Contention and Democracy in Europe, 1650–2000

Contention and Democracy in Europe, 1650–2000 is an analysis of the relationship between democratization and contentious politics that builds upon the model set forth in the pathbreaking book, Dynamics of Contention. Using a sustained comparison of French and British histories since 1650 or so as a springboard for more general comparison within Europe Contention and Democracy goes on to demonstrate that democratization occurred as result of struggles during which (as in 19th century Britain and France) few, if any, of the participants were self-consciously trying to create democratic institutions. Consequently, circumstances for democratization vary from era to era, region to region as functions of previous history, international environments, available models of political organization, and predominant patterns of social relations.

• Original with a wide historical scope • Compares the experiences of Iberia and the Low Countries between 1650 and 1850 • Particular focus on the British Isles, France and Switzerland


Preface; 1. Contention and democracy; 2. Regimes and their contention; 3. Undemocratic contention; 4. France; 5. The British Isles; 6. Switzerland as a special case; 7. Democracy and other regimes in Europe; 8. Europe and elsewhere.


‘… an ambitious, well-written book …‘. Political Studies Review

‘… Tilly is to be congratulated for his brave grasp of a vast sociological literature that illuminates many important historical details. His treatment of the vital role played by the Low Countries in the history of democracy in Europe is especially good.‘ Times Higher Education Supplement