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the consent of the people they govern. The two main criteria for a democracy are, firstly that the officials exercising power have legitimate authority because they have been elected, as opposed to inheriting that authority or holding it by force; and secondly, the mechanism for changing the government is through peaceful and regular elections, as opposed to revolts, coups, or civil war. Democracy is not a theory about what the aims or content of government or law should be, only that those aims should be guided by the opinion of the majority, as opposed to a single ruler (as with an absolute monarchy, dictatorship, or oligarchy). Just because a government has been democratically elected does not mean it will be a good, just, or competent government. Thus, some polities have used the democratic process to secure liberty while others have used it to promote equality, nationalism, or other values. Democracy is also a peaceful way for a group of any size to settle arguments or make decisions. Everyone has a vote and is committed to respecting the decision that wins. This does not mean the decision will be the best one, or even a good one. It is simply a mechanism for enabling everyone to be involved in the decision making process, which gives the decisions binding legitimacy. Most of the procedures used by modern democracies are very old. Almost all cultures have at some time had their new leaders approved, or at least accepted, by the people; and have changed the laws only after consultation with the assembly of the people or their leaders. Such institutions existed since before written records, as well as being referred to in ancient texts, and modern democracies are often derived or inspired by them. Democracy in the modern world evolved in Britain and France and then spread to other nations. The main reason for the development of democracy was a dissatisfaction with the corruption, incompetence, abuse of power, and lack of accountability of the existing polity, which was often an absolute monarchy whose legitimacy was based on the doctrine of the divine right of kings. Instead of defending their country, kings were often engaging in ruinously expensive wars against other countries. Instead of using their power to enforce the rule of law and justice, they were often using this power to oppress their subjects and stifle opposition. People thought that if they could have a say in how they were governed, these abuses could come to an end. There is a tension in democracy between the rule of law limiting government and protecting individual liberties, and the rule of the people being able to override individual liberties. In modern history this has led to two competing versions of democracy. One emphasizes the purpose of the whole, but when it became atheistic has tended to slip into totalitarianism and the suppression of individual liberty. The other emphasizes individual liberty, but with the decline of its Christian underpinnings has tended to slide into social disintegration.
There are many different types of democracy, from the minimalist direct democracy of Switzerland to the totalitarian democracy of communist states such as North Korea, as well as mixed systems such as the blending of monarchy, oligarchy, and democracy in the United Kingdom. As democracy is now regarded by many as the highest, or even only, form of legitimate authority, many states claim to be democratic even if they do not appear to be. One of the most damaging accusations in today's international arena is that a group or process is "undemocratic." In the Islamic world, there are democracies such as Turkey, Egypt, Iran, and Pakistan, although there are also Muslims who believe democracy is unIslamic. Though the term democracy is typically used in the context of a political state, the principles are also applicable to other groups and organizations. In the past, philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas and Hobbes have considered democracy to be among the worst forms of government because it could easily be corrupted and result in injustice. The chief danger is that a majority can impose its will upon a minority in a way that violates their liberties. Thus during the twentieth century, besides liberal democracies, there were also dictators such as Hitler who came to power through the democratic process and totalitarian democracies like the Soviet Union, where the populace gave strong support to the regime at various times. To function properly, democracies require a high level of education and maturity among the people who vote. If not, the process can be captured by demagogues if too many vote in a self-centered way, as happened in Wiemar Germany. It can also be very claustrophobic or oppressive as majorities can use their position to intimidate minority opinions. Modern democracy has benefited from the mass education of citizens, the free press, and most especially the Protestant Reformation, which encouraged selfrestraint and public-mindedness and trained people in self-government.
History of democracy
Classical Greek democracy
The word "democracy" derives from the ancient Greek demokratia (δημοκρατία). It combines the elements demos (which means "people") and kratos ("force, power"). Kratos is an unexpectedly brutish word. In the words "monarchy" and "oligarchy," the second element, "arche," means rule, leading, or being first. The Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens (comprising the central city-state of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica). Athens was one of the very first known democracies and probably the most important in ancient times. Every adult male citizen was by right a member of the Assembly and had a duty to participate and vote on legislation and executive bills. The officials of the democracy were elected by lot, except generals (strategoi) and financial officials, who were elected by the Assembly. Election was seen as less democratic and open to corruption because it would favor the rich (who could buy votes) and the eloquent, whereas a lottery gave everyone an equal chance to participate and experience, in Aristotle's words, "ruling and being ruled in turn" (Politics 1317b28–30).
Participation was not open to all the inhabitants of Attica, but the in-group of participants was constituted with no reference to economic class and they participated on a scale that was truly phenomenal. Never before had so many people spent so much of their time in governing themselves. However, they only had the time to do this because of the huge number of slaves that underpinned the Athenian economy. Political rights and citizenship were not granted to women, slaves, or metics (aliens). Of the 250-300,000 inhabitants, about one third were from citizen families and about 30,000 were citizens. Of those 30,000 perhaps 5,000 might regularly attend one or more meetings of the popular Assembly. Athenian polity was an expression of its philosophy. One of the distinguishing features of ancient Greece was its lack of a priestly class who would mediate between the people and the gods and also be channels of the divine laws and will. Instead, the philosopher Aristotle summed the humanistic Greek view up in his definition of human beings as "political or social animals," or as another philosopher put it, "man is the measure of all things." Men could only live perfect and self-sufficient lives if they became active citizens, knowing how to rule and be ruled by participating fully in the life of the state. Thus, for Athenians, making laws and arguing about policy was their duty and right. This contrasts with a religiously based culture where it is the gods who make or hand down the laws and human beings do not have the authority to make or change these laws. So individual citizens of Athens had the right to take the initiative: to stand to speak in the assembly, to initiate a public law suit (that is, one held to affect the political community as a whole), to propose a law before the lawmakers, or to approach the council with suggestions. There were many critics of Athenian democracy and twice it suffered coups. For example in 406 B.C.E., the Athenians won a naval victory over the Spartans. After the battle, a storm arose and the eight generals in command failed to collect survivors: The Athenians sentenced all of them to death. Technically, it was illegal, as the generals were tried and sentenced together, rather than one by one as Athenian law required. Socrates happened to be the citizen presiding over the assembly that day. He refused to cooperate, objecting to the idea that the people should be able to ignore the laws and do whatever they wanted just because they were in the majority. This tension in democracy between the rule of law, limiting government and protecting individual liberties, and the rule of the people, being able to override individual liberties, resurfaced in modern history with two competing versions of democracy.
Most parts of Europe were ruled by clergy or feudal lords during the Middle Ages. However, the growth of centers of commerce and city-states led to great experimentation in non-feudal forms of government. Many cities elected mayors or burghers. There were various systems involving elections or assemblies, although often only involving a minority of the population. Such city states, particularly on the Italian
peninsula, often allowed greater freedom for science and the arts, and theRenaissance blossomed in this environment, helping to create conditions for the re-emergence of democracy. One of the most significant influences on the development of democracy was Protestantism. The hierarchical Roman Catholic Church supported absolute monarchy and was a powerful opponent of democracy and liberalism. The fragmentation and restructuring of Christianity that accompanied the Reformation enabled groups of Christians in some countries to experiment and set up their own congregations based on different ecclesiologies, such as Presbyterianism and Congregationalism. These arguments and discussions over church polity spilled over into politics and influenced the development of democracy. Instances of democracy that have been cited include Gopala in Bengal, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Althing in Iceland, certain medieval Italian city-states (such as Venice), the tuatha system in early medieval Ireland, the Veche in Slavic countries, Scandinavian Things, and the autonomous merchant city of Sakai in sixteenth century Japan. However, few of these have an unbroken history into the modern period—an exception being the Althing, which lays claim to being the oldest parliament in the world. Furthermore participation in many of these post-feudal governments was often restricted to the aristocracy.
The development of democracy in England
The origin of the modern liberal democracy that has expanded so rapidly in the past century lies in the evolution of English political institutions. The government of the English in the tenth century, before the Norman conquest and the imposition of feudalism, was derived from the customs of the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled in England during the fifth century. The English were a nation of freeholders living in homesteads. A group of these homesteads formed a village which had an assembly, the villagemoot presided over by the village-reeve. A hundred or so of such villages constituted a Hundred, which also had a meeting presided over by an elder where they managed their own affairs. A number of hundreds formed a shire, presided over by an earldorman appointed by the King and Witan. The kingdom made up of these shires was ruled by the Witenagemot and the King. The Witenagemot was the "Meeting of the Wise Men," who could elect and depose the King, decide questions of war and peace, make and amend the laws, confirm the appointment of bishops and earldormen and settle disputes. The King was greatly respected but could not alter the law, levy a tax, or make a grant of land without the consent of the Witenagemot. The English system of government worked from the bottom upwards, from the freeman to the King, every person holding his own land as his right, choosing his own earldorman who in turn helped to choose the King. The law was customary law, which formed the basis of Common Law, a body of general rules
The first House of Commons summoned by Simon de Montefort with representatives from all classes of the kingdom (1265). Subsequent English history has been a long struggle to reassert the Anglo-saxon principles of government against this imposed feudalism. but discovered as revealed in the traditional life and practices of the community. issued by King John under pressure from the barons led by the Archbishop of Canterbury. William the Conqueror invaded England and imposed the feudal system. which restated the ancient principle that no person should be imprisoned but by the judgment of his equals and by the law of the land (1215). English parliament in front of the king c. Magna Carta. Thus no one had the authority to unilaterally go against the wisdom of the past generations and make new law. The King owned all the land and gave it to his knights. In 1066. the whole power of the state. The Provisions of Oxford which demanded that there should be three Parliaments a year and that the King could not act without the authority of his appointed advisers (1258). 1300 Some landmarks in this not always progressive struggle were: The attempt to bring the Church under the law of the land so that priests who committed murder could be punished with theConstitutions of Clarendon (1164). It was thought of as God's law which had been handed down through custom from generation to generation. and barons. 5 . earls. which worked from the top down. The law was not made. and concentrated in himself. In this way he gathered up.prescribing social conduct. The confirmation of trial by jury (1166). It was characterized by trial by jury and by the doctrine of the supremacy of law.
The abolition of the authority of the Pope in England (1534). The Petition of Right (1628) which demanded that no man could be taxed without consent of Parliament. but the natural birthright of Englishmen. which gave the vote to all men and women over the age of 30. "it was right that what concerned all. which introduced secret ballots. and the extraordinary amount of religious freedom and outpouring of spirituality at this time. The Habeas Corpus Act (1679) restated the ancient principle that indefinite and illegal imprisonment was unlawful. which arose because of the arbitrary government of Charles I. The Toleration Act (1689) allowing freedom of worship to all Protestants. that they could discuss matters of public interest and that they had the right to liberty of speech (1621). The declaration by the Commons that their privileges were not the gift of the Crown. 6 . who wanted to rule absolutely and impose Catholicism on the country. The Declaration of Right (1689) that declared illegal the pretended power to suspend or dispense the law. The right of the Commons to impeach any servant of the Crown who had done wrong (1376) and the necessity that the two Houses of Parliament should concur for the law to be changed. Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act (1883). The National Covenant (1637) signed in Scotland to resist the imposition of Popery and Episcopacy. The abolition of the Star Chamber (1640) which dispensed arbitrary justice. The First Complete Parliament (1297) summoned by Edward I on the principle that. The growth of non-conformity that accompanied the Reformation popularized the idea that a congregation should be able to elect its own minister—these expressions of democracy in the churches spread to the political realm. 1867). Representation of the People Act (1918)." which passed the statute that there was to be no taxation without the consent of the realm. which set limits on campaign spending. Ballot Act (1872). who tried to rule without Parliament. The Glorious Revolution in which William of Orange was invited to defend the rights and liberties of the people of England from James II. The expansion of the franchise in England in the mid-nineteenth century through the Reform Acts (1832. should be approved by all. The English Civil War.
retrospective legislation. Thomas Jefferson stated that majority rights cannot exist if individual rights do not. Women's suffrage was finally achieved in the 1920s with the passage of the 19th Amendment. were granted the right to vote under the passage of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Although not described as a "democracy" by its founding fathers. Universal suffrage and political equality of men and women (1928). whereas the whole raison d'etre of democracy was to preserve and not to justify the destruction of liberty. It was adopted in 1788. in the case of men. Constitutional republics are a deliberate attempt to diminish the threat of mobocracy. The power of the majority of the people is checked by 7 . Following the American Civil War. This has led to a gradual but significant loss of freedom as governments have used their democratic mandate to engage in social engineering. Having a constitution that described functions and limited the political institutions was a novel innovation. The founding fathers who framed the Constitution wanted to establish institutions that could preserve liberty and prevent the excessive growth of government. in 1868.S. today it is the model many people aspire too. Hume. a series of amendments to the Constitution. the founding fathers produced a Bill of Rights." However.  Democracy in the United States A significant further development of democracy occurred with the establishment of the United States. from Jeffersonian Democracy to Jacksonian Democracy and beyond. thereby protecting minority groups from the tyranny of the majority by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population. These policies could only be delivered through greatly increased public expenditure financed through increases in taxation. and provided for an elected government through representatives. The system gradually evolved. in a constitutional republic. with the expansion of the franchise came the expansion of government. The political principles of liberal democracy that were worked out over the centuries in England and articulated by the philosophers Locke. newly freed slaves. because this would be undemocratic. are only governed by the majority of the people within the limits prescribed by the rule of law. and Montesquieu were inherited by the United States and embodied in its Constitution. so that no institution or person would have absolute power. The U. To further limit the reach of government and protect people's liberties. It is now commonly thought that the will of a democratically elected government should not be constrained. and it protected the civil rights and liberties of all except slaves. citizens in the U. So the United States Constitution set down the framework for government with checks and balances based on the separation of powers.S. However. unlike a pure democracy. as politicians made promises to the electorate so as to win votes and be elected. which was seen as the chief threat to liberty. Constitution states that the power comes from the people: "We the people…. and the confiscation of property in a manner reminiscent of the Greek abuses that Socrates railed against. This exception came to haunt the new republic.
" 8 ." The framers carefully created the institutions within the Constitution and the United States Bill of Rights. And modern British and American philosophy has been strongly empirical. and executive powers. This individualism was grounded in the nuclear family structure. and. thus. valuing experience over abstract reason. Hume. which made it hard to imagine. But they were mitigated by a constitution with protections for individual liberty. which valued liberty above other values such as equality and authority. the importance of a separation of powers. cannot be surrendered. The underlying values and culture that underpin Anglo-American democracy are. Inalienable rights refers to a set of human rights that are not awarded by human power. a separation of powers. or functions. and not of men. and secure ownership of property. movement and trade. A second value in Anglo-American democracy is respect for tradition and custom as the source of the authority for morality and the law. and his or her rights and responsibilities. J. came to be recognized with a separate executive. freedom of association. Mill. judicial. which was a notoriouslyPelagian version of Christianity that also emphasized freedom and responsibility.S. Great Britain. so that basic constitutional law is extremely difficult to change. the power of elected representatives is also checked by prohibitions against any single individual having legislative. Medieval English philosophy had a tendency towards nominalism. To guarantee this. As David Hume said. and Toland. have all supported individual liberty against the state and the majority. developed an exaggerated sense of the value of the individual as compared to other countries. especially its evangelical version with its emphasis on individual salvation and the love that God has for each individual soul. and thus believe. the name "liberal" democracy. legislative. Protestantism. This was reinforced by English religion. They kept what they believed were the best elements of previous forms of government. and judiciary. who then govern within limits of overarching constitutional law. It was thought that a democratically accountable legislature and independent judiciary was the best way to prevent a king or imperious chief executive from misusing his position and acting arbitrarily. first. and its offspring America. reinforced this respect for the individual. which can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon period. in the existence of abstract constructs such as the state. the value of the individual. John Adams defined a constitutional republic as "a government of laws. Subsequent major and minor British political philosophers such as Locke.limiting that power to electing representatives. and a layered federal structure. The values of Anglo-American democracy The main theme running through this political evolution is that the impetus for greater democracy was the desire to establish the rule of law so as to preserve and expand freedom—the freedom of religion and speech. "the rules of morality are not conclusions of our reason.Moreover. Hence. rather than the popular vote or government having power to deny any inalienable right.
France was an absolute monarchy in which the king was the source of all laws and administrative authority. The forces that were unleashed soon resulted in the collapse of royal authority and social order. They had this power because large armies were necessary for defense. such as legal equality and the abolition of feudal dues were welcomed by the general population. and inadequate tax base. So in the modern era. In the Middle Ages most European countries had modernized by adoptingJustinian's legal code. The development of democracy in France In theory. Many of these changes. Many voluntary societies and charities were formed and freely given public service was common. full of idiosyncrasies. The idea that the state should have this authority was not challenged.Experience reveals that the world people is very complex. with the unchecked authority to lead their countries into ruinous and destructive wars. This led to a widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo and a desire for change. Thirdly. To break the deadlock. took a very different turn. The French state in the 1780s. disregarding all previous laws and 9 . Democracy in America (1835). was on the brink of bankruptcy due to an ancient. by claiming the authority to remake society. legal privilege and theocratic absolutism were abolished and society was rationally reorganized on an individualist and secular basis. The Estates General turned itself into a National Assembly in 1789 and abrogated to itself the national sovereignty and gave itself the right to create a new constitution. continental monarchies had been very powerful. inequitable. Feudalism. There were many other economic and social problems the monarchy was unable to solve. whose status and authority was very unclear. In practice. King Louis XVI called the Estates General. Throughout the Middle Ages. as well as over spending on wars with Britain. as there are few natural barriers on the continent and most countries had several neighbors with whom there would be disputes over territory. which gave individuals the organizational strength to exercise their liberties according to their various opinions. The Assembly swept aside the past. The French observer Alexis de Tocqueville in his famous work. publishing the Constitution of 1791 which revolutionized the whole social and political structure of France. and that social institutions are the product of human actions but not conscious human design. the most progressive monarchs were enlightened despots. the monarch was hedged in by a medieval constitution which he could not change without the risk of undermining the entire structure. So loyalty and service of the whole has always tended to be more important than individual freedom. such that people naturally tended to be public minded. is famously to have said that he found the strength of America in her churches and voluntary societies. Anglo-American individualism traditionally had a strong Christian component. when it developed on the continent of Europe. Democracy in France and its totalitarian offshoots Democracy. They were often followed by dictators. However. to meet for the first time since 1614. which gave the authority for creating law to the ruler.
