought to the forefront the contradictions between America’s ideals of democracy and equality and its treatment of racial minorities. Throughout the war, the NAACP and other civil rights organizations worked to end discrimination in the armed forces. During this time African Americans became more assertive in their demands for equality in civilian life as well. The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), an interracial organization founded to seek change through nonviolent means, conducted the first sit-ins to challenge the South’s Jim Crow laws.

After the war, and with the onset of the Cold War, segregation and inequality within the U.S. were brought into sharp focus on the world stage, prompting federal and judicial action. President Harry Truman appointed a special committee to investigate racial conditions that detailed a civil rights agenda in its report, To Secure These Rights. Truman later issued an executive order that abolished racial discrimination in the military. The NAACP won important Supreme Court victories and mobilized a mass lobby of organizations to press Congress to pass civil rights legislation. African Americans achieved notable firsts&mdashJackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball, and civil rights activists Bayard Rustin and George Houser led black and white riders on a “Journey of Reconciliation” to challenge racial segregation on interstate buses.

A Mass Protest March

In this letter, labor leader A. Philip Randolph suggests to Walter White “a mass March on Washington” by thousands of African Americans to protest discrimination in defense industries and the armed forces. On June 18, 1941, A. Philip Randolph and Walter White met at the White House with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of War Robert Paterson, and other government officials. On June 25, the threat of the march prompted President Roosevelt to sign Executive Order 8802, which banned discrimination in defense industries receiving government contracts. The Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) was established to investigate and monitor hiring.

A. Philip Randolph to NAACP Secretary Walter White, March 18, 1941. Facsimile. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (050.01.00) Courtesy of the NAACP

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A. Philip Randolph Challenges President Franklin Roosevelt

Civil rights leader and labor activist A. Philip Randolph (1889&ndash1979) relates an Oval Office encounter in 1941 with President Franklin D. Roosevelt that resulted in Roosevelt issuing Executive Order 8802, which banned discrimination in government and defense industry employment. The excerpt was included in A. Philip Randolph’s 50th Anniversary, a satellite news feed produced by the Labor Institute of Public Affairs (AFL-CIO), ca. 1991.

Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Courtesy of American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization

Executive Order 8802

As a lawyer in the Roosevelt administration, Joseph Rauh worked with A. Philip Randolph in drafting Executive Order 8802, the first presidential directive on civil rights since Reconstruction. This advertisement cites the section of the order banning discrimination. Rauh added the words “national origin” to include ethnicity in the list of attributes. It was the first time the concept appeared in American public law. While engaged in private practice, Rauh extensively volunteered his service in drafting civil rights bills.

National Refugee Service, Inc., Employment Division. Executive Order 8802. Advertisement, 1941. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (051.00.00) Courtesy of the NAACP

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Japanese American Kenje Ogata Fighting during War World II

Kenje Ogata (1919−2012) felt called to serve his country after the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and enlisted in the Army the very next day. Despite being a trained pilot, he was denied entry into the Army Air Corps because he was Japanese American. After two years of fighting for a chance to join the corps, Ogata finally gained a spot on a flight crew&mdashnot as a pilot, but as a turret gunner. His Library of Congress Veterans History Project collection includes this poignant letter to his wife describing his passion for service as well as his love for her.

“I don’t know if you can fully appreciate how I feel after 2 years of fighting to get an even break, trying to get an equal chance&mdashwithout being judged purely from looks. A flood of memories come whirling back&mdashto the time when I enlisted, when I thought of going to fight for my country&mdashbeing turned down for the Air Corps because of my racial origin&mdashthat awful nauseated feeling in my whole soul at the impact of that refusal.”

Lt. Col. Knapp awarding Air Medal to Kenje Ogata. Photograph, ca. 1944. Kenje Ogata Collection, Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress (052.01.00)

Kenje Ogata to Wilma Ogata, February 25, 1944. Holograph letter. Kenje Ogata Collection, Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress (052.02.00)

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NAACP Washington Bureau Opens

The NAACP opened a Washington Bureau in 1942 to serve as a legislative arm and national policy office. Walter White was the bureau’s first director. The NAACP Washington Bureau assumed responsibility for tracking and influencing federal legislation, monitoring government agencies administering federal regulations and programs, testifying before Congress, and working with other organizations with similar objectives.

Purpose of the NAACP Washington Bureau. Memorandum, 1942. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (053.00.00)

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James Farmer Founder of the Congress of Racial Equality

James L. Farmer (1920&ndash1999), civil rights activist and educator, grew up in Texas. His father was one of the first African Americans to earn a Ph.D. and his mother was a teacher. He graduated from Wiley College at the age of eighteen and studied for the ministry at Howard University. While at Howard, he became a part-time secretary for the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). In 1942, Farmer cofounded the FOR-affiliated Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and, in 1943, used nonviolent direct action tactics to integrate a Chicago restaurant.

Farmer later worked in a drive to organize Southern unions for FOR and as the NAACP’s program director under Roy Wilkins. In 1961, Farmer became CORE’s first national director and initiated Freedom Rides into the Deep South. As director, he organized new branches and led voter registration projects and desegregation protests throughout the country. Farmer left CORE in 1966 to direct a national adult literacy project.

