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What is the Tytler Cycle?

Updated: May 25

The Tytler Cycle, also known as the "Tytler Cycle of Democracy," is a historical theory proposed by Alexander Tytler, an 18th century Scottish historian. The theory states that a democracy will evolve through a series of stages, ultimately leading to its collapse and replacement by a dictatorship.

The cycle consists of eight stages:

  1. From bondage to spiritual faith

  2. From spiritual faith to great courage

  3. From courage to liberty

  4. From liberty to abundance

  5. From abundance to complacency

  6. From complacency to apathy

  7. From apathy to dependence

  8. From dependence back into bondage

According to the theory, a society begins in a state of bondage, where individuals are controlled by a powerful ruler or government. As the society evolves, individuals begin to develop a spiritual faith, which leads to great courage and the desire for liberty. This leads to a stage of abundance, where individuals are prosperous and enjoy a high standard of living. However, as the society becomes complacent and apathetic, individuals begin to become dependent on the government, ultimately leading to a return to bondage and a dictatorship.

It's important to note that the Tytler Cycle is a theory, and it is not universally accepted by historians and scholars. Some argue that it is not a accurate representation of how societies evolve and that it is based on a selective interpretation of history. It should be considered as a general idea of a pattern that might happen in a society rather than a hard rule that always applies.


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