the separation of Church and State and religious toleration came in 1791. who spent much of his time ridiculing religion and things that were old. The Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen was published guaranteeing legal equality. The Enlightenment was also deeply anti-clerical. The new constitution created the Directoire (Directorate) and the first bicameral legislature in French history. Idealistic thinkers assumed that a model society could be designed on rational principles and then implemented. This effectively led to his dictatorship and eventually (in 1804). An altar to the Cult of Reason replaced the Christian one in Notre Dame and many priests were martyred. The state is 10 . people were born pure but had been corrupted and enslaved by civilization and institutions such as private property. In 1795. the Convention approved the new Constitution of the Year III which was later ratified in a plebiscite. Eventually it turned atheistic. They debated and voted for the safety of the State against the liberty of individuals to leave. monarchy. every individual had to surrender his rights to a collective body and obey the general will. which brought to a close the First Republic. everyone in the society would subscribe to a new social contract. as the French religious establishment was unable to intellectually refute the more extreme deist ideas that had been imported from England. and empire—culminating in the establishment of the Fifth Republic in 1958. the Assembly considered legislation against such émigrés. like geometry. In the winter of 1791.institutions. To change this. Many of those who did fled the country. the door was opened for one person or group after another to impose their vision or ideals on the country in an almost permanent revolution. The values of Gallic democracy The rationalism of the French Enlightenment provided the foundational values of the French Revolution and the type of democracies that developed from it. it was led by Voltaire (1694–1778). His conception of the ideal polity was very illiberal. he advocated a new corrective social contract as a blueprint through which a proper society could be built. to his proclamation as Emperor. Many of these changes were welcomed with few regretting the end of theocratic monarchy. another assembly called the Convention drew up a republican constitution. He thought that in an idealized state of nature. has a tendency to assert that there is one right answer. the Constitution of the Year I. Reason. The revolution became increasingly radical and atheistic and there was a campaign of dechristianization in 1794. This should have been followed by elections. The leading political philosopher in France was Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778). In order to be free. People opposed to the revolution were arrested and executed in the Terror that followed. when Napoleon Bonaparte staged the coup which installed the Consulate. The impasse was broken in 1799. In 1792. but the members of the Convention wanted to hang on to their positions because they thought they knew better than anyone else what was best for the country and so disregarded the constitution. There followed 150 years of instability—periods of republic. To begin this. and voted to execute the king.
tending to corrupt people and destroy their character. even if people earn the same amount of money they may prioritize and spend it differently—one person on food and luxuries. The general will. But such equality. another on children's education. another on travel. and became a basic value of democracies throughout Europe. is always right and reflects the real interests of every member of society. more than a century later. The historian François Furet in his work. Although Rousseau was not a supporter of democracy—he preferred aristocracy—his ideas affected the course of the French revolution and subsequent democracy. which has been called the Procrustean equality. The vision was of a country organized and united to achieve a common purpose. This innovation was very attractive to others who wished to change and modernize society. arguing that the former was taken as a model by Russian revolutionaries. He regarded the man without property (the noble savage. the supporters of the French Revolution thought its principles were universal and could.vested with total power. He thought it was the source of social ills. a group claiming to be the "vanguard of the proletariat. So the only way to achieve equality is to take away people's freedom to make such choices. What is supremely important is the whole. One of the key values of French democracy which is also shared by socialism and communism is equality. The principles of French democracy were eagerly embraced by other idealistic revolutionaries throughout Europe. Being rationalistic. If people are free. for example) to be the freest. Rousseau also recognized the importance of education and maintained that the state should control it." seizing power in the name of the people. even should. and using that 11 . So anyone who disagrees with the general will is mistaken and acting contrary to his own best interests. which is legitimate because it has the consent of the majority. another invests it and engages in commerce. so as to be able to indoctrinate children into the values of the state. Rousseau didn't agree with the idea of private property. another on drink and drugs. as it justified a small group who thought they knew what was best for the people. such democracies tended to become totalitarian. by definition. It is the ruler's responsibility to correct him and force him to act for his own benefit. This model was attractive to Marxists. they can make choices which have different outcomes. One impetus behind French democracy was the desire to seize the power of the state and use it to remodel society on a rationalistic basis. is incompatible with freedom. For example. Not equality before the law so much as people having equal lifestyles—having the same amount of living space and the same income. another on a larger home. As long as the government was based on popular sovereignty it had the power and authority to make any laws. he thought that nearly all property should be owned by the state. However. which leads quickly to inequality. be adopted by others. of which an individual is merely an expendable a part. and another saves it and passes it to his or her children. The Passing of an Illusion explores in detail the similarities between the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution of 1917. Instead.
which reports the state of world freedom in 2006. the People's Republic of China. It shows the de jure status of democracy in the world. It is one of the most widely used measures of democracy by researchers. Global spread of democracy in the twentieth century Since World War II. democracy has gained widespread acceptance. Note that although these measures (another is the Polity data described below) are highly correlated. and elsewhere.Freedom House considers these to be liberal democracies. This map displays the official self identification made by world governments with regard to democracy.██ Governments self identified as democratic██ Governments not self identified as democratic. They have a centrally planned command economy and a powerful secret police to seek out and punish dissenters. These countries are one-party states based on the principles of democratic centralism.██ Partly Free██ Not Free 12 .  ██ Free. People who resisted or disagreed were to be sent to re-education camps or executed. as of June 2006. this does not imply interchangeability.power to compel the people to fit into the new ideal economic and social order. This was not uncommon in the communist democracies established by the Soviet Union. This map reflects the findings of Freedom House's survey Freedom in the World 2007.
decolonization." variously resulting from wars. 1972-2005 Number of nations 1800-2003 scoring 8 or higher on Polity IV scale. which made government very difficult. such as Hungary. they were all very unstable. decided with the Treaty of Versailles to break up the Austro-Hungarian Empire into new nation states. too. The rise of democracies in the twentieth century has come in successive "waves of democracy. After World War I the Allies. The Ottoman Empire. andCanada all became stable. while the black countries score below 2. another widely used measure of democracy. Some.This graph shows Freedom House's evaluation of the number of nations in the different categories given above for the period for which there are surveys. In Russia. The palest blue countries get a score above 9. but with a franchise limited to white people. who administered Iraq. strong men came to power either to establish national unity or to defend the country from predatory larger neighbors. New Zealand. South Africabecame a democracy. mostly degenerating into nationalism. and religious groups without a common identity. imposed a parliamentary constitution on the country along with a monarch. like Austria. and Italy. The Economist's Democracy Index offers another measure of democracy. the absolute 13 . national. was partitioned and different countries created and administered under League of Nations mandates awarded to France. Early in the century. Britain. the democratic roots were not very deep and there was a coup in 1958. established a democratic system. The British. under pressure from Woodrow Wilson. However. liberal democracies modeled on the British parliamentary system. several countries that were part of the British Empire gradually gained their independence: Australia. revolutions. and economic circumstances. The countries contained a mixture of ethnic. Without either mature national identities or democratic traditions to draw upon. while in others.
14 . liberal democracies were established in all the liberated countries of western Europe and the American. socialist democracies were imposed by the Soviet Union where only communist and communist associated parties were allowed to participate in elections. Spain. Membership of these parties was restricted. led by Lenin. because of "false consciousness" hadn't voted "correctly" in elections for the democratically elected All Russian Constituent Assembly. With the support of the U." The Soviet sector of Germany became the German Democratic Republic and was forced into the Soviet bloc. economic growth was high in both the western and Communist countries as industries were developed to provide goods for citizens. and again most of the new independent states had democratic constitutions often based on the British parliamentary model. Poland. By 1960. and Japan. most western democratic nations had mixed economies and developed a welfare state. the Baltic Republics. when they were held. The aftermath of World War II brought a definite reversal of this trend in Western Europe and Japan. Following World War II. However. and UK. Roosevelt wielded much more power than previous presidents which coincided with a huge expansion of government. although the majority of the world's population lived in nations that experienced sham elections. Although they did not have widespread support. The Great Depression also brought disenchantment and instability. command economies.S. this period has been called the "Age of Dictators. and in several European countries. Elections. dictators and fascist parties came to power. They claimed to represent the "vanguard of the proleteriat" and the real interests of the people who. In the 1950s and 1960s. reflecting a general consensus among their electorates and political parties that the wealthy could be taxed to help support the poor. They did so either by coups or by manipulating the democratic system claiming to be able to solve problems which liberalism and democracy could not. Portugal. British. The communist party maintained itself in power by claiming to be the "vanguard of the proletariat. Dictatorships were established in Germany. the Balkans. the vast majority ofnation-states called themselves democracies. The war was also followed by decolonization. Brazil. many rulers held their power for decades by intimidating and imprisoning opponents. were often rigged so that the ruling party and president were re-elected. and other forms of subterfuge. Cuba. the Bolshevik Party. However. and French sectors of occupied Germany were democratized too. However in most of Eastern Europe." using intimidation and force against "counter-revolutionaries. Italy. which disenfranchised most of the population. seized power in a coup the following October." Even in the United States Franklin D. Together with Stalin's regime in the Soviet Union. where incentives for hard work and the freedom to innovate were lost. once elected. among others.monarchy of Tsarism was overthrown in the February Revolution of 1917. it later declined in the state-controlled. China.
and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan. W. and they quickly became members or candidate members of the European Union. The liberal trend spread to some nations in Africa in the 1990s. The most successful of the new democracies were those geographically and culturally closest to western Europe. the Rose Revolution in Georgia. and the old party leaders took personal ownership of Russia's outdated industries. The former Eastern bloc countries had some memory of liberal democracy and could reorganize more easily than Russia. whereapartheid was dismantled by the efforts of Nelson Mandela and F. had its reforms impeded by a mafia and oligarchs that crippled new businesses. More recent examples include the Indonesian Revolution of 1998. most prominently in South Africa. This was followed by nations in East Asia and South Asia by the mid-to-late 1980s. DeKlerk. Russia. the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. in effect. The Republic of India is currently the largest liberal democracy in the world. In 1989.A subsequent wave of democratization saw new liberal democracies in several nations such as Spain and Portugal. which had been communist since 1917. the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. ending the Cold War and discrediting government-run economies. Some of the military dictatorships in South America became democratic in the late 1970s and early 1980s as dictators were unable to pay the national debts accumulated during their rule due to theft and the misuse of loans. that were becoming industrial producers. the Bulldozer Revolution in Yugoslavia. the Soviet Union. collapsed economically. Forms of democracy Forms of government Part of the Politics series List of forms of government Anarchism Aristocracy Authoritarianism Autocracy Communist state Democracy Direct democracy Representative democracy Despotism 15 . however.
