What Is a Personal Essay (Personal Statement)?
Glossary of grammatical and rhetorical terms.
- An Introduction to Punctuation
- Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
- M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
- B.A., English, State University of New York
A personal essay is a short work of autobiographical nonfiction characterized by a sense of intimacy and a conversational manner. Also called a personal statement .
A type of creative nonfiction , the personal essay is "all over the map," according to Annie Dillard. "There's nothing you can't do with it. No subject matter is forbidden, no structure is prescribed. You get to make up your own form every time." ("To Fashion a Text," 1998) .
Examples of Personal Essays
- An Apology for Idlers , by Robert Louis Stevenson
- On Laziness , by Christopher Morley
- Coney Island at Night, by James Huneker
- New Year's Eve , by Charles Lamb
- How It Feels to Be Colored Me , by Zora Neale Hurston
- My Wood, by E.M. Forster
- Two Ways of Seeing a River , by Mark Twain
- What I Think and Feel at 25, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The personal essay is one of the most common types of writing assignment--and not only in freshman composition courses. Many employers, as well as graduate and professional schools, will ask you to submit a personal essay (sometimes called a personal statement ) before even considering you for an interview. Being able to compose a coherent version of yourself in words is clearly an important skill.
- What qualities does a personal essay reveal about you? Here are just a few:
- Communication Skills How effective are your communication skills? Do you write clearly, concisely, and correctly? Note that many employers put communication skills at the top of the list of essential qualifications.
- Critical Thinking Skills How fresh and imaginative are you in your thinking? Is your writing cluttered with cliches , or is it obvious that you have original ideas to contribute?
- Maturity What specific lessons have you learned from experience, and are you ready to apply those lessons to the job or the academic program you're considering? Keep in mind that it's not enough to be able to recount a personal experience; you should be prepared to interpret it as well.
- Self and Subject in Personal Essays "[W]here the familiar essay is characterized by its everyday subject matter, the personal essay is defined more by the personality of its writer, which takes precedence over the subject. On the other hand, the personal essayist does not place himself firmly in center stage, as does the autobiographical essayist; the autobiographical element of the personal essay is far less calculated..."
- The Essayist's Persona "Personal essayists from Montaigne on have been fascinated with the changeableness and plasticity of the materials of human personality. Starting with self-description, they have realized they can never render all at once the entire complexity of a personality. So they have elected to follow an additive strategy, offering incomplete shards, one mask or persona after another: the eager, skeptical, amiable, tender, curmudgeonly, antic, somber. If 'we must remove the mask,' it is only to substitute another mask..."
- The "Antigenre": An Alternative to Academic Prose "[T]he more personal essay offers an escape from the confines of academic prose . By using this antigenre form that in contemporary essays embodies multiple kinds of writing, many essayists in search of democracy find a freedom for expressing in their writings spontaneity, self-reflexivity, accessibility, and a rhetoric of sincerity."
- Teaching the Personal Essay "Given the opportunity to speak their own authority as writers, given a turn in the conversation, students can claim their stories as primary source material and transform their experiences into evidence ..."
- Essay Forms "Despite the anthologists' custom of presenting essays as 'models of organization ,' it is the loose structure or apparent shapelessness of the essay that is often stressed in standard definitions. . . . Samuel Johnson famously defined the essay as 'an irregular, indigested piece, not a regular and orderly performance.' And certainly, a number of essayists (Hazlitt and Emerson, for instance, after the fashion of Montaigne) are readily identifiable by the wayward or fragmentary nature of their explorations. Yet each of these writers observes certain distinctive organizing (or disorganizing) principles of his own, thus charting the ramble and shaping the form. As Jeanette Harris observes in Expressive Discourse , 'Even in the case of a personal essay , which may appear informal and loosely structured, the writer has crafted with care this very appearance of informality' (122).
Theresa Werner, "Personal Essay." Encyclopedia of the Essay , ed. by Tracy Chevalier. Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997
E.B. White , Foreword to Essays of E.B. White . Harper and Row, 1977
Cristina Kirklighter, Traversing the Democratic Borders of the Essay . SUNY Press, 2002
Nancy Sommers, "Between the Drafts." College Composition and Communication , February 1992
Richard F. Nordquist, "Voices of the Modern Essay." Dissertation University of Georgia, 1991
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Essay on Democracy
- Updated on
- Nov 23, 2022
The oldest account of democracy can be traced back to 508–507 BCC Athens . Today there are over 50 different types of democracy across the world. But, what is the ideal form of democracy ? Why is democracy considered the epitome of freedom and rights around the globe? Let’s explore what self-governance is and how you can write a creative and informative essay on democracy and its significance.
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What is democracy , sample essay on democracy (100 words), sample essay on democracy (250 to 300 words), sample essay on democracy for upsc (500 words).
Democracy is a form of government in which the final authority to deliberate and decide the legislation for the country lies with the people, either directly or through representatives. Within a democracy, the method of decision-making, and the demarcation of citizens vary among countries. However, some fundamental principles of democracy include the rule of law, inclusivity, political deliberations, voting via elections , etc.
Did you know: On 15th August 1947, India became the world’s largest democracy after adopting the Indian Constitution and granting fundamental rights to its citizens?
Must Explore: Human Rights Courses for Students
Democracy where people make decisions for the country is the only known form of governance in the world that promises to inculcate principles of equality, liberty and justice. The deliberations and negotiations to form policies and make decisions for the country is the basis on which the government works, with supreme power to people to choose their representatives, delegate the country’s matters and express their dissent. The democratic system is usually of two types, the presidential system, and the parliamentary system. In India, the three pillars of democracy, namely legislature, executive and judiciary, working independently and still interconnected, along with a free press and media provide a structure for a truly functional democracy. Despite the longest-written constitution incorporating values of sovereignty, socialism, secularism etc. India, like other countries, still faces challenges like corruption, bigotry, and oppression of certain communities and thus, struggles to stay true to its democratic ideals.
Did you know: Some of the richest countries in the world are democracies?
Must Read : Consumer Rights in India
As Abraham Lincoln once said, “democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.” There is undeniably no doubt that the core of democracies lies in making people the ultimate decision-makers. With time, the simple definition of democracy has evolved to include other principles like equality, political accountability, rights of the citizens and to an extent, values of liberty and justice. Across the globe, representative democracies are widely prevalent, however, there is a major variation in how democracies are practised. The major two types of representative democracy are presidential and parliamentary forms democracy. Moreover, not all those who present themselves as a democratic republic follow its values.
Many countries have legally deprived some communities to live with dignity and protect their liberty, or are practising authoritarian rule through majoritarianism or populist leaders. Despite this, one of the things that are central and basic to all is the practice of elections and voting. However, even in such a case, the principles of universal adult franchise and the practice of free and fair elections are theoretically essential but very limited in practice, for a democracy. Unlike several other nations, India is still, at least constitutionally and principally, a practitioner of an ideal democracy.
With our three organs of the government, namely legislative, executive and judiciary, the constitutional rights to citizens, a multiparty system, laws to curb discrimination and spread the virtues of equality, protection to minorities, and a space for people to discuss, debate and dissent, India has shown a commitment towards democratic values. In recent times, with challenges to freedom of speech, rights of minority groups and a conundrum between the protection of diversity and unification of the country, the debate about the preservation of democracy has become vital to public discussion.
Did you know: In countries like Brazil, Scotland, Switzerland, Argentina, and Austria the minimum voting age is 16 years?
Also Read: Difference Between Democracy and Dictatorship
Democracy originated from the Greek word dēmokratiā , with dēmos ‘people’ and Kratos ‘rule.’ For the first time, the term appeared in the 5th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Classical Athens, to mean “rule of the people.” It now refers to a form of governance where the people have the right to participate in the decision-making of the country. Majorly, it is either direct democracy where citizens deliberate and make legislation while in representative democracy, they choose government officials on their behalf, like in a parliamentary or presidential democracy.
The presidential system (like in the USA) has the President as the head of the country and the government, while the parliamentary system (like in UK and India) has both a Prime Minister who derives its legitimacy from a parliament and even has a nominal head like a monarch or a President.
The notions and principle frameworks of democracy have evolved with time. At the core, lies the idea of political discussions and negotiations. In contrast to its alternatives like monarchy, anarchy, oligarchy etc., it is the one with the most liberty to incorporate diversity. The ideas of equality, political representation to all, active public participation, the inclusion of dissent, and most importantly, the authority to the law by all make it an attractive option for citizens to prefer, and countries to follow.
The largest democracy in the world, India with the lengthiest constitution has tried and to an extent, successfully achieved incorporating the framework to be a functional democracy. It is a parliamentary democratic republic where the President is head of the state and the Prime minister is head of the government. It works on the functioning of three bodies, namely legislative, executive, and judiciary. By including the principles of a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic, and undertaking the guidelines to establish equality, liberty and justice, in the preamble itself, India shows true dedication to achieving the ideal.
It has formed a structure that allows people to enjoy their rights, fight against discrimination or any other form of suppression, and protect their rights as well. The ban on all and any form of discrimination, an independent judiciary, governmental accountability to its citizens, freedom of media and press, and secular values are some common values shared by all types of democracies.
Across the world, countries have tried rooting their constitution with the principles of democracy. However, the reality is different. Even though elections are conducted everywhere, mostly, they lack freedom of choice and fairness. Even in the world’s greatest democracies, there are challenges like political instability, suppression of dissent, corruption , and power dynamics polluting the political sphere and making it unjust for the citizens. Despite the consensus on democracy as the best form of government, the journey to achieve true democracy is both painstaking and tiresome.
Did you know: Countries like Singapore, Peru, and Brazil have compulsory voting?
Must Read: Democracy and Diversity Class 10 Notes
Democracy is a process through which the government of a country is elected by and for the people.
Yes, India is a democratic country and also holds the title of the world’s largest democracy.
Direct and Representative Democracy are the two major types of Democracy.
Hope you learned from our essay on democracy! For more exciting articles related to writing and education, follow Leverage Edu on Facebook , Youtube , Instagram , and LinkedIn .
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Democracy Essay for Students in English
- Democracy Essay for Students i...
Essay on Democracy
Democracy is mainly a Greek word which means people and their rules, here peoples have the to select their own government as per their choice. Greece was the first democratic country in the world. India is a democratic country where people select their government of their own choice, also people have the rights to do the work of their choice. There are two types of democracy: direct and representative and hybrid or semi-direct democracy. There are many decisions which are made under democracies. People enjoy few rights which are very essential for human beings to live happily.
Our country has the largest democracy. In a democracy, each person has equal rights to fight for development. After the independence, India has adopted democracy, where the people vote those who are above 18 years of age, but these votes do not vary by any caste; people from every caste have equal rights to select their government. Democracy, also called as a rule of the majority, means whatever the majority of people decide, it has to be followed or implemented, the representative winning with the most number of votes will have the power. We can say the place where literacy people are more there shows the success of the democracy even lack of consciousness is also dangerous in a democracy. Democracy is associated with higher human accumulation and higher economic freedom. Democracy is closely tied with the economic source of growth like education and quality of life as well as health care. The constituent assembly in India was adopted by Dr B.R. Ambedkar on 26 th November 1949 and became sovereign democratic after its constitution came into effect on 26 January 1950.
What are the Challenges:
There are many challenges for democracy like- corruption here, many political leaders and officers who don’t do work with integrity everywhere they demand bribes, resulting in the lack of trust on the citizens which affects the country very badly. Anti-social elements- which are seen during elections where people are given bribes and they are forced to vote for a particular candidate. Caste and community- where a large number of people give importance to their caste and community, therefore, the political party also selects the candidate on the majority caste. We see wherever the particular caste people win the elections whether they do good for the society or not, and in some cases, good leaders lose because of less count of the vote.
India is considered to be the largest democracy around the globe, with a population of 1.3 billion. Even though being the biggest democratic nation, India still has a long way to becoming the best democratic system. The caste system still prevails in some parts, which hurts the socialist principle of democracy. Communalism is on the rise throughout the globe and also in India, which interferes with the secular principle of democracy. All these differences need to be set aside to ensure a thriving democracy.
Principles of Democracy:
There are mainly five principles like- republic, socialist, sovereign, democratic and secular, with all these quality political parties will contest for elections. There will be many bribes given to the needy person who require food, money, shelter and ask them to vote whom they want. But we can say that democracy in India is still better than the other countries.
Basically, any country needs democracy for development and better functioning of the government. In some countries, freedom of political expression, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, are considered to ensure that voters are well informed, enabling them to vote according to their own interests.
Let us Discuss These Five Principles in Further Detail
Sovereign: In short, being sovereign or sovereignty means the independent authority of a state. The country has the authority to make all the decisions whether it be on internal issues or external issues, without the interference of any third party.
Socialist: Being socialist means the country (and the Govt.), always works for the welfare of the people, who live in that country. There should be many bribes offered to the needy person, basic requirements of them should be fulfilled by any means. No one should starve in such a country.
Secular: There will be no such thing as a state religion, the country does not make any bias on the basis of religion. Every religion must be the same in front of the law, no discrimination on the basis of someone’s religion is tolerated. Everyone is allowed to practice and propagate any religion, they can change their religion at any time.
Republic: In a republic form of Government, the head of the state is elected, directly or indirectly by the people and is not a hereditary monarch. This elected head is also there for a fixed tenure. In India, the head of the state is the president, who is indirectly elected and has a fixed term of office (5 years).
Democratic: By a democratic form of government, means the country’s government is elected by the people via the process of voting. All the adult citizens in the country have the right to vote to elect the government they want, only if they meet a certain age limit of voting.
Merits of Democracy:
better government forms because it is more accountable and in the interest of the people.
improves the quality of decision making and enhances the dignity of the citizens.
provide a method to deal with differences and conflicts.
A democratic system of government is a form of government in which supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodic free elections. It permits citizens to participate in making laws and public policies by choosing their leaders, therefore citizens should be educated so that they can select the right candidate for the ruling government. Also, there are some concerns regarding democracy- leaders always keep changing in democracy with the interest of citizens and on the count of votes which leads to instability. It is all about political competition and power, no scope for morality.
Factors Affect Democracy:
capital and civil society
Norway and Iceland are the best democratic countries in the world. India is standing at fifty-one position.
India is a parliamentary democratic republic where the President is head of the state and Prime minister is head of the government. The guiding principles of democracy such as protected rights and freedoms, free and fair elections, accountability and transparency of government officials, citizens have a responsibility to uphold and support their principles. Democracy was first practised in the 6 th century BCE, in the city-state of Athens. One basic principle of democracy is that people are the source of all the political power, in a democracy people rule themselves and also respect given to diverse groups of citizens, so democracy is required to select the government of their own interest and make the nation developed by electing good leaders.
FAQs on Democracy Essay for Students in English
1. What are the Features of Democracy?
Features of Democracy are as follows
Equality: Democracy provides equal rights to everyone, regardless of their gender, caste, colour, religion or creed.
Individual Freedom: Everybody has the right to do anything they want until it does not affect another person’s liberty.
Majority Rules: In a democracy, things are decided by the majority rule, if the majority agrees to something, it will be done.
Free Election: Everyone has the right to vote or to become a candidate to fight the elections.
2. Define Democracy?
Democracy means where people have the right to choose the rulers and also people have freedom to express views, freedom to organise and freedom to protest. Protesting and showing Dissent is a major part of a healthy democracy. Democracy is the most successful and popular form of government throughout the globe.
Democracy holds a special place in India, also India is still the largest democracy in existence around the world.
3. What are the Benefits of Democracy?
Let us discuss some of the benefits received by the use of democracy to form a government. Benefits of democracy are:
It is more accountable
Improves the quality of decision as the decision is taken after a long time of discussion and consultation.
It provides a better method to deal with differences and conflicts.
It safeguards the fundamental rights of people and brings a sense of equality and freedom.
It works for the welfare of both the people and the state.
4. Which country is the largest democracy in the World?
India is considered the largest democracy, all around the world. India decided to have a democratic Govt. from the very first day of its independence after the rule of the British. In India, everyone above the age of 18 years can go to vote to select the Government, without any kind of discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, religion, gender or more. But India, even being the largest democracy, still has a long way to become perfect.
5. Write about the five principles of Democracy?
There are five key principles that are followed in a democracy. These Five Principles of Democracy of India are - secular, sovereign, republic, socialist, and democratic. These five principles have to be respected by every political party, participating in the general elections in India. The party which got the most votes forms the government which represents the democratic principle. No discrimination is done on the basis of religion which represents the secular nature of democracy. The govt. formed after the election has to work for the welfare of common people which shows socialism in play.
Democracy And Democracy
Introduction The relationship between economic growth and democracy has long been discussed and dissected ever since the beginning of the French Revolution and the democratization of Europe through the 18th and 20th centuries with various revolutions occurring, mostly in revolt to the overt dominance of the upper classes. Yet, no concrete answer has been defined on whether democracy directly increases economic growth, or that any non-democratic systems are strictly better at growing an economy. In
misconception concerning the form of government this nation possesses. Some believe it to be a democracy while others understand it to be a republic. Regardless of what people believe the American form of government to be, it does not change the fact that it was founded as a representative republic, and therefore, must be maintained and upheld as such. The following paragraphs will show the difference between a democracy and a republic, describe what form the Founders intended for the American government and
Democracy : Democracy Vs. Democracy
Democracy is a Greek invention, first practiced in the ancient Greek city of Athens. In the late 20th century, Democracy triumphed over all other major ideological systems, so overpowering was its victory that former critics now began to advocate their own democratic credentials. The vigorous rise of democracy has continued ever since and today there are over 112 self-proclaimed democratic countries around the world(Kekic 2007), whether all these countries are truly democratic or not is debatable
Democracy And Democracy : The Definition Of Democracy
Democracy by definition is "a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections". (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). By breaking this down to more layman words, it is a government which actions are based on the best interest of its people. Regardless of their social status or racial. When anyone, wherever they may be, looks up the definition of democracy this is
Democracy: Athenian Democracy
Democracy gives people equal rights to live in the government they live in. Original thoughts and ideas came from Athens. Although citizens had the ability to participate in the government; was not a completely democratic states. Slavery is what gave others the time to contribute to the government. Those not born in Athens that lived there were not considered citizens and were not allowed to play a part in choosing how their home was governed. In a democracy, all people have equal say, yet in Athens
Democracy Vs Democracy
the United States, people have individual liberties. Even though the United States has laws it is not considered a pure democracy, it is a republic. The definitions that is stated between democracy and individual liberty will help most understand that a democracy undermines a person’s rights, and I will prove this from the information that’s in our assigned reading. Democracy is a system of government by the people. It has also been defined as supreme power bestowed in the people and exercised
Democracy And Its Impact On Democracy
How are they related to democracy, concepts discuss the procedures that make democracy possible. Democracy related to our lives by looking for the right thing to do, for every one of us have equality and freedom of speech, we could have multiple ideas it might change the ideology of the country, we also could related the democracy by looking at the facts. The facts are Free Elections, Political Participation, Civil Liberties, and Functioning Government. The democracy is one of the most common types
Democracy In American Democracy
American Democracy Democracies have been around for hundreds of years, dating back before the word democracy was created by the ancient Greeks. Democracies give the citizens of the nation power and let them have a say in politics. Also, the people have many freedoms guaranteed to them, unlike other types of government. The people elect local, state, and national government officials. The local government deals with many different issues. State government shares most of its power with the national
Democracy And The Benefits Of Democracy
politically and socially. Before one can begin to discuss the merits of democracy, one must first answer the question what is democracy? In his essay on democracy, Robert Dahl explains how democracy cannot exist without protecting the rights of its citizens. Democracy is more than a system of government, it is also a “system of rights” because rights are “the essential building blocks” of a democratic government (Dahl 100). Democracy builds off of the idea of human rights to create a system of government
Democracy is a particular form of government the means, “ruled by the people”. The Greeks are widely credited for the concept of democracy, around six B.C. Many political science experts consider the early Greek government, to be a perfect for of democracy. People had the ability to decide various government issues, and the right to suffrage. Through out time, the concept of democracy was established by many nations. The United States, is widely credited on making democracy widely used around the
Democracy : A Perfect Democracy
Democracy at its purest form is a system of government, which allows each and every citizen to participate actively and equally in the decisions being made. In a perfect democracy, the decisions made the government are perfect representations of what the people want. In reality, a perfect democracy is nearly impossible, especially when dealing with a population as large as the United States, but there are still techniques and systems that can be implemented into a society in which democracy can be
Democracy And Its Effect On Democracy
Democracy in its most basic form is a type of governing system ruled by the citizens of a particular society. The first form of democracy can be found in ancient Greece, and the modern form of Democracy was established in part by the French revolution because it brought back the idea of rule by the people. Although, for most of history democracy was not viewed in a positive light. According to Mintz, Close, and Croci many people feared democracy because they thought the masses would not act with
that I think has created the most success for the government and its people is democracy. The definition of democracy is a “political system of mass participation, competitive elections, and human and civil rights (Roskin 88).” This is the clear definition of democracy, but there are many different forms for example there is a representative democracy and illiberal democracy. These follow the same guideline of democracy, but have there own individual definition. Unfortunately, there is no perfect
Democracy In The American Democracy
From the early 1840s to the present day, a democracy can be described as a flawed establishment which has been shaped by the power of wealth and control, complex social relations, and most importantly the people’s desire to live a fulfilling life. Throughout this time period the principles of democracy, such as equality, protection of the people’s interest, and promotion of human rights were shifting in order to increase the democracy efficiency. Therefore the continued importance of the Bill of
Democracy Is A True Democracy
The ideology of a true democracy no matter how great the thought, is dealt with no different than any other form of government in which it is a race for power. In the classical sense, true democracy is the equal power of each member of the constituencies; however, practice gives more power to the members and the line of power gets blurred. To outline it true democracy and practice differ by the vast levels of power and political roles, political corruption putting democracy’s interests at risk, and
Democracy And Its Lack Of Democracy
oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny. Most shocking critique throughout the discussion is about democracy and its ineffectiveness to rule. Plato’s disagreement of democracy does not involve of what we are acquainted with today, but rather the idea of democracy. Plato explores the central strain of the government that is acknowledged with liberty and fairness. Also, this form of government known for its embracement of freedom and equality. Plato’s description and disagreement about democracy is correct
The Importance Of Democracy In Democracy
American democracy supply its citizens with the most freedom, the most opportunity, the greatest success, and the most comfortable life. A high number of Americans have lost faith in their democracy. In 1988, United States democratic party was 33%. In 2014, it decreased to 29%. For more democratic to gain their faith, the democracy have to improve. The humanities can solve this problem by starting with itself. Improving education, improving oneself as a human being, improving healthcare and improving
Democracy: The American Democracy
The American Democracy is dramatically changing. In fact the government is not at its best place at the very moment, but it takes the voice and actions of the citizens to make it better. Our republic is built on laws, in which the American citizens have adapted to. Over the years, many things have altered in America, so the Republic should also modify itself, to equalize with how the world is today. There should be an adjustment to the ways of getting Americans involved. Social media is a perfect
Democracy Is Not A Democracy Essay
“The strongest democracies flourish from frequent and lively debate, but they endure when people of every background and belief find a way to set aside smaller differences in service of a greater purpose.” This quote was said by former President Barack Obama at a press conference back in 2009. The United States of America was the underdog in the American Revolutionary War, but with the help of the strong-willed people who migrated over to this forward-thinking country and the support of our French
TITLE : DEMOCRACY TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Introduction of Democracy 2. Definition of Democracy 3. Types of Democracy 4. Characteristics of Democracy 5. Principles of Democracy 6. Advantages & Disadvantages of Democracy 7. Conclusion 8. Bibliography 1. Introduction of Democracy Democracy is the form of government in which the ruling power of a state is legally vested not in any particular class or classes but in the members of the community as a whole
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Essay on Democracy: Top 11 Essays | Forms | Government | Law
Here is a compilation of essays on ‘Democracy’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Democracy’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on Democracy
- Essay on the Merits and Demerits of Democracy in General
Essay # 1. Meaning of Democracy:
Democracy is a derivation from two Greek terms “Demos” and “Kratos”. The former word means the people and the latter word means power. So democracy means “power of the people”. In democracy the preeminent factor is the people. There the government is run by the people and the main concern is the welfare of the people.
Democracy has a great educative force, because it strives for the development of the personality of the citizens. So democracy is not only a form of government but a kind of upgraded society. These are the warp and woof of a culture which may be called democracy culture.
There are several definitions of democracy Lord James Bryce defined democracy:
“Democracy is that form of government in which the ruling power is vested not in any individual, or in a particular class or classes but in the members of the community as a whole.” Albert Venn Dicey characterised it as – “A form of government in which the governing body is comparatively a large fraction of the entire nation.” Abraham Lincoln gave the historic definition by calling democracy as “government by the people, of the people and for the people.”
Sir John Seeley gave a simple definition by describing democracy as- “A government in which everybody has a share.” For John Spencer Bassett- “Democracy is a political method by which every citizen has the opportunity of participating through discussion in an attempt to reach voluntary agreements as to what shall be done for the good of the community as a whole.” As a matter of fact, democracy is both a form of government and a way of life.
Although democracy has a definite and set method of its own, it has such a strong appeal that everybody and every institution tries to go by the name of democracy. The position has been nicely delineated by Carl J. Friedrich- “Democracy has been the battle cry of the twentieth century.”
Everyone is for democracy as he understands it. In the USA democracy means the existing scheme of things or some idealized version of it or even what the men of Philadelphia intended the constitution to be. In Britain too it means whatever one considers the government and politics of the country to be, but also more particularly what the Labour Party aspires to and has been seeking to accomplish, when it has been in power. In the USSR and communist China such American and British views are laughed at as reactionary.
According to each, their particular brand of communism is ‘true’ democracy. Such democracy presupposes a classless society and can only come after capitalism has been destroyed by the dictatorship of the proletariat since the end of the Second World War, and especially in the period of the Cold War these classes of outlook became acute.
Essay # 2. Forms of Democracy:
There are two kinds of democracy. They are:
(a) Direct democracy and
(b) Indirect democracy.
(a) Direct Democracy:
It takes the form of such government in which all the adult persons gather in a public place to make laws, pass budgets and elect the executive. This type of government was possible in small city-states of Greece where the entire population of the city could assemble. It is not suitable for a large state. According to Esmein- “Direct democracy simply involves an appeal from knowledge to ignorance and from responsibility to irresponsibility.”
More importantly, direct democracy might have been possible and desirable in small countries like ancient Greek and Roman city-states where population was very few and life was very simple. The system is not appropriate for modern large states which have a complex life.
The vastness of the modern state and its huge population and, above all, the large size of the electorate will make it unworkable and even impossible on financial and administrative reasons. Now it is to be found in five cantons of Switzerland.
(b) Indirect Democracy:
It is also called the representative form of democracy. It is that form of government in which the people themselves do not make the laws, pass the budget and elect the executive. In an indirect democracy the people elect their representatives and these representatives make laws, pass the budget and elect the executive. In all modern states democracies are indirect. Thus England, the USA, France and India have indirect democracy.
Essay # 3. Conditions Necessary for the Success of Democracy:
Democracy in the world is plagued by several maladies. As a cure, different philosophers have suggested different needs which include the reform of the electoral rolls, introduction of referendum, initiative and recall and increased cooperation of the people in the public affairs and improved capacity of the citizens.
But consensus among the political philosophers is that the following are the basic needs for the success of democracy:
A proper education is a must for the success of democracy. The sentinel of democracy is an educated and enlightened public opinion. Wide dissemination of knowledge and universalization of education is the pillar of democracy.
According to Dr Rajendra Prasad:
“Education is a power by itself and in any case a person bereft of it cannot have any chance of either realising himself to the full or making any effective or worthwhile impression on the policies and actions of the government of his country and region.”
Minus education, democracy will degenerate into mobocracy. Speaking at the Harvard University in 1987, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi asserted that in spite of widespread illiteracy, predominantly among the rural people, India could still be a democracy. He seemed to suggest that as far as democratic thoughts and exercise of wisdom, democratic rights and norms are concerned, common sense is more important than literacy.
A democracy without wisdom is a potential anarchy. Training in and education for democracy is of the utmost importance if our conception of freedom is to prevail, for, as the Archbishop of York stated in the British House of Lords on 15 July 1942 – “The most dangerous of all forms of government is that of an uneducated democracy. It has no power of criticism and is at the mercy of any demagogue and of any dictator.”
