Thomas M. Franck's The Emerging Right to Democratic Governance has lived a dual existence. On the one hand, it is almost universally cited as having brought international lawyers into the freewheeling debate of the early 1990s among scholars of international relations, comparative politics, and political theory about the so-called “Third Wave” of democratization. On the other hand, the article is not infrequently described as a legal avatar of post-Cold War Western triumphalism, often sharing a sentence or a footnote with Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man. From the standpoint of the two authors of this essay—one a long-time defender of Franck's thesis and the other a long-time critic—both of these broad-brush characterizations of the article contain elements of truth, but both are also woefully incomplete.
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