Walter Albertin. James Farmer. Photograph, 1963. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (055.00.00)

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The Congress of Racial Equality

The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was organized by a group of students on the campus of the University of Chicago in 1942. Many of the students were members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), a Christian pacifist organization. CORE experimented with nonviolent direct action methods to tackle racial problems. In 1943, CORE conducted a sit-in at a Chicago restaurant and, in 1947, launched the first Freedom Ride into the South. From 1949 to 1953, CORE members successfully used picket lines and sit-ins to break segregation at lunch counters in St. Louis. In 1961, CORE again set out on Freedom Rides. After launching the Voter Education Project (VEP) in 1962, CORE’s focus shifted to voter registration.

Congress of Racial Equality. CORE Action Discipline, n.d. Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (054.00.00)

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The Fair Employment Practices Committee

The Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) was authorized to investigate complaints of job discrimination based on race, color, creed, or national origin in defense industries receiving government contracts and to require antidiscrimination clauses in defense contracts. The FEPC held hearings but lacked punitive powers. In 1943 President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9346 establishing a new FEPC in the Office of Emergency Management. The 1943 FEPC’s jurisdiction included all government contractors. Its authority was expected to encompass discrimination in labor union membership and employment. The FEPC expired in 1946.

The Committee on Fair Employment Practices. FEPC: How It Operates. The Committee on Fair Employment Practices, 1944. Pamphlet. Washington D.C.: A. Philip Randolph Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (056.00.00)

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National Council for a Permanent FEPC

Anna Arnold Hedgeman was the executive secretary of the National Council for a Permanent FEPC, established by A. Philip Randolph in 1943. With the end of the war, a conference was called to plan a nationwide strategy for bringing a permanent FEPC bill to the floor of Congress quickly. The Senate, dominated by Southern Democrats, successfully filibustered the bill in 1946. Subsequent bills to establish the FEPC as a permanent federal agency were blocked by the Senate in 1950 and 1952. In altered form, the idea of an FEPC evolved into the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

National Council for a Permanent FEPC. Digest of Findings from a Working Conference of Local Councils held September 12 and 13, 1945, in Washington, D.C., by the National Council for a Permanent FEPC. Page 2. Anna Arnold Hedgeman Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (058.00.00)

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“Saving the Race”

The Texas Democratic Party contended that a political party was a private association that could freely select its membership. This strategy was upheld by the Supreme Court in Grovey v. Townsend (1935). In United States v. Classic (1941), however, the court conversely held that a primary was an integral part of the electoral process, not a private activity. Inspired by this decision, Thurgood Marshall decided to launch a new attack on the white primary. His client, Lonnie E. Smith, was a black dentist from Houston who had been denied the right to vote in the 1940 primary by Judge S. E. Allwright. On April 3, 1944, in Smith v. Allwright, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Smith declaring the white primary void as a violation of the Fifteenth Amendment.

Thurgood Marshall’s “Saving the Race” Memorandum to the NAACP legal staff, November 17, 1941. Memorandum. Page 2. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (059.00.00)

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African American Ellis Ross Fighting during World War II

Serving with the Quartermaster Corps in the European and North African Theaters in World War II, Master Sergeant Ellis Ross (1910−1996) used his camera to document the sights and sounds of his military experience. His Library of Congress Veterans History Project collection contains 278 original photographs here, he poses with comrades in various locations in Austria, Italy, and France.

Ellis Ross. Snapshot photographs, ca. 1944−1945. Ellis Ross Collection, Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress (061.01.00, 061.02.00, 061.03.00)

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Tuskegee Airman Lee Archer Interviewed by Camille O. Cosby in 2002

Tuskegee Airman Lee Archer (1919&ndash2010) recalls an army study that tried to prove African Americans could not be pilots during World War II in an interview conducted by Camille O. Cosby (b. 1945) for the National Visionary Leadership Project in 2002.

National Visionary Leadership Collection (AFC 2004/007), American Folklife Center

U.S. Senator Edward Brooke (R-MA) Interviewed by Renee Poussaint in 2001

U.S. Senator Edward Brooke (1919&ndash2015) (R-MA) explains the segregation he faced in the army during World War II in an interview conducted by Renee Poussaint for the National Visionary Leadership Project in 2001.

National Visionary Leadership Collection (AFC 2004/007), American Folklife Center

Jackie Robinson Breaking the “Color Line”

When Jackie Robinson (1919&ndash1972) began his rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, he became the first African American to play major league baseball in the twentieth century, breaking down the “color line” in effect since 1876. In this letter to Ralph Norton, a fellow alumnus of Pasadena Junior College, Robinson reports on his historic debut, the appointment of the Dodgers’ manager, and the welfare of his wife and infant son.

“Well Ralph outside of baseball everything is O.K. My wife and baby are fine and we now have an apartment even though we have to share it with the owner. Our new manager is really a contrast to Leo Durocher. He doesn’t have much to say but he knows baseball. Well Ralph I hope to see you for a while in St. Louis. It’s pretty tough getting away from the mobs at the park but I hope to see you soon. Sincerely, Jack Robinson”

Jackie Robinson to Ralph Norton, May 5, 1947. Autograph letter. Page 2. Jackie Robinson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (063.00.00)

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Jackie Robinson’s First Year in Major League Baseball

In 1947, Jackie Robinson (1919&ndash1972) became the first African American to play baseball on a major league team in the modern era. After the season ended, he answered reporters' questions in this interview from the Library’s Bob Wolff Collection.

Courtesy of Bob Wolff Collection, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division

“Major Leaguer: Jackie Robinson of the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers”

The Harlem-based New York Amsterdam News was an influential African American newspaper that provided some of the best coverage of civil rights after World War II. Jackie Robinson’s career was widely covered by the newspaper. On April 15, 1947, he debuted as the first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers and as major league baseball’s first modern-era African American player. The landmark event was captured in this exuberant front page photograph.

New York Amsterdam News, National Edition, April 19, 1947. Newspaper Section, Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (064.00.00)

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“Rookie of the Year”

The Harlem-based New York Amsterdam News was an influential African American newspaper that provided some of the best coverage of civil rights after World War II. Jackie Robinson’s career was widely covered by the newspaper. September 23, 1947 was Jackie Robinson Day, celebrating his selection as Rookie of the Year by Major League Baseball.

New York Amsterdam News, National Edition, September 27, 1947. Page 2. Newspaper Section, Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (64.01.00)

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Lawyer and U.S. Assistant Attorney General Roger Wilkins Interviewed by Renee Poussaint in 2007

Lawyer and U.S. Assistant Attorney General Roger Wilkins (b. 1932) describes his hero, Jackie Robinson, in an interview conducted by Renee Poussaint for the National Visionary Leadership Project in 2007.

National Visionary Leadership Collection (AFC 2004/007), American Folklife Center

Morgan v. Virginia, 1946

On July 16, 1944, Irene Morgan refused to surrender her seat to white passengers and move to the back of a Greyhound bus while traveling from Gloucester County, Virginia, to Baltimore, Maryland. She was arrested and convicted in the Virginia courts for violating a state statute requiring racial segregation on all public vehicles. The NAACP appealed her case to the Supreme Court. On June 3, 1946, by a 6-to-1 decision, the court ruled that the Virginia statute was unconstitutional when applied to passengers on interstate motor vehicles because it put an undue burden on interstate commerce.

NAACP Secretary Walter White soliciting funds to support the litigation of Morgan v. Virginia, May 20, 1946. Typed letter. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (062.00.00)

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Activist and Organizer Bayard Rustin

Born into a Quaker family in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Bayard Rustin served as race relations secretary of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) from 1941 to 1953. During that same period he was a youth organizer for A. Philip Randolph’s proposed 1941 March on Washington and became the first field secretary of CORE. He planned and participated in the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, the first Freedom Ride into the South. Rustin was an advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr., and an organizer of the Montgomery bus boycott and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He also organized the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage, the 1958 and 1959 Youth Marches for Integrated Schools, and the 1963 March on Washington.

Bayard Rustin (1912&ndash1987). Photograph, ca. 1950. Bayard Rustin Papers, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (066.00.00) Courtesy of Walter Naegle

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The Journey of Reconciliation

To test the Supreme Court’s decision in Morgan v. Virginia banning segregation in interstate travel, Bayard Rustin of FOR and George Houser of CORE planned and participated in the Journey of Reconciliation. Sixteen black and white men left Washington, D.C., on a bus and train trip through the upper South. In North Carolina, three people, including Rustin, were arrested and sentenced to serve on a prison chain gang. Rustin wrote an article about his experience for the New York Post, which led to the abolition of chain gangs in North Carolina. The Journey of Reconciliation served as a model for the Montgomery bus boycott and the Freedom Rides of 1961.

George M. Houser and Bayard Rustin. Journey of Reconciliation. Typescript, 1948. Page 2. Bayard Rustin Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (067.00.00) Courtesy of Walter Naegle

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To Secure These Rights

On December 5, 1946, President Truman signed Executive Order 9808 creating the President’s Committee on Civil Rights. The fifteen-member committee’s task was to determine how current law enforcement and federal, state, and local governments could be “improved to safeguard the civil rights of people.” The committee released its report, To Secure These Rights, on October 29, 1947. Among the recommendations were an antilynching law, the abolition of the poll tax, a permanent Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC), the desegregation of the military, and laws to enforce fair housing, education, health care, and employment.

To Secure These Rights: A Brief Summary of the Report of the President’s Committee on Civil Rights. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1947. Pamphlet. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (284.00.00)

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Shelley v. Kraemer, 1948

For more than twenty years the NAACP initiated lawsuits to nullify restrictive covenants with little success. In 1945, J. D. Shelley, a black man, purchased a home in St. Louis covered by a restrictive covenant. Louis Kraemer, a white neighbor, obtained an injunction in the Missouri Supreme Court to bar occupancy. The NAACP appealed Shelley v. Kraemer along with similar cases from Detroit and Washington, D.C., to the U.S. Supreme Court. On May 3, 1948, the court affirmed in Shelley v. Kraemer the right of individuals to make restrictive covenants, but held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause prohibited state courts from enforcing the contracts.

George L. Vaughn to Thurgood Marshall concerning Shelley v. Kraemer, January 13, 1947. Typed letter. Page 2. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (070.00.00)

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Democratic Platform, 1948

Minneapolis mayor Hubert Humphrey (1911&ndash1978) urged the Democratic Party to “get out of the shadow of states’ rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights” in a speech before the 1948 Democratic National Convention. He joined Joseph Rauh in drafting a civil rights plank for the party platform. When President Truman inserted the plank, Southern delegates walked out and formed the States’ Rights or “Dixiecrat” Party with Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina as its candidate. In November Truman carried seventy-seven percent of the black vote, helping him to win reelection.

Democratic Platform, 1948. Pamphlet. Joseph Rauh Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (071.00.00)

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Executive Orders 9980 and 9981

On July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman issued two executive orders. Executive Order 9980 instituted fair employment practices in the civilian agencies of the federal government. Executive Order 9981 directed the armed forces to provide “equality of treatment and opportunity for all personnel without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin” and established a presidential committee chaired by former Solicitor General Charles Fahy to monitor compliance.

Executive Order 9980, July 26, 1948. Typed document. Page 2. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (072.00.00)

Executive Order 9981, July 26, 1948. Typed document. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (073.00.00)

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Korean War Veteran Samuel Tucker Interviewed by Bill Tressler in 2007

Korean War veteran Samuel Tucker (b. 1932) describes fighting for freedom overseas and being denied those same rights at home in an interview conducted by Bill Tressler for the Veterans History Project in 2007.

Veterans History Project Collection (AFC 2001/001), American Folklife Center

Korean War Veteran Bill Saunders Interviewed by Kieran Walsh Taylor in 2011

Korean War veteran Bill Saunders (b. 1935) discusses the blatant racial prejudice he and other comrades faced while serving the country in the armed forces in the Korean War in an interview conducted by Kieran Walsh Taylor for the Civil Rights History Project in 2011.

Civil Rights History Project Collection (AFC2010/039), American Folklife Center

Joseph L. Rauh Civil Rights Lawyer

Joseph L. Rauh (1911&ndash1992), the son of a factory owner, grew up in Cincinnati. He graduated from Harvard College and was first in his class from Harvard Law School. From 1935 to 1942, he clerked for Supreme Court Justices Benjamin Cardozo and Felix Frankfurter, his former professor, and also worked as counsel to several New Deal agencies. In 1947 he opened a law office and helped found the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA).

Walter Reuther hired Rauh as Washington counsel for the United Automobile Workers in 1948. By the mid-1950s, he was a leading civil rights attorney and political advisor. Rauh served as an NAACP board member, general counsel for the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and chairman of the ADA. He was a delegate to all the Democratic National Conventions from 1948 to 1972, and remained active in politics until his death.

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Civil Rights Map of America, 1949

This 1949 map divides the states into three major categories: states with “discrimination for race or color forbidden by law” states with “segregation of white and colored enforced by law (or permitted)” and states with “no legislation” related to civil rights. The map further describes the types of discrimination allowed in each state: “travel, hotels, resorts, theaters, public schools, state and private colleges, private and public employment, civil service, health and welfare facilities, insurance,” and “public or state-aided housing.”

The Civil Rights Map of America. Printed map. New York: Oceana Publications, 1949. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (076.00.00)

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The Founding of Leadership Conference on Civil Rights

In October 1949 the NAACP’s National Emergency Rights Committee invited sixty advocacy organizations to unite in a National Emergency Civil Rights Mobilization that would organize a conference and mass lobby for a permanent Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) and other civil rights proposals. For three days (January 15&ndash17, 1950), more than 4,000 delegates representing the NAACP, labor, religious, and civil liberties groups descended on Congress to urge passage of the bills. They also agreed to form a Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, a coalition to lobby for civil rights laws and monitor their compliance.

NAACP Acting Secretary Roy Wilkins to Officers of Branches, State Conferences, Youth Councils and College Chapters, October 21, 1949. Memorandum. Page 2. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (075.00.00)


Nazi Revolution in Germany, 1933-1939

The twin goals of racial purity and spatial expansion were the core of Hitler’s worldview, and from 1933 onward they would combine to form the driving force behind his foreign and domestic policy. At first, the Nazis reserved their harshest persecution for political opponents such as Communists or Social Democrats. The first official concentration camp opened at Dachau (near Munich) in March 1933, and many of the first prisoners sent there were Communists.

Like the network of concentration camps that followed, becoming the killing grounds of the Holocaust, Dachau was under the control of Heinrich Himmler, head of the elite Nazi guard, the Schutzstaffel (SS), and later chief of the German police. By July 1933, German concentration camps (Konzentrationslager in German, or KZ) held some 27,000 people in “protective custody.” Huge Nazi rallies and symbolic acts such as the public burning of books by Jews, Communists, liberals and foreigners helped drive home the desired message of party strength.

In 1933, Jews in Germany numbered around 525,000, or only 1 percent of the total German population. During the next six years, Nazis undertook an 𠇊ryanization” of Germany, dismissing non-Aryans from civil service, liquidating Jewish-owned businesses and stripping Jewish lawyers and doctors of their clients. Under the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, anyone with three or four Jewish grandparents was considered a Jew, while those with two Jewish grandparents were designated Mischlinge (half-breeds).

Under the Nuremberg Laws, Jews became routine targets for stigmatization and persecution. This culminated in Kristallnacht, or the “night of broken glass” in November 1938, when German synagogues were burned and windows in Jewish shops were smashed some 100 Jews were killed and thousands more arrested. From 1933 to 1939, hundreds of thousands of Jews who were able to leave Germany did, while those who remained lived in a constant state of uncertainty and fear.


Axis initiative and Allied reaction

By the early part of 1939 the German dictator Adolf Hitler had become determined to invade and occupy Poland. Poland, for its part, had guarantees of French and British military support should it be attacked by Germany. Hitler intended to invade Poland anyway, but first he had to neutralize the possibility that the Soviet Union would resist the invasion of its western neighbour. Secret negotiations led on August 23–24 to the signing of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact in Moscow. In a secret protocol of this pact, the Germans and the Soviets agreed that Poland should be divided between them, with the western third of the country going to Germany and the eastern two-thirds being taken over by the U.S.S.R.

