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Bleg: The Struggle For Democracy

July 19, 2010

Last month I solicited opinions on world history textbooks (e.g. favorites, books to avoid, etc.). Now I’m going to get more specific. I’m thinking of offering a world history course titled: “Twentieth-Century World History: The Struggle for Democracy.” Here are some embryonic thoughts I scribbled on this a few months ago:


Precis: The struggle for—and against—democracy is a defining story of the twentieth-century world. Much recent political and cultural history, of continents and nations, concerns transitions ~from~ monarchy, dictatorships, or elite control ~to~ full (or partial) suffrage, pluralism, multiculturalism, and human rights. This transition has witnessed conflict and resistance, evident in world and civil wars—as well as non-violent reform. In addition, in the context of the twentieth century, this course addresses topics such as cosmopolitanism, citizenship, world government, democratic culture, difference, minorities and majorities, liberalism, economics, and technological transformation.

Book possibilities:

a. William J. Duiker, *Twentieth-Century World History* (Wadsworth, 2006, 4th ed), paperback, ISBN-13: 978-0495095927
b. James Overfield, *Sources of Twentieth-century Global History* (Wadsworth, 2001), paperback, ISBN-13: 978-0395904077
c. John T. Rourke, ed., *Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in World Politics* (McGraw-Hill, 2009, 14th edition), paperback, ISBN-13: 978-0078127519
d. Mortimer J. Adler, *How to Think About War and Peace* (1944; Fordham, 1995), paperback, ISBN-13: 978-0823216437
e. Jacques Maritain, *Man and the State* (1951; CUA Press, 1998), paperback, ISBN-13: 978-0813209050


The last two books specifically deal with the mid-century movement for world federal government, from a secular and Catholic perspective, respectively. It was that movement which facilitated the transition from the ineffective League of Nations to the more effective United Nations.

Thoughts on my book possibilities? Questions about the course’s themes and set up? Fire away—I need your help! – TL


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