Home » When Does a Newborn Democracy Fail? Evidence from South Korea’s Second Democratic Regime, 1960-1961

When Does a Newborn Democracy Fail? Evidence from South Korea’s Second Democratic Regime, 1960-1961

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to discuss when a newborn democracy fails to develop itself towards consolidation, by examining a case of South Korea’s second democratic regime launched in 1960. This regime offers an interesting case to study since it lasted only about a year despite active democratic reforms. This paper argues that, for democratic consolidation to succeed, a newborn democracy should be sustainable, which can be attained through the efforts of both government and civil society to enroot democratic norms in their country. This requires more than just an enhancement of the level of democracy via institutional efforts. This paper presents a theoretical framework that highlights the tasks necessary for both government and civil society to make a newborn democracy sustainable. Per this framework, it examines the Korean case and discovers that both the government and civil society in 1960 negated those tasks. Finally, it concludes with implications in the light of the appearance of many newborn democracies in the late twentieth century that have followed bumpy roads towards democratic consolidation.

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