On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century Themes

Timothy Snyder
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The non-uniqueness of Americans and the American political system

Snyder argues that, despite a conventional belief to the contrary, the modern United States is not any less disposed to tyranny than were European democracies in the 1930s. This argument undergirds the entire book, but is presented explicitly in the first four chapters. The author cites Stanley Milgram’s electric shock experiment as empirical evidence for his argument. Milgram conducted this study in direct response to the events of WWII. Common belief, at the time, was that the German people were somehow particularly disposed to accept a tyrannical regime like that of the Nazis. Milgram proved, however, that Americans were just as willing to inflict pain on others if directed to by a perceived authority. The author argues that this conclusion remains accurate 50 years later and, if anything, trends in American society have made the country more susceptible to tyrannical...

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This section contains 2,331 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century Study Guide
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