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 Roots of the Islamic State's Appeal

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

The Afghan Election Gets Its Own Hip-Hop Anthem

The Afghan Election Gets Its Own Hip-Hop Anthem

Seventy percent of the country's population is under 25. Can rap make them interested in politics?

Highly Educated Countries Have Better Governments

Highly Educated Countries Have Better Governments

Why? Citizens complain more, forcing officials to be more accountable.

The Betrayal of Tahrir Square

The Betrayal of Tahrir Square

An Oscar-nominated film about the Egyptian revolution is banned in Egypt. That says a lot.

The Battle for Benghazi

The Battle for Benghazi

Special forces versus Islamists—and the struggle for control of Libya’s army

And the Nominees for Best Human-Rights Work ...

And the Nominees for Best Human-Rights Work ...

The celebrities who have advanced—and harmed—the cause of freedom around the world

Was Bush Really a Champion of Democracy?

Was Bush Really a Champion of Democracy?

The father of the "freedom agenda" might have reacted to Ukraine's revolution in the same way Obama has.

The Tragedy of Venezuela

The Tragedy of Venezuela

The country is now the world's capital of inflation, homicide, and scarcity—but half the population is no longer willing to tolerate it.

Ukraine's Government Disappears Overnight

Ukraine's Government Disappears Overnight

The opposition now controls Kiev, but the fight for Ukraine's future is far from over.

The Art Inspired by Ukraine's Euromaidan

The Art Inspired by Ukraine's Euromaidan

When Kiev's Independence Square becomes a studio.

A Dictator's Guide to Urban Design

A Dictator's Guide to Urban Design

Ukraine's Independence Square, and the revolutionary dimensions of public spaces.

How Ukraine's Crisis Went From Compromise to Carnage Overnight

How Ukraine's Crisis Went From Compromise to Carnage Overnight

Making sense of the bloodshed in the deeply divided country.

Is It Time for Ukraine to Split Up?

Is It Time for Ukraine to Split Up?

One expert thinks the country would be better off if it were partitioned.

Why Venezuela's Revolution Will Be Tweeted

Why Venezuela's Revolution Will Be Tweeted

The country's street protests are playing out dramatically on the social network.

Ukraine's Unrest Is Being Broadcast Live

Ukraine's Unrest Is Being Broadcast Live

The country has suffered its worst day of violence in the three-month-old uprising.

Why Does Ukraine's Opposition Keep Getting Splashed With Green Liquid?

Why Does Ukraine's Opposition Keep Getting Splashed With Green Liquid?

Assailants wielding Soviet-era topical antiseptic are targeting the government's opponents.

Ukraine's Forever Revolution Marko Djurica/Reuters

Ukraine's Forever Revolution

Why the country's political crisis will persist, even if the protesters win.

The Syrian Opposition Is Disappearing From Facebook Hamid Khatib/Reuters

The Syrian Opposition Is Disappearing From Facebook

Social media was one of the first refuges for Syria’s non-violent activists. Now they’re getting kicked off.

The Wanted Man Behind Ukraine's Protests-on-Wheels Reuters/Gleb Garanich

The Wanted Man Behind Ukraine's Protests-on-Wheels

Dmytro Bulatov vanished at the height of the Euromaidan uprising. He's now resurfaced—bruised, battered, and telling a harrowing tale.

The Hand-Drawn Faces of Ukraine's Uprising Oleksandr Kom'yakhov/RFE

The Hand-Drawn Faces of Ukraine's Uprising

An artist sketches the ordinary people behind the Euromaidan protests.

Report: Global Freedom Has Been Declining for Nearly a Decade Reuters

Report: Global Freedom Has Been Declining for Nearly a Decade

A third of the world's population lives in countries without political rights and civil liberties, according to a new study.

The Syrian Shadow Government the World Forgot Saad Abobrahim/Reuters

The Syrian Shadow Government the World Forgot

In 2011, an upstart group in Damascus began charting a pluralistic future for the country. Now the organization is a shell of its former self.

The Biggest Story in Photos

Winners of the 2014 National Geographic Photo Contest

Why We Tend to Show Our Left Side in Pictures
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