Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World

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Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy is a comparative survey of some of what Moore considers the major/most indicative world economies as they evolved out of pre-modern political systems into industrialism. As the title suggests, Moore is not ultimately concerned with explaining economic development so much as exploring why modes of development produced different political forms that managed the transition to industrialism and modernization. Why did one society modernize into a "relatively free," democratic society (by which Moore means England) while others metamorphosed into fascist or communist states? His core thesis is that in each country, the relationship between the landlord class and the peasants was a primary influence on the ultimate form of government the society arrived at upon arrival in its modern age.
 

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User Review  - wildbill - LibraryThing

When I read this in college it became my key to understanding political revolution. Only when it was pointed out to me that Moore was a doctrinaire Marxist did it lose its luster. The book still ... Read full review

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Contents

Chapter I England and the Contributions of Violence to Gradualism
3
2 Agrarian Aspects of the Civil War
14
3 Enclosures and the Destruction of the Peasantry
20
4 Aristocratic Rule for Triumphant Capitalism
29
Chapter II Evolution and Revolution in France
40
2 The Noble Response to Commercial Agriculture
45
3 Class Relationships under Royal Absolutism
56
4 The Aristocratic Offensive and the Collapse of Absolutism
63
5 The Kuomintang Interlude and its Meaning
185
6 Rebellion Revolution and the Peasants
199
Japan
226
2 The Absence of a Peasant Revolution
252
The New Landlords and Capitalism
273
The Nature of Japanese Fascism
289
India and the Price of Peaceful Change
312
Obstacles to Democracy
315

5 The Peasants Relationship to Radicalism during the Revolution
70
The Vendee
90
7 Social Consequences of Revolutionary Terror
99
8 Recapitulation
106
The Last Capitalist Revolution
109
2 Three Forms of American Capitalist Growth
113
3 Toward an Explanation of the Causes of the War
130
4 The Revolutionary Impulse and its Failure
139
5 The Meaning of the War
147
THREE ROUTES TO THE MODERN WORLD IN ASIA
155
Problems in Comparing European and Asian Political Processes
157
Chapter IV The Decay of Imperial China and the Origins of the Communist Variant
160
2 The Gentry and the World of Commerce
172
3 The Failure to Adopt Commercial Agriculture
176
4 Collapse of the Imperial System and the Rise of the Warlords
179
Obstacles to Rebellion
328
4 Changes Produced by the British up to 1857
339
A Landlords Paradise?
351
6 The Bourgeois Link to the Peasantry through Nonviolence
368
7 A Note on the Extent and Character of Peasant Violence
376
8 Independence and the Price of Peaceful Change
383
THEORETICAL IMPLICATIONS AND PROJECTIONS
409
Chapter VII The Democratic Route to Modern Society
411
Chapter VIII Revolution from Above and Fascism
431
Chapter IX The Peasants and Revolution
451
Reactionary and Revolutionary Imagery
482
A Note on Statistics and Conservative Historiography
507
Bibliography
522
Index
545
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About the author (1993)

BARRINGTON MOORE, JR is a Lecturer in Sociology at Harvard University and Senior Research Fellow for the University's Russian Centre. He was educated at Williams College, where he took a degree in Greek and Latin, and at Yale University where he gained a PhD in sociology. His book Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy received the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award in political science and the MacIver Award in sociology. He is also the author of Soviet Politics- The Dilemma of Power, Terror and Progress- USSR, Political Power and Social Theory and, with Robert P. Wolff and Herbert Marcuse, A Critique of Pure Tolerance. His most recent book, Reflections on the Causes of Human Misery and upon Certain Proposals to Eliminate Them, was given the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of Phi Beta Kappa.

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