Summary of Democracy

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Rating

9

Qualities

  • Important
  • Eloquent
  • Insider's Take

Recommendation

Former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice brings expertise, in-depth knowledge and a passion for her subject to this highly readable, well-synthesized and insightful overview of democratic history. She weaves stories of past challenges and positive results into her message about the ongoing need to create and preserve democratic ideals and institutions, at home and abroad. Rice anchors her themes in the continuous development of American democracy and in her extensive first-hand work. Rice provides an overview of the transitions in nations around the globe from the 19th through the 21st centuries. She summarizes complex ideas, policies, individual roles, organizations and political parties, while providing historical context and perspective on the countries she covers. getAbstract recommends her important overview to those seeking to understand, develop, preserve or foster democratic ideals, regardless of political affiliation.

About the Author

Former US secretary of state and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice is a political science professor at Stanford University and a senior fellow of public policy at the Hoover Institution. She also wrote No Higher Honor: Extraordinary, Ordinary People.

 

Summary

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The “non-negotiable” rights it lists include “life, liberty and security of person,” “peaceful assembly and association,” and the freedoms of conscience, expression, opinion, religion, thought and participation in government “directly or through freely chosen representatives.” Democracy guarantees the right to speak freely and freedom from “arbitrary” state power. It uniquely insists that no one governs without the consent of the citizenry.

This requires a delicate balance among the executive, judicial, and legislative branches; between central and regional efforts; between civilians and the military; between group and individual rights; and between society and the state.

The Civil Rights Movement

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1954, author Condoleezza Rice was an “eyewitness” to multiple great openings toward democracy. In the US civil rights movement – part of which unfolded in Rice’s hometown – people seized their rights and liberties. The civil rights movement became...


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