Dictatorship Fascism Feudalism Hierocracy Kleptocracy Kritarchy Krytocracy Meritocracy Monarchy Absolute monarchy Constitutional monarchy Mixed government Constitutional republic Parliamentary republic Socialist republic Capitalist republic Ochlocracy Oligarchy Plutocracy Republic Single-party state Thalassocracy Theocracy Timocracy Totalitarianism Tyranny Politics Portal There are many variations on the forms of government that put ultimate rule in the citizens of a state: Representative democracy 16 .
Switzerland is a direct democracy where new laws often need a referendum in order to be passed. this would be an illiberal democracy in classical terms. Maoists. has some forms that are based on democracy. the rule of law. Their constituents can communicate with them on important issues and choose a new representative in the next election if they are dissatisfied. a separation of powers. Representatives are to make make decisions on behalf of those they represent. and other "orthodox Marxists" generally promote democratic centralism. because it does not protect the property its citizens acquire. Many people think direct democracy is the purest form of democracy. They may be elected by a particular district (or constituency). Italian. Social democracy. Direct democracies function better in small communities or in areas where people have a high degree of independence and self-sufficiency.Representative democracy involves the selection of the legislature and executive by a popular election. and Romance language speaking minorities can order their affairs the way they choose and the large Swiss-German-speaking majority cannot over rule the local level. However. Since the 1960s the term "liberal" has been used. assembly. few people see any urgent need for change and so few new laws are passed. where the state economy is shaped by the government. religion. often pejoratively. Direct democracy Direct democracy is a political system in which the citizens vote on major policy decisions and laws. This means that the French. but they have never formed actual societies which were not ruled by elites who had acquired government power. Marxist-Leninists. Many democratic socialists and social democrats believe in a form of welfare state and workplace democracy produced by legislation by a representative democracy. and the dictatorship of the proletariat are some examples of names applied to the ideal of a socialist democracy. They retain the freedom to exercise their own judgment. There are a number of systems of varying degrees of complexity for choosing representatives. Issues are resolved by popular vote. Libertarian socialists generally believe in direct democracy and Libertarian Marxists 17 . with few policies decided on a national level. The system is also very decentralized. Stalinists. Liberal democracy Classical liberal democracy is normally a representative democracy along with the protection of minorities. or referenda. towards those legislatures that are liberal with state money and redistribute it to create a welfare state. Socialist democracy Socialism. and property. and protection of liberties (thus the name "liberal") of speech. even if it wanted to. As it is a very stable and prosperous country. democratic socialism. or represent the electorate as a whole as in many proportional systems.
Plato said. would be the rise of a tyrant to reimpose order.often believe in a consociational state that combines consensus democracy with representative democracy. Drawing by lot from a pool of qualified people elected by the citizens would be a democratic variation on sortition. 18 . some anarchists oppose direct democracy. and Aquinas Plato criticized democracy for a number of reasons. these are generally face-to-face communities. democracy leads to permissiveness. Anarchist democracy The only form of democracy considered acceptable to many anarchists is direct democracy. However. people are allowed to do what they like. PierreJoseph Proudhon argued that the only acceptable form of direct democracy is one in which it is recognized that majority decisions are not binding on the minority. However. which historically discriminates against minorities. anarcho-communist Murray Bookchin criticized individualist anarchists for opposing democracy. The end result. in a democracy. It leads to class conflict between the rich and poor as the latter try to tax the former and redistribute their wealth. Such a process would reduce the ability of wealthy contributors or election rigging to guarantee an outcome. and it is difficult to develop consensus in a large impersonal modern bureaucratic state. democracy tends to favor bad leaders who gain and maintain power by pandering to the people instead of telling them unpleasant truths or advocating necessary but uncomfortable policies. and the problems associated with incumbent advantages would be eliminated. Consensus democracy and deliberative democracy seek consensus among the people. When one examines the way that many democracies in the modern world have turned out. one has to recognize some merit in his arguments. Such consensus democracy has existed in local-level community groups in rural communist China. Worse. Aristotle. which leads to diversity and later social disintegration. and says "majority rule" is consistent with anarchism. Tribal and consensus democracy Certain ethnic tribes organized themselves using different forms of participatory democracy or consensus democracy. Sortition Sortition (or allotment) has formed the basis of systems randomly selecting officers from the population. He thought the people were often muddle-headed and were not suited to choose the best leaders. However. A much noted classical example would be the ancient Atheniandemocracy. Furthermore. even when unanimous. Theory Plato. he argued. Morally.
understood as the government by the best. a term coined by French political Enlightenment thinker Baron de Montesquieu (1685-1755). while others are clearly based on a mingling of powers." The next best form of government was aristocracy. Political scientist Donald Lutz found that Montesquieu was the most frequently quoted authority on government and politics in colonial pre-revolutionary British America.  Following the American secession. taking into consideration the needs and the circumstances of each society. But a monarch can do little alone. Montesquieu and the separation of powers Separation of powers. with further links to the judiciary (though combined with judicial independence). He thought monarchy best for a very large state and democracy only feasible for a small community where people knew each other. He based this model on the British constitutional system. who can act as a final arbiter in disputes and who links the past. who come from a lineage and tradition of public service. the state is divided into branches. would take many of the responsible positions of governance. which he expounded in De l'Esprit des Lois (The Spirit of the Laws). in which he perceived a separation of powers among the monarch. Montesquieu was highly regarded in the British colonies in America as a champion of British liberty (though not of American independence). the government by the people. The branches are normally divided into the Executive. Parliament. a work published anonymously in 1748. and finally democracy. Nonetheless. An aristocracy made up of the finest people in the land. is a blend of the three. and future. No democratic system exists with an absolute separation of powers or an absolute lack of separation of powers. the best form of all. Not having to stand for election would mean they wouldn't have to pander to the electorate and instead could make the better decisions. with rule by the few (oligarchy/aristocracy). Subsequent writers have noted that this was misleading. since Great Britain had a very closely connected legislature and executive. and the courts of law. Aquinas too taught that "the kingdom or monarch is the best form of government as long as it is not corrupt. and with rule by a single person (tyranny/monarchy or today autocracy). the Legislative. A democratic element means that the wishes and opinions of the ordinary people cannot be overlooked in the direction of government and the formation and implementation of policy. some systems are clearly founded on the principle of separation of powers. Montesquieu's work remained a powerful influence on many of 19 . present. is a model for the governance of democratic states. A blend gives one the best of monarchy—a single person as a focal point for the loyalty of the whole people. and each branch of the state has separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility. He thought that there was a good and a bad variant of each system (he considered democracy to be the degenerate counterpart to polity). However. according to Aquinas. Under this model. and the Judicial.Aristotle contrasted rule by the many (democracy/polity).
or institution can attain or exercise unlimited power. so that a person can be independent of the state. The rule of law which protects people's liberties. The judiciary upholds the laws. discuss. Freedom of religion. the executive implements the policies that have been elected. to form political. regardless of whether it accomplishes this end. People can stand for election either as independent candidates or as members of a political party. Voters can cast their votes freely and secretly without fear of intimidation.the American Founders. and tends to marginalize the legislature. and charitable groups free from government control. public persons. An independent judiciary which interprets the law without fear or favor. The job of the legislature is to codify laws. Freedom of association. Private property is very important. Freedom of speech—the right to hold and espouse any opinion without violating the laws of libel or inciting a breach of the peace. and an ecumenical civic consensus that values all legitimate forms of religion as promoting values supportive of the public welfare. religious. and expose corruption and the abuse of power without fear. A separation of powers or functions which is set out in a constitution so that there are checks and balances and no one person. the "Father of the Constitution. most notably James Madison of Virginia. opponents of separation of powers. it also slows down the process of governing. passing new ones if necessary. Proponents of separation of powers believe that it protects democracy and forestalls tyranny. Within this framework. promotes executive dictatorship and unaccountability. civic. 20 . have pointed out that. group. and comment on events. Elements of liberal democracy Certain elements are considered to be essential hallmarks of liberal democracy: Free. such as Professor Charles M. regular elections with a secret ballot. Hardin." Montesquieu's philosophy that "government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another" reminded Madison and others that a free and stable foundation for their new national government required a clearly defined and balanced separation of powers. A free and independent media able to report.
