13 Jul

Map of the Week: Bastille Day and the Spread of Democracy

Tomorrow, July 14th, is Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution, the fall of the monarchy and the formation of the French Democratic state in 1789. The ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity became the basis for many democratic states today. While France, and many other countries, fluctuated in terms of how democratic their regimes were through time, democracy has solidified itself as one of the most commonly used political regimes in the world.

Below is a map which shows the progression of democracy based on Polity IV scores, the most commonly accepted measure of democracy among political scientists, changing over time. Countries are ranked on a scale of -10 to 10, with each score broadly representing whether a country has elections, how fair they are, and whether, once in office, leaders can govern like dictators. Anything that scores 6 or higher is a democracy, and shows up in blue on the map.

Click on the map to see the change over time.


Here is another map showing the current regimes in countries around the world, as of 2013, from the Polity IV Project.

Written by Christopher Ewell and Elise Mazur, 7/13/2015