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#60 Speculations About the Prospective Demise of Authoritarian Regimes and Its Possible Consequences

By Philippe C. Schmitter

Machiavelli offers a logical and speculative basis for analyzing the conditions, actors, and consequences of transformation from authoritarian (princely) to democratic (republican) rule. Applying, revising, and extending his maxims, this essay attempts to explain how authoritarian regimes are overthrown, why this might happen, who is likely to be involved and, finally, what might be the outcome of such a demise in the context of contemporary Latin America and Southern Europe. No reference is made to, nor is the analysis based on, specific cases. Rather an effort is made to capture the range of possible options and the implication of likely choices, and the reader is invited to fill in the experiences and dilennnas of the country of his/her interest.


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Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more