This topic will be covered in our course, but is not intended to be covered as in depth as other topics. The material on this page will be tested on Paper Two, which focuses on world history in the twentieth century. You may be able to answer some questions from this section on Paper Two.

Democratic states - challenges and responses

The 20th century witnessed the establishment, survival, destruction and re-emergence of democratic states. Democratic systems faced treats to their existence from internal and external sources. In some cases the system coped successfully, in other cases the pressures proved difficult to withstand. The performance of democratic states in relation to such pressures- economic, politcial and social- form the basis for this topic.

Major themes

Nature and structure of democratic (multiparty) states
  • Constitutions (written and unwritten)
  • Electoral systems, proportional representation, coalition governments
  • Role of political parties: role of an opposition
  • Role of pressure (interest/lobby) groups

Economic and social policies
  • Employment
  • Gender
  • Health, education
  • Social welfare

Political, social and economic challenges
  • Political extremism
  • Ethnicity, religion, gender
  • Movements for that attainment of civil rights
  • Inequitable distribution of wealth/resources

Material for detailed study

  • Africa: South Africa 1991-2000, Mandela; Nigeria 1961-6
  • Americas: Argentina 1983-95, Alfonsin and Menem; Canada 1968-84, Trudeau; United States 1953-73, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon
  • Asia and Oceania: India 1947-64,Nehru; Japan 1945-52, post-war reconstruction, Australia 1965-75
  • Europe and Middle East: France 1958-69, de Gaulle; Great Briitain and Northern Ireland 1967-90; Weimar Germany 1919-33