Having achieved this cynical agreement, the other provisions of which stupefied Europe even without divulgence of the secret protocol, Hitler thought that Germany could attack Poland with no danger of Soviet or British intervention and gave orders for the invasion to start on August 26. News of the signing, on August 25, of a formal treaty of mutual assistance between Great Britain and Poland (to supersede a previous though temporary agreement) caused him to postpone the start of hostilities for a few days. He was still determined, however, to ignore the diplomatic efforts of the western powers to restrain him. Finally, at 12:40 pm on August 31, 1939, Hitler ordered hostilities against Poland to start at 4:45 the next morning. The invasion began as ordered. In response, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3, at 11:00 am and at 5:00 pm , respectively. World War II had begun.


WWII Multimedia Timeline: 1939-1941

September 3: British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announces British declaration of war against Germany. France, Australia, and New Zealand also declare war on Germany.

September 5: The U.S. proclaims neutrality.

September 14: Canada declares war on Germany Battle of the Atlantic begins.

October 1939: Hitler orders "Aktion T 4," the euthanasia of the sick and disabled ("life unworthy of life").

October 4, 1939: Radio News: Awaiting Hitler's speech to the Reichstag.

October 6, 1939: German and Soviet forces gain full control over Poland & begin to divide the country between them.

November 8, 1939: An assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler fails.

November 30, 1939: The Soviet Union attacks Finland.

British subject William Joyce made pro-German wartime broadcasts from Berlin as Lord Haw Haw
February 27, 1940 broadcast

March 12, 1940: Finland signs a peace treaty with the Soviet Union.

April 9, 1940: Radio News: Germany invades Denmark and Norway.

May 15, 1940: The Netherlands surrenders to Germany. There is a growing realization that America is not properly prepared to defend this hemisphere .

June 4, 1940: Speech: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addresses the House of Commons on the Dunkirk disaster.

June 10, 1940: Norway surrenders to Germany. Italy declares war on England and France.
Speech: President Roosevelt Address at the University of Virginia.

June 14, 1940: German forces enter Paris.

June 16, 1940: French WWI hero Marshal Philippe P??tain is legally voted in as French Head of State by the French Parliament.

June 23, 1940: Hitler tours Paris.

June 24-June 28, 1940: The Republican National Convention in Philadelphia is held. New York businessman Wendell Willkie is nominated.

July 2, 1940: The Export Control Act is created by Presidential proclomation. The President may, whenever he deems "necessary in the interest of national defense," prohibit or curtail the exporting of military equipment, munitions, tools, and materials. The Act is designed to curtail Japan's imperial notions.

July 3, 1940: British attack and damage naval vessels at Oran and Mers-el-Kebir, and seize French men-of-war in British ports.
Radio News: German planes launch the worst air raids yet on England. German police authorities in Amsterdam have ordered all Jews there to register within a few days. Japanese army leaders have presented to the cabinet a formal statement disagreeing with Japan's new foreign policy. The cabinet statement was criticized as being too mild and too conciliatory toward the Democratic nations.

Radio News: Fulton Lewis on President Roosevelt's press conference.

July 5, 1940: President Roosevelt invokes the Export Control Act against Japan, prohibiting the exportation of strategic minerals and chemicals, aircraft engines, parts, and equipment. Vichy France breaks off diplomatic relations with Great Britain.

July 9, 1940: Radio News: The French Parliament will dissolve and France will become a totalitarian state. Henry Stimson in confirmed by the Senate to be Secretary of War.

July 15-July 18, 1940: The Democratic National Convention is held in Chicago. Franklin D. Roosevelt wins the nomination for a third term on the first ballot. 7/16: Radio News: Elmer Davis.

July 19, 1940: President Roosevelt signs the Naval Expansion Act providing for 1,325,000 tons of combatant shipping, 100,000 tons of auxiliary shipping, and 15,000 aircraft. The act will expand the U.S. Fleet by 70 percent.

July 21, 1940: Following the Soviet invasion in June, the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia had rigged elections in which only Soviet candidates were allowed to run. The new pro-Soviet governments join the Soviet Union.

July 26, 1940: President Roosevelt invokes the Export Control Act against Japan, prohibiting the exportation of aviation gasoline and certain classes of scrap iron steel.

August 2, 1940: Media reports indicate that Japan is growing bolder. The Japanese press is turning sharply against America. Yet no one believes Japan's policies will lead to war with America.

August 3-19, 1940: The Italians occupy British Somaliland in East Africa.

August 16, 1940: US Marines take control of some parts of Shanghai Japan makes demands to U.S. regarding Shanghai.

August 17, 1940: Germany declares a blockade of the British Isles.

August 23-24, 1940: First German air raids on Central London.

August 27, 1940: President Roosevelt signs a joint resolution authorizing him to call Army Reserve components and National Guard into Federal service for 1 year.

August 30, 1940: Vichy France consents to Japanese military occupation of ports, airfields, and railroads in northern Indochina.

August 31, 1940: President Roosevelt calls 60,000 National Guardsmen into Federal service.


6. Belgium

German soldiers are welcomed into Eupen-Malmedy, a German border region annexed by Belgium in the Treaty of Versailles (1919). By Bundesarchiv – CC BY-SA 3.0 de

Since the First World War, France had built a line of tough concrete defences along its border with Germany – the Maginot Line. Attacking these head on would have cost Hitler dearly and slowed down the fast-moving blitzkrieg attacks that were Germany’s specialty.

