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Lecture 1

POLI 212 Lecture 1: READING NOTES


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 212
Professor
Hudson Meadwell
Lecture
1

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Poli 212 readings
Topic 1
Howard- Land of war, Land of peace(Anna)
- European at the cutting edge of science and the economy
- Militaristic nature of europe until the 18th century
- war was profitable until the late 18th century
After WW2
- desentachement with war, the development of weapons made it harder and much more costly,
often ruining the economy
- War is no longueur cost free in europe
- Not the land of the people of democracy
- Democracy comes from the ideas of enlightenment, but is not actually applied
19th-20th century
- secularisation vs conservatism, ties to the catholic church
- Democrats are a minority until WW2
- European culture does not equate the values of the west and enlightenment
Today
- universal problems without solutions
- Not real europeans: no culture or values of the enlightenment
The importance of understanding the past to go forward….

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Mazower (Thomas) - How recently have stable democratic institutions and interstate peace
been fixtures of European political history? What does history tell us about the history of
democracy in Europe?
The Deserted Temple: Democracy’s rise and fall
Congress of Dethroned Monarchs → tried to win back old supporters
Set their own Republic of Kings in the Indian Ocean
Before WWI → 3 republic in Europe // After → 13
Paris Peace settlement → parliamentary democracy enthroned across Europe
Russian Revolution → democratic values disappeared, feeling of civil war in Europe
Parliaments appear in the 1940s as “fantasies of the Faculty of Law”
Democracy’s victory in the Cold War proves its deep roots in Europe’s soil
1930s → nondemocratic alternatives → authoritarianism
Making constitutions
19th century → demands for constitutional government → centerpiece of middle-class
demands
Demand for constitutional reform swept central-eastern Europe in 1918
Nov. 1918 → Austria → “democratic republic”
Key of future democracy in Europe → Germany → Kaiser forced into exile
Scoured established liberal polities such as in France, US
Lawyers blamed for collapse of democratic institutions → replacing politics with law
New constitutions → stressing their democratic, national and republican character
Sovereignty was usually stated to reside in the people
New constitutions → mistrust of executive authority bc bourgeois had revolved in 19th
century
Desire for highly modern and open democracy
New constitutions reflected very diverse political preoccupations of their makers
Expressions of classic 19th c liberalism
Attempts to meet popular demands for a genuine social democracy
Europe’s civil war:
Soul of Russian People → universal democratic soul
1917 → seemed that Russia would be the site of 1st triumph of Europe’s democratic
revolution
Lenin → in a bourgeois republic the constituent assembly is the highest form of the
democratic principle
Triumph of Lenin → consequence of liberalism failure

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More interested in peace and land → social order was collapsing
After dissolution of Constituent Assembly, contrasted the dead bourgeois parliamentarism with
the proletarian Soviet apparat
Citizenship was unrestricted however restricted according to social background → urban
and rural proletariat and poorest peasants
Development of Soviet system has a less immediate impact on the rest of Europe than seemed
likely in 1918.
New authoritarian models were soon to challenge the pre-eminence of Versailles liberalism
Bourgeois doubts:
Elites feared prospect of peasants and workers joining hands to seize power
Large estates were parcelled out to create a new class of peasant smallholders
Revolutionary wave of 1918-19 → demonstrate political conservatism of landowning
peasantry
Pro-Bolshevik sought power in the cities
Rise of Italian Fascism in early 1920s → counter-example to those critics who blamed the
new constitutions for democracy’s collapse in Europe
Widespread fear of socialism in Italy helped it into power
Many of the Duce’s supporters expressed disappointment → denounced a parliamentary
fascism
Outlines of Fascist state became clearer → no more freedom of press, etc.
Frank defence of the authoritarian state → mussolini “discipline must be accepted”
Fascism proposed a social project revolutionary → division of life into public and private
spheres
Critique of Parliamentarism:
Fascism came into being → bc of political and social failure of liberal democracy
Decay located most in the working of parliament itself
Crisis of parliamentary government
Proportional representation produced fragmented legislatures
New electoral laws → majority voting
Political parties → sectional interests → regime of parties
Analysis of Weimar party system → political parties were confronting rather than
communicating with one another
Breakdown of parliament will lead to rise in importance of other political power factors
Multiplicity of competing party interests
Average Cabinet rarely more than a year
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