Eternal vigilance is not the price of liberty atone. It is a price of democracy too. It makes demand on ordinary citizens to take part. But the lazy people say – “Oh! Leave it to someone else” . But if they leave it to someone else, sooner or later they may fall under a dictatorship and that will be fatal. Alertness on the part of the citizens is another big foundation of democracy. Without it, democracy will be usurped by the demagogues.
The Germans lost their democracy during the time of Adolf Hitler for want of constant vigil on the rights of the people of Germany. Hitler cleverly raised the dream of democracy before the people only to crush it. Unfortunately, for the want of alertness on the part of the people they could be so easily played into the hands of a potential dictator. This should be an eye-opener for all right thinking democrats.
Let us have a look into Bangladesh. That country established democracy in 1971. But soon the Bangladesh army liquidated the freedom-loving Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and captured power. Once again the wily politicians met with the same fate and put the country under military dictatorship.
This had been possible because there was no political awareness among the general people of Bangladesh. What happened in Pakistan and Bangladesh will not take place in England or the USA because there the people are politically conscious. This political vigilance is a must in a democracy.
3. Decentralisation of Political Powers:
Democracy functions effectively if there is a hierarchy of powers from the centre to the village unit. This kind of elaborate system of local self-government will train the people in the art and science of the government. Thus more power should be decentralised into the Panchayats and civic bodies. This type of democratisation of the institutions will minimise the scope of anybody to misuse the mechanism of the government.
Perhaps there is no better suggestion on it than that given by Dr K. N. Katju – “If I have my way, I would enact a law which would prescribe that no person should be elected to a legislature unless he or she had worked either in a municipality or in a Panchayat for minimum period of three years. A municipality gives the necessary experience in administration and tests in the individual members as to whether they would really serve the people or serve themselves.”
4. Civic Sense:
In a democracy the maximum participation of the citizenry is assured. There is a corresponding civic responsibility from the side of the citizens. The citizens should have high sense of moral rectitude. If the citizens idle away their responsibility there is an end to democracy.
In the absence of selfless devotion to the public good, democracy is maimed. Democracy is indeed a difficult government, because it presupposes civic capacity on the part of the citizens. According to Lord James Bryce, this capacity consists in “intelligence, self-control and conscience.” So Mrs. Indira Gandhi rightly said – “Democracy is the best form of government, but it is certainly the most difficult”
5. Spirit of Tolerance:
Democracy is a government of the majority. What should be the attitude of the majority towards the minority? It should be one of sympathy and tolerance. A religious and linguistic majority must not disrespect the similar sentiments of the minority. The majority must hear the view-point of the other people.
According to Mahatma Gandhi – “Evolution of democracy is not possible, if we are not prepared to hear the other side. We shut the doors of reasons when we refuse to listen to our opponents, or having listened, make fun of them. If intolerance becomes a habit we run the risk of missing the truth.”
According to Rajiv Gandhi – “Democracy means discussion. There is no place of violence in a democratic set-up. Tolerance is necessary for the success of democracy.” Thus democratic virtue is humility, because humility is needed for tolerance. But here is one thing the democrat cannot tolerate, namely injustice. His vigilant sympathy must be directed against all kinds of injustice.
6. Freedom of Speech Association Arid Press:
The bedrock of democracy is freedom of speech, association and press. If not democratic personality of a citizen cannot be fully blossomed. Democracy demands that all sections of the people should be taken into confidence as far as practicable. Mr. Rajiv Gandhi said – “Dialogue is the essence of democracy. In giving power to the people we have engaged in the most extensive process of consultation since independence”.
If there is no individual liberty there is no democracy. This liberty includes the freedom to freely and without fear express the views either in a public speech or in newspapers and other literary media. Man is a gregarious animal and as such there must be a guarantee of free association to mobilise public opinion. These are the three levers of democracy.
7. A Written Constitution Containing Fundamental Rights:
A written constitution is better than an unwritten one, because in it all the powers of the authorities and the rights of the citizens are put in black and white. If there is no written constitution, the rights of the people will be vague and uncertain. Fortunately, the constitutions of India, France, Australia and the USA have written provisions in which the fundamental rights are guaranteed.
Although the constitution of England is an unwritten one the fundamental rights are enshrined in the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights. If the guaranteed rights of the citizens are taken away by any authority, the people can depose the government and establish a better one.
8. Separation of Power:
The theory of separation of power came as a safeguard of democracy. It enables different departments of government to act as checks and balances against each other’s power. It guarantees the equal representation in the sharing of power to every section of the government.
According to Charles-Louis Montesquieu, the father of this theory, concentration of powers of law-making and law-enforcing and law-interpreting in the hands of one person or body will be the very definition of tyranny. In operational terms this theory requires certain sequence in the functioning of the government. The legislature, in this system, should have, an open debate on the subject and pass it by a majority decision.
In the second stage the executive has to translate it into action. Judicial review will come in the third stage, in case there is an excess of arbitrariness in so executing the will of the legislature in the executive. The third stage by the most important check in this system, since the executive very often bypasses the legislature.
9. Opposition Party:
An effective opposition party is a shield of democracy. This is well stated by Lord Clement Attlee – “Democracy owes a good deal to the attacks of its opponents because it makes us conscious of what our democracy is.” Actually the opposition party works as the mirror of the government and enables the government to correct the wrongs.
According to Chakravarty Rajagopalachari:
“A strong opposition is essential for the health of democratic government In a democracy based on universal suffrage, government by the majority without an effective opposition in like driving a donkey, on whose back you put the whole load in one bundle. The two-party system steadies movement by putting a fairly equal load into each pannier. In the human body, two eyes and two ears enable a person to place the objects seen and heard. A single party democracy soon loses its sense of proportion. It sees but cannot place things in perspective or apprehend all sides of a question”.
10. Democracy is a Myth without Economic Equality:
It implies that there must be an economic democracy for the success of political democracy. If money is allowed to be accumulated in the hands of the rich few, how can the poor effectively exercise their democratic rights? It is said that in England the Bank of England rules and the USA has a dollar democracy.
This economic inequality eats out the vitals of democracy. If there is a right to work, a right to minimum wages and if the industries and big businesses are taken over and run by the government, democracy stands on a better footing.
The democratic people must be fearless and brave. Timid people do not deserve it. The most essential prerequisite for the successful functioning of democracy is that the people must be strong and courageous. If love for freedom dies in the hearts of the people, they will lose the ability to say “no” to an unprincipled direction of the boss and will compromise their dignity and human values for paltry gains. In such a condition democracy cannot survive. They must ceaselessly and fearlessly criticise the government that seeks to trample their liberties.
It is a truism that any political party, when it comes to power, tends to behave less democratically, for the power it acquires has a corrupting influence. The people must, there for, be always vigilant to their rights fearlessly. Otherwise, they will be in danger of losing their freedom.
Citizens’ Participation in Democracy:
One of the essential features of the government is the enlightenment of the citizens. This enlightened outlook enables the citizens to have meaningful participation in the democratic process. This participation may be positive by supporting the government in power. It may also take a negative form by protesting and opposing the government in power.
This participation may be at various levels of involvement. In order to make the participation effective and bring in a real input in the system, there should be freedom of expression. The freedom of the press and the mass communication media should become forums for free expression of views. The right to protest against the action of the government is a fundamental right and proper assertion of this right keeps the government on the democratic path of not only being responsible but also responsive.
It may be noted that the concept of civil disobedience of Henry David Thoreau from whom Gandhi learned the political movement of civil disobedience is an expression of the right of protesting against the actions of a government.
In a democracy the political system works on delicate balance which is maintained by acting on the enlightened and informed criticism. Thus in order to secure a meaningful participation of the enlightened people, the citizens should have access to and knowledge of all the affairs of the administration. Otherwise they will lose the status of citizens and will be reduced to the position of “subjects”.
According to Thomas Jefferson, the citizens have the right to “alter” or even “abolish” the government when it becomes “destructive”. President Woodrow Wilson went to the extent of asserting that, “If we forget how to object, how to resist, how to agitate, how to pull down and build up, even to the extent of revolutionary practices, we shall forget the very principles of our origin.”
Essay # 4. Democracy in India:
History of democracy in india:.
It is well-established that democracy as a form of polity and as a way of life is not at all alien to the Indian soil. Indian civilisation through the ages has been based on some of the most foundational norms of democracy like that of the role of the elected representatives in the social system and the equality and weal of all men and women.
With the ancient sabhas and samitis and their highly sophisticated procedures, the elective kingships, the republics, the janapadas and the village panchayats, gram sabhas and gram sanghas, India may be said to have been the cradle or the home of democracy and to have given the democratic ideals to the rest of the world.
The Rigveda and the Atharvaveda also speak of the assembly of the whole people (the samiti), the council of elders (the sabhas) and elected kings. This shows that democracy as later practised in Greece was already in existence in ancient Indian polity. It cannot, however, be denied that the modern concepts and structural patterns of democracy developed only during the nineteenth century in the West and influenced the evolution of the democratic norms and institutions everywhere.
India is a Democratic Country:
There is no doubt that India is a democratic country. The adult citizens of India after every five years, through secret ballots, elect their representatives in the Lok Sabha which is the lower house of the people. The ministers are chosen from among the members. The council of ministers is answerable to the Lok Sabha collectively. There are some rights which are considered fundamental and the courts of law, particularly the Supreme Court of India is the guardian of the fundamental rights.
All people are considered equal in the eye of law and there is no discrimination between man and man on grounds of religion, language, caste or sex. The President is the constitutional head like the Queen of England, while the Prime Minister is the real political executive. Any Indian can stand as a candidate for the post of the President or Prime Minister, no matter whether he is rich or poor, Hindu or Muslim.
Indian democracy is said to be better than even that of England and the USA. If India had followed the Margaret Thatcher brand of democracy, Mrs Indira Gandhi would have continued her emergency spell for a longer period. This was not possible because India has a written constitution.
British democracy, on the other hand, has been senile and many people are demanding a written Bill of Rights and an elected upper house in place of the House of Lords, which is packed with cronies of former Prime Ministers. Indian democracy will never accept such a situation. That India has a better democracy than that of the USA is brought home by Lord Clement Attlee – “India has practised democracy on a scale that even put the United States of America in the shade.”
India is the lighthouse of the democratic movement in the third world. The entire Afro-Asian world derives its democratic model of government from India. We conclude with the observation of Lord Clement Attlee – “Whenever there is a democratic movement in Asia and Africa too, they look to India, because India is the spear-point of democracy in Asia. India might have taken the torch from Europe, but it is burning brightly in India’s hands.”
Hindrances (Obstacles) for Democracy:
The above discussion must not blind us about the hindrances that are plaguing the growth and healthy functioning of democracy in India. These are by and large religious evils associated with ignorance and superstitions. In spite of outward pretension to secularism, our rulers are rather of medieval mentality and obscurantist to the core.
Even after forty-five years of independence, the Sati, child sacrifice, congregation of millions to wash their sins in the Ganga, and religious rivalry are very much in evidence.
The progressive erosion of English education is closing the windows through which we could look out into the world of science. Whenever a Hindi film heroine is in difficulty, she goes to a temple to pray and immediately God showers blessings on her! Such blind faith has stifled the spirit of enquiry and lulled us into inaction. We build more temples, mosques and gurdwaras than schools, libraries and hospitals.
Like many Muslim countries, fundamentalism has raised its ugly head in India. The Sankaracharya of Puri considers Sati a sacred act. Such a person should have no place in a civilised society, but here he has millions of followers. Thus some evil aspects of Hinduism are also responsible for retarding the growth of democracy in India.
It is common knowledge that Hinduism, as distinct from Christianity, is characterised by a hereditary caste system that runs completely counter to the spirit of democracy. Thus, we see that over every government proposal to abolish the caste system an alarm is raised by people on the upper rungs of the caste ladder.
Even the Marxist leaders, who are upper caste Hindus, yoke caste and communism together instead of trying to abolish the former. Reservation of jobs in service and places of educational institutions for backward castes could not have been justified in terms of democracy but for the recognition of caste distinctions in our society. Social reforms like abolition of caste system must be carried out first for Hinduism to survive with dignity before its first traditions and practices are upheld in the interest of democracy.
Essay # 5. Liberal Democracy and Socialist Democracy :
Democracy may be either of liberal brand or of socialist type. Both groups calls themselves the real democrats, calling others undemocratic. This is so because the term democracy is a very elastic conception. This made Bernard Crick remark – “Democracy is perhaps the most promiscuous word in the World of public affairs.” Let us first know the genesis and characteristics of both the expressions and then go to study their difference.
Genesis and Characteristics of Liberal Democracy:
It is not possible to define liberal democracy. We can point out some fundamental features of liberal democracy. S. E. Finer and Alan Ball, the two exponents of the expression liberal democracy, have different sets of characteristics for this sort of democracy.
For Finer, liberal democracy has four salient features. The first characteristic feature of liberal democracy is an elected legislature, sometimes with an elected head of state. The legislature represents public opinion through free elections, freedoms of speech, press, assembly and association.
The second important feature is its accountability of the consultative and advisory bodies to the legislature. The third element of the system is the social and economic checks and balances through a network of centres of private power.
The fourth hallmark of liberal democracy is a system of political checks and balances in three ways:
(1) Separation of powers which means that the government should be organised into three organs, namely – the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, each with different spheres of activities;
(2) Division of legislature into two houses called the upper house and the lower house; and
(3) A two-tier governmental functions, one for the centre and the other for the provinces.
Alan Ball, the other authority on liberal democracy, assigns to it the following seven elements. First, there must be multiple political parties to compete for political power. Second, such competition for political power must be free and open. Third, it is open to all to stand as a candidate for any post of political power. Fourth, there will be elections at regular intervals on the basis of universal adult suffrage. Fifth, there will exist civil liberties like freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of religion.
The press, radio and television, which are agencies of public media, will not be under the exclusive control of the government. Sixth, there will operate some kind of separation of powers between the executive, legislature and the judiciary. The seventh hallmark is the pressure groups which will assert themselves in regulating the policy decisions of the government. The government will not control the trade union and other associations.
A wide range of population scattered over all the continents is covered by liberal democracy. England, France, the USA, India, Japan have liberal democracy.
Marx’s Theory of Democracy and the Genesis and Characteristics of Socialist Democracy:
The political form of the socialist state is called socialist democracy. A socialist state may be democratic or dictatorship in political nature. When the political form is democracy, it is called socialist democracy.
Distinguished from liberal democracy, which the Marxists call bourgeois democracy which is marked by private ownership of means of production with the inherent exploitation of the poor by the rich, the Marxists consider socialist democracy as the only genuine democracy because there is no exploitation of one class by other since there is complete public ownership of means of production. The other shining aspect of it is that the citizens are given economic rights.
There is a popular belief that Marx was an anathema for democracy. In effect, Marx was a believer in democracy, of course in his own way. Marx wanted to replace the existing democracy which he called bourgeois democracy, a concept equated with what we call liberalist view of democracy.
Marx called his democracy “socialist democracy”. Marx also wanted his democracy to be a rule by the people. But he gave different connotation of people. For him, it does not include the rich exploiters, feudal lords or similar other stocks. His people include only the proletariat class i.e. the working class. The power must belong to the workers and the peasants, who will establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. This will be built on the debris of capitalism.
Marx appreciated the liberal democratic system in as much as it terminated the era of feudalism. Liberal democracy, in its turn, will be replaced by socialist democracy in which there will be no unemployment, starvation, poverty or anything of like nature. The Marxist democracy has three aspects – social, economic and political.
In the social plank, it will obliterate class contradictions; in the economic front, it will establish common ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods; and in the political arena, it will establish the rule of the people through their free and voluntary associations called the Soviets.
To say in the words of Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels:
“In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonism, we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”.
The Marxian theory of democracy underlined the need for economic equality which is a must for a socialist democracy. Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto recommended ten measures for adoption by the progressive countries of the world.
(i) Expropriation of landed property;
(ii) Heavily graduated income tax;
(iii) The abolition of all right of inheritance;
(iv) The confiscation of property of emigrants and rebels;
(v) The centralisation of credit in the hands of the state;
(vi) Centralised control of the means of communication and transportation;
(vii) Increase in the number of state-owned factories;
(viii) Equal liability of all to labour work;
(ix) Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; and
(x) Free public education.
The Marxists believe that with the implementation of the above measures, economic power would be equi-distributed and economic equality will be ensured. Thus the Marxian democracy is nothing but economic democracy.
Alan Ball suggests the following four elements as the basic features of socialist democracy. In the first place, there shall be a socialist ideology formulated and espoused by the government. In the second place, there will be complete public control in all avenues of life, political, social and economic.
In the third place, there is total absence of separation of powers and total denial of independence of judiciary. Finally, there shall be only one political party which is identifiable with the government.
Essay # 6. Difference between Liberal Democracy and Socialist Democracy:
Liberal democracy and socialist democracy differ on the following points. In the first place, unlike private property which exists with liberal democracy, there is no private property in socialists democracy. In socialist democracy, the means of production are complete public ownership.
In the second place, in a liberal democracy the people are given only political and civil rights like right to property, right to freedom of speech and expression which are not available in a socialist democracy. In contrast, the people are assured right to work, rest and right to security in old age, which are a far cry in liberal democracy.
In the third place, the print media like newspapers and electronic media like cinema, television are in the firm grip of the government in a socialist democracy, while these are left free in liberal democracy.
In the fourth place, the governmental noose is tightened over the trade union and voluntary associations in the case of socialist democracy. In juxtaposition, liberal democracy prefers not to interfere in those areas.
In the fifth place, liberal democracy permits any number of political parties as required. But in a socialist democracy there is only one political party.
Last, but not the least, is that the concept of separation of power with independence of judiciary is enthroned in liberal democracy. In a socialist democracy, the difference between the executive, legislature and judiciary is totally obliterated.
Essay # 7. Difference between Socialist Democracy and Democratic Socialism:
Although socialist democracy and democratic socialism look very much alike, they are quite different cups of tea. Socialist democracy is a kind of democracy. It is more socialist and less democratic. Its goal is socialism. In contrast, democratic socialism is more democratic and less socialist.
Socialist democracy is opposed to liberal democracy. Democratic socialism, on the other hand, is not opposed to liberal democracy and at times the two are almost the same. Democratic socialism is a kind of socialism which abjures violence and attains socialism by peaceful means as against the use of force. Otherwise, it is a half-way socialism in as much as it believes in private property, more than one political party and allows private bodies to control the means of production.
It is liberal socialism, because it upholds the concept of separation of power and maintains the dignity of independence of judiciary. England, the USA, France and India are examples of democratic socialism, because in these countries the government has a welfare programme very much like socialism and at the same time keeping all the trappings of liberalism like free press, free political party, free elections on the basis of universal adult franchise and private property for the citizens and allowing both private and public bodies to control the means of production.
In all these counties the power is captured by a non-violent method through secret ballots, as against use of force which is the method of the Marxists capturing power. There is definitely exploitation of one class by another. So in this way we find democratic socialism merging with liberal democracy. The example of socialist democracy is People’s Republic of China and the now defunct the USSR. In both these countries socialism in its full blast existed.
Essay # 8. Classical Theory of Democracy:
The basic theory of democracy, as it is handed down to us by the Greeks, is rule by the people. Pericles called it “people’s power” and Herodotus explained – “Rulers are accountable to the people for what they do therein.” In the eighteenth century Roussueau underlined the popular participatory aspect of it and following him, John Stuart Mill also highlighted people’s participation in the governance of the country as the best form of government.
Although Rousseau and Mill were the principal votaries of the classical theory of democracy, they were joined by several other political thinkers like John Locke, Edmund Burke, Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Green, Albert Ven Dicey, James Bryce, A. D. Lindsay and Harold J. Laski. Since Rousseau and Mill gave a complete picture of classical theory, we shall discuss their views as the basic features of the classic theory of democracy.
Classical Theory of Democracy as given by Rousseau:
Rousseau gave a very clear exposition of the classical theory of democracy by emphasising on the individual’s participation in the policy making functions of the government.
The following are the details of what he meant by participatory democratic theory:
(i) In all major decisions of the government an individual citizen must have his say;
(ii) Individual participation will ensure protection of private property and good government;
(iii) Participation will prove that he is master of himself and not slave of somebody’s decision;
(iv) By participating in the public life, an individual will enhance his prestige as a member of the community;
(v) This will induce him to evolve socially responsible actions and as such, the participation will have educative value;
(vi) The participatory process will lead to economic equality and freedom.
According to Rousseau:
“No citizen shall be rich enough to buy another and none as poor as to be forced to sell himself”.
Classical Theory of Democracy as given by Mill:
James Stuart Mill buttressed Rousseau’s classicism and fitted it into the modern state.
The following are the main planks of Mill’s participatory process:
(i) Following Rousseau, Mill wanted that the individual should take public interest to widen his outlook;
(ii) Participation must begin at home i.e., in local bodies on a limited scale and then application of the experience in bigger experiments;
(iii) The most capable person should be voted to power. This public responsibility requires education. An educated person should have more votes than the uneducated ones;
(iv) Mill wanted that the participatory functions should be extended to the industries;
(v) Individual right is so remarkable that the opinion of the entire nation cannot and should not silence the minority decision.
Defects of People’s Participation:
Critics attack the participatory process on the following counts:
In the first place, if the uninterested and ill-informed people are asked to participate in the policy making functions of the government, it will do more harm than good.
In the second place, no state has gained by increasing the number of voters, if the voters are not enlightened and dutiful. Best few must be better than bad many. The illiterate voters misuse their votes and even sell their votes. This will bring democracy to its knees.
In the third place, the elitists believe that the art of politics might better be left to the most enlightened minority. Leadership of the country cannot be left to the voters. This will create chaos and confusion.
In the fourth place, if the voters themselves are to evolve the defence and foreign policy, it will be a bad day for democracy. This will result in the tyranny of the masses. This will be unworkable in a vast modern state.
Lack of representation will make the government in the hands of unresponsive and unscrupulous persons and will thereby weaken the political system. With the loss of participation, political education will be on the low key. Whether it is possible or not, our ideal should be to have individual participation. A least in the field of ideology, participatory democracy is the best one.
Elitist Theory of Democracy:
The elitist theory of democracy is the opposite term of classical theory of democracy. We have noted that the emphasis of the classical theory of democracy is on the participatory process of each and every individual citizen. All should have a say in the policy making function of the government.
In contrast, the elitists believe that only a few persons are enlightened and efficient enough to run the government and so these privileged few, who are more intelligent, should alone be invited to hold on the reins of political power. Thus a minority of population will rule over the majority of the population.
The term elite stands for the chosen element in the population. All men are not equal. Some are more equal. Actually these ‘more equals’ constitute the elite. Suzanne Keller defined the elites as: “Elites are those minorities which are set apart from the rest of society by their preeminence in one or more of these various distributions.”
This idea is as old as the Greek political thinker of fourth century B.C., namely Plato. In his Republic, Plato reserved political power for the philosophers so much so that he believed that the evils of the society can be removed only if the philosophers made the rulers.
To say in his words – “Until philosophers are rulers the cities will have no rest from their evils.” In the system of slavery, the freemen who are elites ruled over the slaves and in the feudal system the barons ruled over the serfs. In today’s South Africa, the minority whites are ruling over the black majority. The elitists support a kind of aristocracy or oligarchy.
The authors of the elitist theory are two Italian sociologists, namely Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca. Later on a disciple of Mosca, Robert Michels, developed the theory in Germany. Then came four more elitists in the scene. They are O.Y. Gasset, James Burnham, C. Wright Mills and Harold Lasswell. According to Pareto, the present history is the history of the relation between the elite and the non-elites. The much more numerous class acquiesces in subordination to the elites who rule over them.
The elites have all the qualities of the lion and fox. We know that Machiavelli made his prince the embodiment of the fox and the lion. Robert Michels openly uses the word oligarchy to explain his view of the elitist – “He who says organisation, says tendency to oligarchy. The machinery of organisation completely inverts ‘iron law of oligarchy’.
James Burnham and C. Wright Mills are of the view that economic and social power was the most pivotal factors in the game of elite letting down the non-elites. They took their cue from Marxism. The elitist theory starts with the premise that there is an inherent inequality among the people, politically, economically and socially and that the chosen element of the population must have an exalted position in the society.
It is in this context that Maurice Duverger suggested that the erstwhile theory of government by the people should be replaced by government by the elite sprung from the people. This chosen element is found in a family club, trade union, bureaucracy and armed forces too. The elites grow up as a result of heredity, skill in arts and literature, position in ruling class and bureaucracy. They have both material affluence and physical strength.
Criticism of the Elitist Theory of Democracy:
The following sharp criticisms are levelled against the elitist theory:
(i) The elitist theory supports inequality and moves the slate-craft in the back gear. It encourages racial discrimination of the type of apartheid in South Africa.
(ii) It ignores the mass people who are the very basis of democracy.
(iii) It cuts the society into two artificial blocs by driving the wedge between two artificial segments of people.
(iv) It concentrates powers in the hands of the bureaucracy without any definite authority to supervise over it. The system is bound to degenerate into corruption and final ruin of the nation. As Lord Acton said: “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
(v) The privileged few to have the monopoly of power is nothing short of oligarchy or aristocracy. There cannot be any such oligarchic element or aristocracy in democracy.
(vi) All major revolutions of the world took place in protest against the privileges enjoyed by the chosen few in exclusion of the mass people. So, the elitist theory is danger mark in political system.
Although as an ideal we cannot support the elitist theory of democracy, in practice it is an admitted fact that in all forms of government the switchboard of power is in the hands of the elites, because they are efficient and most competent to do so. It is true that inequality is bad, it is equally true that inequality is the order of the day everywhere. So although we may not support elitism, there is no way out.
Essay # 9. Constitutional Democracy:
Division of power is the basis of constitutional democracy. This is also called constitutionalism. Constitutionalism may be monarchical or it may be republican, it may be aristocratic or democratic. When the people of America speak of “democracy” they usually mean constitutional democracy. Of course there are those who would define democracy simply as the rule of the majority without any constitutional framework within which such majority decisions are to be made.
Such absolute democracy is, however, rare in the history of political institutions and nowhere to be found in contemporary Europe or America. Constitutionalism is an achievement of the modern world. It is a very recent achievement and it has by no means became stabilised.
Essay # 10. Merits and Demerits of Direct Democracy:
Like all institutions and concepts in political science direct democracy has both bright and dark sides. The other name of direct democracy is pure democracy.
Merits of Direct Democracy:
The most remarkable advantage of a direct democracy is that it offers direct participation of the citizens in the affairs of the government. The logic in support of direct democracy is that if democracy is a government by the people it must be given to the people directly and completely. Otherwise, democracy will not function effectively. In that sense, the representative democracy or indirect democracy is to be rejected as half-democracy.
Secondly, if the people are directly involved in the formation of the government, in making law or similar key roles in the run of the administration, they will take more and lively interest in public affairs. It is seen that when the final task is done by another set of people, the former set of people do not take much interest in it, because they feel that there are some other persons to give it final shape.
It is pointed out that, by keeping an intermediate body between the people and the government, a representative democracy or indirect democracy establishes a gap between the people and the government. This is against the very spirit of democracy.
Demerits of Direct Democracy:
The most serious demerit of direct democracy is that it is out-dated and out-molded and not at all suitable for a modern state which is very vast and so cannot be brought under the umbrella of direct democracy. No doubt there was a time in the past when the small states in Greece and Rome were directly and efficiency ruled by the people. Such tiny states are no longer available in the modern world.
Today’s states are very vast with a huge population. Let us take the case of India, one of the largest democracies of the world. How can all the people of India gather together in one place and make laws for the whole of India?
There is no such big area to accommodate all the people of India. Again, if all the people go to that place to make laws for India, who will look after their jobs like cultivation, works in the factory, teaching in the educational institutions, etc.? This will create chaos and confusion all over the county. So, on the ground of inexpediency, the pure democracy is to be discarded.
Secondly, if the entire population is to run the government from making law to its implementation, we are to assume that all people are equally intelligent and equally capable for all such work. But our experience is that all people are not equal in calibre. It is a common knowledge that the fools, idiots, beggars, the illiterate mass have no capacity to understand the art and science of government. It will be too much to strain their efforts to carry on the administration.
It is a fact that some people are more trained and capable in running the government. So they alone should be given the job. They can be directly elected by the people and as the representatives of the people they will carry on the political game.
A secondary body like this is also necessary to check the passion and impulses of the common people. It is seen that the mass people go by passion, not by reason. Their representatives, who will be more reasoned and seasoned, should be given the task of running the country.
Essay # 11. Merits and Demerits of Democracy in General:
Merits of democracy:.
First, democracy is ethically sound because it is opposed to the idea of one man ruling over another man. In a democracy no individual or a group of individuals but the entire community is vested with sovereign power. According to John Dewey – “The foundation of democracy is faith in the capacities of human nature, faith in human intelligence and in the power of pooled cooperative existence.”
Only that person is said to be free who possesses a vote and shares in determining state policy and electing the government. John Stuart Mill said – “What toucheth all should also be decided by all.”
Secondly, democracy promotes the common welfare of the people Democracy caters to the needs of all because all shades of opinion represent the government. In such a system, a citizen is the ruler and at the same time the subject and thereby it conforms to the axiom that a just government is a government by consent of the governed.
In this context John Stuart Mill said:
“The participation in governmental affairs lift the individual above the narrow circle of his egoism and broadens his interests. Democracy makes an individual interested in his country and gives him a sense of responsibility.”
Thirdly, it is in democracy that the concept of rule of law can have a full play. According to this concept, which came from England, nobody is above law and everything must be done in accordance with the mandates of law. This principle is not only a replacement of the personal rule of a King but also a brake on the misuse of power by the government or any authority.
Fourthly, democracy nurses the spirit of patriotism and nationalism of the people and evokes spontaneous obedience to law. In a democracy the people feel that they themselves are the government and the nation rolled into one.
This is rightly stated by John Stuart Mill:
“Democracy strengthens the love of country, because the citizens feel that the government is their own creation and the rulers their servants rather than masters.” This idea tinctures into them a spirit of patriotism and nationalism.
Fifthly, a democratic form of government cannot be tyrannical or oppressive, because it is responsible to the people at large. In a democracy the government is voted to power by the people and is answerable for its actions and policies to the rock-bottom of the people. If the government fails to fulfil the aspirations of the people, it will be overthrown by the people in the next election. Again, there are free press and strong opposition which keep the government on guard.
If the ruling party goes astray it will be outvoted in a vote of no-confidence. So a democratic form of government is a responsible government. In defence of democracy John Stuart Mill wrote – “The whole people or some numerous portion of them exercise; the governing power through deputies periodically elected by them.”
Sixthly, a change in the government in a democracy is effected not in a violent way but through a peaceful method and thereby ensures a stability in administration. No other form of government has such a peaceful transition. When a revolution took place in England in 1688 to replace the disliked King James II by Willaim III, this was done without inviting any bloodshed. So democracy is capable of meeting this type of national crisis peacefully.
This is a singular advantage of the democratic form of government.
So A. D. Lindsay rightly maintained:
“A democratic society sure of itself can be indefinitely elastic in its methods. It can, as in a time of crisis, give enormous powers into the hands of the government, in cheerful confidence that, the crisis past, it can take them away.”
But this is not possible in any other type of government. This peaceful transition’ makes the government durable. As R. G. Gettel rightly observed – “Popular intelligence and virtue are its most valuable results. Popular election, popular control and popular responsibility ensure not only efficiency in government but also stability in the state.”
Seventhly, democracy guarantees equality and liberty. Democracy makes no discrimination between the high and the low, the rich and the poor, and the wise and the fools and throws open all the opportunities, in the state to all the citizens of the state. Freedoms of all types are thereby ensured to all the citizens.
There is equal treatment for the son of a minister and the son of a peon in a democratic state. Similarly, the Hindus and the Muslims, or, for that matter, all men of different faiths, are never discriminated in the enjoyment of liberties. So John Stuart Mill emphasised – “Democracy is superior to other forms of government because the rights and interests of every person are secure from being disregarded.”
Eighthly, democracy ensures openness. One of the characteristics of democracy is its openness. The people value the performance of such democratic norm on the basis of availability of information, which they gather from a free press. Again, in the protests of the opposition and the public pressures made in the legislature are found other guarantees of openness of the government in a democracy. The parliamentary control over public policy through democratic debates preserve the endurance of the government.
The dictatorial or a totalitarian system, on the other hand, operates in the mystiques of secrecy. In such a system, politics is rather exclusive and insulated. Thus dictatorship follows the guarded path, as a result of which the administration becomes a professional hideout of secrecy and confidential activities.
In such a system popular participation in the administration is absent and the committed model of bureaucracy keeps public administration loyal, efficient and secrecy-oriented. There stricted norms of secrecy are demanded and adhered to in public interests. But this keeps the government weak because it has no knowledge of what the people are thinking of the government. Since there is everything open in a democracy, the government knows the pulse of the nation. That is why there is practically no revolt or coup d’etat which is very common in dictatorship.
Finally, democracy contains a unique educational value and an assurance for freedom. Democracy goes hand in hand with education and self-government. All citizens are trained in the lesson of making laws, enforcing them and how to contribute their utmost in the welfare of the state.
Both the ruling and the opposition parties bring the benefits of political education at the national, provincial and village levels. In a democracy the entire nation is graded from the top to the bottom with the lessons of political education and self-government.
Demerits of Democracy:
In 1900, democracy was looked upon as the final form of government for all civilised states. It was assumed that all policies on social, economic and international aims came within the framework of democratic government. But many an African and Asian countries that attained independence and established democracy as the form of government had to give up and surrender to military dictatorship.
There the “Humpty Dumpty” of democracy “had a great fall” and were replaced by dictatorships. These threw challenge to the bases on which democracy as a form of government stands. These were indications that all was not well with democracy. As moon has its dark spots, democracy always does not present a totally rosy picture.
The major drawback of democracy is that its accent of emphasis is on quantity rather than quality and thereby democracy imposes the tyranny of the brute majority. It does not recognise the inherent inequality in the calibre or wisdom which differs from man to man as a biological fact.
Thus when quality is ignored and the idiots are brought into prominence, democracy becomes a government by the ignorant and the unintellectual. So H. L. Mencken accused democracy for standardising life on a low level as if all wisdom lies with the inferior four-fifths of mankind. A. J. Carlyle called this multitude “mostly foolish”. The brute majority of mechanism established the rule of the fools over the intelligent ones who are in the minority. Thus what we get in a democracy is simply the tyranny of the people on the ground that they are in the majority.
This type of tyranny has a tendency to curtail the liberty of the individuals. Thus in India in the name of internal security or defence of India the people are locked up in jails without trial. It is for this reason that William Edward Lecky condemned democracy as opposed to liberty.
Secondly, democracy breeds inefficiency and corruption. In a democracy the administration is as slow as snails. It is marked by the red-tapsism of the bureaucrats in a way that everybody’s business is nobody’s business. It is for this reason that Emile Faguet calls democracy as “cult of incompetence”. The other inherent flaw of democracy is that it is incapable of meeting any emergent situation like the First World War and the Second World War, with the result that many democratic countries had to assume dictatorial power to meet the war situation.
The elements of corruption in democracy are “spoil-system”, “lobbying” and “log-rolling”. The self-seeking leaders enter into coalition with seemingly unacceptable parties and to stay on power by distributing offices and various kinds of favouritism Thus democracy is a breeding ground of inefficiency, nepotism, jobbery and favouritism. So Jawaharlal Nehru complained – “The speed of change in a democracy is obviously somewhat slower. The processes are slower than in an autocracy or authoritarianism.”
Thirdly, democracy encourages unhealthy party politics and discourages literary and artistic activities. In a democracy things are seen not with one’s own eyes but through the eyes of the party bosses. So the party-men falsify facts, distort issues, make false propaganda and appeal to the emotions of the masses. Not only that. It is indifferent to the cause of education, literature and fine arts. So all great centres of education were established under the patronage of the absolute monarchy.
The famous literatures like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata did not flourish under democracy. The same is true with regard to the architectures and sculptures of Ellora, Ajanta and the Taj Mahal. So C. D. Burns is of the view that – “Democracy produces a civilisation which is banal, mediocre or dull.”
Fourthly, democracy is an expensive plutocracy. The decentralisation of government for the sake of self-government and the entire election system are very expensive. Thus huge money is spent in the general elections or the presidential election and the election of the civic bodies.
Thus it is burdensome and very often grinding on the developing countries. Democracy does not ensure liberty or equality. In effect, in a democracy the rich classes and ambitious leaders exploit the ignorant and the simple masses for their selfish gains. So Freitschke called democracy “a corrupt dollar worshipping plutocracy or oligarchy of the rich.” Well condemned American democracy as “corrupt plutocracy”.
The merits of democracy must outweigh its demerits. Democracy stands for life and progress. Under favourable conditions it gives encouragement to self-reliance, initiative and responsibility. It holds authority in trust and guarantees equal considerations for all.
According to J. W. Goethe, democracy must be recommended as the best form of government because – “What is the best government? That which teaches us to govern ourselves.” Democracy is a tender plant and it needs to be nourished and watered by hands of faith. This done, Switzerland is a shining example of the success of democracy. So we may conclude with the words of Indira Gandhi – “Democracy is the best form of government, but it is certainly the most difficult.”
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Bejoy Peter's Public Speaking ®
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2 Minute Speech for Students on Democracy
Loudspeakers blaring with appeals to vote for a particular candidate. Banners, flags, and colourful posters waved by rallying masses. Speeches spitting fire. Debates and arguments . Motorcades and walks and marches. House to house campaigns. Leaflets and pamphlets being distributed. Candidates appearing on television.
Well, here in these images that flashed across your mind’s eye the gateway opens to your understanding of democracy. Let us forget the excitement of elections for a moment. And ask ourselves, What is democracy? Let us try to find out.
Freedom that brings responsibility, to borrow a thought from Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny speech, is the bedrock of democracy. Its power is vested in people or as the word democracy literally means “rule of the people.” Leadership that arises out of the people’s will and mandate is what drives a democracy forward.
The right to free speech as well as the right to choose are fundamental to democracy. One way to look at democracy is the way oration of leaders have played in shaping history. Even the popular definition of democracy as “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is the concluding thought of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.
Democracy thrives when there is a free flow of ideas. It thrives when the dignity of individuals and their basic rights are upheld, preserved and cherished. It thrives when oppositions are strong and bring forth constructive criticism of government policies. Of course, where there are constitutions, the judiciary plays a significant and vital role in upholding the values enshrined in the constitution. When respect to the legislature, the law-making body of democracy is violated then it is the first step to the disintegration of democratic values.
The challenges of democracy are many: The kind of corruption that is rampant in democratic institutions is phenomenal. Criminalization of politics is another. The dearth of women representation is an area of concern when half of the population is women. Regional parties playing a kingmaker’s role in national politics is not desirable as it weakens the national outlook. The lack of political will in implementing beneficial policies is often seen when governments play vote bank appeasing politics. These are some serious challenges faced by democracy. Even then much good has been done in terms of equality, justice for all, freedom of speech and religion, and inclusion of the weaker and marginalized sections of society into the mainstream of public life, education, employment and the like.
Again, the role of the media as shaping public opinion is worthy of consideration. That is why whenever a dictator takes over in a democracy his first act is to shut down and put a curb on all media. In this 21st century, technology in the form of internet and social media has made everyone capable of contributing their ideas and critiques. This has created greater visibility to politicians and also it acts as a deterrent as anything done wrong can instantly go viral.
Democracy is best seen when governments are voted out of power. It reminds great leaders and their political parties that ultimately it is people who reign and they are at best ministers or servants of the masses.
To conclude, there is no other better or satirical presentation of democracy than found in G. B. Shaw’s preface to The Apple Cart. He says that “I am going to ask you to begin our study of Democracy by considering it first as a big balloon , filled with gas or hot air, and sent up so that you shall be kept looking up at the sky whilst other people are picking your pockets.”
But not all is negative about democracy. What is now required is for people to become more aware and educated about the power of their vote; how important it is to exercise their franchise when they get a chance to do so.
Even as political slogans and sound bites still sway the hearts and minds of the masses; even as the excitement and frenzy of campaigning takes over every few years; the hope expressed by Abraham Lincoln will live on: the “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth!” Thank you.
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Essay on Democracy in India in English for Children and Students
Essay on Democracy in India: India is the largest democracy in the world. Ruled by various kings and emperors and colonized by the Europeans for centuries, India became a democratic nation post its independence in 1947. Thereafter, the citizens of India were given the right to vote and elect their leaders. The second most populous country and the seventh-largest country by area, India is the largest democracy in the world. Indian democratic government was formed after the nation attained independence in 1947. The parliamentary and state assembly elections are held every 5 years to elect the Central and state governments.
Long and Short Essay on Democracy in India in English
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Democracy in India Essay 1 (200 words)
Democracy is a system of government that allows the citizens to cast a vote and elect a government of their choice. India became a democratic state after its independence from British rule in 1947. It is the largest democratic nation in the world.
Democracy in India gives its citizens the right to vote irrespective of their caste, colour, creed, religion and gender. It has five democratic principles – sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, and republic.
Various political parties stand for elections at the state and national levels periodically. They propagate about the tasks accomplished in their previous tenure and also share their future plans with the people. Every citizen of India, above the age of 18 years has the right to vote. The government is making continuous efforts to encourage more and more people to cast their votes. People must know everything about the candidates standing for the elections and vote for the most deserving one for good governance.
India is known to have a successful democratic system. However, certain loopholes need to be worked on. Among other things, the government must work on eliminating poverty, illiteracy, communalism, gender discrimination, and casteism in order to ensure democracy in the true sense.
Democracy in India Essay 2 (300 words)
Democracy is said to be the best form of government. It allows every citizen of the country to vote and choose their leaders irrespective of their caste, colour, creed, religion, or gender. The government is elected by the common people of the country and it won’t be wrong to say that it is their wisdom and awareness that determines the success or failure of the government.
Many countries have a democratic system. However, India is the largest democracy in the world. It runs on five democratic principles: sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, and republic. India was declared a democratic nation after it attained freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. Not only the largest, but Indian democracy is also known to be one of the most successful ones.
India has a federal form of democracy with a government at the center responsible to the parliament and state governments equally accountable for their legislative assemblies. Elections are held at regular intervals in the county, and several parties compete to get to the center and make their place in the states. People are encouraged to exercise their right to vote to elect the most deserving candidate, though caste is also a big factor in Indian politics.
Campaigns are carried out by different political parties to emphasize the work they have done for the development of people as well as their future agenda to benefit people.
Democracy in India does not only means providing the right to vote but also ensuring social and economic equality. While the democratic system of the country has received worldwide appreciation, many areas require improvement so that democracy can be formed in true sense. The government must work on eradicating illiteracy, poverty, communalism, casteism, and gender discrimination.
Democracy in India Essay 3 (400 words)
Democracy is government by the people, the people, and the people. The citizens in a democratic nation enjoy the right to vote and elect their government.
India is the largest democracy in the world. After being ruled by the Mughals, Mauryas, British and various other rulers for centuries, India finally became a democratic state after its independence in 1947. The people of the country, who had suffered at the hands of foreign powers, finally got the right to choose their own ministers by casting vote. Democracy in India is not limited to just providing the right to vote to its citizens, it is also working towards social and economic equality.
Democracy in India works on five democratic principles. These are:
- Sovereign: This means free from the interference or control of any foreign power.
- Socialist: This means providing social and economic equality to all the citizens.
- Secular: This means freedom to practice any religion or reject all.
- Democratic: This means the government of India is elected by its citizens.
- Republic: This means the head of the country is not a hereditary king or queen.
Working of Democracy in India
Every Indian citizen, above 18 years of age can exercise the right to vote in India. There is no discrimination based on a person’s caste, creed, religion, gender, or education when providing the right to vote.
Candidates from several national and regional parties, including Indian National Congress (INC), Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India -Marxist (CPI -M), All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) fight for the elections. Candidates evaluate their work during the last tenure of these parties or their representatives and also the promises made by them in order to decide whom to vote.
Scope for Improvement:
There is a lot of scope for improvement in the Indian democracy. Steps must be taken to:
- Eradicate poverty
- Promote literacy
- Encourage people to vote
- Educate people on choosing the right candidate
- Encourage intelligent and educated people to take up leadership roles
- Eradicate communalism
- Ensure impartial and responsible media
- Monitor the working of the elected members
- Form responsible opposition
Though democracy in India has been appreciated worldwide for its working there is still a lot of scope for improvement. The aforementioned steps must be taken to ensure smooth functioning of democracy in the country.
Democracy in India Essay 4 (500 words)
A democratic nation is one where the citizens have the right to elect their government. It is sometimes also said to be the “rule of the majority”. Several countries around the world run democratic governments, but India takes pride in being the largest democracy.
History of Democracy in India
India had been ruled by several rulers from Mughals to Mauryas. Each of them had its own style of governing the people. It was only after the country got independence from the colonial rule of the Britishers in 1947 that it became a democratic nation. It was then that the people of India, who had suffered tyranny at the hands of the British, attained the right to vote and elect their government for the first time.
Democratic Principles of India
Sovereign refers to an entity free from any foreign power’s control. The citizens of India enjoy sovereign power to elect their ministers.
Socialism means providing social and economic equality to all the citizens of India irrespective of their caste, colour, creed, gender, and religion.
Secular means the freedom to practice the religion of one’s choice. There is no official state religion in the country.
This means the government of India is elected by its citizens. The right to vote is given to all Indian citizens without any discrimination.
The head of the country is not a hereditary king or queen. An electoral college elects him.
The Working of Democracy in India
Every citizen of India above the age of 18 years has the right to vote. The Constitution does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of their caste, colour, creed, gender, religion, or education.
There are seven national parties in the country, namely, Indian National Congress (INC), Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India -Marxist (CPI-M), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Besides these, a number of regional parties fight the elections to state legislatures. Elections are held periodically, and people exercise their right to vote to elect their representatives. The government is continually making efforts to encourage more and more people to use their right to vote to choose good governance.
Democracy in India is not merely about giving people the right to vote but ensuring equality in all the spheres of life.
Hindrances in the Working of Democracy in India
While the elections have been happening at the right time and a systematic approach is followed to conduct the same ever since the concept of democracy came into being in India there are many hindrances in the smooth functioning of democracy in the country. These include illiteracy, gender discrimination, poverty, cultural disparity, political influence, casteism, and communalism. All these factors adversely affect democracy in India.
While democracy in India has been appreciated worldwide, there are still miles to go. Factors such as illiteracy, poverty, gender discrimination and communalism that impact the working of democracy in India need to be eradicated in order to allow the citizens to enjoy democracy in true sense.
Democracy in India Essay 5 (600 words)
Democracy in India was formed after the nation was freed from British rule in 1947. It led to the birth of the world’s largest democracy. Under the effective leadership of the Indian National Congress, the people of India attained the right to vote and elect their government.
There are a total of seven national parties in the country – Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India -Marxist (CPI-M), All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Apart from these, many regional parties come forward for elections to state legislatures. Elections to the parliament and state assemblies are held every 5 years.
Here are the Democratic Principles of India:
Sovereign means independent – free from interference or control of any foreign power. The country has a government directly elected by the citizens of the country. Indian citizens have the sovereign power to elect their leaders by elections conducted for the parliament, local bodies, and the state legislature.
Socialist means social and economic equality for all the country’s citizens. Democratic socialism means attaining socialistic goals by way of evolutionary, democratic, and non-violent means. The government is making continual efforts to lessen economic inequality by decreasing the concentration of wealth.
This means the right and freedom to choose one’s religion. In India, one has the right to practise any religion or reject them all. The Government of India respects all religions and does not have any official state religion. It does not disgrace or promote any religion.
This means the government of the country is elected democratically by its citizens. The people of the country have the right to elect its government at all the levels (Union, State and local) by way of universal adult franchise, also known as ‘one man, one vote.’ The right to vote is given without any discrimination on the basis of the colour, caste, creed, religion, gender, or education. Not just political, the people of India also enjoy social and economic democracy.
The head of the state here is not a heredity king or queen but an elected person. The ceremonial head of the state, that is, the President of India, is elected by an electoral college for a period of five years, while executive powers are vested in the Prime Minister.
Challenges Faced by Indian Democracy
While the constitution promises a democratic state and the people of India have been entitled to all the rights a person should enjoy in a democratic state, there are a lot of factors that impact its democracy and pose a challenge to it. Here is a look at these factors:
Illiteracy among people is one of the biggest challenges the Indian democracy has faced since its inception. Education enables people to exercise their right to vote wisely.
The political parties usually manipulate people belonging to the poor and backward classes. They are often bribed to acquire their vote.
Apart from these, casteism, gender discrimination, communalism, religious fundamentalism, political violence, and corruption are among other factors that are a challenge to democracy in India.
Democracy in India has received appreciation from world over. The right to vote to every citizen of the country has been given without any discrimination on the basis of their caste, colour, creed, religion, gender, or education. However, the country’s huge cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity is a major challenge for its democracy. The differences sought to be created out of it are a cause of serious concern. There is a need to curb these divisive tendencies in order to ensure the smooth functioning of democracy in India.
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The importance of democracy
Why is democracy important to the world and how does it help maintain a just and free society?
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Importance of democracy
To explain the importance of democracy some fundamental questions need to be answered: What exactly is meant when people say ‘democracy’? Why is it assumed democracy should be the preferred form of government in the world? How does it compare to other models for political organization? And why is there such a widespread perception that democracy is under threat?
What is the importance of democracy?
When talking about the importance of democracy it is important to define it accurately. Democracy is popular sovereignty – in Abraham Lincoln’s words, ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’. At its heart is the concept of the population choosing a government through regular, free, and fair elections.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. H.L. Mencken
In Europe and the English-speaking world it is often assumed democracy naturally takes the form of liberal democracy – popular sovereignty but limited by a constitution which guarantees individual freedoms (such as speech) and rights (such as to a fair trial). Crucially these essential freedoms are not subject to a democratic vote.
In fact, democracy does not necessarily have to be liberal. Certain nations today have illiberal democracies where voting continues but liberal characteristics, such as an independent judiciary and free press, have been compromised.
Defenders of liberal democracy say this actually makes these societies inherently undemocratic, as stripping away liberal guarantees leads to intimidation and coercion by the state, undermining elections.
The guarantees of liberal democracy are intended to ensure no ethnic, geographic, class, or business interest dominates or exploits others to an unreasonable degree, and that there is fair and universal consent gained for government policies.
Arguably the importance of liberal democracy is two-fold: no other system of government guarantees the right to free expression of political preference; and no other system promotes progress through peaceful competition between different interests and ideas.
Why do we need democracy?
This question is being asked a lot more as democracy is threatened by various forces around the world. Some question the value of the popular vote when it leads to seismic shifts such as Brexit, and the election of demagogues who threaten liberal values.
Even the American system, for a long time the exemplar of democratic freedoms, seems so polarized that it is in danger of becoming impotent, its ability to endure technological, demographic, and cultural change in doubt.
Meanwhile, over the last 30-50 years, a more technocratic, uniform form of politics has taken hold in the European Union (EU), where democracy is arguably less responsive to citizens and large elements of the population feel excluded from the process of government.
More recently, non-democratic, authoritarian governments such as China have been praised for enduring the COVID-19 pandemic better than democracies, because they are better able to compel specific behaviour from citizens without concern for individual liberties, or dissent from a free press.
All this may question the need for democracy. But most authoritarian systems are hampered by structural weaknesses: large, disenfranchised minority groups foster a sense of injustice; reliance on ‘strongmen’ figures makes the transfer of power potentially violent; and vested interests are protected from popular demands for change.
Why democracy is the best form of government
Liberal democracy, in theory at least, provides a mechanism for some form of rule by proportionate representation, with citizens empowered to bring about change through participation and persuade the powerful to act for the greater good.
The cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy. John Dewey
But democracy is a process, not a state. Countries such as the UK and the US were not true democracies until relatively recently. Britain’s franchise was gradually extended from 1830 and it was only in 1918 that women were given the right to vote. In the US it was not until 1965 that African-Americans in its southern states gained a guaranteed right to vote.
Democracy has endured in part due to its ability to accommodate change from below through expansion of voting rights, and greater protection of civil liberties.
By contrast authoritarianism is, by its nature, centralized and limiting of free thought and expression. It can accomplish rapid change, but only ordained from above.
Perhaps what has been witnessed in democracies since 2016 signals a need for further renewal and evolution of democratic systems. Because the more averse to change democracies become, the more likely it is they will wither.
The importance of democracy in the world
Democracy has played a vital role in the story of civilization, helping transform the world from power structures of monarchy, empire, and conquest into popular rule, self-determination, and peaceful co-existence.
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A direct form of democracy was initially practiced in ancient Greece, but there were many slaves in that society, and hardly anyone was a citizen and able to participate. Democracy then vanished until its re-emergence as ‘representative democracy’ in the late 18th century. Since then it has been generally understood that modern human history follows a trend towards greater democracy, with some scholars describing the phenomenon taking place in three waves.
The first wave , between the late 18th century and 1918, saw the American, French, and Haitian revolutions, the gradual emergence of democracy in Britain, Bolivarian revolutions establishing democracies in South America, and the break-up of German, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian empires after World War 1 into democratic republics.
The second wave , between 1945 and 1960, saw the reorganization of the defeated axis powers Germany, Italy, and Japan into strong democracies, and decolonization unfolding across the world, creating independent and largely democratic nations.
The third wave from 1975 to 1991, saw the end of dictatorships in Portugal, Spain, and Brazil, democratic transitions in Taiwan and South Korea, and the eventual collapse of the USSR, creating free, democratic, Eastern European states.
But since 1991, by contrast, there has been what Larry Diamond calls a ‘democratic recession’, as ex-Warsaw Pact nations, such as Russia, Hungary and others have slid back into authoritarianism.
Importance of democracy in Africa
The number of African countries that have adopted democratic systems of government has grown since decolonisation, the collapse of communism and the ending of a number of civil wars.
Some countries, such as Ghana , are seen as resilient democracies, while for others the democratic transition is more fragile – after months of pro-democracy protests in 2019 in Sudan , a civilian-led transitional government is now paving the way for democracy after decades of military rule.
African states and societies are grappling with the dual complex challenges of democratizing and developing their economies – in the context of the most diverse continent in the world with some of its least developed countries.
So progress towards democratic consolidation is not linear and is threatened by populism, authoritarian leaders and divided societies. The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to authoritarian opportunism but in 2019 Freedom House had already noted steep declines in freedoms in 22 African countries, especially in West Africa.
Some argue that development and poverty reduction should be prioritized over democracy. However, demand for democracy and political freedoms in Africa remains high, if often disappointed, as Afrobarometer data show.
Positive changes to bring about or protect democracy in Malawi and Sudan for example, have been led by young people, women and increasingly well-established civil society groups and journalists.
Over 60% of the continent’s population is under the age of 25, so demand for political freedoms as well as accountable governance for inclusive economic growth is likely to only grow.
Why is democracy important for development?
Thinkers such as Amartya Sen argue democratic values are essential to successful development, pointing out no substantial famine has ever occurred in an independent and democratic country with a relatively free press. He cites the example of India , where the last famine in 1943 took place under British colonial rule.
This perception of a link between democracy and development has ebbed and flowed over the last century, as communism rose and fell and the economic balance of the world shifted from West to East.
In the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s communism seemed capable of lifting millions of people out of poverty while building vast new industries, winning wars, and delivering cutting edge science. But towards the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union had stagnated and communism seemed doomed to stifle innovation and growth.
The idea that democracy and economic success go together has been thrown into doubt by the success of China’s authoritarian capitalism, known as the ‘Beijing consensus’, which has developed a way to attain both military and economic superpower status, while restricting individual freedoms at home.
The jury is still out on how China’s story will develop. Only fifty years ago the country was in a state of near civil war during the cultural revolution. The more important question is whether other nations will strengthen or weaken their democracies in response.
Importance of democracy in a free and just society
Historically, many thinkers argued democracy can only be detrimental to a free and just society, characterizing rule by the majority as inherently unstable, irrational, and a threat to private property.
The rich shall pay all the taxes, and the poor shall make all the laws. Lord Salisbury criticising democracy in 1860
Plato’s Republic rejects democracy and instead proposes the idea of rule by ‘philosopher kings’. Tocqueville and others warned of the ‘tyranny of the majority’ democracy might bring.
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were acutely aware of this perceived threat and designed the constitution and electoral college to constrain popularly elected leaders with the liberal rights guaranteed by the constitution.
Recent events have led some commentators to conclude that the system is broken. But when we question its merits and seek out its flaws, we should be acutely aware that we live in societies that permit us to criticise, and that this is in itself a crucial right. We should also question what our alternatives would be.
We might imagine the landscape in an authoritarian or dictatorship state: would we expect to receive a fairer trial? To find more balanced information on the internet? To see minority rights more protected? Would a settlement of World War Two imposed by fascist victors, rather than democracies, have created a more just and free peace?
It is most likely that democracy needs to be further deepened, by reinvigorating the rights and guarantees enshrined in liberal democracy, and making it more responsive and accountable however we can. Looking at the alternatives it is fair to conclude that people living in democracies have no alternative.
393 Democracy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples
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- Democratic and Undemocratic Elements of the Constitution The judicial arm, also known as the Supreme Court, functioned to establish the jurisdiction of particular cases under the US judicial system; the disposition of convicted prisoners; and the production of evidence and testimonies as […]
- Public Speaking in a Democracy Public speaking actually matters for a democracy, because it is a good and sometimes the only chance to save democracy that is eroding now, to improve communicative skills, and to underline the problems that prevent […]
- Socialism & Democracy: Fundamental Believes and Concepts The most distinct difference between the socialism and democracy is that in socialism we are mostly focusing our energies on the governance of the economic activities and the economic systems of a given country while […]
- Modernization and Democratization This paper gives an in-depth analysis of modernization as it tries to relate it to the concept of democratization. In politics, the term democratization refers to the transition from an authoritarian government to one that […]
- American Government, Balancing Democracy and Rights The growth of population, diseases, commerce, and dreams for new treasures, led to the voyages of Christopher Columbus into the new colonies leading to the establishment of new English settlements, French settlements, and the Spanish […]
- Imperialism and Globalization In spite of the fact that Haiti is already past the threatening state of affairs that it experienced at the times of imperialism, it still survives the aftereffects left by the reign of the latter.
- What True Majority Democracy Is About? However, in a democratic society, the fear stems from the fact that the majority use their power to suppress the freedoms and rights of the minority.
- Democracy and Its Types Democracy is type of political administration in which the governing individuals of a country are voted in by the people. On the other hand, the semi direct democracy is a type of democracy which contains […]
- Democracy: Definition, Types, Systems and Benefits Democracy is a type of governance where people participate in making laws and rules; “it is the political regime where people will become the law of the country”.
- Democrat or Republican: Political Party Preferences This is an indication that the Democrats have the interest of the people at heart as opposed to the leaders of the Republican Party.
- The Possibility of Democracy and Development Within the African State This infiltration of arms and weapons into the hands of civilians undermines development and democracy in the continent. This attempt to impose the whole concept of democracy, as it were, in America in a single […]
- An Analysis of Kirkpatrick Jennet’s Uncivil Disobedience: Studies in Violence and Democratic Politics In the case of John Brown and other militant abolitionists, the real picture is that they had failed to allow the responsible institutions to handle the matter of abolition within the limits of law and […]
- America and Democracy, at Home and Abroad, During and just after the First World War Democracy is a kind of regime in which all eligible citizens are allowed to contribute to the decisions of the state.
- Modernization and Its Correlation With Democracy The thesis statement In order to understand modernization-democracy link, the advantages and disadvantages concerning the issues’ interdependence, it is necessary to analyze the reasons of the processes of modernization and the ways they transformed democratic […]
- Modernization and Democracy This aspect and the time lag factor concerning the onset of the process of modernization have led to the cold reception of democratic transformation in some countries.
- The Democratic Party vs. the Republican Party as Organizing Political Structures The Democratic Party and the Republican Party have many differences in their colours, stands, philosophies, and symbols, but they are united by one strong goal that is to make the United States of America the […]
- Democracy in the Middle East The openness of democracy has many advantages and is the principal reason that has continued to push many nations to fight for democratic leadership. These non-democratic governments are aware of the power of the freedom […]
- The Rise of Democracy But it was only after the occurrence of World War 1 that women in United States and Great Britain attained the right to vote in parliamentary elections.
- Internet and Democracy in US In effect, there have been various sites established, that serve the interests of political partisans in different ways.instance, there are sites blogs that contain various pieces of information vital to the public; e-mail sites for […]
- Democracy in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam This country has a long way to go and it has to learn from Indonesia in order for it to improve the state of its democracy.
- Modern American History: In Pursuit of Democracy The modern situation in the world and the latest events which made the USA interfere into the life of its country and other nations allows us to look at the issue critically and to point […]
- Does Political Participation Challenge Democracy or Enhance It? A certain control is required to enhance political participation and define its level by means of which it is possible to consider citizens’ opinions and promote the worth of government; in other words, political participation […]
- Democracy Concepts and Principles The proponents of democracy argue that, through democracy, citizens are accorded the freedom to participate on issues concerning their country enjoying a peaceful coexistence as the rule of law applies.
- The Spread of Democracy The revolutionary shift particularly in Western Europe in the last century intended to advocate for the recognition of the rights of the individuals from the ruling elite and in the process give more power to […]
- Fake Democracy and Patriotism: “Give Me Liberty” by Naomi Wolf It also define the battle plan that the American citizens would use in ensuring that they fight back and regain back the rule of laws defined in the American constitution that enhance the liberty that […]
- Africa Regional Conference: Should Democracy be promoted in Africa? Therefore, Tunisian revolution has demonstrated that democracy is the cornerstone for sustainable development of governments not only in Africa, but also in the entire world.
- New “Act on Democracy and Human Rights in Belarus” Passed by the US Congress The Act calls for the immediate and unconditioned release of all imprisoned politicians including those who were detained in the repression after the elections and rejected the results of the fraudulent elections.”Act on Democracy and […]
- The Main Threat to the Modern Democracy The problem of people’s lack of knowledge about the contemporary situation in the politics, government and law bothers the conscientious part of society.
- Becoming a Citizen in a Democratic Society The government has not helped the situation as it has denied the parents the opportunity to discipline the children by allowing children to report cases of punishment to the police.
- Social Capital Contribution to Democratic Renewal The main idea of the article is that different religious communities and organizations play important role in the political life of the USA.
- Democracy in the Aristophane’s Work “The Acharnians” To recap it all, it is apparent that democracy can emerge as a viable form of government as Aristophanes points out in the play.
- The Democracy Promotion in the Middle East by US The two main reasons for this are; democracy has been a key principle in the neo-conservative world view and to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in the region.
- Was Saddam Hussein’s execution an essential point in establishing democracy in Iraq? Clearly, Saddam’s execution exposed the misplaced efforts of the U.S.in bringing peace to Iraq. From the above analysis, it becomes clear that Saddam’s execution under the auspices of the U.S.’ puppet regime in Iraq has […]
- Influence of the American Media in Promotion of Democratic values in the United States of America The 2008 elections was therefore a litmus test for the United States as a society and levels of tolerance within the society.
- Euro Zone Crisis: Does it contribute to Democratic Deficit? Start of the Euro Zone Euro Zone was established through the signing of the treaty of Maastricht in 1992 by the fifteen member states of the European Union.
- Democracy Movement in the Middle East Objectives of this Study The main objectives of this report are; To study and analyse the evolution of the democracy movement in the Middle Eastern countries.
- Success or Failure of Democracy In terms of equality in democracy, Tocpeuville observes that this becomes the form of government in a democracy since no one becomes right than the other.
- What Makes Democracy Succeed or Fail? The success or failure of democracy is determined by the state, civil society and the public sphere. The public sphere is a key component of democracy because it represents the opinions of the people.
- American Political Culture History They made several paintings on nature and depicted the beauty of the natural features that were in the United States. The political representatives in various positions are expected to make laws and also safeguard the […]
- Government and Democracy In addition, if America declares the Election Day a national holiday, people will have time to spend on the voting queues, which will increase the rate of voter turnout.
- Michelle Obama American Dream Speech Analysis – Michelle’s purpose was to introduce her husband as man who was more concerned about the common citizens’ concerns and who was willing and able to help everyone to realize his/her American dream because he himself […]
- Democracy in America: Critical Summary The book, “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville defines the thoughts of the author on various aspects of America from the angles of social, political, security, and the need for appreciation of diversity especially […]
- Inequality and American Democracy The gap between the rich and the poor is greatly increasing owing to disparities in income especially in the private and the civil sectors.
- Islam, Democracy and the West Summary Neither is the language used in the Holy Quran, nor the succession of the Holy Prophet by the divided Shiite and Sunni communities.
- Is America a True Democracy? It is a fact that the United States was the first country in the world to have a democratic constitution. Electoral College The Electoral College is another process that puts democracy of the United States […]
- In what Ways Did American Culture Become More Democratic in the Early 19th Century The latter were used as instruments for airing the voices of the people. The party was keen in drawing the attention of workers who were facing the hard times of industrial revolution.
- Differences and Similarities Between Democracy and Authoritarian Government Essay This implies that the citizens have a way of participating in the formation of the rules and laws by which they are governed. The laws that govern the rights of people and the economy are […]
- Was Kant Wrong to Argue that Democracy Brings Peace Between States? To a large extent, it can be analyzed that Kant had formulated the problem of constitutionalism by stating that “The constitution of a state is eventually based on the morals of its citizens, which in […]
- How Does Revolutionary Communism Compare With Democratic Socialism? Revolutionary communism holds it that the capitalism would never let go of their hold on community and political power and as such, only a violent revolution can result in the changes that communism calls for.
- Democracy’s Problems and Principles However, the debates that have been going on as people touched upon the question of homosexuality as not a deviation, but something that has the right to exist, the reaction was bios and very emotional.
- Democracy in the Policy of United States of America This is because, in the case of democracy, there is freedom of expression and the public is free to participate in sociopolitical activities.
- Importance of News in Democracy The journalists are always on the lookout for areas of socio political and economic importance with the aim of reporting to the people in order to attract the required responses which may alter the sociopolitical […]
- History of the Role of Democracy in the World One common characteristic that I have observed in the development of democracy is a trend whereby democracy first took root in the empowered ruling class, before spreading to other segments of the society.
- China’s Democracy Perspective and Practice Also, the right to work and live in a house of your own as granted by the state is still regulated by the market forces of labor.
- The Democratic Process in Canada: The Role Played by Political Parties More specifically, the paper analyzes the political parties within the context of the Canadian form of democracy. The author is of the belief that political parties facilitate the democratic process in the country.
- The Need for Ethical Leadership and Governance in Democracy Some patriots have had an impact on the leadership of the United States since the declaration of its independence. The relationship between the government and its citizens has strategically evolved since the declaration of independence […]
- The Required Freedom and Democracy in Afghanistan The government of Afghanistan deserves to promote and encourage the minorities’ rights as provided for in the constitution. Access to justice and the rule of law is appropriate for the Afghan government in the wake […]
- Concept of Democratic Education Theory The learners have greater voice on what to learn and are involved in discussing the content and the structure of their curriculum.
- Democratization and the Indigenous Languages of Mexico and Venezuela Over the years, one of the results of the rise of the new indigenous movements has been the transformation of the national political cultures and the recognition of the realities of ethnic diversity and cultural […]
- Democratic Influence on Public Policies The key democratic points highlighted by the wiles are concerning with the way the detainees are treated before the courts. The judicial process normally violate the way the cases are separated and dealt with by […]
- History of Athenian Democracy There were three main bodies that governed the affairs of Athens and they were the assembly, the council and the courts all which were run by representatives of the people.
- Democracy System of Government In a democratic society, the freedoms as written in the constitution to administrate the government due to the fact that independent judicial and law enforcement agencies are constructed within the government.
- The Relationship between Democracy and Islam in Indonesia Islam has played a crucial role in the research on the compatibility in Islam and democracy, in elections and in the building of a civil society in Indonesia.
- How Development Leads To Democracy Change in the two sets of values is brought about by modernization and is seen to set the stage for modernization
- The Complex Term of Democracy The second face of democracy is that of rights and liberties consisting of given basic rights and freedoms that the law to citizenry must guarantee.
- Understanding Greek Culture’s Influence on Democratic Ideas In order to understand the Greek culture’s influence to the way Western Europe idea of democracy, the discussion will touch on the history of Greece and the rise of democracy and the influence of Greek […]
- Democracy in Canada Though Canada is among the countries which are highly ranked in the realms of democracy around the world, it has a number of limitations and in-adequacies within its political system.
- Transition to Democracy in Latin America Democratic transition and cultural reforms taking place in Latin America has elicited feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment as well as increased expectations of sustainable progress and change that is certain to be initiated by democracy […]
- Policy Mechanisms for Trade Reform in a Democracy This generalization-based approach is valuable for understanding the main factors affecting the choice of the mechanisms of the trade reform in comparison to other examples from the world and national history.
- What is ‘Liberal Representative Democracy’ and Does the Model Provide an Appropriate Combination of Freedom and Equality? Freedom and equality are guaranteed under this form of democracy because they are enshrined in the constitution which is always the supreme law of a given country.
- Democracy and Dictatorship As a matter of fact, the paths above show some means that connect political and economic composition of a community to a political institution. The panorama of the existing democracy in this path is weak […]
- The Main Impacts of the Civil War in the Democratic Republic of Congo However, as a result of the paradox of the plenty, much of these natural resources have resulted in the death and destruction of man, decline in economic growth and political unrest.
- Democratic Governments Role in the Global Economy Milton argues that, while fiscal policies by governments are viewed by many as ways of helping the economy grow, they in fact make the economy to be smaller and less stable.
- Democratization Process in Argentina None of the coups were instigated externally, as was the case in most parts of Central America; neither had the coups ever been caused by indirect involvement of external forces, as was the case of […]
- Regime Trajectories: Structuralist and Process-Oriented Views In contrast to the structuralist approach, the process-oriented scholars emphasized the importance of the mass consciousness affecting the changes in the political regimes.
- Can democracy be spread by force? Eventually, the kind of leadership that was characterized by dictatorship and the oppression of the poor and the disadvantaged in the society had to cede power, sending a strong message to the rest of the […]
- Rapid Growth as a Destabilizing Force to Effective Democracy The heroes in the democratic battles did not and could not be persuaded that the destiny of their nations would based either on the contemporary levels of progress and advancement or by the far-away past […]
- Unitary versus Adversary Democracy In this chapter, the author conducts a critical analysis of the unitary model of democracy. The author concurs that success of a democracy model depends on the extent to which members cultivate a platform for […]
- Democracy and Reform’s Trilemma The ease in the achievement of consensus among small groups is adverted to the placement of a higher value of harmony of the whole group, as well as the ease with which members of the […]
- What is the Relationship between Capitalism and Democracy? The importance of the roles played by the stock market in the capitalistic economy is related considerably to the aspects of democracy and free market.
