Sunday, March 23, 2014

“Conversionary Protestants” and Democracy

January/FebruaryChristianity Today has a nice story on Bob Woodberry’s (Dudley’s son) research that has received a lot of attention in the last 5 years, called, “The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries: They didn’t set out to change history. But one modern scholar’s research shows they did just that.” Here is the thesis:

Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.

From CT: “In short: Want a blossoming democracy today? The solution is simple—if you have a time machine: Send a 19th-century missionary.”

Here is Bob Woodberry’s landmark essay, “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy.”

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