Transitions to the Rule of Law

Issue Date January 2010
Volume 21
Issue 1
Page Numbers 31-44
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Liberal democracy is held to be a combination of two sets of institutions—democratic ones that ensure that governments are accountable to popular choice, and liberal ones that provide for a rule of law. The latter has historically been understood as a body of rules of justice that bind a community together, something broader in scope than the property rights regimes which are the focus of most academic literature on the subject. In contrast to other law-governed societies, Western Europe was exceptional insofar as law was institutionalized earlier and to a higher degree than elsewhere on the force of factors such as codification, legal specialization, institutional autonomy, and the correspondence between law and social norms.

About the Author

Francis Fukuyama is Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. 

View all work by Francis Fukuyama