NBER

Richard R. W. Brooks

Columbia University

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Institutional Affiliation: Columbia University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2017The Right to Associate and the Rights of Associations: Civil-Society Organizations in Prussia, 1794–1908
with Timothy W. Guinnane
in Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development, Naomi R. Lamoreaux and John Joseph Wallis, editors
Civil society plays a central role in democratic regimes. Its absence is telling too. One mark of a repressive government is its effort to suppress or limit civil society. Suppression of civil society has a long history, and has existed even in relatively democratic societies. Historically, this suppression has taken two principal forms: limits on the rights of individuals to assemble or associate and limits on the rights of their organizations or associations. We begin with a simple framework for thinking about the right to associate and the rights of associations, illustrated with examples from U.S. history. We then turn to our principal historical example, tracing the history of limitations on association and civil-society organizations in Prussia from the late eighteenth century to the...

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