_Key point:_ capitalist development and democracy are primarily related through changes in the class structure, and democracy has progressed because the class most favouring it, the working class, has increased, while the class most opposed to it, the landowning nobility, has decreased. This is the case in both 19th century Europe and in developing areas in the Western Hemisphere in the 20th century, where similar class alignments worked either to retard or to advance democracy. Strong landlord classes aligned with autocratic states hindered democracy while working-class and middle-class coalitions encouraged it – and since capitalism is responsible for weakening the landed upper class and strengthening the working class and other subordinate classes, capitalism creates democracy.
_Method:_ comparative historical examination of European, South American, Central American, and Caribbean democratic development.
*because of the focus on the relationship of capitalism and democracy, politics is treated as a residual, determined by extrapolitical influences. This thesis is problematic due to its incongruence with the empirical finding that virtually all full-fledged democracies are associated with capitalist economies, whereas not all capitalist economies enjoy democratic political support.
*a quantitative enlargement of the subordinate classes does not guarantee their self-organization and subsequent increased political participation, as has been demonstrated in the East Asian developmental states.
*class attitudes to democracy can be impacted by sectoral differences relating to both organization and inter-class dynamics.
*examines the transformation of European states from autocracies to democracies during the nineteenth century. The authors find that both economic crises and warfare during the latter decades of the century created new class alignments.
**where the agrarian landlord elite class was reduced as the dominant force in society, other groups, particularly working- and middle-class elements (but not the bourgeoisie), forced a transformation to democratic rule.
**working-class mobilization in particular was crucial in most cases of democratization (contrast with Moore).
*extending their model to South America, several necessary preconditions for the establishment of democracy are established, including consolidation of state power, export expansion, industrialization, and an alliance between the working class and middle class.
**when only several of these conditions held (e.g. Brazil and Uruguay) the establishment of democracy was difficult.
**but in Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela and Chile, a mineral-export economy and an active working class combined to help form the foundations of democracy.
**also key was the involvement of the military, which, when divided, gave more impetus to democracy than when it was unified, as in the case of Chile.
*in Central America, a combination of landlord power, US political intervention, and Spanish traditions made the establishment of democracy difficult.
*in the Caribbean, British traditions both weakened the landlord class and provided the philosophical underpinnings of participatory government.