Democracy and Deep Divides

Issue Date April 2010
Volume 21
Issue 2
Page Numbers 5-19
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In the annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World, Nathan Glazer asks how democracies deal with deep divides—"ineraseable" divisions such as race, ethnicity, religion, and native language. One generalization that emerges from a consideration of two great nations, Canada and India (with side observations on the U.S.) is that free political parties competing for votes, including the votes of minorities, are a key factor in moderating these divides and in bringing forth the measures that produce a degree of stability—firm in Canada, shakier in India.