In any system which claims to be democratic, a question of its legitimacy remains. A truly democratic political system has certain characteristics which prove its legitimacy with their existence.
Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. From these and other premises Locke draws the conclusion that political society—i. For Locke they are inextricably connected: But such a consent is next to impossible ever to be had. Writing in England in the s, a generation after the Commonwealth ended with the restoration of the monarchyLocke was more circumspect than this.
Nevertheless, a careful reading of the relevant passages of the Second Treatise shows that Locke remains true to his fundamental principle, that the only legitimate form of government is that based on the consent of the governed.
Locke differentiates the various forms of government on the basis of where the people choose to place the power to make laws. His categories are the traditional ones: Or else into the hands of one Man, and then it is a Monarchy.
For whatever the form of government, the ultimate source of sovereign power is the people, and all legitimate government must rest on their consent. And who is to judge whether the government has abused its trust?
Again, Locke is unequivocal: Although he does not use the term, Locke thus unambiguously affirms the right of revolution against a despotic government. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Regarding question 1—What is the appropriate association within which a democratic government should be established? Here again, Locke was at the forefront of the development of democratic ideas. Unlike the men of Athens or the small male aristocracy of Veniceobviously the men of England could not govern directly in an assembly.
In this case, then, the answer to question 3—What political institutions are necessary for governing? This is perhaps because he, like his contemporary readers, assumed that democracy and majority rule would be best implemented in England through parliamentary elections based on an adult-male franchise.
Montesquieu The French political theorist Montesquieuthrough his masterpiece The Spirit of the Lawsstrongly influenced his younger contemporary Rousseau see below Rousseau and many of the American Founding Fathersincluding John AdamsJefferson, and Madison.
Although public virtue may not be necessary in a monarchy and is certainly absent in despotic regimes, it must be present to some degree in aristocratic republics and to a large degree in democratic republics. For it was from Hume that Madison seems to have acquired a view about factions that turned the issue of the desirability of larger political associations—i.
For the purpose of diminishing the destructive potential of factionalism, so Hume and Madison argued, bigger is in fact better, because in bigger associations each representative must look after a greater diversity of interests.
Indeed, in his most influential work of political philosophy, The Social ContractRousseau asserts that democracy is incompatible with representative institutions, a position that renders it all but irrelevant to nation-states see state. The sovereignty of the people, he argues, can be neither alienated nor represented.
Furthermore, according to Rousseau, if a political association that is small enough to practice direct democracy, such as a city-state, were to come into existence, it would inevitably be subjugated by larger nation-states and thereby cease to be democratic. For these and other reasons, Rousseau was pessimistic about the prospects of democracy.
So perfect a government is not for men. Some years later, in a discussion of how the people of Poland might govern themselves, he allowed that there is simply no alternative to government by representation. However, he left the problem of the proper size or scale of democratic political associations largely unsolved.
In a celebrated formulation of this principle, Mill wrote that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection.
His own good, either physical or moralis not a sufficient warrant.
In the area of what he called the liberty of thought and discussion, another freedom crucial to democracy, Mill argued, also on utilitarian grounds, that legal restrictions on the expression of opinion are never justified.
In another work, Considerations on Representative GovernmentMill set forth in a lucid and penetrating manner many of the essential features of the new type of government, which had not yet emerged in continental Europe and was still incomplete in important respects in the United States.
In this work he also advanced a powerful argument on behalf of woman suffrage —a position that virtually all previous political philosophers all of them male, of course had ignored or rejected.
Moreover, the political institutions of any democracy, according to Dewey, should not be viewed as the perfect and unchangeable creations of visionary statesmen of the past; rather, they should be constantly subject to criticism and improvement as historical circumstances and the public interest change.
Participation in a democracy as Dewey conceived it requires critical and inquisitive habits of mind, an inclination toward cooperation with others, and a feeling of public spiritedness and a desire to achieve the common good.The people then elect representatives who conduct their power in a free electoral system.
The Declaration of Independence, which says that all men are created equal, was written on the premise of a democracy. Related Documents: Democracy: Democracy and United States Essay Essay on Democracy: Democracy and New Political Institutions.
Nov 06, · Illiberal democracy and electoral authoritarianism can both be seen in practice around the world today. And as U.S. voters head to the polls to vote in the midterms, both of these undemocratic types threaten to take hold if democracy erodes, backslides, or even dies in the United States.
The United States is both a ‘republic’ and a ‘democracy’ — because ‘democracy’ is like ‘cash’. The US has been downgraded to a “flawed democracy” by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The downgrade reflects Americans' drop in confidence in governmental institutions, according to the EIU.
Americans’ trust in government has been declining since the late s, according to data from Pew. Democracy, therefore, consists of more than just political processes; it is also necessarily a system of fundamental rights. Ideal and representative democracy In modern representative democracies, the features of ideal democracy, to the extent that they exist, are realized through a variety of political .
The United States uses a presidential system of government and is a stable democracy; therefore, it is advisable for new democracies to also choose pr - The United States uses a presidential system of government and is a stable democracy; therefore, it is advisable for new democracies to also choose presidential systems of government.