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Democracy. What is a democracy? Aristotle’s definition: “rule of the many” Majority rule (government by the people) Two types of democracies: 1. Direct.

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Presentation on theme: "Democracy. What is a democracy? Aristotle’s definition: “rule of the many” Majority rule (government by the people) Two types of democracies: 1. Direct."— Presentation transcript:

1 Democracy

2 What is a democracy? Aristotle’s definition: “rule of the many” Majority rule (government by the people) Two types of democracies: 1. Direct (participatory democracy) “pure” 2. Indirect (representative democracy)

3 Direct (participatory democracy) All or most of the citizens participate directly in either holding office or making policy (laws) Exists only in very small population sizes Exists in some small towns in the U.S. today

4 Direct (participatory democracy) Allows the people to directly make laws and govern themselves. (people make all the decisions) Impractical in large populations or countries The founding fathers did not favor a direct democracy (un-educated masses) Very time consuming: most citizens do not have the time, information, interest, or expertise to make reasonable choices or political decisions Even highly educated people could be manipulated by demagogic leaders who play on people’s fears and prejudices

5 Direct Democracy Examples Today: Referendum: Legislature (Congress) submits a proposed law to a popular vote by the citizens (voters) during an election Initiative: Citizens write and submit a proposed law to a popular vote by the citizens (voters) during an election after obtaining a required number of signatures (people take the initiative and write the bill themselves) Also referred to as Propositions or Ballot Measures

6 2010 Propositions Arizona Proposition 203: Medical Marijuana Yes: 841,348 (50%), No: 837,008 (50%) California Proposition 19: Legalizing Marijuana No: 5,333,230 (53%), Yes: 4,643,592 (47%) Rhode Island Question 1: State Name Change No: 250,466 (78%), Yes: 71,162 (22%)

7 2012 Ballot Measures (Washington State) Referendum 74: (Allow Same-Sex Marriage) Yes: 1,527,272 (53%), No: 1,341,926 (47%) Initiative 502: (Legalize Marijuana) Yes: 1,593,680 (55%), No: 1,279,005 (45%)

8 Indirect (representative democracy) Also referred to as a “Republican form of government” in the Constitution (a Republic) The people elect officials to make laws, policies, and political decisions for them Works well in large populations when its impractical to bring the entire population together Not time consuming and creates professional politicians Laws Policy People Politicians ElectsMakes

9 Constitutional Democracy A system of government in which political authority is defined, limited, and distributed by a body of fundamental law called a “Constitution" and the majority of people have voting power to elect it’s government officials as outlined in the Constitution. Constitutionalism: the idea that there are limits on the power of government and that these limits can be defined in a constitution.

10 Basic Concepts of Democracy 1.Recognition of the fundamental worth and dignity of every person 2.Respect for the quality of all persons 3.Faith in majority rule and an insistence upon minority rights 4.Acceptance of the necessity of compromise 5.Insistence upon the widest possible degree of individual freedom (freedom versus order) 6.Government derives it power and legitimacy from the people

11 Dictatorship Autocracy: rule by one Oligarchy: rule by few All are authoritarian in nature

12 Theories of Democratic Government Who Governs? Who has power and influence over public policy and the decision making at the local, state, and national levels of government? 1.Traditional (Majoritarian) Democratic Theory 2.Pluralist Theory 3.Elite Theory 4.Bureaucratic Theory 5.Hyper-pluralism Theory

13 Theories of Democratic Government Traditional Democratic Theory: the people have the majority of power and control the government by electing officials and representatives (Majoritarian) Pluralist Theory: Interest groups compete for influence over government, each promoting its own policy preferences and agenda. Conflict among groups may result, requiring negotiation, bargaining, and compromise, nobody dominates (Robert Dahl)

14 Theories of Democratic Government Elite Theory: A small number of powerful elite (corporate leaders, top military officers, government leaders) form an upper class, which rules in it’s own interest (C. Wright Mills) Bureaucratic Theory: The hierarchical structure and standardized procedures of modern governments allow bureaucrats, who carry out the day-to- day functions and workings of the government, to hold the real power over public policy (Max Weber)

15 Theories of Democratic Government Hyper-pluralism theory: Democracy is a system of many groups having so much strength that government is often “pulled” in numerous directions at the same time, causing gridlock and ineffectiveness (negative view, government is weakened)


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