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How can democratic transitions take place in Europe?

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Democratic transitions can take place in Europe in several ways. In general, the transitions feature violence, reforms, and setbacks.

Near the end of the 1700s, France looked like it would be transitioning to a democratic nation. The period was marked by class violence, with lower-class French citizens killing upper-class French people. In addition to the violence, the ad hoc legislature called the National Assembly voiced its support for democratic policies like free speech and representation.

When Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew, Napoleon III, became France's president, he helped steer France toward democracy with some new laws. He outlawed slavery in French colonies, initiated new social programs, and supported press freedoms.

Transitions to democracy in Europe can also happen with assistance from other nations. In the late 1940s, President Harry Truman established the Truman Doctrine, which meant that the United States would provide economic and military aid to countries that were trying to transition to democracy.

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