Democracy and British Plantation Colonialism

23 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 6 Aug 2010

See all articles by Matthew Lange

Matthew Lange

McGill University - Sociology Department

Date Written: 2010


This paper explores why former British plantation colonies have relatively high levels of democracy through an analysis of one positive case (Mauritius) and one negative case (Guyana). The analysis finds that Mauritius developed an effective democratic system during the final years of colonialism. It was made possible through extensive political reforms backed by strong societal support and a relatively effective state capable of implementing them. Alternatively, similar political reforms did not occur in Guyana because of intense conflict between the colonized and the colonizers and between Indo-Guyanan and Afro-Guyanan communities. Even more, the conflict weakened the state and promoted autocratic rule.

Keywords: Plantations, British Colonialism, Democracy, Mauritius, Guyana

JEL Classification: H70, H11

Suggested Citation

Lange, Matthew, Democracy and British Plantation Colonialism (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:

Matthew Lange (Contact Author)

McGill University - Sociology Department ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5

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