However, France had not extended the Maginot line along the Belgian border, for fear of offending her neighbours. So Hitler invaded Belgium in order to outflank the French defences and allow a swift invasion of France.


Invasion of the Soviet Union, 1941

For the campaign against the Soviet Union, the Germans allotted almost 150 divisions containing a total of about 3,000,000 men. Among these were 19 panzer divisions, and in total the “Barbarossa” force had about 3,000 tanks, 7,000 artillery pieces, and 2,500 aircraft. It was in effect the largest and most powerful invasion force in human history. The Germans’ strength was further increased by more than 30 divisions of Finnish and Romanian troops.

The Soviet Union had twice or perhaps three times the number of both tanks and aircraft as the Germans had, but their aircraft were mostly obsolete. The Soviet tanks were about equal to those of the Germans, however. A greater hindrance to Hitler’s chances of victory was that the German intelligence service underestimated the troop reserves that Stalin could bring up from the depths of the U.S.S.R. The Germans correctly estimated that there were about 150 divisions in the western parts of the U.S.S.R. and reckoned that 50 more might be produced. But the Soviets actually brought up more than 200 fresh divisions by the middle of August, making a total of 360. The consequence was that, though the Germans succeeded in shattering the original Soviet armies by superior technique, they then found their path blocked by fresh ones. The effects of the miscalculations were increased because much of August was wasted while Hitler and his advisers were having long arguments as to what course they should follow after their initial victories. Another factor in the Germans’ calculations was purely political, though no less mistaken they believed that within three to six months of their invasion, the Soviet regime would collapse from lack of domestic support.

The German attack on the Soviet Union was to have an immediate and highly salutary effect on Great Britain’s situation. Until then Britain’s prospects had appeared hopeless in the eyes of most people except the British themselves and the government’s decision to continue the struggle after the fall of France and to reject Hitler’s peace offers could spell only slow suicide unless relief came from either the United States or the U.S.S.R. Hitler brought Great Britain relief by turning eastward and invading the Soviet Union just as the strain on Britain was becoming severe.

On June 22, 1941, the German offensive was launched by three army groups under the same commanders as in the invasion of France in 1940: on the left (north), an army group under Leeb struck from East Prussia into the Baltic states toward Leningrad on the right (south), another army group, under Rundstedt, with an armoured group under Kleist, advanced from southern Poland into the Ukraine against Kiev, whence it was to wheel southeastward to the coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and in the centre, north of the Pripet Marshes, the main blow was delivered by Bock’s army group, with one armoured group under Guderian and another under Hoth, thrusting northeastward at Smolensk and Moscow.

The invasion along a 1,800-mile front took the Soviet leadership completely by surprise and caught the Red Army in an unprepared and partially demobilized state. Piercing the northern border, Guderian’s tanks raced 50 miles beyond the frontier on the first day of the invasion and were at Minsk, 200 miles beyond it, on June 27. At Minsk they converged with Hoth’s tanks, which had pierced the opposite flank, but Bock’s infantry could not follow up quickly enough to complete the encirclement of the Soviet troops in the area though 300,000 prisoners were taken in the salient, a large part of the Soviet forces was able to escape to the east. The Soviet armies were clumsily handled and frittered their tank strength away in piecemeal action like that of the French in 1940. But the isolated Soviet troops fought with a stubbornness that the French had not shown, and their resistance imposed a brake by continuing to block road centres long after the German tide had swept past them. The result was similar when Guderian’s tanks, having crossed the Dnieper River on July 10, entered Smolensk six days later and converged with Hoth’s thrust through Vitebsk: 200,000 Soviet prisoners were taken but some Soviet forces were withdrawn from the trap to the line of the Desna, and a large pocket of resistance lay behind the German armour. By mid-July, moreover, a series of rainstorms were turning the sandy Russian roads into clogging mud, over which the wheeled vehicles of the German transport behind the tanks could make only very slow progress. The Germans also began to be hampered by the scorched earth policy adopted by the retreating Soviets. The Soviet troops burned crops, destroyed bridges, and evacuated factories in the face of the German advance. Entire steel and munitions plants in the westernmost portions of the U.S.S.R. were dismantled and shipped by rail to the east, where they were put back into production. The Soviets also destroyed or evacuated most of their rolling stock (railroad cars), thus depriving the Germans of the use of the Soviet rail system, since Soviet railroad track was of a different gauge than German track and German rolling stock was consequently useless on it.

Nevertheless, by mid-July the Germans had advanced more than 400 miles and were only 200 miles from Moscow. They still had ample time to make decisive gains before the onset of winter, but they lost the opportunity, primarily because of arguments throughout August between Hitler and the OKH about the destination of the next thrusts thence: whereas the OKH proposed Moscow as the main objective, Hitler wanted the major effort to be directed southeastward, through the Ukraine and the Donets Basin into the Caucasus, with a minor swing northwestward against Leningrad (to converge with Leeb’s army group).