However the resurgence of Islam with a vision of a restored caliphate. Many non-governmental organizations decide policy and leadership by voting. Education and literacy. Aside from the public sphere. it has been speculated that this trend may continue in the future. corporations elect their boards by votes weighed by the number of shares held by each owner. In some societies monarchy. similar democratic principles and mechanisms of voting and representation have been used to govern other kinds of communities and organizations. which themselves are a product of its family structure.. or theocracy are still regarded as having greater legitimacy. In business. aristocracy. In the U. Not everyone regards democracy as the only form of legitimate government. Beyond the public level This article has discussed democracy as it relates to systems of government. to the point where liberal democratic nation-states become the universal standard form of human society. Each of them is capable of producing good government. Whether they change into democracies depends on a country's political culture and traditions. democratic elections in unions were rare before Congress required them in the 1950s. There is no European demos and parties in the Parliament are all national ones. On the other hand there are many who criticize the democratic deficit within the European Union. As such. The only body with the right to propose legislation is the European Commission whose members are appointed by governments and not elected. although theEuropean Parliament. This generally involves nations and subnational levels of government. may be seen as an example of a supranational democratic institution. and the contraction of nascent democracy in Russia have dented that prediction. whose members are democratically directly elected on the basis of universal suffrage. This prediction formed the core of Francis Fukuyama's "End of History" theory.S. demography. As these change and evolve so too will a country's polity. 21 . the rise of China as an economic superpower while remaining a one-party state. and historical experience. The future of democracy The number of liberal democracies currently stands at an all-time high and has been growing without interruption for several decades. Cooperatives are enterprises owned and democratically controlled by their customers or workers. religion. Trade unions sometimes choose their leadership through democratic elections. geography. which encourages people to think for themselves. one-party rule.
the danger is that government exists for the maintenance of the ruling elite. as with the U. while the wishes of the majority are ignored. Coalitions are formed of a multitude of special interests. with the appearance of a universal franchise. they change the rules of the game so as to never lose. along with the rule of law. Such a relatively small group greatly benefits from legislation passed in its favor. each of which consents to the special benefits granted to other groups only at the price of their own special interests being equally considered. In this sense. thwarting of the will of the people. are the ones enacted. The rising influence of special interest groups. the general population may simply be unaware of detrimental provisions in bills offered by special interest groups). It is commonly asserted that if a government is elected by the majority of the people. Government above the law. Placing the power of legislation proper and of governmental measures in the same hands has effectively brought a return to unlimited government. there is the problem of the judiciary evolving into a de facto legislative organ beyond which there is no appeal. it has seemed unnecessary to limit government. or group interests. Thus there is no longer government under the law. In a sense. The eclipse of limited government. it should have the right to pass any measure and enact any policy. The aim of constitutional democracy was to limit government. Thus. and the distinction between public and private law. Thus there is an increasing prevalence of bargaining democracy as opposed to representative democracy. which is one of the problems originally identified by Socrates. Modern elected governments often do not serve the agreed opinion of the majority. The separation of powers was developed to prevent the arbitrary exercise of power. Supreme Court. Group selfishness is thus a greater threat to democracy than individual selfishness. Western democracy has come to be manipulated by lobbyists. However. Worse. since the government makes the law. They often pass legislation only suited to achieve the purposes of the moment. by overturning laws approved by the legislative and executive branches. whereas the impact on the rest of the population is so small that it may not seem worthwhile to oppose it (or. regardless of party and country. due process. often excluding itself and its representatives from that law.S. legislatures pass not only laws but are concerned with the business of government. 22 . Moreover. they did not separate the functions sufficiently. policies the majority would actively disapprove of.Problems with democracy In the twenty-first century a number of problems with democracy have emerged. Limiting the power of a legitimately elected government has come to appear undemocratic. Although constitutionalists sought to limit government by the separation of powers. which further the interests only of elite minorities. In many respects. but instead serve numerous special interest groups who lobby for special treatment from the government.
Possible solutions It can rightly be asked if democracy is the true end goal of human civilization. 23 . or if people must settle for Winston Churchill's characterization that.Excessive partisanship and the politics of envy. There needs to be a clearer delineation of functions of the different organs of government so as to establish and protect the institutions necessary for freedom and peace. In the past. This should explain that the purpose and value of freedom under the law is to enable people to pursue beauty. So often proposed solutions have been confused and superficial and even tended to make matters worse. It is necessary for the original political culture that gave rise to liberal democracy to be revived. Montesquieu. updated. and sometimes to misplaced idealism. the rules for the organization of government should be updated to better protect freedom. live meaningful and moral lives. when the political culture was still essentially Christian-based. people will be able to live in peace with each other. "democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried. and articulated in a language that addresses people in the twenty-first century in a way that Locke. and goodness and. living unselfishly to benefit others so that the purpose for the whole can be achieved in a natural and voluntary way. pandering to their baser instincts. unaware that government cannot solve them and indeed is often the cause. They are tempted to bribe the electorate. the system is open to great abuse. truth. When people live in this way. disagreements can be peacefully solved through the democratic process because people know each other to be good hearted. In this way. Politicians promise to deal with social and economic problems. It should inspire people to live according to their conscience. With the decline of the Christian political culture and the rise of the politics of envy. Many lessons should have been learned from the past two hundred years of democracy." The dilemma is essentially a spiritual or cultural one that expresses itself in the problems identified above. and Mill did for their own centuries. Many problems have arisen that political philosophers of the past cannot be expected to have forseen. in order to be elected to solve such problems. This is because of the lack of depth of modern political philosophy compared to that of the giants of the past. Also. The disconnect between campaign promises and actual policies enacted once elected is often wide. politicians tended to behave in a relatively responsible way. thus.
universally accepted definition of 'democracy'. every vote has equal weight. if any democracy is not structured so as to prohibit the government from excluding the people from the legislative process. Even though there is no specific. in the middle of the 5th-4th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states. An essential part of an "ideal" representative 24 . or any branch of government from altering the separation of powers in it's own favor. There are several varieties of democracy. then a branch of the system can accumulate too much power and destroy the democracy. which was coined from δῆμος (dêmos) "people" and κράτος (Kratos) "power". and the freedom of its citizens is secured by legitimized rights and liberties which are generally protected by a constitution. So it is possible for a minority to be oppressed by a "tyranny of the majority" without governmental or constitutional protections of individual liberties. For example. andDeliberative Democracy are pseudo-democracies because they do not allow direct citizen participation in the legislative process. The term comes from the Greek: δημοκρατία– (dēmokratía) "rule of the people". Majority rule is often listed as a characteristic of democracy. equality and freedom have been identified as important characteristics of democracy since ancient times. no restrictions can apply to anyone wanting to become a representative. proposal and passage of legislation into law. These principles are reflected in all citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to the legislative process.  Representative Democracy. Consensus Democracy.Democracy Democracy is a legislative system in which all citizens exercise direct and equal participation in the development. notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC. some of which provide better representation and more freedoms for their citizens than others. in a representative democracy. However.
 Popular sovereignty is common but not a universal motivating principle for establishing a democracy. In other cases. and elements of civil society outside the government. but in other countries. and North and South America. the dominant philosophy is parliamentary sovereignty (though in practicejudicial independence is generally maintained). oligarchy (rule by a small élite class) and timocracy (ruling class of property owners). Phoenicia and India. The right to vote has been expanded in many Jurisdictions over time from relatively narrow groups (such as wealthy men of a particular ethnic group). such as the United Kingdom. freedom of speech. Though the term "democracy" is typically used in the context of a political state. AlthoughAthenian democracy is 25 . the right to petition elected officials for redress of grievances. human rights. Many people use the term "democracy" as shorthand for liberal democracy. Europe. equality before the law. with New Zealand the first nation to grant universal suffrage for all its citizens in 1893. with the alternative systems of monarchy (rule by one individual). andfreedom of the press are considered by some to be essential so that citizens are informed and able to vote in their personal interests.democracy is competitive elections that are fair both substantively and procedurally. "democracy" is used to mean direct democracy.  Democracy has been called the "last form of government" and has spread considerably across the globe. History of democracy Main article: History of democracy Ancient origins The term democracy first appeared in ancient Greek political and philosophical thought. In the United States. Other cultures since Greece have significantly contributed to the evolution of democracy such as Ancient Rome. The philosopher Platocontrasted democracy. but democratic practices are evident in earlier societies including Mesopotamia. civil liberties. In some countries.due process. freedom of political expression. democracy is based on the philosophical principle of equal rights. separation of powers is often cited as a supporting attribute. which may include additional elements such aspolitical pluralism. the principles are applicable to private organizations and other groups also.  Furthermore. the system of "rule by the governed". Democracy has its formal origins in Ancient Greece. The concept of representative democracy arose largely from ideas and institutions that developed during the European Middle Ages and the Age of Enlightenment and in the American andFrench Revolutions.
many notable exceptions did occur.000 might regularly attend one or more meetings of the popular Assembly. modern scholars note that the word democracy at the 3rd century BC and later had been degraded and could mean any autonomous state no matter how oligarchic it was. this excluded women. almost all high officials.However.and secondarily the assembly of all the citizens. Middle Ages 26 . which existed as early as the 6th century BC and persisted in some areas until the 4th century AD. However. without offering any detail. In addition.000 perhaps 5.today considered by many to have been a form of direct democracy. sanghas and ganas. came from a few wealthy and noble families. the Athenian citizenship was only for males born from a father who was citizen and who had been doing their "military service" between 18 and 20 years old.000 inhabitants only some 30. For that reason.000 on average were citizens. Most of the officers and magistrates of Athenian government were allotted. All citizens were eligible to speak and vote in the Assembly. However. Diodorus (a Greek historian at the time of Alexander the Great's excursion of India). Even though the Roman Republic contributed significantly to certain aspects of democracy. which set the laws of the citystate. Of those 30. only a minority of Romans were citizens. only the generals (strategoi) and a few other officers were elected. originally it had two distinguishing features: first the allotment (selection by lot) of ordinary citizens to government offices and courts.  A similar proto-democracy or oligarchy existed temporarily among the Medes (ancient Iranian people) in the 6th century BC. The evidence is scattered and no pure historical source exists for that period. A possible example of primitive democracy may have been the early Sumerian city-states. A serious claim for early democratic institutions comes from the independent "republics" of India. mentions that independent and democratic states existed in India. having votes in elections for choosing representatives and then the votes of the powerful were given more weight through a system ofGerrymandering. As such. The lack of the concept of citizen equality across caste system boundaries lead many scholars to believe that the true nature of ganas and sanghas would not be comparable to that of truly democratic institutions. foreigners (μέτοικοι / metoikoi) and males under 20 years old. slaves. Of the 250. but which came to an end after the Achaemenid (Persian) Emperor Darius the Great declared that the best monarchy was better than the best oligarchy or best democracy. including members of the Senate.
