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In The Democratic Coup d’Etat, Prof. Ozan Varol challenges the conventional public understanding of the coup d’etat, which often evokes the image of a militarized group of elites who seek to overthrow an existing government in order to consolidate power. Often, we consider coups contrary--and even more a threat--to democracy. Prof. Varol argues that coups do not always match that public understanding, and often are used to establish a democracy or advance democratic principles. He traces democratic coups throughout history--from 5th century BC Athens, to actions in the American colonies against corrupt British officials, to the democracy-building revolts against military regimes in countries like Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, and Colombia in the 20th century. In his historical analysis, Prof. Varol explores questions regarding the political nature of coups and the differences in military powers which can lead to the fostering or suppressing of democratic societies.
In this episode, Prof. Ozan Varol of Lewis & Clark Law School and Prof. Tom Ginsburg of the University of Chicago Law School discuss The Democratic Coup d'Etat.
The Democratic Coup d'Etat is available here.