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Democratization and the Franchise

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Understanding why elites extend the franchise is one of the central questions in comparative politics. However, most theories fail to account for subsequent extensions of voting rights to once-excluded groups, including women, racial and religious minorities, and the poor. This article reviews three new books in comparative politics that focus on the struggle for voting rights and representation in the first-wave democracies. These books challenge classic assumptions and show that democratization is punctuated by ongoing struggles over inclusion that continue to this day. Together, these books contribute to debates over modernization theory, democratic responsiveness, and the use of the United States as a case in comparative analysis.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: April 1, 2020

This article was made available online on November 6, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Review Article Democratization and the Franchise".

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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