Democracy essay

Throughout the 186 years, from 508 to 322 BCE, Athens was under the rule of raw democracy. Although it was not a new discovery and traces of it could be found in the government even before 322 BCE, this period experienced Athenian Democracy in its most independent and progressive form. The transparency of the system was at such a level that the city of Athens was not ruled by a law-making body but rather the people held direct authority of decision-making. They had the right to argue and vote on matters, both great and small, on such a diverse scale that rulings over warfare as well as prescribing the required qualification for seamen were handled by them. Though the system apparently was a disorganized one, people had the mind to understand the necessity of checks and balances, and imposed a professional environment throughout the city (Blackwell 4). Need essay sample on "Athenian Democracy" ? We will write a custom essay sample specifically for you for only $/page

It is noteworthy here that the above discussion, though brief, is sufficient to indicate the reasons why the label "Republic" has been misapplied in other countries to other and different forms of government throughout history. It has been greatly misunderstood and widely misused--for example as long ago as the time of Plato, when he wrote his celebrated volume, The Republic ; in which he did not discuss anything governmental even remotely resembling--having essential characteristics of--a genuine Republic. Frequent reference is to be found, in the writings of the period of the framing of the Constitution for instance, to "the ancient republics," but in any such connection the term was used loosely--by way of contrast to a monarchy or to a Direct Democracy--often using the term in the sense merely of a system of Rule-by-Law featuring Representative government; as indicated, for example, by John Adams in his "Thoughts on Government" and by Madison in The Federalist numbers 10 and 39 . But this is an incomplete definition because it can include a Representative Democracy, lacking a written Constitution limiting The Majority.

Citizens in a democracy play an active role in public life. They follow keenly on the government’s progress in handling key issues and are free to criticize errant actions. There is guarantee of free access to information by citizens on government activities. Citizens have a right to criticize the government on its undertakings. Democracy encourages people to take part in public debates involving the affairs of the country. They can advice the government, protest or launch petitions against it in cases where they are in disagreement with some of its engagements.

We must not leap to the conclusion that there is a “true democracy” which is a natural amalgam of good government as representative government, political justice, equality, liberty, and human rights. For such volatile ingredients can at times be unstable unless in carefully measured and monitored combinations. Is “good government” or “social justice” unequivocally democratic, even in the nicest liberal senses? Probably not. Tocqueville wrote in the 1830s of the inevitability of democracy, but warned against “the dangers of a tyranny of the majority.” Well, perhaps he cared less for democracy than he did for liberty. But even Thomas Jefferson remarked in the old age that “an elective despotism was not what we fought for”; ... John Stuart Mill whose Essay on Liberty and Considerations on Representative Government are two of the great books of the modern world, came to believe that every adult (yes, women too) should have the vote, but only after compulsory secondary education had been instituted and had time to take effect.

Democracy essay

democracy essay

We must not leap to the conclusion that there is a “true democracy” which is a natural amalgam of good government as representative government, political justice, equality, liberty, and human rights. For such volatile ingredients can at times be unstable unless in carefully measured and monitored combinations. Is “good government” or “social justice” unequivocally democratic, even in the nicest liberal senses? Probably not. Tocqueville wrote in the 1830s of the inevitability of democracy, but warned against “the dangers of a tyranny of the majority.” Well, perhaps he cared less for democracy than he did for liberty. But even Thomas Jefferson remarked in the old age that “an elective despotism was not what we fought for”; ... John Stuart Mill whose Essay on Liberty and Considerations on Representative Government are two of the great books of the modern world, came to believe that every adult (yes, women too) should have the vote, but only after compulsory secondary education had been instituted and had time to take effect.

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