England The Parliament of England had its roots in the restrictions on the power of kings written into Magna Carta. the election of Gopala in Bengal. which codified certain 27 . the Althing in Iceland. the Løgting in the Faroe Islands. However. whether free or fettered — and implicitly supported what became English writ of habeas corpus. and so may be better classified as oligarchy. the Veche in Novgorod and Pskov Republicsof medieval Russia. Parliament was elected by only a few percent of the population. However only a small minority actually had a voice.During the Middle Ages. there were various systems involving elections or assemblies. The power of Parliament increased in stages over the succeeding centuries. the right to participate in Hetman's elections was largely restricted to those who served in the Cossack Army and over time was curtailed effectively limiting these rights to higher army ranks. and the power to call parliament was at the pleasure of the monarch (usually when he or she needed funds). the tuatha system in early medieval Ireland. Because these states were very militarised. participation was often restricted to a minority. although often only involving a small amount of the population. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The States in Tirol and Switzerland and the autonomous merchant city of Sakai in the 16th century in Japan. certain medieval Italian city-states such as Venice. Scandinavian Things. The first elected parliament was De Montfort's Parliament in England in 1265. the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. safeguarding individual freedom against unlawful imprisonment with right to appeal. the English Bill of Rightsof 1689 was enacted. A little closer to modern democracy were the Cossack republics of Ukraine in the 16th–17th centuries: Cossack Hetmanate and Zaporizhian Sich. Magna Carta. explicitly protected certain rights of the King's subjects. Most regions in medieval Europe were ruled by clergy or feudal lords. (less than 3% as late as 1780). The highest post – the Hetman – was elected by the representatives from the country's districts. 1215.
 18th and 19th centuries Number of nations 1800–2003 scoring 8 or higher on Polity IV scale. In Melanesia. authoritarian hierarchy. strong social pressure encouraged conformity and discouraged individualism. such as the Bushmen. with a handful of voters electing a Member of Parliament. which usually number 20-50 people in the band often do not have leaders and make decisions based on consensus among the majority. Although a "Big man" or "Big woman" could gain influence. as many so-called rotten boroughs. that influence was conditional on a continued demonstration of leadership skills. the United States founders shared a determination to root the American experiment in the principle of natural freedom 28 . This excluded most of the population. An interesting detail is that there should be consensus among the leaders. and entitled to participate in communal decisions. However.  As the franchise was increased. it also was made more uniform. not majority support decided by voting. The franchise was slowly increased and Parliament gradually gained more power until the monarch became largely a figurehead. Band societies. Every person was expected to share in communal duties. when making decisions. and on the willingness of the community. Only the oldest females from the same clans could choose and remove the leaders. Although not described as a democracy by the founding fathers. in the Iroquois Confederacy only the males of certain clans could be leaders and some clans were excluded. were eliminated in the Reform Act of 1832. However. another widely used measure of democracy. Democracy was also seen to a certain extent in bands and tribes such as the Iroquois Confederacy.rights and increased the influence of Parliament. farming village communities have traditionally been egalitarian and lacking in a rigid.
 During the 1820s and 1830s the American Colonization Society (A.C. that a variety of organizations were established advocating the movement of black people from the United States to locations where they would enjoy greater freedom and equality.  Universal male suffrage was definitely established in France in March 1848 in the wake of the French Revolution of 1848. economic and political equality.S. particularly in eleven states in the American South. assisting thousands of former African-American slaves and free black people to move there from the United States. The system gradually evolved. In the colonial period before 1776.S.and equality. from Jeffersonian Democracy to Jacksonian Democracy and beyond. with South Australia being the first government in the world to introduce women's suffrage in 1861. In the 1860 United States Census the slave population in the United States had grown to four million. democracy became a way of life.C. By the 1840s almost all property restrictions were ended and nearly all white adult male citizens could vote. On the American frontier. and in Reconstruction after the Civil War (late 1860s) the newly freed slaves became citizens with (in the case of men) a nominal right to vote. state and national officials. with widespread social. enslaved Africans. adopted in 1788. although short-lived.  The United States Constitution. the National Convention was elected by all males in 1792. The Australian colonies became democratic during the mid-19th century. In 1789. which was not unreasonable. and for some time after. free black people and women were not extended the franchise. Revolutionary France adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and. this essentially gave married men two votes. In 1848. (It was argued that as women would vote the same as their husbands. and turnout averaged 60–80% in frequent elections for local. only adult white male property owners could vote. provided for an elected government and protected civil rights and liberties for some. However. established the colony of Liberia. and in 1821 the A.) was the primary vehicle for proposals to return black Americans to freedom in Africa. Full enfranchisement of citizens was not secured until after the African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968) gained passage by the United States Congress of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. severalrevolutions broke out in Europe as rulers were confronted with popular demands for liberal constitutions and more democratic government. slavery was a social and economic institution.) 29 .
Italy. although the majority of the world's populations lived in nations that experienced sham elections. India emerged as the world's largest democracy and continues to be so. the Balkans. Italy. among others. including the Soviet sector of Germany was forced into the non-democratic Soviet bloc. and French sectors of occupied Germany (disputed). most of them at least nominally democratic. World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman and AustroHungarian empires resulted in the creation of new nation-states from Europe. Latin America. religious and economic circumstances. revolutions. the vast majority of country-states were nominally democracies. Liberal democracies were few and often short-lived before the late 19th century. women were not eligible to stand for parliament until 1919. Brazil. Spain and Portugal. Fascism and dictatorships flourished in Nazi Germany. The successful democratization of the American. In the 1920s democracy flourished. The war was followed by decolonization. and various nations and territories have also claimed to be the first with universal suffrage. and most of the countries of Europe. and women in 1893. and Asia turned to strong-man rule or dictatorships.decolonization. British. and Japan. World War II brought a definitive reversal of this trend in western Europe. as well as nondemocratic regimes in the Baltics. By 1960. China. However.) 30 . but the Great Depression brought disenchantment. and again most of the new independent states had nominally democratic constitutions. white men in 1879. However. thus becoming the first major nation to achieve universal suffrage. most of Eastern Europe. Austria. 20th and 21st centuries 20th century transitions to liberal democracy have come in successive "waves of democracy. and other forms of subterfuge (particularly in Communist nations and the former colonies.New Zealand granted suffrage to (native) Māori men in 1867. and the occupied Japan served as a model for the later theory of regime change." variously resulting from wars. Cuba.
1972–2005 A subsequent wave of democratization brought substantial gains toward true liberal democracy for many nations. the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. and several of the military dictatorships in South America returned to civilian rule in the late 1970s and early 1980s (Argentina in 1983. and they are now members or candidate members of the European Union . the associated end of the Cold War. countries Freedom House regards as free and 31 . The most successful of the new democracies were those geographically and culturally closest to western Europe. Spain.Brazil in 1985.This graph shows Freedom House's evaluation of the number of nations in the different categories given above for the period for which there are surveys.e. contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to World Forum on Democracy. the Rose Revolution in Georgia. the Bulldozer Revolution in Yugoslavia. and Chile in the early 1990s). The liberal trend spread to some nations in Africa in the 1990s. along with resentment of communist oppression. Portugal (1974). and the democratization and liberalization of the former Eastern bloc countries. and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstanand the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia. electoral democracies now represent 120 of the 192 existing countries and constitute 58. in 2007 there were 123 electoral democracies (up from 40 in 1972). This was followed by nations in East and South Asia by the mid-to-late 1980s.2 percent of the world's population. Economic malaise in the 1980s. the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. Bolivia. According to Freedom House. most prominently in South Africa. At the same time liberal democracies i. Some recent examples of attempts of liberalization include the Indonesian Revolution of 1998. Uruguay in 1984. Some researchers consider that in contemporary Russia there is no real democracy and one of forms of dictatorship takes place.
The following kinds are not exclusive of one another: many specify details of aspects that are independent of one another and can co-exist in a single system. These theories are criticized by those who fear an evolution of liberal democracies to postdemocracy. 32 . Representative Representative democracy involves the selection of government officials by the people being represented. and others who point out the high number of illiberal democracies. Under a parliamentary democracy.respectful of basic human rights and the rule of law are 85 in number and represent 38 percent of the global population. it has been speculated that this trend may continue in the future to the point where liberal democratic nation-states become the universal standard form of human society. A characteristic of representative democracy is that while the representatives are elected by the people to act in their interest. with some using a combination of the two. The most common mechanisms involve election of the candidate with a majority or a plurality of the votes. checks and balances by the legislative parliament elected by the people. Representatives may be elected or become diplomatic representatives by a particular district (or constituency). This prediction forms the core ofFrancis Fukayama's "End of History" controversial theory. As such. government is exercised by delegation to an executive ministry and subject to ongoing review. Parliamentary Parliamentary democracy is a representative democracy where government is appointed by parliamentary representatives as opposed to a 'presidential rule' wherein the President is both head of state and the head of government and is elected by the voters. If the head of state is also democratically elected then it is called a democratic republic. such as referendums. both in theory and practice. they retain the freedom to exercise their own judgment as how best to do so. Forms Main articles: Varieties of democracy and List of types of democracy Democracy has taken a number of forms. or represent the entire electorate proportionally proportional systems. Some representative democracies also incorporate elements of direct democracy.
