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Journal Articles Political Studies Year : 2019

Revolutionary Attitudes in Democratic Regimes

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Abstract

Contrary to a classic prediction of democratic theory, empirical studies do not find that democratic systems produce internal peace. This absence of relationship does not mean that democratic theory is entirely wrong. Indeed, democratic systems may have a negative effect on the support for revolution, as predicted by democratic theory, but a positive effect on opportunities for revolutions on the other part. Focusing on the support for revolution in 15 European democracies, this article re-examines the classic prediction that democratic systems reduce political grievances. This rests on three arguments: that (1) majority rule guarantees that the number of dissatisfied people is relatively low, (2) periodic elections allow dissatisfied people to hope for a change in the leadership within a reasonable period of time, and (3) power-sharing institutions diminish the negative impact of an unwanted government on people. We find empirical support for all arguments. In addition to shedding light on the reasons why democracy weakens revolutionary attitudes, our analysis provides some clues to understand the recent increase in the support for revolution in democratic countries.
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Dates and versions

halshs-02288292 , version 1 (14-09-2019)

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Abel François, Raul Magni Berton, Simon Varaine. Revolutionary Attitudes in Democratic Regimes. Political Studies, 2019, 69 (2), pp.003232171987436. ⟨10.1177/0032321719874362⟩. ⟨halshs-02288292⟩
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