In the Ukraine, meanwhile, Rundstedt and Kleist had made short work of the foremost Soviet defenses, stronger though the latter had been. A new Soviet front south of Kiev was broken by the end of July and in the next fortnight the Germans swept down to the Black Sea mouths of the Bug and Dnieper rivers—to converge with Romania’s simultaneous offensive. Kleist was then ordered to wheel northward from the Ukraine, Guderian southward from Smolensk, for a pincer movement around the Soviet forces behind Kiev and by the end of September the claws of the encircling movement had caught 520,000 men. These gigantic encirclements were partly the fault of inept Soviet high commanders and partly the fault of Stalin, who as commander in chief stubbornly overrode the advice of his generals and ordered his armies to stand and fight instead of allowing them to retreat eastward and regroup in preparation for a counteroffensive.

Winter was approaching, and Hitler stopped Leeb’s northward drive on the outskirts of Leningrad. He ordered Rundstedt and Kleist, however, to press on from the Dnieper toward the Don and the Caucasus and Bock was to resume the advance on Moscow.

Bock’s renewed advance on Moscow began on October 2, 1941. Its prospects looked bright when Bock’s armies brought off a great encirclement around Vyazma, where 600,000 more Soviet troops were captured. That left the Germans momentarily with an almost clear path to Moscow. But the Vyazma battle had not been completed until late October the German troops were tired, the country became a morass as the weather got worse, and fresh Soviet forces appeared in the path as they plodded slowly forward. Some of the German generals wanted to break off the offensive and to take up a suitable winter line. But Bock wanted to press on, believing that the Soviets were on the verge of collapse, while Brauchitsch and Halder tended to agree with his view. As that also accorded with Hitler’s desire, he made no objection. The temptation of Moscow, now so close in front of their eyes, was too great for any of the topmost leaders to resist. On December 2 a further effort was launched, and some German detachments penetrated into the suburbs of Moscow but the advance as a whole was held up in the forests covering the capital. The stemming of this last phase of the great German offensive was partly due to the effects of the Russian winter, whose subzero temperatures were the most severe in several decades. In October and November a wave of frostbite cases had decimated the ill-clad German troops, for whom provisions of winter clothing had not been made, while the icy cold paralyzed the Germans’ mechanized transport, tanks, artillery, and aircraft. The Soviets, by contrast, were well clad and tended to fight more effectively in winter than did the Germans. By this time German casualties had mounted to levels that were unheard of in the campaigns against France and the Balkans by November the Germans had suffered about 730,000 casualties.

In the south, Kleist had already reached Rostov-on-Don, gateway to the Caucasus, on November 22, but had exhausted his tanks’ fuel in doing so. Rundstedt, seeing the place to be untenable, wanted to evacuate it but was overruled by Hitler. A Soviet counteroffensive recaptured Rostov on November 28, and Rundstedt was relieved of his command four days later. The Germans, however, managed to establish a front on the Mius River—as Rundstedt had recommended.

As the German drive against Moscow slackened, the Soviet commander on the Moscow front, General Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov, on December 6 inaugurated the first great counteroffensive with strokes against Bock’s right in the Elets (Yelets) and Tula sectors south of Moscow and against his centre in the Klin and Kalinin sectors to the northwest. Levies of Siberian troops, who were extremely effective fighters in cold weather, were used for these offensives. There followed a blow at the German left, in the Velikie Luki sector and the counteroffensive, which was sustained throughout the winter of 1941–42, soon took the form of a triple convergence toward Smolensk.

These Soviet counteroffensives tumbled back the exhausted Germans, lapped around their flanks, and produced a critical situation. From generals downward, the invaders were filled with ghastly thoughts of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. In that emergency Hitler forbade any retreat beyond the shortest possible local withdrawals. His decision exposed his troops to awful sufferings in their advanced positions facing Moscow, for they had neither the clothing nor the equipment for a Russian winter campaign but if they had once started a general retreat it might easily have degenerated into a panic-stricken rout.

The Red Army’s winter counteroffensive continued for more than three months after its December launching, though with diminishing progress. By March 1942 it had advanced more than 150 miles in some sectors. But the Germans maintained their hold on the main bastions of their winter front—such towns as Schlüsselburg, Novgorod, Rzhev, Vyazma, Bryansk, Orël (Oryol), Kursk, Kharkov, and Taganrog—despite the fact that the Soviets had often advanced many miles beyond these bastions, which were in effect cut off. In retrospect, it became clear that Hitler’s veto on any extensive withdrawal worked out in such a way as to restore the confidence of the German troops and probably saved them from a widespread collapse. Nevertheless, they paid a heavy price indirectly for that rigid defense. One immediate handicap was that the strength of the Luftwaffe was drained in the prolonged effort to maintain supplies by air, under winter conditions, to the garrisons of these more or less isolated bastion towns. The tremendous strain of that winter campaign, on armies which had not been prepared for it, had other serious effects. Before the winter ended, many German divisions were reduced to barely a third of their original strength, and they were never fully built up again.

The German plan of campaign had begun to miscarry in August 1941, and its failure was patent when the Soviet counteroffensive started. Nevertheless, having dismissed Brauchitsch and appointed himself army commander in chief in December, Hitler persisted in overruling the tentative opposition of the general staff to his strategy.


