Downing1 - Lecture on Downing The Military Revolution and...

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Lecture on: Downing, The Military Revolution and Political Change: Origins of Democracy and Autocracy in Early Modern Europe Why are we reading this book? 1 First, to gain some general historical knowledge of European history; after all, Europe is the region where both modern democracy and modern capitalism first developed. 2 Second, to build up some body of historical knowledge so that we might make evaluations of: 3 Hypotheses that "capitalism leads to democracy", 4 Hypotheses that "democracy leads to capitalism", 5 Hypotheses that "Other factors led to both democracy and capitalism" 6 This book actually seems to make what is, in effect, an argument that different countries came to the combination of democracy and capitalism by rather different routes. 7 That is, there may well be no single "most characteristic" route to the simultaneous presence of democracy and capitalism. Previous theories of the origins of democracy: from Downing's ch.1 8 Weber and Hintze (writing in the late 1800's and early 1900's): 9 What was unique about Europe? 10 the rule of law -- this had complex origins, actually all the way back in Roman times, and involving the rediscovery of Roman law in the Middle Ages 11 The Standestaat -- by which they mean the various kinds of "representative assemblies" which had gradually developed in medieval Europe 12 autonomous towns -- were able to bargain with the nobility and the monarchs for various rights and freedoms 13 decentralized military organization -- this put limits on what monarchs could expect from their societies; bargaining relationships rather than command relationships 14 citizenship rights -- partly from wide variety of medieval institutions, partly from spread of large armies: if you need men to fight in your army, the cost may be to grant them political rights and freedoms 15 The problem, according to Downing: This is an important body of thought but it is not adequately systematized 16 Modernization theory (developed by sociologists and political scientists in the 1950's) 17 This body of thought was developed to help understand modern political and economic development outside the US, Europe, and the Communist bloc (Russia, China)
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18 The central argument was that traditional society would break down in the course of social, political, and economic change brought on by contact with modern societies. 19 Solving the various crises of democratic development which resulted from the breakdown of traditional society -- identity (who are we?), legitimacy (who has the right to do what?), penetration (how far do the government's powers reach?), participation (who can participate in the governmental process?), and distribution (who gets what material goods and how much?) -- involved several things: 20 increased checks on arbitrary rule 21 the growth of political and economic opportunity 22 adoption of the right to vote (the "franchise") 23 the spread of social and political equality 24 democratic political systems alone could provide the adaptability essential to modern industrial societies 25
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course ISS 225 taught by Professor Williams during the Spring '07 term at Michigan State University.

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Downing1 - Lecture on Downing The Military Revolution and...

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