Democracy   /   Spring 2000   /    Bibliographic Review

The Democratic Ideal

A Brief Review

Edward Song

Frontispiece from Thomas Hobbes’s Eight Bookes of the Peloponnesian Warre, 1634; Wikimedia Commons.

Though our historical moment has made concerns about the future of democracy particularly poignant, they are hardly new.


The momentous political events of the last decade, in which people throughout the world successfully demanded democratic forms of government, have made the field of democratic theory particularly lively. The success of these new regimes has offered something of a vindication of democratic institutions. Indeed, many view these events not as a fortuitous historical accident, but rather as a sign of “the end of history” itself—a sign that democracy has not just temporarily gained the upper hand in a battle against other forms of government, but that liberal democracies represent the last developmental step in humanity’s ideological evolution to find structures of social organization that best meet our deepest longings and needs.

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