Vermont towns have been known for their yearly town meetings. resulting in significant informal government-by-themasses that exercises many "powers" associated with formal government elsewhere. In a liberal democracy. The supporters of direct democracy argue that democracy is more than merely a procedural issue. This is part of a gradual shift towards direct democracies. contrary to relying on intermediaries or representatives. Examples of this include the extensive use of referendums in California with more than 20 million voters.Liberal A Liberal democracy is a representative democracy in which the ability of the elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the rule of law. Give binding orders to elective officials. promise. and which places constraints on the leaders and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised against the rights of minorities (see civil liberties). The world is yet to see a large. Most direct democracies to date have been weak forms. most operate in developed democracies today. such as revoking them before the end of their elected term. relatively small communities. voting). held every March to decide on local issues. it is possible for some large-scale decisions to emerge from the many individual decisions that citizens are free to make. working Change constitutional laws. in Switzerland. Of the three measures mentioned. usually city-states. citizens can "vote with their feet" or "vote with their dollars". 2. 3. Put forth initiatives. or initiating a lawsuit for breaking a campaign 33 . No direct democracy is in existence outside the framework of a different overarching form of government. A direct democracy gives the voting population the power to: 1. and (i. In other words.e. and usually moderated by a constitution that emphasizes the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals. referendums and suggestions for laws. direct democratic instruments are also well established at the cantonal and communal level. where five million voters decide on national referendums and initiatives two to four times a year. Constitutional See: Constitutional democracy Direct Direct democracy is a political system where the citizens participate in the decisionmaking personally.. fundamental.
Referendums are possible at any time via votes of the majority of lower level councils. but are mandated to communicate the wishes of their sending council. and the dictatorship of the proletariat(usually exercised through Soviet democracy) are some examples.Leninists and Trotskyists believe in direct democracy implemented though a system of communes (which are sometimes 34 . Because of their desire to eliminate the political elitism they see in capitalism. Delegates can vote differently than their sending council might wish." — Che Guevara. democratic socialism. Within Marxist orthodoxy there is a hostility to what is commonly called "liberal democracy". Social democracy. The guiding philosophy is that people should have decision making power in proportion to how much they are affected by the decision. Marxist revolutionary Socialist thought has several different views on democracy. A council court of randomly chosen citizens serves as a check on the tyranny of the majority. however. Local councils of 25–50 people are completely autonomous on issues that affect only them. A parpolity is meant to work in tandem with a participatory economySee: Parpolity Socialist "Democracy cannot consist solely of elections that are nearly always fictitious and managed by rich landowners and professional politicians. Delegates are recallable at any time. and rules on which body gets to vote on which issue. Many democratic socialists and social democrats believe in a form ofparticipatory democracy and workplace democracy combined with a representative democracy. Participatory A Parpolity or Participatory Polity is a theoretical form of democracy that is ruled by a Nested Council structure. with most examples being small and weak forms.example of direct democracy as of yet. not everything is a referendum as this is most likely a waste of time. and these councils send delegates to higher level councils who are again autonomous regarding issues that affect only the population affected by that council. which they simply refer to as parliamentary democracy because of its often centralized nature. Marxists.
Iroquois Iroquois society had a form of participatory democracy and representative democracy. has reviewed the claim that the Iroquois inspired the American Confederation and concluded they are myth rather than fact. argued that people should not be in the position of ruling others or being ruled when there is no consent. (See Democracy in Marxism) Anarchist Anarchists are split in this domain. Some anarcho-communists oppose the majoritarian nature of direct democracy. The council itself did not practice representative government. This system ultimately manifests itself as council democracy and begins with workplace democracy.  Henry David Thoreau. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon argued that the only acceptable form of direct democracy is one in which it is recognized that majority decisions are not binding on the minority. deceased chiefs' successors were selected by the most 35 . The only form of democracy considered acceptable to many anarchists is direct democracy. and says "majority rule" is consistent with anarchism. feeling that it can impede individual liberty and opt in favour of a non-majoritarian form of consensus democracy. and that ultimately there is little evidence to support the idea that 18th century colonists were knowledgeable regarding the Iroquois system of governance. even when unanimous. a Temple University professor of anthropology and an authority on the culture and history of the Northern Iroquois. Elizabeth Tooker. Tooker concluded that the documents only indicate that some groups of Iroquois and white settlers realized the advantages of uniting against a common enemy.anarcho-communist Murray Bookchin criticized individualist anarchists for opposing democracy. and there were no elections. The relationship between the Iroquois League and the Constitution is based on a portion of a letter written by Benjamin Franklin and a speech by the Iroquois chief Canasatego in 1744. depending on whether they believe that a majority-rule is tyrannic or not. and this ability to represent the tribe was hereditary.  However.called soviets). What little evidence there is regarding this system indicates chiefs of different tribes were permitted representation in the Iroquois League council. who did not self-identify as an anarchist but argued for "a better government" and is cited as an inspiration by some anarchists. similar to Proudhon's position on direct democracy.
and be more fair and impartial than an elected official.. ” 36 . as with many other international organizations. The intention is that those chosen will be representative of the opinions and interests of the people at large. but representatives to the Council might be appointed rather than directly elected. intimately connected to and dependent upon a picture of what it is to be human—of what it is a human should be to be fully human. sortition is the process of choosing decision makers via a random process. Cosmopolitan “ Democracy is not only a political system… It is an ideal. The technique was in widespread use in Athenian Democracy and is still used in modern jury selection. Hewitt after his death in 1937. European Parliament members are democratically directly elected on the basis of universal suffrage. Some might consider the "individuals" being democratically represented to be states rather than people. It typically attempts to protect minority rights from domination by majority rule.senior woman within the hereditary lineage. This might be seen as a form of representative democracy.B. really. Decision making occurred through lengthy discussion and decisions were unanimous.N. Sortition Sometimes called "democracy without elections". This system allocates votes to member states in part according to their population. in consultation with other women in the clan. but heavily weighted in favour of the smaller states. Tooker concludes that ".there is virtually no evidence that the framers [of the Constitution] borrowed from the Iroquois" and that the myth that this was the case is the result of exaggerations and misunderstandings of a claim made by Iroquois linguist and ethnographer J.. may be seen as an example of a supranational democratic institution. with topics discussed being introduced by a single tribe. Supranational Qualified majority voting (QMV) is designed by the Treaty of Rome to be the principal method of reaching decisions in the European Council of Ministers. an aspiration. Consensus Consensus democracy requires varying degrees of consensus rather than just a mere democratic majority.
and professors David Held and Daniele Archibugi. Theory 37 . Most trade unions choose their leadership through democratic elections. and accountability in. columnist George Monbiot. Cosmopolitan Democracy was promoted. the non-violent resolution of conflicts. Many non-governmental organizations decide policy and leadership by voting. is a political system in which democracy is implemented on a global scale. by definition. international politics. The creation of the International Criminal Court in 2003 was seen as a major step forward by many supporters of this type of cosmopolitan democracy. beyond the limits of the state. by physicist Albert Einstein. similar democratic principles and mechanisms of voting and representation have been used to govern other kinds of communities and organizations. e. including the rule of law. the people who are affected by decisions also have a say in them. theUnited Nations. By contrast. among others. An important justification for this kind of system is that the decisions made in national or regional democracies often affect people outside the constituency who. Non-governmental Aside from the public sphere. this would require reforming existing international organizations. as well as the creation of new institutions such as a World Parliament. and equality among citizens. writer Kurt Vonnegut.—Nikolas Kompridis. also known as Global democracy or World Federalism. The general principle of cosmopolitan democracy is to expand some or all of the values and norms of democracy. any attempt to solve global problems is undemocratic without some form of cosmopolitan democracy. either directly or through representatives. in a cosmopolitan democracy. which ideally would enhance public control over. cannot vote.According to its supporters.g. Cooperatives are enterprises owned and democratically controlled by their customers or workers.  Cosmopolitan democracy. To be fully implemented.
Now a fundamental principle of the democratic form of constitution is liberty—that is what is usually asserted. For Aristotle the underlying principle of democracy is freedom. for they assert this as the aim of every democracy. inasmuch as to live not as one likes is the life of a man that is a slave. This is the second principle of democracy. with rule by the few (oligarchy/aristocracy). because there are more of them and whatever is decided by the majority is sovereign. for the popular principle of justice is to have equality according to number. In essence.Aristotle Aristotle contrasted rule by the many (democracy/polity). for they say that this is the function of liberty. and if this is the principle of justice prevailing. and this is the way in which the second principle contributes to equalitarian liberty. But one factor of liberty is to govern and be governed in turn. Aggregative democracy uses democratic processes to solicit citizens’ preferences and then aggregate them together to determine what social policies society should adopt. not merit. There are two main aspects of freedom: being ruled and ruling in turn. since only in a democracy the citizens can have a share in freedom. for they say that each of the citizens ought to have an equal share. proponents of this view hold that 38 . Therefore. preferably not by anybody. to govern and be governed in turns. And one is for a man to live as he likes. there are many contending conceptions of democracy. This then is one mark of liberty which all democrats set down as a principle of the constitution. He also thought that there was a good and a bad variant of each system (he considered democracy to be the degenerate counterpart to polity). since everyone is equal according to number. the multitude must of necessity be sovereign and the decision of the majority must be final and must constitute justice. he argues that this is what every democracy should make its aim. and with rule by a single person (tyranny or today autocracy/monarchy). and from it has come the claim not to be governed. not worth. or failing that. implying that only under this constitution do men participate in liberty. so that it results that in democracies the poor are more powerful than the rich. and to be able to live as one pleases. Conceptions Among political theorists.
