The Democracy Report
The Atlantic's coverage of social and political change in North Africa, in the Middle East, and around the world

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Introduction

An unexpected wave of democratization reshaped the world not so long ago. Could it happen again now?

The Future of Democracy in the Middle East: Islamist and Illiberal

Across the region, power struggles mask a more fundamental divide over the meaning of the modern nation-state.

Should Citizens Have a Right to Rebel?

In a fifth of the world's nations, people are legally allowed to resist leaders who have overstepped their bounds.

Democracy's Deepening Recession

Around the world, the advance of freedom hinges on "swing states." And they're swinging in the wrong direction.

The (Fake) Conspiracy to Overthrow the World's Autocrats

For leaders like Putin, the true threat comes from the forces fighting for democracy in their countries.

From The Archives

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Islam

Can democracy take root in a predominantly Islamic part of the world? Atlantic contributors from the early to the late twentieth century take up the question.

Islam and Liberal Democracy

Is Islam by its very nature antithetical to the development of democratic institutions? A distinguished historian contemplates this difficult question, one whose answer is fraught with consequence for several troubled regions of the world

Was Democracy Just a Moment?

The global triumph of democracy was to be the glorious climax of the American Century. But democracy may not be the system that will best serve the world—or even the one that will prevail in places that now consider themselves bastions of freedom.

What Kind of Democracy?

At a time when citizens of a number of countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere were demanding the right to self-determination and converting their governments from other power systems to democracies, author Raymond D. Gastil addressed the question of the degree to which civil liberties within a democracy require protection.

China Emergent

In the midst of World War II, as China's Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, struggled against Japanese invaders from without and the Communist movement from within, his Wellesley College–educated wife decried the exploitation of China by the West and delineated a vision for a more democratic future.

A Plea for the Recognition of the Chinese Republic

About a year after the revolutionary overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, Ching Chun Wang, a Chinese railway official and representative of the emergent republic, makes a case for international recognition.

Venezuela: A Dictatorship Masquerading as a Democracy

Ahead of a major election, the country is looking more and more like a failed state.

Germany: Where Leadership Is On Trial

Germany: Where Leadership Is On Trial

Angela Merkel’s refugee policy is proving deeply unpopular. Will she forge ahead anyway?

A Revolution Devours Its Children

A Revolution Devours Its Children

Five years since an uprising brought down Egypt’s dictator, five families show the country’s struggle is as much personal as it is collective.

An American-Politics Junkie in China

An American-Politics Junkie in China

How Washington’s partisan bickering looks from a one-party state

Swooning for Saudi Arabia

Swooning for Saudi Arabia

The Republican candidates claim Arab dictators have brought stability to the Middle East. Is that really true?

ISIS in the World’s Largest Muslim Country

ISIS in the World’s Largest Muslim Country

Why are so few Indonesians joining the Islamic State?

The Ethics of Barring Donald Trump From Your Country

The Ethics of Barring Donald Trump From Your Country

Should Britain ban a man for planning a ban?

Has China Discovered a Better Political System Than Democracy?

Has China Discovered a Better Political System Than Democracy?

“One person, one vote is not the only morally legitimate way to select leaders,” a political theorist says.

How the West Propped Up Putin

How the West Propped Up Putin

I fought for democracy in Russia. I didn’t expect the leaders of the so-called free world to undermine me.

Islamism, the Arab Spring, and the Failure of America’s Do-Nothing Policy in the Middle East

Islamism, the Arab Spring, and the Failure of America’s Do-Nothing Policy in the Middle East

It was nice to think the region’s uprisings weren’t about the United States, or didn't have to be. But in part they were, and they did.

Turkey Is in Serious Trouble

Turkey Is in Serious Trouble

The country has seen periods of turmoil before. But this time may be different.

What Happens the Day After Pope Francis Leaves Cuba?

What Happens the Day After Pope Francis Leaves Cuba?

The paradise many Cubans dream of is not in the infinity of the heavens, but a mere 90 miles across the sea.

The Delusions of the Canadian Mind

The Delusions of the Canadian Mind

What explains the outrage at Prime Minister Stephen Harper?

‘All Our Young People Have Gone to the Mountains’

‘All Our Young People Have Gone to the Mountains’

Inside Turkey’s revived war against the Kurds

The Meaning of a U.S. Embassy in Havana

The Meaning of a U.S. Embassy in Havana

“A conflict of eras is unfolding in Cuba—a collision between two countries.”

What the Iran-Deal Debate Is Like in Iran

What the Iran-Deal Debate Is Like in Iran

The agreement has divided Iranians into camps that could shape the future of the country.

The United Nations in a Post-Nation World

The United Nations in a Post-Nation World

70 years after its founding, the UN faces a world that looks nothing like it did in 1945.

'Look What Freedom Has Brought Us: Terrorism on the Beach'

'Look What Freedom Has Brought Us: Terrorism on the Beach'

Tunisia’s democratic success has generated a worrying byproduct: religious extremism.

Why Cyber War Is Dangerous for Democracies

Why Cyber War Is Dangerous for Democracies

The most worrying form of government spying isn’t the kind Edward Snowden exposed.

The Boy Named Jihad: From the Ashes of the Arab Spring to the Battlefields of Syria

The Boy Named Jihad: From the Ashes of the Arab Spring to the Battlefields of Syria

When pro-democracy protests failed, one Jordanian teen made a fateful decision: to fight for al-Qaeda.

What's Actually in the Magna Carta?

What's Actually in the Magna Carta?

The document is celebrated as the foundation for constitutional democracy. So why does it spend so much time on forests and fish traps?

What If the Allies Had Lost World War I?

What If the Allies Had Lost World War I?

To understand the conflict’s legacy, consider what might have been.

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

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