Once theorists thought vibrant, viable democracy emerged from centuries of struggle or maturation. In such formulations as Barrington Moore’s, class and politics interacted over hundreds of years to create democracy or its alternatives.2 Disillusioned by the failure of various revolutionary programs during the previous two decades, bemused by the Cold War’s ending, and enticed by the opportunity to prescribe programs of political change for Eastern Europe, Latin America, or Africa, recent theorists of democracy have moved away from the populism and revolutionism of the 1960s toward a remarkable elitism: suppositions that the masses have little to do with the making of democracy, that (however regrettably) presidents, priests, political patrons, planters, police chiefs, paratroop commanders, and plutocrats perform the essential operations producing durable democratic institutions.


Comparative Perspective Democratic Institution Political Arrangement Equal Citizenship Universal Suffrage 
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© New York University Press 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Tilly

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