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Review for Midterm 2 Comparative Government (1).docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 211
Fillippo Sabetti

Review for Midterm 2 Comparative Government Questions on the readings to think about First three readings, we mostly went over these in class: What distinguished European cities in the 11th and 12th century from cities in the past (ancient Greece and Rome)? What were the factors that led to their growth? Why did they become agents of modernization contrasted to cities in the Ottoman Empire? When Berman argues medieval communes were communitarian in nature, what does he mean? How did guilds play a role in city life? How are medieval communes different from their modern equivalents? Medieval communes were secular. What does this mean? Did they reject religion? What were the major factors that led to the establishment of national monarchies and the melting away of feudal Europe? - King's Officers -Mercenary armies -Finances - borrowing -Direct Taxation How did Britain's political development differ from France according to Rice and Grafton? How did the Republic of Venice survive for so many centuries? What makes it different from other cities? What is the significance of Venice? The Old Regime and the French Revolution: Up until the French Revolution at the end of the 18 century, there were certain provinces in France that had a degree of autonomy that could be considered similar to the townships in America that Tocqueville finds so important to the political health of a nation. One such example is Languedoc. Its system of semi-autonomous self-government helped Languedoc to grow and flourish. This was fairly unique in the old regime and indeed after the revolution as well. What aspects of Languedoc are unique in the old regime? How are they similar to other cases that we have studied (the city-states, townships etc.)? Democracy in America: What is different about Americans’ both in their thinking about governance and agency within their government structure, especially compared to the French after the Revolution? What is the “public spirit?” How do townships work? Why are they autonomous? What benefits does this have? What is the difference between centralized administration and centralized government according to Tocqueville? He believes that centralized government has many benefits and that the absence of it can cause problems, what are these strengths and weaknesses? Tocqueville is much more concerned generally though, with the centralization of the administration – please review this in light of the Rahe reading as well. “The partisans of centralization in Europe are wont to maintain that the Government directs the affairs of each locality better than the citizens could do it for themselves” – how does this attitude reflect the way Europeans see their governments? Although Tocqueville does not agree that centralization is better, he does believe that Americans have a unique conception of governance, as already mentioned. How do provincial institutions and the political affects of American administration help to combat Democratic Despotism? Why does Democratic Despotism happen? Have the French fallen victim to it according to Tocqueville? Why? The French Disease According to Rahe, why did Tocqueville focus on townships and administration in Democracy in America? What was Tocqueville trying to remind the French of? When did the French lose this? Did the Revolution help to return these rights? Tocqueville, in the chapter of Democracy in America that we read, begins to discuss how Democratic Despotism arises. Rahe goes deeper into this saying that Tocqueville believes that there are some unfortunate consequences of democratic societies. One of these is the desire for equality, something the French hold dear. Why does this equality lead to centralization? How does this lead to Democratic Despotism? As we have talked about, central government and central administration are slightly different. How did industrialization affect the centralization of administration in Europe? Why? In what ways are the central government and the central administration growing in France? France was said to lack the public spirit by Tocqueville, how does Rahe help us to understand that in the modern age? Why does he say that France is an oligarchy? What would need to change to bring France back? What is the French Disease? Perhaps it is easiest to conceive of this if you look at th th Tocqueville’s healthy American administration in 18 and 19 century. I suggest making a chart. State Bureaucracies and Local Government in France: As I have tried to go over in class, although I probably did not spend enou
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