Cost of Living 1941

  • The war in Europe continues to escalate with countries joining on one side or the other , and large number of civilian casualties on both sides due to the use of bombing
  • In the North Atlantic, the German battleship Bismarck sinks the HMS Hood on May24th killing all but three crewman on what was the pride of the Royal Navy. Fairey Swordfish aircraft from the carrier HMS Ark Royal fatally cripple the German battleship Bismarck in torpedo attack. and the attack that follows by Navy Warships sinks the Bismark on May 27th
  • Germany attacks the Soviet Union on October 11th and then begins an all out offensive of Moscow.
  • Nazi Germany launches Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.
  • German Aircraft sink a Russian Hospital Ship killing 7,000
  • Germany invades Yugoslavia
  • Nazis take and occupy Athens in Greece
  • Germany gets within 50 miles of Kiev in Russia

Living conditions in democratic countries

Democratic countries are richer – the exception are fossil-fuel exporters

The chart below plots GDP per capita against the Democracy Score. Observe that autocracies (score between � and 𢄦) that do not export large quantities of fossil fuels tend to be poor. No such country enjoys GDP per capita of more than 15,000 international-$.

Click to open interactive version

People in democracies are healthier

The chart below plots each country’s child mortality against its Democracy Score, for the year 2015.

We see that few autocratic countries enjoy child mortality rates under 10 per 1,000. In contrast, democracies scoring 7 or more often enjoy child mortality rates below 10 or even 5 per 1,000.

Here we have considered only child mortality, but a broader analysis of countries’ health outcomes would also show that more generally, good health is linked with political freedom.

(Note though that the chart below does not take into account the age of each democratic regime. If there is indeed a link between good health and political freedom, we might expect that older democracies enjoy better health. This would entail a deeper analysis that we have not done here.)

Click to open interactive version

Democracies are better at protecting human rights

The right to vote and determine who holds political power is in itself a fundamental right. And this right is, by definition, upheld and protected by all democracies.

But of course, there are many other human rights. Are democracies also better at protecting these other human rights?

As noted in our entry on human rights, it is difficult to measure the degree to which human rights are protected. In our opinion, the best available measure is the Human Rights Protection Score developed by Fariss (2014) 3

The Human Rights Protection Score focuses on the protection of the physical integrity of citizens. In particular, it takes into account torture, government killing, political imprisonment, extrajudicial executions, mass killings and disappearances.

The chart below plots each country’s Human Rights Protection Score against its Democracy Score. There is a clear positive correlation. Countries with high Democracy Scores tend also to have high Human Rights Protection Scores. Indeed, except for Singapore and Oman, every country whose Human Rights Protection Score exceeds 0.5 has a Democracy Score is a democracy.

Mulligan, Gil, and Sala-i-Martin (2004) 4 investigate the link between democratic rule and the human rights protection in a sample of 121 counties controlling for other important variables. The authors find that countries that are more democratic are less likely to execute, regulate religion, or censor the press.

Click to open interactive version

Does democratization impact education?

Above, we mentioned that improved education might cause greater democratization. Now, is there also a reverse causal effect? That is, does democratization lead to improved education? Once again, this is a tricky question for social science, because we need to distinguish between the two arrows of causation.

Evidence that democratization leads to better education
Gallego (2010) 5 presents the most careful analysis that we are aware of. It presents evidence that democracy has indeed had a causal effect on primary-school enrollment. 6

Other papers deal with the issue of possible reverse causality in a simpler fashion and use lagged observations of democracy as a possible determinant for the level of education.ਏor example, Baum and Lake (2001)ਏind that democratization increased secondary-school enrollment. 7

Also, Acemoglu, Naidu, Restrepo, and Robinson (2015) 8 find that democracy is associated with an increase in secondary schooling.

We now briefly discuss several channels through which democratization might improve education:

Electoral competition in democracies increases the incentive to abolish school fees
Harding and Stasavage (2014) 9

find that democratization has a positive effect on primary education. Their explanation is that electoral competition in democracies incentivizes politicians toꂫolish primary-school fees. They argue that democratization hasਊ much smaller effect on the provision of school inputs and consequently the quality of schooling — the reason is that such actions are harder to monitor and would thus provide politicians with a smallerꂭvantage in electoral competition.

Democratization increasesꃭucational spending
Stasvage (2005) 10 finds that the 1990s shift to multiparty competition in African countries increased total educational spending as a percentage of GDP.
Ansell (2010) 11 studies 100 countries over 40 years and finds that democratization increases both total educational spending as a share of GDP and as a share of the government budget.

Evidence that democracy improves teacher–student ratios
Naidu (2011) 12 studies the effects of the 19th-century disenfranchisement of black citizens in the US South through poll taxes and literacy tests. He finds that this reversal of democracy “reduced the teacher-child ratio in black schools by 10�%, with no significant effects on white teacher-child ratios.”

Democracy improved local politics in China and lead to more educated politicians
Martinez-Bravo et al. (2012) 13

study the gradual introduction of local elections in China. In particular, they exploit the staggered timing of the introduction of village elections as a natural experiment. They 𠇏ind that elections significantly increase public goods expenditure, the increase corresponds to demand and is paralleled by an increase in public goods provision and local taxes.” This is consistent with some of the results we’ve already discussed, including increased public education in villages with more children. Overall total public goods investment increased by 27 percent – this increase in public expenditures was funded by villagersਊnd was accompanied by an increase in the local taxes paid by villagers.

The introduction of elections also reduced inequality. This was achieved partly through (a) land redistribution from਎lite-controlled enterprises to farming households and (b) increased irrigation and hence improved agricultural productivity that is likely to 𠇍isproportionately benefit poorer households”.
Martinez-Bravo et al. (2012) also find that the introduction of elections was followed by the increased turnover of village chairmen increased. Moreover, the village chairmen were now less likely to be Communist Party members and, more importantly, were betterꃭucated.


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