The term 'coup d'état', French for stroke of the state, brings to mind coups staged by power-hungry generals who overthrow the existing regime, not to democratize but to concentrate power in their own hands as dictators. We assume all coups look the same, smell the same, and present the same threats to democracy. It's a powerful, concise, and self-reinforcing idea. It's also wrong. 'The Democratic Coup d'État' advances a simple yet controversial argument: Sometimes a democracy is established through a military coup. The work covers events from the Athenian Navy's stance in 411 BC against a tyrannical home government to coups in the American colonies that ousted corrupt British governors and to twentieth-century coups that toppled dictators and established democracy in countries as diverse as Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, and Colombia.