Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World

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Beacon Press, Dec 8, 2015 - Political Science - 592 pages
This classic work of comparative history explores why some countries have developed as democracies and others as fascist or communist dictatorships
Originally published in 1966, this classic text is a comparative survey of some of what Barrington Moore considers the major and most indicative world economies as they evolved out of pre-modern political systems into industrialism. But Moore is not ultimately concerned with explaining economic development so much as exploring why modes of development produced different political forms that managed the transition to industrialism and modernization. Why did one society modernize into a "relatively free," democratic society (by which Moore means England)? Why did others metamorphose into fascist or communist states? His core thesis is that in each country, the relationship between the landlord class and the peasants was a primary influence on the ultimate form of government the society arrived at upon arrival in its modern age.
“Throughout the book, there is the constant play of a mind that is scholarly, original, and imbued with the rarest gift of all, a deep sense of human reality . . . This book will influence a whole generation of young American historians and lead them to problems of the greatest significance.”
The New York Review of Books

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User Review  - wildbill - LibraryThing

When I read this in college it became my key to understanding political revolution. Only when it was pointed out to me that Moore was a doctrinaire Marxist did it lose its luster. The book still ... Read full review

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Part III, pp. 413-508 (esp. 412-442, 447-456, 467-499, 504-505).


Preface and Acknowledgments
England and the Contributions of Violence
Evolution and Revolution in France
Toward an Explanation of the Causes of the
The Revolutionary Impulse and its Failure
The Meaning of the
The Nature of Japanese Fascism
India and the Price of Peaceful Change 1 Relevance of the Indian Experience
Obstacles to Democracy
Obstacles to Rebellion
Changes Produced by the British up
A Landlords Paradise?
The Bourgeois Link to the Peasantry through Nonviolence
A Note on the Extent and Character of Peasant Violence

Problems in Comparing European and Asian Political Processes
The Decay of Imperial China and the Origins of the Communist Variant 1 The Upper Classes and the Imperial System
The Gentry and the World of Commerce
The Failure to Adopt Commercial Agriculture
Collapse of the Imperial System and Rise of the Warlords 5 The Kuomintang Interlude and its Meaning
Rebellion Revolution and the Peasants
Japan 1 Revolution from Above The Response of the Ruling Classes to Old and New Threats
The Absence of a Peasant Revolution
The New Landlords and Capitalism
Independence and the Price of Peaceful Change
The Democratic Route to Modern Society
Revolution from Above and Fascism
The Peasants and Revolution
Reactionary and Revolutionary Imagery
A Note on Statistics and Conservative Historiography

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About the author (2015)

Barrington More, Jr. is a Lecturer in Sociology at Harvard University and Senior Research Fellow for the University's Russian Centre. He was educated at Williams College, where he took a degree in Greek and Latin, and at Yale University where he gained a PhD in sociology. His book Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy received the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award in political science and the MacIver Award in sociology. He is also the author of Soviet Politics: The Dilemma of Power, Terror and Progress: USSR, Political Power and Social Theory and, with Robert P. Wolff and Herbert Marcuse, A Critique of Pure Tolerance. His most recent book, Reflections on the Causes of Human Misery and Upon Certain Proposals to Eliminate Them, was given the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of Phi Beta Kappa.

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