- The Concept of Democracy by Force In the absence of democracy, countries experience chaos and civil war, something that compels powerful nations to introduce the concept of democracy by force.
- Ancient Greek Democracy that Still Makes People Strive for Perfection Thus, Greek dreams of a perfect society where everyone is happy resulted in the creation of the first democracy in the world.
- The Probability for Libya to Become a Democracy In spite of the fact the situation of ceasing Qadhafi’s rule provides the political opposition with a lot of opportunities to change the regime in relation to the democratic basics, there are more limits for […]
- Similarities and Differences Between Communism and Democratic Socialism This is because, according to the proponents of both ideologies, in Capitalist countries, the majority of ordinary citizens are denied the right to have a fair share in the national wealth.
- Views of American Muslims on Democracy In this regard, the research would take the form of a survey whereby the researcher identifies the sample population and posts questionnaires to them.
- Social Construction of “Race” and “Racism” and Its Relationship to Democratic Racism in Canada This is ideology withdraws the ideas of multiculturalism in Canada due to the lack of social and political support to alter structures and organizations of social institutions, including justice system, education, and police.
- The Liberal Position of Democrats and Republicans In this regard, the right to own property and the principles of capitalism are given great emphasis whenever leaders stand to speak to the public.
- Democratic Racism in Canada The Canadian residents and institutions function on the basis of collective denial of the existing racial confrontation, which admits the presence of democratic racism.
- Three Important Features of our Democracy The system of governance is accountable to the people meaning that the leaders have to be concerned about the rule of law and defense of the fundamental rights of their citizens.
- Democracy strategy for the Middle East countries The U.S.failed to recognize that the success of freedom depends on the readiness of the free people to sacrifice; therefore, the people of the region, not the American people, must make these sacrifices.
- Brazil: Embracing Structural Changes to Consolidate Democracy Democracy is built on the political landscape and the presence of a volatile landscape in the Latin America region has raised a lot of questions concerning the possibility of the countries in the region to […]
- Democracy and Custom in Samoa From the perspective of modern democracy, the author concludes that customs and traditions that are in the constitution of Samoa are not essential because they hinder the development of democracy in the country.
- Democracy and Power in Online World On the other hand, many political leaders have gained fame and popularity thanks to the internet and as such, the internet has played the pivotal role of a medium for the attainment of true democracy.
- Democracy Measures in United Kingdom, France, Japan and China The state should be beholden to the whims and will of the citizens. Finally, the autocracy scale is subtracted from the democracy scale and the difference taken and put on the resultant scale of -10 […]
- Amu Chua: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability In her book World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability, Amu Chua comes up with somewhat controversial thesis as to the fact that, contrary to what is being […]
- Taxes, Capitalism, and Democracy: Karl Marx VS Plato The claims in the media belong to the camp of freedom and community. Marx argued that taxation is one of the reasons that will force workers to challenge the elites in society.
- Democratic Space is Relevant in Early Childhood Education In day to day life, I have discovered that the majority of trainers and practitioners in early childhood fail to consider the development of early leadership knowledge. This stage is important in the development of […]
- Capitalism, Democracy and the Treaty of Waitangi are three ways through which we in Aotearoa ‘organise’ ourselves The treaty gave the sovereignty of the New Zealand to Britain which was supposed to oversee the government and protection of the rights of the Maori people, especially to protect them from unfair land deals.
- FDR’s New Deal: Democratic Platform In addition, it is necessary to investigate how the president Roosevelt delivered his speech with the help of the first radio address with the suggestions of the New Deal as the program that was aimed […]
- Democracy and Economic Growth: Asia-Pacific Region Experiences Kalpana and Jolly describe that to date, communication industry in the Asia-pacific area have been boosted by flexible and mobile networks and the relevant maintenance of data systems. The maintenance of high economic growth reduces […]
- What Is More Valuable in a Liberal Democracy: Positive or Negative Liberty? In the understanding of the concept of liberty, it is equally important to underscore the fact that it promotes freedom within a society.
- What Is Democratic Consolidation? It is important to note that regimes in the ‘gray zone” are those that are in the third wave of democratization.
- Danish Aid to Africa: Implication for Civil Society & Democracy Through the collaboration of the civil society, Denmark has been in a position to offer aid through the support of the civil society.
- Is Majority Rule Democratic? The other concept of democracy is that the rulers are supposed to be elected by the ruled and act in the interest of the ruled.
- How Does Turkey’s Greater Democratization Influence the Handling of the Cyprus Dispute? Majority of the Greek Cypriots hoped for a union of Cyprus with Greece while the majority of Turkish Cypriots supported the division of the island between the two motherlands of Turkey and Greece.
- Rohr and Rosenbloom on Democracy Rohr moves to correct the trouble of governmental authority According to Rohr, the civil service must accomplish the tasks the Founders intended initially for the Senate.
- Partial Democracy and Governance Assessment in Egypt Before becoming the president in Egypt, Mubarak had served in the military and even as a minister of defense in the country.
- Liberal Democracy, Anti-Semitism And The Holocaust The Nazis and other populist political movements in Germany believed that the Jews had undue influence in the country through their prominent positions in the media and the financial system4.
- “The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy” by Rodrik, D The book focuses on the globalization trends and the competing interests of nationalism and internationalism. This is one of the aspects of paradox that the author of this book is talking about.
- Should Democracy Be Adopted by All Nations? Freedom is one of the main objectives of adopting democracy in a nation. During the process of making laws, the needs and preferences of citizens are considered and incorporated in to the laws.
- Plato and Aristotle: Criticisms of Democracy To speak of it in our present time, there are only a few people who are given the power of ‘sound judgement about what is right and what is wrong’ and should have the power […]
- How Chinese Cultural Revolution Influenced Modern Democracy in China Unfortunately, the fact that the proletariat was going to be at the helm of the state destroyed any possibility of establishing the principles of democracy and equality in China at the moment.
- Copyright and Democratic Governance The first part of the chapter discusses the role of civil society and its association with democratic governance. The market may be a barrier to the advancement of the democratic character of civil societies.
- Islam and Democracy in Egypt Overall, it is possible to argue that Mubarak resisted the growing role of Sharia in the legislative system of this country, but he had to recognize the importance of Islam for the culture of the […]
- Leadership Styles: Democratic, Autocratic and Laissez-faire According to McNichol and Hamer, the participative approach, compared to the other styles, enhances the productivity of employees for a prolonged period of time as it encourages cooperation and increases staff morale. As a democratic […]
- Is Sectarianism an Obstacle to the Democratization of Iraq? The aftermath of the 2003 war that initiated by the United States was formation of different social and political factions that opposed each other.
- Form of Political Ideology: Social Democracy In the modern society, individuals are willing to submit themselves to totalitarian rule because of the effects of democracy. In society, the government needs to ensure that the interests of various groups are achieved.
- Principles of Democratic Structuring Moreover, the aspect of accountability is evident in any structure, as staffs have specific duties to deliver, failure to which they become answerable to the entire team.
- Democracy and Global Peace Opponents of democracy argue that it forces governments to intervene in other states’ affairs in the name of restoring peace. In other words, the spread of democracy discourages the growth of common interests that lead […]
- The Democratic Peace Theory: Merits and Demerits Chioza et al.say that among the reasons that makes it possible to intertwine the democratic peace theory with the liberal theory is that many countries are in dire need of peace. There is a good […]
- Possibility of Attaining a Democracy in the Middle East The research objectives are summarised as: To establish the perceptions of the Syrians on the current stage of democracy in Syria To make recommendations and suggestions on how the current stage of democracy can be […]
- Economic and Political Liberalism and Democracy The essay also examines the importance of the concept of economic and political liberalism and the relationship between liberalism and democracy.
- The Foundation of Democracy: Waiting for the King to Come Once choosing the man who is bound to lead the country to another victory over the economical standstill, the financial complicacies and the international misconceptions arising between the United States and the rest of the […]
- The National Curriculum for England and Wales from an Ideal Democratic Learning Society Perspective The National Curriculum of England and Wales is based on the ideology of “curriculum as prescription” as is evidence from the rigidity of the curriculum.
- Major Shifts in the Politics of Republican and Democratic Parties From the 1930s onwards until 1960s, the politics of the Democratic Party was primarily shaped by working-class Americans, a tremendous shift in the history of the party.
- Propaganda in the Democratic Society The article focuses on the effects of propaganda on the democracy. In the article, he focuses on his experiences in the media industry with respect to the past and the present news.
- Outbreak Democratic Institutions The rational choice theory is linked to the direct democratic system, in the sense that it provides rational opportunity to the voters who are engaged in direct participation in decision making as opposed to when […]
- Peace and Democracy: US Impacts in the Middle East However, the aim is to determine the view of those individuals who are for the rules and policies that the United States has formulated towards the Middle East and its impacts on the region and […]
- Machiavelli’s Views on Democratization and Their Relation to Modern Politics The process of democratization leads to democracy, and to understand the current interest of the public to democratization, it is important to focus on the historical roots of the concept’s evolution.
- Democracy in the Philippines Our organizational policy we introduced in the Philippines is the same as the policies we introduced on other countries, i.e, we wanted to be a part in promoting tourism in the country by promoting the […]
- Social Media and Democracy For example, in 2009, during the Iran elections, citizens were able to comment on Facebooks and Youtube, and the whole world was able to follow the election proceedings.
- Democracy Arguments For and Against Arguments against democracy are that it is not the best option for decision making, it encourages anarchy and hence lack of unity and that democracy encourages people who do not have sufficient political expertise to […]
- Democracy as the Best Form of Government The implication of this is that all the citizens have an equal voice in the way a nation is governed. This atmosphere, in turn, perpetuates the general growth of a nation.
- China’s Democracy Movement The bureaucracy was the largest hurdle to the attainment of his model of democracy. The limiting lines were socialism, the totalitarianism of the public, the blending of Marxism-Leninism, and the party control.
- America’s Democracy History: Constitutional Perspectives Because of the lack of cohesion between certain elements of the American political system, particularly, the lack of congruence between the representatives of different political parties, the numerous interpretations of some of the statements in […]
- Canadian Social Democracy Historical Evolution The thesis will be developed by explaining the dynamics in the nature of social democracy with respect to the changes of capitalism in response to economic instabilities during the war and the stability regained in […]
- Can Judicial Review Be Reconciled with Democracy? The members of the Supreme Court refer to several different approaches to the functions of the government, the Court and the Constitution, their duties and obligations.
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- Table Of Contents
Democracy is a system of government in which laws, policies, leadership, and major undertakings of a state or other polity are directly or indirectly decided by the “people,” a group historically constituted by only a minority of the population (e.g., all free adult males in ancient Athens or all sufficiently propertied adult males in 19th-century Britain) but generally understood since the mid-20th century to include all (or nearly all) adult citizens.
Studies of contemporary nonliterate tribal societies and other evidence suggest that democracy, broadly speaking, was practiced within tribes of hunter-gatherers in prehistoric times. The transition to settled agricultural communities led to inequalities of wealth and power between and within communities and hierarchical nondemocratic forms of social organization. Thousands of years later, in the 6th century BCE, a relatively democratic form of government was introduced in the city-state of Athens by Cleisthenes .
States with democratic governments prevent rule by autocrats, guarantee fundamental individual rights, allow for a relatively high level of political equality, and rarely make war on each other. As compared with nondemocratic states, they also better foster human development as measured by indicators such as health and education , provide more prosperity for their citizens, and ensure a broader range of personal freedoms.
The hallmark of democracy is that it permits citizens to participate in making laws and public policies by regularly choosing their leaders and by voting in assemblies or referenda . If their participation is to be meaningful and effective—if the democracy is to be real and not a sham—citizens must understand their own interests, know the relevant facts, and have the ability to critically evaluate political arguments. Each of those things presupposes education .
Read a brief summary of this topic
democracy , literally, rule by the people. The term is derived from the Greek dēmokratia , which was coined from dēmos (“people”) and kratos (“rule”) in the middle of the 5th century bce to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states , notably Athens .
(Read Madeleine Albright’s Britannica essay on democracy.)
The etymological origins of the term democracy hint at a number of urgent problems that go far beyond semantic issues. If a government of or by the people—a “popular” government—is to be established, at least five fundamental questions must be confronted at the outset, and two more are almost certain to be posed if the democracy continues to exist for long.
(1) What is the appropriate unit or association within which a democratic government should be established? A town or city? A country? A business corporation ? A university? An international organization ? All of these?
(2) Given an appropriate association—a city, for example—who among its members should enjoy full citizenship? Which persons, in other words, should constitute the dēmos ? Is every member of the association entitled to participate in governing it? Assuming that children should not be allowed to participate (as most adults would agree), should the dēmos include all adults? If it includes only a subset of the adult population, how small can the subset be before the association ceases to be a democracy and becomes something else, such as an aristocracy (government by the best, aristos ) or an oligarchy (government by the few, oligos )?
(3) Assuming a proper association and a proper dēmos , how are citizens to govern? What political organizations or institutions will they need? Will these institutions differ between different kinds of associations—for example, a small town and a large country?
(4) When citizens are divided on an issue, as they often will be, whose views should prevail, and in what circumstances? Should a majority always prevail, or should minorities sometimes be empowered to block or overcome majority rule?
(5) If a majority is ordinarily to prevail, what is to constitute a proper majority? A majority of all citizens? A majority of voters? Should a proper majority comprise not individual citizens but certain groups or associations of citizens, such as hereditary groups or territorial associations?
(6) The preceding questions presuppose an adequate answer to a sixth and even more important question: Why should “the people” rule? Is democracy really better than aristocracy or monarchy ? Perhaps, as Plato argues in the Republic , the best government would be led by a minority of the most highly qualified persons—an aristocracy of “ philosopher-kings .” What reasons could be given to show that Plato’s view is wrong?
(7) No association could maintain a democratic government for very long if a majority of the dēmos —or a majority of the government—believed that some other form of government were better. Thus, a minimum condition for the continued existence of a democracy is that a substantial proportion of both the dēmos and the leadership believes that popular government is better than any feasible alternative . What conditions, in addition to this one, favour the continued existence of democracy? What conditions are harmful to it? Why have some democracies managed to endure, even through periods of severe crisis, while so many others have collapsed?
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