Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 1st of October 2017 to The Sounding Line.
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The following map, from Our World in Data, shows the evolution of government around the world since 1816. The government classifications include: colony, autocracy, closed anocracy, open anocracy, and democracy. As Our World in Data notes:
“A democracy is a political system with institutions that allows citizens to express their political preferences, has constraints on the power of the executive, and a guarantee of civil liberties.”
“Democracies are distinct from autocratic countries in which political preferences cannot be expressed and citizens are not guaranteed civil liberties. Anocracies – a term used often in this entry – are regimes that fall in the middle of the spectrum of autocracies and democracies. Anocracies are countries which are not fully autocratic, but which can also not be called democratic.”
“The majority of the world’s countries are now governed by democratic regimes, defined as systems with citizen political participation, constraints on the power of the executive, and a guarantee of civil liberties. The visualization below shows the slow increase of democratic countries over the last 200 years. The rise of democracies has been interrupted by the atrocities during the two World Wars – many young democracies fell back to become autocratic ahead of the Second World War.”
“After 1945 the number of democracies has started to grow again, but the very dramatic shift towards a democratic world has been the breakdown of the Soviet Union in 1989. By clicking on ‘Autocracies’ and ‘Anocracies’, you can also see that after 1989 the number of autocracies has decreased dramatically while the number of anocracies initially increased then has stayed fairly stable.”
The precise classifications of certain governments during certain periods may be a subject of debate. Nonetheless, the infographic seems largely accurate and, when looked at holistically, makes a very interesting presentation about the evolution of modern government and how new democracy is to much of the world.
Slide the blue circle to advance the chart through time.
As a bonus chart, here is the population of people living under each form of government during the same time period, also via Our World in Data: