The United States is the world's oldest modern democracy. If George Washington hadn't insisted on running for re-election at the end of his first term instead of suspending elections and simply appointing himself President-For-As-Long-As-I-Please, and then voluntarily stepping down at the end of his second term, I can't--and don't want to--think of what kind of government we'd have today. And our growing pains, figuring out how to make a democracy work, didn't stop with Washington's farwell address. They continued from the Whiskey Rebellion to the Civil War.

        France is the world's second oldest modern democracy, following their bloody revolution which ended in 1799. Since the founding of that democracy, France has been through an emperor (Napoleon I), a revival of the monarchy (Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Philippe), and another emperor (Napoleon III). In fact, the French didn't begin to figure out how to make democracy work until after the death of Charles deGaulle in 1970!

        Over the past two centuries, the nations of Central and South America have gained their independence from the European colonial powers and become democracies. Nominally. Many/most/all of them have been plagued by military juntas, dictators, or other strong man rulers. These countries have had possibly more governmental changes via revolution, coups, and assassination than by election. (Eg., Bolivia has had 80 presidents and 26 acting, provisional, or interim presidents since Simon Bolivar became its first president in 1825. That's a change of administration once every 20.5 months.)

        After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991, Boris Yeltsin became the first president of the new democracy of the Russian Federation. Who's the ruler now? Former KGB official Vladimir Putin, who has become an autocratic strong man ruler.

        Even democratic Western Europe ain't necessarily so. Great Britain, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, and Norway still have monarchs, fer pete sake! And many European countries still have aristocracies.

        I could go on, but I think that's enough to make my point.