Three widely divergent nations having one characteristic in common-democratic forms of government-were selected as the basis of this study. The question was this: What creates or maintains democratic institutions in nations that are under serious internal or external threat? The answer suggested is a combination of a tradition of tolerance for free speech and dissent, diffusion rather than concentration of power and adaptation to local conditions and practices. These threads, common to such a varied set of nations, need to be studied more extensively than was possible here in order to progress toward a general theory. This book, however, represents an interesting start.