Direct democracy. Governments will tend to produce laws and policies that are close to the views of the median voter – with half to his left and the other half to his right. not through their representatives. Adam Przeworski.Richard Posner. Dahl argues that the fundamental democratic principle is that. each person in a political community is entitled to have his/her interests be given equal consideration (not necessarily that all people are equally satisfied by the collective decision). However. Anthony Downs laid out this view in his 1957 book An Economic Theory of Democracy. and Democracy. Downs suggests that ideological political parties are necessary to act as a mediating broker between individual and governments. when it comes to binding collective decisions. it socializes and educates citizens. Contemporary proponents of minimalism include William H. democracy is a system of government in which citizens give teams of political leaders the right to rule in periodic elections. Riker. Proponents of direct democracy offer varied reasons to support this view. He uses the term polyarchy to refer to societies in which there exists a certain set of institutions and procedures which are perceived as leading to such democracy. There are different variants of this: Under minimalism.democratic participation should primarily focus on voting. citizens do not really rule themselves unless they directly decide laws and policies. holds that citizens should participate directly. According to this minimalist conception. This is not actually a desirable outcome as it represents the action of self-interested and somewhat unaccountable political elites competing for votes. and popular participation can check powerful elites. on most issues. Most importantly. Robert A. where the policy with the most votes gets implemented. Socialism. Joseph Schumpeter articulated this view most famously in his book Capitalism. these polyarchic procedures may not create 39 . for example. Political activity can be valuable in itself. in making laws and policies. they have no clear views or their views are not well-founded. most of the time. First and foremost among these institutions is the regular occurrence of free and open elections which are used to select representatives who then manage all or most of the public policy of the society. citizens cannot and should not “rule” because. on the other hand.
Some[who?] may see it as a problem that the majority of the voters decide policy. The political arena should be one in which leaders and citizens make arguments. dissent and antagonisms in decision making processes.  Some[who?] see a problem with the wealthy having more influence and therefore argue for reforms like campaign finance reform. listen. 10. poverty prevents political participation. for example. 40 . Radical democracy is based on the idea that there are hierarchical and oppressive power relations that exist in society. The termrepublic has many different meanings. in contrast to states with a hereditary monarch as a head of state. James Madison argued. and change their minds. whether it is direct or representative.a full democracy if. Democracy's role is to make visible and challenge those relations by allowing for difference. Deliberative democrats contend that laws and policies should be based upon reasons that all citizens can accept. which in their time tended to specifically meandirect democracy. The Founding Fathers of the United States rarely praised and often criticized democracy. as opposed to majority rule of the entire population. This can be used as an argument for making political participation mandatory. whereas a republic could get stronger as it got larger and combats faction by its very structure. such as apresident. the term democracy refers to a government chosen by the people. even if these states also are representative democracies with an elected or appointed head of government such as a prime minister. that what distinguished a democracy from a republic was that the former became weaker as it got larger and suffered more violently from the effects of faction. but today often refers to a representative democracy with an elected head of state. serving for a limited term. especially in The Federalist No. Republic Main article: Republicanism In contemporary usage. Deliberative democracy is based on the notion that democracy is government by discussion. like compulsory voting or for making it more patient (non-compulsory) by simply refusing power to the government until the full majority feels inclined to speak their minds.
and led to increased emphasis on self-expression values. They increase tolerance. Cultural factors likeProtestantism influenced the development of democracy. in order to restrain unchecked majority rule. but eventually these lost power (as in Britain) or else became elective and remained powerful (as in the United States). Japan and Bhutan) turned powerful monarchs into constitutional monarchs with limited or. rule of law. was that the government be "bound by fixed laws." Constitutional monarchs and upper chambers Initially after the American and French revolutions the question was open whether a democracy. better 41 . human rights and political liberty (the faithful elected priests.What was critical to American values. or should have aconstitutional monarch with limited but real powers." As Benjamin Franklin was exiting after writing the U.S. China. Lipset. merely symbolic roles. Austria. the Netherlands. Some countries (as Britain. Belgium. what have we got—a republic or a monarchy?". Russia. should have an elitist upper chamber. He replied "A republic—if you can keep it. religious freedom and tolerance has been practiced). John Adams insisted. Italy. which is highly correlated to democracy. the members perhaps appointed meritorious experts or having lifetime tenures. Scandinavian countries. political literacy and participation. Others mentioned the influence of wealth (e. M. Germany. a woman asked him "Well. Doctor. rationality. In a related theory. Often the monarchy was abolished along with the aristocratic system (as in France. constitution. Many nations had elite upper houses of legislatures which often had lifetime tenure. Greece and Egypt). Thailand. often gradually. Two effects of education and cognitive ability are distinguished: a cognitive effect (competence to make rational choices. Development of democracy Several philosophers and researchers outlined historical and social factors supporting the evolution of democracy.g. Ronald Inglehart suggests that the increase in living standards has convinced people that they can take their basic survival for granted. which the people have a voice in making. Recently established theories stress the relevance of education and human capital and within them of cognitive ability. Hungary. and a right to defend. 1959). S.
5 times as long as those who permit fair elections..information processing) and an ethical effect (support of democratic values. Forthcoming). Forthcoming). Rindermann.).. freedom. The same study shows that election misconduct is more likely in countries with low per capita incomes. Deary et al. rich in natural resources. 2008. Acemoglu and Robinson 2008. Glaeser et al. and a lack of institutional checks and balances. the key to representative democracy (Haber and Menaldo. all tend to fall into that category. however. which itself depends on intelligence (cognitive development being a prerequisite for moral development. more violence. Above $2. This does not apply to governments with fraudulent elections. human rights etc. 2007. The lack of evidence for these conventional theories of democratization have led researchers to search for the "deep" determinants of contemporary political institutions. 2008). or less unequal (Albertus and Menaldo. small populations. Governments that have frequent elections averaged over the political cycle have significantly better economic policies than those who don't. Facts In practice it may not pay the incumbents to conduct fair elections in countries that have no history of democracy. Haber and Menaldo 2010). Recent statistical analyses have challenged modernization theory by demonstrating that there is no reliable evidence for the claim that democracy is more likely to emerge when countries become wealthier. Opposition to democracy Main article: Opposition to democracy 42 . Sub-Saharan countries. A study showed that incumbents who rig elections stay in office 2. more educated. but below that threshold. Neither is there convincing evidence that increased reliance on oil revenues prevents democratization. be they geographical or demographic (Engerman and Sokoloff 1997.  Evidence that is consistent with conventional theories of why democracy emerges and is sustained has been hard to come by.700 per capita democracies have been found to be less prone to violence. as well as Afghanistan. despite a vast theoretical literature called "The Resource Curse" that asserts that oil revenues sever the link between citizen taxation and government accountability.
Even if a political party maintains power. Criticism of democracy Main article: Criticism of democracy Economists since Milton Friedman have strongly criticized the efficiency of democracy. They base this on their premise of the irrational voter." In his work. Assuming that the Republic was intended to be a serious critique of the political thought in Athens. unexpected political change. Plato lists 5 forms of government from best to worst. Mob rule Plato's The Republic presents a critical view of democracy through the narration of Socrates: "Democracy. and to this day remains opposed to its abolition.Democracy in modern times has almost always faced opposition from the existing government. an aristocracy led by the unwilling philosopher-kings (the wisest men) is a just form of government. opposition to democracy exists most notably in communist states. full of variety and disorder. democracy is criticised for not offering enough political stability. vociferous. headline grabbing protests and harsh criticism from the mass media are often enough to force sudden. although often political compromise has been reached in the form of shared government. Plato argues that only Kallipolis. and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequaled alike. and have a strong bias about the few issues on which they are fairly knowledgeable. As governments are frequently elected on and off there tends to be frequent changes in the policies of democratic countries both domestically and internationally. and absolute monarchies which appear to have various reasons for opposing the implementation of democracy or democratic reforms. For this reason. Monarchy had traditionally been opposed to democracy. The implementation of a democratic government within a nondemocratic state is typically brought about by democratic revolution. Their argument is that voters are highly uninformed about many political issues. especially relating to economics. many people have put forward the idea that democracy is undesirable for 43 . Frequent policy changes with regard to business and immigration are likely to deter investment and so hinder economic growth. which is a charming form of government. Currently. Political instability More recently.
and served only to mask the reality of elite rule. due largely to the apathy and division of the masses (as opposed to the drive.a developing country in which economic growth and the reduction of poverty are top priority. or changes to leadership in the coalition partners themselves. initiative and unity of the elites). and that democratic institutions would do no more than shift the exercise of power from oppression to manipulation. 44 . Indeed. This opportunist alliance not only has the handicap of having to cater to too many ideologically opposing factions. they argued that elite oligarchy is the unbendable law of human nature. Popular rule as a façade The 20th Century Italian thinkers Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca (independently) argued that democracy was illusory. but it is usually short lived since any perceived or actual imbalance in the treatment of coalition partners. can very easily result in the coalition partner withdrawing its support from the government.
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