Why was franchise extended to the lower classses and to women? Was it conquered by the excluded groups, threatening that unless they were admitted as citizens they would reach for power by other, revolutionary, means? Or was it voluntarily granted by the incumbent elites? This question is examined statistically, using a new dataset covering the entire world from the inception of representative institutions until now. The general picture that emerges is that the poorer classes fought their way into the representative institutions and, once admitted, they were organized by different political parties. In pursuit of their economic and social goals, these parties sought to enhance their electoral positions, treating the issue of female suffrage as an instrument of electoral competition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations