PLS140_Paper - Meredith Crimp PLS140 April 21, 2008 The...

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Meredith Crimp PLS140 April 21, 2008 The road to democracy is a long and strenuous one, even dangerous in some cases. In the States, Americans tend to consider their country’s journey as difficult, and their victory glorious. However, many Americans fail to examine the hardships other countries must undergo to achieve that elusive ideal we call freedom. Freedom House is an organization that looks where most Americans do not. Some countries, like the Czech Republic, have also reached a level of democracy strong enough for Freedom House to consider ‘Free’. Others, like Somalia, are in such disarray and authoritarian terror that they are classified ‘Not Free’. But a third group exists, that of ‘Partly Free’, like Ethiopia. This is the group in transition, for better or worse. Although many aspects of democratization and core democratic values link the three aforementioned countries, the support of the disadvantaged is examined here, in the form of treatment of women. The Freedom House classifications of the Czech Republic, Somalia, and Ethiopia can be readily paralleled in the countries’ respective treatment of women, including women’s rights, liberties, and safety. Freedom House classifies the Czech Republic as ‘Free’ and gives it both a political rights score and a civil liberties score of one. Formerly Czechoslovakia (after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), the country suffered many injustices and damages to personal liberty and well being under the grip of communism gone awry. During the 1960s, Alexander Dubcek led the Prague Spring, which aimed to reform the country’s government. However, the Soviet military suppressed this movement in 1968.
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Not to be defeated, one Vaclav Havel took up where Debcek was forced to leave off. In 1989, communism fell to the Velvet Revolution. The Velvet Revolution comprised mainly of several strategic, peaceful, public demonstrations aimed at massing the Czechoslovakian people against the communist authority. The Velvet Revolution soon led to the collapse of the country’s communist government, and Czechoslovakia’s first post-communist elections were held the following year. A few years of change saw the formation of a new constitution, along with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and, soon after, the peaceful separation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The new Czech Republic’s Finance Minister Vaclav Klaus was behind many of these reforms, and he was soon elected prime minister, but was later found guilty of corruption and resigned in 1997. In 2004, the Czech Republic was accepted into the European Union, giving the
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This note was uploaded on 04/27/2008 for the course PLS 140 taught by Professor Silver during the Spring '07 term at Michigan State University.

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PLS140_Paper - Meredith Crimp PLS140 April 21, 2008 The...

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