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Course Hero. "The End of History and the Last Man Study Guide." April 5, 2019. Accessed September 22, 2023. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-End-of-History-and-the-Last-Man/.
Course Hero, "The End of History and the Last Man Study Guide," April 5, 2019, accessed September 22, 2023, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-End-of-History-and-the-Last-Man/.
Argument, History, Philosophy
Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man contains a provocative argument: the end of the Cold War (the 40-year arms race period of hostility without battles between the United States and the Soviet Union) was not only the end of a conflict. It was the end of all ideological conflicts. The triumphant system, capitalist liberal democracy, as practiced by the United States, is the final form of human social evolution. Fukuyama proposes that history is a process that led inevitably from simple societies to the final and most complete form of society: liberal democracy. Fukuyama lays out his argument in the book and also considers what it will mean in the future to live in "the end of history." His is a contentious and thought-provoking argument, born, arguably, out of American triumphalism at having vanquished the Soviet Union. Few now accept that history "ended" with the fall of Soviet communism. Today, the book stands as a powerful source for understanding the worldview, assumptions, and future plans of American conservatives in the early 1990s.
The "end of history" and "the last man" are key concepts in Francis Fukuyama's argument. He discusses the idea of history as a process of evolution from primitive society to the final stage, modern capitalist liberal democracy. He views the period after the end of the Cold War (the 40-year arms race period of hostility without battles, between the United States and the Soviet Union) as the triumph of capitalism (the economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and distributed through markets) and liberal democracy, and thus the end of history. An inhabitant of this period is the "last man": the final, fully evolved human being.
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