The End of the Transitions Era?

Issue Date July 2014
Volume 25
Issue 3
Page Numbers 5-16
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Thanks to Samuel P. Huntington’s classic study The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century, the 1974 Portuguese Revolution has come to be acknowledged as the starting point of the cascade of transitions that Huntington dubbed democracy’s “third wave.” There may well be new transitions to democracy, but there are also likely to be new reversals that will more or less balance them out. The magnitude of democratic change brought by the third wave—the era par excellence of democratic transitions—is unlikely to be matched in the future.

About the Author

Marc F. Plattner is a member of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Board of Directors. He was on the NED staff from 1984 until 2020, serving first as the director of the grants program. In 1989, he became founding coeditor (with Larry Diamond) of the Journal of Democracy. He later served as codirector of the International Forum for Democratic Studies and as NED’s vice-president for research and studies.

View all work by Marc F. Plattner