The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Mike Hogg Speaker Series- Daniel Ziblatt

Conservative Political Parties and the Birth of Modern Democracy in Europe

Fri, November 4, 2016 | BAT 5.108

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Abstract: How do democracies form and what makes them die? Daniel Ziblatt reports on research from a book he is completing that is a comparative historical analysis of modern political democracy in Europe from its modest beginnings in 1830s United Kingdom to Adolf Hitler's 1933 seizure of power in Weimar Germany. The book uses new historical quantitative and archival data drawing on German and British sources to offer a major reinterpretation of European history and the question of how stable political democracy is achieved.  The barriers to creating inclusive political rule are not overcome on unstoppable tides of socioeconomic change and the triumph of heroic middle classes and working class rebellion. Instead, political democracy’s fate surprisingly hinges on how conservative political parties—the historical defenders of power, wealth, and privilege--recast themselves in the face of modern politics.

Co-sponsored by the Center for European Studies


Daniel Ziblatt is Professor of Government at Harvard University, and served in 2014 as Interim Director of Harvard University's Minda De Gunzburg Center for European Studies. His research and teaching interests include democratization, state-building, comparative politics, and historical political economy, with a particular interest in European political development. He is the author of Structuring the State: The Formation of Italy and Germany and the Puzzle of Federalism (Princeton University Press, 2006) and co-editor of a 2010 special double issue of Comparative Political Studies entitled "The Historical Turn in Democratization Studies." Recent articles have appeared in Journal of Economic History, American Political Science ReviewComparative Political Studies,and World Politics.  He has been the recipient of APSA's Mary Parker Follett Prize in Politics and History (2011), the Gregory Luebbert Prize in Comparative Politics (2009), two prizes from the Comparative Democratization Section of APSA (2010), Best Book Award from the European Politics and Society section of APSA (2007), the Gabriel Almond Dissertation Prize (2004), and the Ernst Haas Dissertation Prize (2003).  Ziblatt is the director of a research program at Harvard University called Politics Through Time, which is a hub for social scientific research on the political history of democracy and political accountability. He has been a DAAD Fellow in Berlin, an Alexander von Humboldt visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Cologne and the University of Konstanz, Germany, and visiting professor at Sciences Po Paris (2014) and Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris (2009)  and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.  He is completing a new book entitled Conservative Political Parties and the Birth of Modern Democracy in Europe that offers a new interpretation of the historical democratization of Europe. 




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