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.

The Accidental Face of Venezuela's Opposition

President Nicolas Maduro's strategy of jailing political opponents has empowered a former kite-surfing champion.

Sentenced to Death in Egypt

Sentenced to Death in Egypt

How I became Defendant 33—yet another casualty of the return to military rule

Confessions of a British Politician: I Created a Monster

Confessions of a British Politician: I Created a Monster

In 1991, Alan Sked founded an anti-EU party. Now he's horrified by what it's become.

After Rhodes Fell

After Rhodes Fell

The new movement to Africanize South Africa

One Hundred Years of Exile

One Hundred Years of Exile

Two generations after his grandfather fled mass slaughter, California-born Raffi Hovannisian returned to Armenia—and ran for president.

'When a Nation Is Threatened, Democracy Is an Impossible Dream'

'When a Nation Is Threatened, Democracy Is an Impossible Dream'

Why a nuclear deal with Iran would be a victory for human rights

India's Prime Minister Is Addicted to His iPad Too

India's Prime Minister Is Addicted to His iPad Too

How Narendra Modi rode selfies and social media to the country's highest office

The Lee Kuan Yew Conundrum

The Lee Kuan Yew Conundrum

Singapore's late leader governed undemocratically but effectively. Which raises a question: What is the ultimate purpose of government?

Tunisia Is Still a Success

Tunisia Is Still a Success

The recent terrorist attack doesn't signal the country's slide into violence and repression.

Boris Nemtsov and the End of Two Eras

Boris Nemtsov and the End of Two Eras

The slain Russian politician as a young reformer and fading dissident

Democracy, Deferred

Democracy, Deferred

Nigeria's postponed election is an embarrassment of bad choices.

France's False Choice

France's False Choice

Can liberal societies come to terms with religious illiberalism?

Is Egypt on the Verge of Another Uprising?

Is Egypt on the Verge of Another Uprising?

Assessing the country's revolution, four years later

The Hidden Author of Putinism

The Hidden Author of Putinism

How Vladislav Surkov invented the new Russia

Berlin, 1963: Voices From the Wall

Berlin, 1963: Voices From the Wall

Three stories of a divided city

The Roots of the Islamic State's Appeal

The Roots of the Islamic State's Appeal

ISIS's rise is related to Islam. The question is: How?

The Syrian Civil War Is a Game

The Syrian Civil War Is a Game

Can gaming raise awareness about the world's worst humanitarian crisis?

Why Is It Illegal to Not Vote in Most of Latin America?

Why Is It Illegal to Not Vote in Most of Latin America?

Brazilians and Uruguayans face a choice this weekend: head to the polls, or break the law.

Why I Won't Give Up My Dream for Hong Kong

Why I Won't Give Up My Dream for Hong Kong

I watched democracy stall here a decade ago. I can't see it happen again.

What Revolution Looks Like on Instagram

What Revolution Looks Like on Instagram

A computer scientist makes sense of 13,000 pictures taken during the 144 hours that changed Ukraine.

The Secret History of Hong Kong's Democratic Stalemate

The Secret History of Hong Kong's Democratic Stalemate

Recently declassified records show how both the British and the Chinese benefitted from the territory's unsettled status, even while today's protests hint that it can't last forever.

Do Quotas for Female Politicians Work?

Do Quotas for Female Politicians Work?

30 percent of Brazilian candidates must be women. But far fewer actually get elected.

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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