Democracy and its History


Course Objective

Improve knowledge of the historical development of democracy and of
democratization in history. Improve understanding of differences between
classic, early modern and modern understandings of democracy.
Being able to critically reflect on normative thinking in academic and
political debates.
Being able to formulate an independent opinion on historical and
issues related to democracy.

Course Content

Since the end of the eighteenth century ‘democracy’ slowly but steadily
has become more popular. Democracy as a type of government and the word
‘democracy’ itself has by leaps and bounds found acceptance in many
parts of the world. Democracy has become the standard or the rule, while
other modes of government are considered deviations or exceptions.
How and why has this evolution occurred in Europe and in other parts of
the world? What sorts of changes or continuities can during this
prolonged evolution be discerned in the concept of ‘democracy’, and how
can we critically assess the dominant position of democracy? Answers to
these questions will be discussed by giving an overview of the
historical development of democracy since the time of the Athenian
democracy, the 'Atlantic Revolutions' of around 1800, and the rise, fall
and rise of democracy in the era around the World Wars. The history of
democracy will
be related to theories about democracy
and democratization. The main emphasis will be on the Western and
European history of democracy but guest lecturers will also discuss the
development of democracy from a global perspective.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and discussion.

Method of Assessment

Midterm (25%) and final exam (75%).

Entry Requirements

First year completed.


Roger Osborne, Of the people, by the people. A new history of democracy
(2011); articles and book chapters (to be announced).

Target Audience

Students BA2 Geschiedenis/ History; students BA2 History: History and
International Studies. Dutch students and exchange students with a
Humanities or Political Sciences profile.

Additional Information

This course is obligatory in the second year of the BA History

General Information

Course Code L_GABAGES212
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. D.B.R. Kroeze
Examiner dr. D.B.R. Kroeze
Teaching Staff dr. D.B.R. Kroeze
dr. F.D. Huijzendveld

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: