Free Essays

Free Masters Journalism Assignment: Rupert Murdoch and Democracy

‘Rupert Murdoch’s looming hunger for power is a threat to democracy’ (porter). Chilling insight or conspiracy theory?’


It will forever be seen as the moment when the sun set on the Murdoch empire and when democracy in Britain, at the eleventh hour, avoided committing suicide and stood proudly again. The sight of the House of Commons unanimously rejecting Rupert Murdoch and News International, in whose thrall they had been since the days of Thatcher (Campbell, 2008, p.410) was both commendable and contemptible. That it took so long and journalism which plumbed new depths of depravity for it to resurface is a stain on the British democratic body but, whatever is said, allowing News International to ultimately take over BskyB would have put Murdoch in an unassailable position in the UK and for that Parliament is to be commended. His demise has been swift and it was democracy which acted to sever his arteries of power and deny him a prize which many thought should have been denied him by a more robust application of European competition laws (Feintuck & Varney, 2006, p.95). Indeed the coalition government was, outrageously, ready to waive through the bid without referral to the competition commission and the bid would have followed the example of the Times and the Sunday Times which were acquired by Murdoch in 1981 without being similarly referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission as it was then known (Greenslade, 2003, p.377). The bid has now been dropped altogether. As a FT editorial observed the threat to media plurality was, and remains, real and ultimately it was the people who rejected the idea:

“Merging the two [broadcast and print] would create a behemoth with the potential to dominate the media scene, locking out challengers and stifling the diversity of debate.” (FT Editorial March 3rd 2011)

Aristotle once observed: “In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.” (Aristotle, 1996, p.154). The House of Commons reaction to the phone hacking scandal was perceived to be democracy at its finest, a reaffirmation of the will of the majority which had become, as Porter (2010) would argue, under threat from a media baron who has had the police, government and parliament at his mercy in Britain ever since he first came to the UK (Curran & Seaton: 1997, p.366). Subsequent events to Porter’s observation, made before the phone hacking scandal reached its nadir when the phone of tragic murder victim Milly Dowler was hacked to delete voicemail messages which gave false hope to a grieving family and brought the fury of a nation, and crucially of a resurrected Parliament, to bear on News International, would at first glance seem to validate his claims, in 2010 (Porter, 2010), that Murdoch’s empire is a threat to British democracy. Democracy in the UK has not been rediscovered overnight and it is arguable that this episode is but a sign of a deeper malaise. Porter’s analysis was clearly a chilling insight but his article is built upon foundations which are shaky and which verge on the conspiratorial. The separation of powers doctrine, first proposed by Montesqieu (Richter, 1977, p.91), enables democracy and to the executive, legislature and judiciary we can add the fourth estate, as Thomas Carlyle observed, the press, which acts as a watchdog upon the others (Robertson & Nicol, 2003, p.3). This essay will, structured along the lines of the separation of powers, argue that Poter’s assertions that Murdoch’s empire “makes and breaks governments” is misjudged and that the current reaction to the phone hacking scandal demonstrates that he is, in fact, ultimately accountable to Parliament: the threat to democracy has diminished but only temporarily. In part 1 then this essay will look at the “fourth estate” and its relationship with democracy before chapter 2 reflects on the executive, legislature and judiciary branches and the threat of Murdoch. As an editorial in the Guardian observed, there has been a lot of soul searching in the last few months and the scandal at the News of the World has rocked every democratic institution weaned on Murdoch’s power:

“No well-functioning democracy should allow one man to frame its window on the world. But then the institutions of British democracy have hardly been functioning well of late in relation to Mr Murdoch. The fourth estate of the free press, in which we are of course one interested party, is one of those institutions. It should check and balance political power from the outside, while itself being held in check by the ordinary processes of the criminal law.” (Guardian editorial, June 2011)

Part 1: The fourth estate and Rupert Murdoch

The notion of the “fourth estate” has been around for about 200 years and rests upon the idea that a government unchecked by a vigilant media is liable to exceed its bounds (Curran & Seaton, 1997, p.49). This role, taken on by the media, in effect legitimises democracy, at least in classical liberal theory, with the press able to enlighten the electorate to make an informed decision during an election, protect and promote human rights and social tolerance and, of most importance, to ensure that governments are brought to account and abuses of power made transparent (Pilger, 2004, p.xv). In reality however this romanticised notion of a newspaper is a myth which the News of the World shattered conclusively with the original defence of the wrongdoing being attributable to a “rogue reporter” exposed as the last refuge of a newspaper which had grown accustomed to paying private detectives to obtain private medical records and bribing police. Thus the press can just as readily play a less noble role as the following observation by Sheila Coronel demonstrates:

“The media, however, can play antidemocratic roles as well. They can sow fear, division and violence. Instead of promoting democracy, they can contribute to democratic decay.” (Coronel, 2003, p.3)

There has been a need for self-regulation to right the imbalance caused by unnecessarily intrusive reporting. The liberal theory of press freedom appeals to a self-righting process first advocated by John Milton in the Aeropagitica who argued for freedom of expression in a marketplace of ideas where bad ideas would wither and good ideas would ultimately prosper (Siebert, 1956, p.44). Evolving away from an authoritarian past where the Crown controlled the press England moved towards libertarianism in the 18th century (ibid) and ultimately in 1953 established a body which was ran by the industry to regulate the press (Royal Commission on the Press, 1974, p.1). It was Sir David Calcutt’s Royal Commission into the press that ultimately rejected the predecessor, the Press Council, by proposing the Press Complaint Commission’s formation (Mcnair, 1997, p.186, Curran & Seaton, 1997, p.368, Allen, 1999, p.181). One of the effects of the phone hacking scandal involving the News of the World has been a call to abolish the Press Complaints Commission and introduce privacy laws: a move which will could endanger freedom of expression and logically democracy itself (Meyer, 2006) although the PCC is not without weakness it is the least worst option (Coad, 2009). More directly Murdoch’s newspapers have been reflections of the proprietor’s political instincts in being Conservative, supportive of the private sector, anti-immigration and ‘fun’: bastions of sleaze, sensationalism and corruption which have driven standards ever downward and even debased the once-mighty Times, the traditional newspaper of record, which Max Hastings decries as a travesty (Hastings, 2002, foreword xvi). Celebrity gossip and sensational stories are the staple diet of Murdoch tabloids and, with the proprietor treating his newspapers like, as Hastings memorably puts it, “private rifle ranges” (Hastings, 2002, foreword xvi) to endorse his political viewpoint, coupled with the kind of persistent editorial interference which prompted Harold Evans to resign as editor of the Times in 1982 (ibid, xvi), it is no stretch to say that the watchdog role of the press is lost on his newspapers who have too often supped with the devils at Westminster and used stories as political weapons rather than beacons of the truth (Greenslade, 2002, p.212). His huge share of the newspaper and broadcasting market also undermines media plurality and he was edging ever closer to a monopoly which would have included 100% of BskyB until the hacking scandal forced him to back down. As things stand his share of just below 40% of the UK newspaper market (Guardian editorial, June 30th 2011) is not befitting of a modern democracy and his thirst for power is clearly a threat as more diversity leads to enlightened debate. For how can a public fed on stories of celebrity gossip, biased political stories and dubiously obtained information which is itself criminal and sometimes xenophobic ever make the informed decisions which nurture a democracyWith the fall of the News of the World and the neutering of the once-mighty oracle The Times Murdoch has succeeded in sabotaging the fourth estate from within.

Part 2: Executive, legislature and judiciary

Murdoch’s empire has reached into the very heart of Westminsterand for successive governments he was the key to victory, encapsulated by the pithy headline following Major’s victory over Neil Kinnock: “It was the Sun wot won it” (Young, 1997). Much is made of Margaret Thatcher allowing Rupert Murdoch to purchase the Times and the Sunday Times without referral to the MMC by bending the rules in his favour (Campbell, 2008, p.409), Tony Blair’s trip to Australia to play court to him in exchange for what was perceived to be decisive support in the 1997 election (Young, 1997) and now David Cameron’s hiring of the former NoW editor Andy Coulsen as press officer has again raised the spectre of Rupert Murdoch being too close to the ruling party (Jenkins, 2011). Details are now slipping out of endless meetings between the chancellor and Murdoch prior to the BskyB bid, extravagant cocktail parties for the great and the good and bizarre stories of backdoor visits and cups of tea (ibid). The colour of the political chameleon is, as David Cameron pointed out in the Commons recently, irrelevant as “the clock stopped on his watch” and indeed all parties have been in bed with, or frightened of, Murdoch which is an affront to democracy and a poisoning of the well of debate (ibid). Poter misjudges the power of Rupert Murdoch, however, by saying that he “makes and breaks governments” (Poter, 2010). Although many in the House of Commons were afraid of him it cannot be said that the support of the Murdoch newspapers decides elections and at best his support would garner a few extra votes. Stephen Glover, writing in the Independent, observes in relation to the 2010 election that Cameron’s advisors greatly exaggerated the power of the Murdoch press (Glover, 25th July 2011)

Proprietors are often given to exaggerating the impact of their newspapers: Max Hastings recalls Conrad Black having similar notions but ultimately the ability of newspapers and the media to shape the political world is limited (Hastings, 2002, p.303). Poter’s misjudgement was the establishment’s misjudgement, however, and for that reason his observations gain strength. He also asserts that Parliament has been unable to stand up to him. This observation was true at least until the phone hacking scandal inquiry and the miraculous sight of MPs and government ministers abandoning the Murdoch empire (House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, 2011). Although it is tempting to say that democracy has returned, this is perhaps just a glimpse of what should be and the stories of police officers being bribed on an industrial scale is reprehensible. A wider malaise is at work here and one which, but for the News of the World overstepping the mark, would have been well on the way to democratic suicide. As the Guardian points out the path to 2011 has been a tortuous one:

“After years of denials, supine Press Complaints Commission oversight and an odd reticence on the part of the police, the truth has very slowly asserted its power in the phone-hacking scandal.” (Guardian editorial, 30th June 2011)


Of the institutions of democracy it is only the judiciary who appear to have emerged unscathed. The systemic bribing of police undermines this claim to some extent however and the battles between Parliament and the Supreme Court over prisoner’s voting rights demonstrate the tensions. What is clear is that the prophecy that every democracy commits suicide eventually appears to be coming to fruition and although Poter’s article is a chilling insight it is an insight into a problem with far greater roots than Rupert Murdoch’s admittedly consuming lust for power. News International has now been permanently handicapped by a temporary reassertion of parliamentary democracy in action but the threat to democracy in putting forth a right-wing agenda which destabilises debate, covering news stories which trivialise and sensationalise news, compromising editorial independence, obtaining information by criminal means and by being perceived to be able to influence the outcome of elections is very real. The watchdog role of the press as the fourth estate, already diminished by the demise of the Times and investigative journalism, would cease to exist if Murdoch’s power went unchecked and this would be the greatest threat to democracy of all, a threat which has not disappeared following the phone hacking scandal.


Coad, Jonathan (2009) ‘The PCC: Weak, Secretive and Biased’ in British Journalism Review vol.20 issue 13 pp 13-20 on p.14

Coronel, Sheila S. (2003) The Role of Media in Deepening Democracy. Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism available online at:

Meyer, Christopher (2006) ‘We Know Better Than the Courts’ in British Journalism Review vol 17 issue 3 pp 27-32

Aristotle (1996) The Politics and the Constitution of AthensCambridge Uni Press: worldwide edited by Stephen Everson

Campbell, John (2008) Margaret Thatcher Volume 2, The Iron Lady Vintage Books:London

Curran, James & Seaton, Jean (1997) Power Without Responsibility Routledge:London andNew York

Feintuck, Mike & Varney, Mike (2006) Media Regulation, Public Interest and the Law Edinburgh University Press 2nd ed

Greenslade, Roy(2003) Press Gang: How Newspapers Make Profits from Propaganda Pan Books:London

Hastings, Max (2002) Editor Pan Books:London

Mcnair, Brian (1994) News and Journalism in the UK Routledge: London and New York (4th edition)

Richter, Melvin (1997) The Political Theory of MontesquieuCambridge Uni Press:USA

Pilger, John (2004) Tell Me No LiesJonathanCape:London

Robertson, Geoffrey & Nicol, Andrew (2003) Media Law Penguin Books: worldwide

Siebert, Fred S. (1956) ‘The Libertarian Theory’ in Siebert, Peterson & Schramm (eds) Four Theories of the Press University of Illinois Press: Urbana p.44

Stuart, Allan (1999) News Culture Open University Press: Buckingham & Philadelphia p.181

Young, Hugo (2003) Supping with the Devils Atlantic Books: worldwide

Government reports

Royal Commission on the Press (1976) Interim Report : the national newspaper industry chairman O.R. McGregor.

House of Commons Home Affairs Committee (2011) Unauthorised tapping into or hacking of mobile communications Thirteenth Report of Session 2010–12 HC 907 19th July 2011


Porter, Henry (2010) ‘Rupert Murdoch’s hunger for power is a looming threat to democracy’ Guardian online retrieved on 1st July 2011 and available from:

FT Editorial (March 3rd 2011) ‘Why Hunt could not stop Murdoch’ retrieved on 12th July 2011 and available from:,s01=1.html#axzz1TFcoiymU

Guardian Editorial (30th June 2011) ‘Rupert Murdoch: Empire of the Sun’ retrieved on 13th July 2011 and available from:

Glover, Stephen (2011) ‘It was wasn’t the Sun wot won it for Cameron’ from Independent online retrieved on 12th July 2011 and available from:

Free Essays

American Neo-Imperialism: the Export of Culture and Democracy


This dissertation explores neo-imperialism and its manifestations in US foreign policy. It focuses on the export of democracy and American culture as two of the core mechanisms for the sustainment of US influence in the developing world. It aims to define the ways in which the export of American-style democracy and culture has become one of the key sources of US foreign policy. To achieve its aims, the dissertation looks at the spread of democracy, using the US intervention in Iraq as an example. The spread of democracy has been theorized through the notions of “soft power”, as developed by Joseph Nye in the 1990s. The spread of culture, on the other hand, is discussed through the prism of the growing demand for American mass entertainment, and its ability to produce American-oriented social norms, in the age of capitalism and mass consumerism. Both democracy and culture are looked at as complex historical and socio-economic processes, designed to keep the American influence in the contemporary international system.

Chapter 1Introduction

1.1 Background

After the end of the Cold War, the distribution of power in the international system had to be to revised and adjusted to the newly emerging actors in international relations. The end of the simple and predictable bipolarity of the Cold War world pushed the great powers towards the reconsideration of other elements of the international system such as non-state actors in the face of INGOs and Transnational Corporations. A new world order, enhanced by the forces of globalization, and new threats to security transformed the global agenda for peace and universal human rights. Development economics and the integration of the poorest regions of the world became a renewed topic of political debate, and the US found itself on the edge of a multipolar world, where its own hegemony was challenged from the rising Asian superpowers. It was in this challenging environment, the US began to reconsider the continuities in its foreign policy, and re-modelled its grand strategy (Boyle, 2008; Ikenberry, 2008; LaFaber, 2008). The rise of terrorism and ideology as signifiers for a new, more radical identity politics pushed the US to reconsider its regional interests, and the promotion of democracy and liberal values gained higher prominence than ever. The ethnic nationalism, which triggered the collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, and the conflicts in Rwanda, Sudan and Somalia, necessitated a dramatic return to the US promotion of democracy abroad, as a pragmatic and goal-oriented approach for the preservation of world peace (Ikenberry, 2008; Mead, 2001; LaFaber, 2008). Here it is important to mention the role of recipients of US exported democracy, which is related to the notion that the political system of other states is crucial for the sustainability of collective peace and security. In this sense, since the end of WWII, the US has made several attempts to export its political structures and vision of democracy in different countries. Some of the more recent examples include Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, where the overall foreign assistance offered by the US included not only foreign aid, but also development programmes related with political reconstruction, state-building and democratic pluralism. This dissertation will explore the aspects of the notion of exported democracy, and will trace its ideological and historical roots. In an innovative way, it will also investigate its implications for the countries, where democracy was exported and will establish the extent of its presence in American foreign policy as a form of soft-imperialism. It will look at exported democracy not only as an ideological conception, but as a wide set of policies and programmes, implemented in several countries. It will trace the transformation of neo-imperialism from a predominantly economic concept into a political construct, which resulted in the spreading American influence across the globe.

1.2 Historical background

The promotion of democracy has always been part of the US foreign policy agenda, indifferent stages of US history. Its features can be found in the historical origins of American national identity (Hunt, 1987; Levy, 2001). A brief historical account of US foreign policy would reveal the complexity of US national identity and its main features – the export of democracy and liberalism.

The twentieth century has seen a major ideological transformation in USFP. At the beginning of the last century, USFP was marked by Wilsonian idealism and the international agenda for peace and cooperation, with the USA at its core (Mead, 2001; Muravchik, 1991; Cox & Stokes, 2008; LaFaber, 2008). The League of Nations demarcated a new stage of USFP with the boom of liberal internationalism, which was ended by its institutional collapse.

In the Cold War’s bipolar world, America’s containment of Soviet communism was a key feature of US Foreign Policy. After the end of the Cold War, US Foreign Policy was marked by a revisionist agenda for economic and political recovery of post-communist countries. In Latin America, the set of policies of what became known as the Washington Consensus demonstrated the economic effects of globalization on USFP, and once again – its attempt for supremacy over less developed parts of the world. The period after 9/11 saw a radicalization in US Foreign Policy with the war on terror in America’s grand strategy (Boyle, 2008; Walt, 2001). It was also marked by what John Ikenberry described as America’s security trap and its grave violations of international legal standards (Ikenberry, 2008).

From a historical perspective, the major tendencies in US Foreign Policy from the past century and the turn of the new one look like a mosaics of contrasts. A deeper consideration however reveals a consistency in foreign policy. Democratization and economic liberalization have always been in the American basket with goods for political export. During the nineteenth century, America was still groping its way to economic dominance, but its adherence to a policy to isolationism or aloofness was a basic feature of its foreign policy (LaFaber, 2008; Trubovitz, 2008; Hunt, 1987). In 1845, John O’Sullivan coined the phrase Manifest Destiny. It implied that the US is destined to spread its values for democracy and economic liberalism, and therefore its territorial expansion across the North American continent is justified (Hunt, 1987; Levy, 2001). For many Manifest Destiny is a concept, which belongs to history, but it was the basis for two of the main features of USFP – American Imperialism and American Exceptionalism.

Exceptionalism is viewed by some as an ideology, related to concepts such as national identity, race, and religion (Levy, 2001; Deudney & Meiser, 2008; Nau, 2002). Deudney and Meiser extend the definition of American Exceptionalism beyond ideology, and reflect on the political reality that it brings. They argue that levels of exceptionalism may vary and can coincide with “imperial foreign policy that serves to justify conquest and overseas expansion” (Deudney & Meiser, 2008, p. 32). They also discuss its relatedness to cultural or civilizational greatness or claims for economic development.

In US Foreign Policy, exceptionalism has been a mixture of all these elements, which leads us to a second key concept, related to the export of democracy and culture– American imperialism. It is the practical expression of exceptionalism and the historical visions of American national identity. However, it is different from it because it is related to policy and the policies for democratization and economic liberalization, purported by the USA in different countries from the developing world. It also rests on the assumption that American values, political system and culture are unique to the rest of the world. It is important to note that imperialism will not be discussed in the traditional sense of the word, which implies territorial invasion or militancy. It will be related to soft politics issues such as the export of democracy as a form of governance and cultural predispositions. American imperialism can be viewed as an expression of both American exceptionalism and internationalism. One of the most comprehensive views on American imperialism belongs to Michael Cox, who argues that the concept has its historic origins in economic expansion and liberalism, but it has also retained its ‘particularly liberalistic and moralistic tone’ because ‘its aim was not to conquer other people, but to liberate them from despotism’ (Cox, 2003, p. 9). Unlike most definitions of American imperialism, which focus either on its benign or malicious side, Cox does not automatically dismiss America’s self-interest and political gain as an incentive for its imperial behaviour, but he also takes into consideration its benevolence as a global provider.

As already mentioned, this dissertation will focus on the issues, related to the export of American culture and democracy. It will focus on the historical roots of American national identity and its features, enshrined in the American Dream – the export of democracy and liberal values. It will critically look at important developments in American history, which have shaped US national identity in foreign policy such as the Washington consensus, deployed in the 1980s and 1990s. The dissertation will look at the contemporary expression of these values and the ways they were perceived by their recipients. It will also argue that through the export of culture and democratic values, the US is corroborating one continuous feature of its foreign policy, which modern observers often class as neo-imperialism (Cox, 2003; Fouskas & Gokay, 2008; Little, 2002).

1.3. Structure of the dissertation

For clarity, this dissertation is divided in several main chapters: 1) Research question, which highlights the general as well as specific research aims of the paper 2) Literature review, which provides an overview of key works, definitions and a theoretical framework 3) Chapter 3 will look at America’s road to economic supremacy, and the transformation of this historic trend into a capitalist mode of production, which led to the core-periphery reorganisation of the world 4) Chapter 4 will look at the export of mass culture and entertainment, and its existence as a form of social control, in the context of neo-imperialism 5) Chapter 5 will summarize the main findings of the dissertation .

1.4 Innovation and importance of the research proposed

Despite the rearrangement of the balance of power since the end of the Cold War, the influence of the United States as a global power remains significant. This research will propose a creative approach to understanding the role of American culture, and the export of democracy as mechanisms for sustaining US power in the developing world. It will look at neo-imperialism not only as an expression of economic primacy, but also as a fusion between power and national ideals.

1.5 Research questions

1.5. 1 General research aims and objectives

This paper will look at the spread of American culture in the developing world and the export of democracy as mechanisms of foreign policy. It will focus on the following research aims and objectives:

Establish the parameters of the export of culture and democracy as instruments of US Foreign Policy, helping to sustain the position of America on the international scene
Assess the way in which the export of democracy and culture has become a source of US foreign policy and how this has influenced their relations with the United States
Assess their scope in maintaining US political and economic influence in the developing world

1.5.2 Specific research questions and hypothesis

The paper will attempt to establish the connection between the export of American culture and notions of democracy as a means of foreign policy. The paper will hypothesize that in an age when military force is less significant in foreign policy, global powers like the US rely on soft power means such as the spread of culture and democracy. The paper will argue that this is a form of ‘cultural’ or ‘soft’ neo-imperialism.

“Cultural” or “soft” neo-imperialism is an abstract concept, which is difficult to measure and investigate, unless operationalized. Therefore the author has decided to look at this from two important perspectives – the spread of democracy (1) and the spread of popular culture (2).

1) To explore the spread of democracy, the author will mention key tenets of the US foreign assistance in Iraq related to state-building, based on the American vision of democracy and liberal values. Also, the spread of democracy will be theorized through Joseph Nye’s concept of soft power (1990). These observations will be made in the context of the political strategies, which America has used in order to keep its position and its capitalist interests.

2) The spread of culture will be “measured” with a discussion on the growing demand for American mass entertainment and its ability to produce social norms in the age of capitalism. Mass entertainment will be looked as a process, related to the commodification of culture, as a means to the preservation of American influence in the world.

For clarity, the author has proposed to look at neo-imperialism as an evolutionary process, which started with the accumulation of wealth and power by the US after WWII, and continued with the export of democracy and mass culture in the post Cold War period. In this dissertation, neo-imperialism will be looked at as a fusion of power and ideals.

In order to understand how these features stand in US foreign policy and how they have been exercised as such, the next section will look at some of the key works, related to US foreign policy and the export of democracy.

Chapter 2
Literature Review/Theoretical framework

2.1 Introduction

The purpose of this section is to provide overview of relevant literature, as well theoretical framework and key definitions.

The topic in discussion involves several components, which are interrelated – export of culture, export of democracy, and neo-imperialism. To provide a critical review of the existing literature on the subject is a formidable task due to the fact that the subject has provoked intensive academic attention in the last several decades. Therefore only hey works will be examined. For clarity, chapter is divided in the following sections – works related to globalization and culture, works related to neo-imperialism and US Foreign Policy, and finally theoretical framework.

2.2 Works related to globalization and culture

In the study of democracy and culture as political exports, it is important to mention the role of globalization and technology. Authors such as Tomlinson (1999), Robertson (1992), Hopper (2007) and Featherstone (1990) focus on the connection between globalization and the export of culture. They differentiate between political, economic, technological and cultural globalization. While the first three types of globalization easily relate to a changing world order and re-distribution of economic, social and political power, the last type is the most difficult one to explain. It is related with the export of values and the constant exchange of ideas, which transcends spaces and borders. Cultural globalization, these authors suggest, is also related with existing cultural and social divisions, and the sovereignty of the nation-state. Cultural globalization, these authors suggest, is a way to abolish existing differences and can act as a unifier, through the export of ideas, values and commodities. It is interesting to note however, that none of these authors draws a direct link between cultural globalization and its capacity to be transformed into a tool for soft domination by existing hegemons. In the context of globalization, American popular culture began to be exported and easily perceived by developing nations. One example comes from the former Soviet and communist republics, who embraced Western (and mostly American) modes of governance, related to democratization and economic liberalism. They also however leaned towards consumerism and the spread of American films, movies, television and education, which led some IR theorists such as Robert Kagan to famously conclude that globalization wears “made in the USA label” (Kagan, 2003). Authors such as Tay explain globalization as Americanization. Although he points at the rise of Asian culture as the next wave of globalization, Tay (2010) manages to discover the mechanisms through which the export of American culture creates commercial interdependence. Although his observations target the future of US-Asian economic relations, he reveals the globalization of culture as a product of American foreign policy, successfully executed within historical circumstances. A similar view, although in an entirely different context is revealed by Brown (2003), who visualizes globalization as a process, initiated by the US after the end of WWII. He points at foreign trade and economic liberalization as the corner stones in the American recipe for a global world, and discovers the complexity of their implications in the developing world. Brown reflects upon the commencement of an era of expansion, which brought American values, dressed in policy reforms into light. Of course, to argue that globalization is a necessarily American invention would oversimplify the matter. Authors such as Rosenau (1990, 2000) and Cerny (1990) who view globalization as an autonomous process, which exists outside and despite the boundaries of the state, would be critical of the above perception of globalization as a pure manifestation of “Americanness”. However, to deny that America has corroborated its position through the spread of its global values would be narrow-minded as well. Since the end of the Cold War, it has chosen the spread of culture and ideas as a way to preserve its identity of exceptionalism. Even before the Cold War, Brown argues, the US spread its values in the non-Soviet dominated part of the world, and the world had to adjust to its mores, ideas and language (2003). This is a complex process which began as a reaction towards the Soviet threat, but it also reflects the perpetuation of the notion of exceptionalism, introduced in the first chapter of this dissertation. Reactionary or no, this trend defined the face of US foreign policy for the decades to come. The next part of the review will reveal how cultural globalization is related to another important concept – neo-imperialism in US Foreign Policy.

2.3. Works related to neo-imperialism in US Foreign Policy

The export of popular culture and the export of democracy in this dissertation are viewed as tools of US Foreign Policy. Therefore it is important to mention some works related to neo-imperialism in US Foreign Policy. Authors such as Boyle (2008) Cox (2003) focus on the American imperialism as a manifestation of cultural globalization, and the growing use of soft methods, related to the spread of American influence. These authors offer an interpretation of neo-imperialism, which is subtle and relates to the US Foreign Policy as a means to corroborate existing American identity of provider and protector of weak countries. Gowan (2004a; b) looks at American imperialism as an expression of the American grand strategy for liberalism and democracy. He focuses on the political strategies, which America has maintained in order to keep its supremacy as actor in foreign affairs and its interests as a capitalist state. He looks at the patterns in US foreign policy as a prerequisite for the attempts to build a world order, which would be suitable for the American vision of democracy and freedom. Although Gowan rejects the notion that the world order was built as containment to Soviet communism, he admits that it was the US which bound the Western world against the Soviet threat during the Cold War. In this sense Gowan sees the American grand strategy as a political-military one, which also had economic goals, related to the political preservation of American business interests and centres of capitalist power. Similarly, Cox and Boyle focus on the American strategy as an attempt of the country to preserve its position of a global leader, through intensive export of the notion of democracy, political cooperation and open trade. They also contemplate on how other countries perceive the US in the context of its attempt to preserve its national identity. Cox and Boyle suggest that it was these notions of exceptionalism and superiority, embedded in US foreign policy, which made countries from the Middle East and Latin America hostile to the US, and point at the rise of radical Islam and fundamentalism as one of the counter-reactions towards US imperialist behaviour since 9/11. Chomsky and Archar (2008) and Ikenberry (2008) develop this argument and even pose criticisms towards the US inability to cope with its own prescriptions for democracy and universal peace, through a violation of human rights in a series of foreign interventions in the Middle East, instigated, ironically enough in the name of peace and democracy. Little (2002) offers an interesting explanation of the connection between ideology and the export of democracy, and reflects upon American Orientalism and the ways in which the US has come to view some nations from the Middle East as “other” and “foreign”. This “otherness”, Little suggests, has become the dividing line between them and us in US foreign policy, and also a turning point for the classification of nations or communities, where democracy of the American type is still on the demand side. The Orientalism in US foreign policy towards nations from the Middle East is explained by Little as an ideological construction, embedded in the notions of Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism (Hunt, Levy) explained in the first chapter of this dissertation. Similarly, Fouskas and Gokay (2008), Nau (2002) and Mead (2001) focus on US presence on the global stage as a fusion between power and ideals, and the resulting convergence of countries recipients to the American values of economic liberalization as a means for democratic reform. Despite the numerous occasions, in which this approach has led to mistakes, it is also a distinctive feature of the American grand strategy, which is to remain unchanged despite and because of the rise of Asin superpowers, these authors conclude. Here it is interesting to note that while the above works manage to explain the ideological and political roots of the export of democracy, which is envisioned as a tool, they offer little, of any clarification of how this tool actually works upon other nations and the challenges, which arise from its implementation. The next section will fill this gap and will attempt to place the observations in this literature review in a theoretical framework.

2.4. Theoretical framework

The literature review will conclude with the allocation of the main ideas in a concrete theoretical framework. To understand the theoretical implications of the export of democracy to many authors means to simply understand the theories of foreign policy, as related with the classical and critical theories of international relations. This is not an appropriate method for classifying the theoretical knowledge on the subject, firstly because it oversimplifies the matter, and secondly because a clear cut distinction between the theories is impossible because of the abstract nature of the subject. Another option is to attempt to understand the export of democracy through proper imperialist theories, proposed by Kautsky (1914) (Ultraimperialism or superimperialism) and Wallerstein (2003) (World-System Theory). Both theories overemphasize the role of capital and its accumulation as a means of powerful states to dominate over weaker ones. None of the two however, mentions the role of identity, ideology and their historical projections – issues, which are crucial for understanding the subject of research in this dissertation. A more relevant, although less theoretical observation is proposed by authors such as Hunt (1987) and Levy (2001) who argue that identity is crucial element in the formation of US foreign policy, and the notion of exceptionalism, as a historically developed collective psychology, is what triggered the export of democracy. Although their observations cannot be classified as theories of imperialism or neo-imperialism in the classic sense, they offer a flexible framework for understanding the export of democracy as the manifestation of neo-imperialism. For the purposes of this review, Hunt and Levy’s observations will be classed as identity neo-imperialism. If Hunt and Levy offer an explanation of neo-imperialism as a projection of national identity, Joseph Nye (1994) develops the concept of soft power as an approach to world politics. Although he refuses to label the existing world order as neo-imperialistic and the US as a new empire, his concept of soft power, as a means for achieving political power, rests upon the idea of the spread of values and culture. Nye’s analysis, although designed to explain the state of the world system after the end of the Cold War, can serve as a sufficient basis for understanding the export of democracy and culture, in the case of the US. Nye’s approach is not dedicated to theoretically classifying neo-imperialism, but it does reveal the connection between soft power, culture and values, and its translation into policies.

2.5 Summary

This literature review has revealed that there is an intricate connection between cultural globalization, American identity and notions of exceptionalism and concepts such as soft power, which offer a new approach for understanding the export of democracy. Literature on the subject suggests that the export of democracy is a manifestation of US neo-imperialism, although a sufficient gap in research exists on works which directly relate American exceptionalism, the export of democracy and soft power. Therefore the three sections outlined in this literature review therefore remain unconnected. The reminder of this dissertation will fill this gap in research, by ascertaining the connection between culture and the export of democracy as manifestations of American neo-imperialism.

Chapter 3
The Image of an Empire

3.1 Introduction

As previous chapters have already highlighted, neo-imperialism is an abstract concept, which is not directly measurable in the context of existing foreign policy strategies. This is largely due to the fact that it is interpretative and related with the re-construction of already existing social and political habits, in the context of the current political environment. In order to operationalize the concept of neo-imperialism, and to make it at least partly quantifiable, the author will look at neo-imperialism as an economic strategy for the accumulation of wealth, on which the idea of the export of democracy lies. Specific examples will be provided to illustrate the connection between the two.

3.2 The imperial face of a liberal strategy

The concept of neo-imperialism is not new, and despite its rhetoric revival in the last decade, it has existed as a policy since the beginning of the twentieth century. Although in the beginning it was considered by many to be a hidden strategy, America’s neo-imperialism in foreign affairs has many recognizable manifestations, such as the export of democracy and democratic structures to the developing world, or in countries, torn by instability and conflict.

Observers like Ikenberry (1999) and Nye (1990) have famously argued that this is a strategy, related with America’s liberal agenda for human rights, civil freedoms and social equality, embedded in the very notion of the American dream. The historic juxtaposition between the American dream and its expression as a doctrine of liberal world order has led many to the conclusion, that it was the result of America’s attempt to preserve its position as a political and economic leader. What Ikenberry (1999) calls “distinctively liberal grand strategy” is built around the idea, that stable political order can be encouraged and maintained through democratic politics, economic interdependence, international institutions, and market liberalism. These have been the signposts of the liberal strategy that some recognize as neo-imperialism (Fouskas & Gokay, 2008; Nau, 2002; Mead, 2001). Neo-imperialism can have many progenies and forms, and different observers put emphasis on different components. For proponents of the view of capitalist imperialism such as Gowan (2008) and Wallerstein (2003), the industrial dynamism of the American capitalist primacy in the post-war period is a priority. For those who observe the political implications of neo-imperialism, such as Ikenberry (1999) and Chua (2004), the export of democratic structures in the context of the American liberal tradition is the most important component. In any case however, the American presence in the post-war world is to be described by a term, which is invariably close to the notion of empire. To illustrate why this is a valid point, it is important to split the neo-imperialist concept into two parts – economic liberalism and the export of democracy. Both will be looked at closely.

3.3 Economic liberalism and America’s road to wealth

One of the tenets of the image of global empire is related with the export of economic liberalism. Those who share the view of the global empire are adamant, that the export of economic globalism is the result of historic political and military expansionism, embedded in the American national identity (Ikenberry, 1999; Gowan, 2008; Levy, 2001; Hunt, 1983). Some of its historic expressions can be related to President Theodor Roosevelt’s famous Dollar Diplomacy, and Franklin Roosevelt’s Good Neighbour Policy, interpreted by some as a form of trade regional expansionism, undertaken by the United States (LaFaber, 2008, Little, 2002; Hunt, 1983). The Dollar Diplomacy (1913) was coined as a term by Theodor Roosevelt and was implemented as a system of foreign loans to countries from Latin America and Asia, in the early twentieth century. It was the policy continuation of the 1853 Monroe doctrine, and established the economic supremacy of the United States in Latin America. Its political replication could be found in President Franklin Roosevelt’s Good Neighbour Policy only twenty years later (1933). It was related with the principle of non-intervention of foreign powers in the affairs of Latin American countries (LaFaber, 2008). More importantly, this policy was related with the establishment of new reciprocal trade agreements, and economic opportunities, which would establish a leading role of the United States in the region.

These early policies were important in establishing the sphere of economic influence for the United States and the expansion of the markets for its growing industrial sector. The turn of the twentieth century saw the first signs of the rising American economic model, which would soon lay the foundations of international organizations, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The Dollar Diplomacy and the Good Neighbour Policy are both evidence for the rising capitalist model and economic liberalism, which the United States started to export in Latin America, and later on in Asia. The first place where it exported its economic models however was Europe. In the years following WWI and during the Great Depression, the European countries suffered what historian Mark Mazower describes as the “crisis of capitalism” (Mazower, 1999: 106-141). The staggering levels of unemployment and the scarcity of economic resources, which the European countries had to face after the war, led to some trade unionists and industrialists to call for an economic model, based on the American one – high wages, high volume production and high productivity (Mazower, 1999: 113). This was the initial stage of what Mazower calls “the Americanization of Europe”, which would take place in the 1950s (113). Despite the fact that the American model was not accepted very well by all of the countries, and as a result the term empire was attached a necessarily negative and invasive connotation, the American economic mode and industrial dynamism became a landmark of the industrial relations after WWI. It is a widespread view that this type of economic expansion was based on the model of core-periphery, with the spread of capitalist markets to serve the production needs of the United States. According to some Marxist theorists such as Wallerstein (2003), the United States was the production core, which would attract other capitalist nations, in order to expand its production and therefore political influence in the world. Based on this core – periphery model some argue, America would turn the other capitalist centres into “members of an American-managed security zone”, (Gowan, 2008: 348). This economic gravitation towards the American controlled production periphery has been related to another type of political arrangement – security management of allies. The economic dominance established by the US in the post-war era led to the creation of security management model, with the United States at its core. In other words, the United Stated pledged through the concept of collective security embedded in the NATO principles, that it would protect its allies. Most of the times, these allies were also the United States’ partners in trade, and the US-centred security establishments triggered the construction of an integrated capitalist world economy. In this light, it is important to mention that the rise of American capitalism was not only the result of the containment of the communist threat during the Cold War.

There is no doubt that the Soviet presence played an important role in the American military-political approach, which found its replication in international development. The countries gravitating around the American capitalist core have also become part of the cooperative strategies, related to international development and a globalist agenda for human rights and global peace. In this sense, there has been a spillover from economics and industrialization, into politics and military influence, with the United States at the core of this transition. Many are willing to argue that the most obvious expression of this global model of economic interdependence was the development programmes in the 1980s and 1990s, which exacerbated global inequalities, and placed America at the centre of this political arrangement. The structural adjustment loans and the Washington consensus, which were designed to enhance the economic development of the poorest regions in Africa, Latin America and the republics of the former Soviet Union were based on open trade, rapid privatization and austerity (Stiglitz, 2002; Easterly, 2002; Sen, 1999). According to the critics of the development mechanisms, set by the capitalist core, these programmes corroborated the presence of a less benign American empire, where exploitation and economic dependency rather than economic recovery and eradication of poverty were the outcomes (Stiglitz, 2002; Easterly, 2002). It is now widely observed that the policies set by the United States, related with the export of trade liberalism in countries where there were no proper economic institutions had resulted in failures. Examples from the former Soviet republics and the Asian recession of the 1990s are still fresh and the unsatisfactory response from the countries recipients – not a reminiscence of the past. American economic liberalism, some development experts argue, failed to create sustainable growth and more jobs because of what critics call the one-size-fits-all approach (Stiglitz, 2002; Easterly, 2002). Many developing countries did not have the institutional capacity to meet the criteria set by the Washington consensus and the structural adjustment programmes, which opened their borders and removed any signs of government protectionism. These reforms made the recipient countries exposed to the risks of global trade, and their production and export rates could not meet the requirements of a very competitive global market. However, the purpose of this paper is not to provide an assessment of the development programmes, set by the US or US-centred institutions, but to trace the imperial element in the policies of economic liberalism, implemented by the United States since WWII. The economic models of capitalism and open trade were exported to the developed world, and the United States was at the centre of a capitalist-military alliance, where other capitalist oriented countries gravitated towards it. In the 1980s and onwards, these models were also exported in the developing world for the economic recovery of the poverty stricken regions. It is to be mentioned these economic strategies were designed to create markets, favourable for the American capitalist visions of productivity. They have expanded the US influence in the developing regions, and according to many, have sustained an economic hegemony, characterized by enhanced capitalist strategy, and especially devised market exchanges.

3.4 From economic wealth to the export of democracy

As already mentioned, the capitalist mode of production embraced by the US started as a historic trend and continued as a socio-economic one, nut it has a political dimension. The previous section mentioned the economic-security alliance, established during the Cold War, in which the United States was the guardian of states with capitalist interests, similar to its own. However, in order to illustrate clearly the tenets of American neo-imperialism is important to mention its political dimension.

The spread of American democracy has often been equalized with what Joe Nye famously called “soft power” in the 1990s. The concept rests on the assumption that in order to make other actors in the international system want the same things that you want, you need to have certain resources and hold a favourable bargaining position. The originality of Nye’s concept comes from the fact that these sources of power were not necessarily military. In the post Cold War era American neo-imperialism was a subtle and less of a strategic phenomenon, because it was related with the ideological spread of American values and democracy to the world’s most troubled regions. After the demise of the Soviet Union however, this stance obtained a different shade, because there was no ideology, omnipotent enough to compete it. Therefore the spread of the American democratic ideal was often compared to hegemony and imperialism. It was the source but also the justification of a revised agenda for a world order, where human security and cooperation in the name of peace and stability became the norm. After the end of the Cold War, territorial invasion for the purpose of economic gain was unacceptable, and new means of power replaced the classic state-to-state conflict (Shaw, 2005; Smith, 2006; Kaldor, 1999). A new form of colonialism, characterized by the exercise of soft power and political presence began to exists, and despite the fact the here the term colonialism is deployed metaphorically, the outcomes are still related to expanded (although not necessarily territorial) influence and presence. It is important to differentiate soft power from hard power, and in this Nye’s observation can be considered quite useful. He writes that “soft power rests on the ability to set the political agenda in a way that shapes the preferences of others […] The ability to establish preferences tends to be associated with intangible power resources, such as an attractive culture, ideology and institutions […] If the United States represents values that others want to follow, it will cost us less to lead (Nye, 1990: 552). In Nye’s terms, a country can obtain the positions it wants to obtain without necessarily coercing others, but by making them want what it wants. In this sense, soft power is the ability not only to influence and persuade, but to “entice and attract” (Nye, 1990:552). Nye’s definition of soft power reveals not only the political dimension of neo-imperialism, but the ideological platform, on which the American society rests. Therefore, discussing the political parameters of neo-imperialism is a formidable task. As mentioned earlier, it is difficult to measure, and its existence in the international system is not entirely commensurate with economic and military power, or existing structures within the system itself.

Soft power in this dissertation is understood as the ability of the United States to inspire similar cultural and political models in different parts of the world, by exporting its ideals and visions. One of the most direct expressions of soft power is the export of democracy, and the American ambition to bring democracy to the world’s most troubled regions. The case of Iraq is only one of the myriad of cases, where the American democratic model has been exported in non-Western and non-democratic societies, and has provoked a heated discussion, as well as criticism and controversy. The American democratic model in the post Cold War era here is discussed as one of the tenets of neo-imperialism. It shows how modern foundations of power have moved away from the traditional military, territorial and economic capabilities, and have shaped a new stage in international affairs, with the United States at its core. The transformation of democracy from an American cultural tradition into a source of foreign policy and means to gain influence in a global world is easy to detect if we look at the case of Iraq, where efforts have been directed not only towards military and financial assistance, but also towards the political reconstruction of a heavily traditional society, and the establishment of Western political institutions. Whether the endeavours of the United States to bring democracy in Iraq have been successful or no is a matter of another discussion. For the purpose of this paper it is more important to identify how this process of exporting democracy relates to American neo-imperialism.

The democratic ideal has already been discussed as on of the most important dimensions of the American dream and the historically constructed notion that it is the freest country, and its values and ideals can transform the world. However, in order to measure the export of democracy as a source of foreign policy, we need parameters, in which to accommodate this view. Archibugi (2006) proposes three possible criteria or dimensions, which can make the export of democracy detectable and thus researchable in the context of developing, non-Western, ethnically mixed societies. The first concept he points at is the internal context and the levels of support, which the existing regime enjoys. The second one is related with the democratic history of the country – recipient, and whether it has enjoyed democracy and political freedoms in the past. The third one is related to aggression and the means, which have been used to implement democracy and democratic institutions. In the case of Iraq, it is not difficult to observe how these three criteria have (not) been fulfilled. Saddam’s regime was detested by the people of Iraq, especially by ethnic groups such as the Kurds, because of their poor treatment and human rights violation. In this sense the export of democracy was a viable alternative to an oppressive and monolithic regime. The second criteria which is related to restoration, has not been fulfilled in the case of Iraq. The country did not have a history of democratic rule, especially if one bears in mind the strong presence of the Baath Party since the 1960s. The third criterion however, is where the implementation of democracy in the case of Iraq raises some concerns. During the invasion, it was used as a justification for military intervention. In the eyes of its critics, the invasion of Iraq was disguised as a larger economic project, with oil and economic gain at its core (Chomsky, 2006; Chomsky & Archar, 2008). Some experts were even willing to argue that democracy was forced upon the Iraqi people, which led to exacerbation of the ideological and political tensions between the Middle East and the West, and the United States more specifically (Chomsky, 2006; Chomsky & Archar, 2008).

Apart from giving us a clear view of how the export of democracy can be measured, the three criteria proposed by Archibugi provide the opportunity to see how democracy as an ideal can be quantified and utilized to fulfil particular foreign policy agendas. American neo-imperialism has been corroborated by the export of democracy, and Iraq is only one of the examples of how democracy can be a continuation of capitalism and military ambitions.

3.5 Summary

This chapter has provided a critical overview of America’s road from wealth and economic primacy to an exporter of democracy. It is largely a transition which began as a historical ideal, embedded in the notion of the American dream and the exceptionalism of the American nation, and became a powerful source of US foreign policy after WWII. This chapter has observed the linkages between the accumulation of capital, and the preservation of other capitalist societies. It has also observed the establishment of a security-military sphere of influence, enhanced by industrial dynamism and political ascendancy through economic means. The basis of the export of democracy therefore has been the economic supremacy and capitalist ideology embraced by the United States. Although a core-periphery model of a neo-empire might seem like an oversimplification to some, its format helps us identify the economic relations existing between the United States and the rest of the capitalist countries on a global scale. It also helps us detect the sources of neo-imperialism, which is the topic of this dissertation. One last tenet of neo-imperialism will be discussed in the following chapter – the export of culture and entertainment.

Chapter 4
Cultural imperialism and the United States

4.1 Introduction

So far we have explored neo-imperialism as a pattern of political presence, measurable through the economic strength, acquired by the United States in the post-war period, and as the export of democracy, resulting from accumulated wealth and capitalist mode of production. This chapter will focus on one last tenet of neo-imperialism which relates to the export of American popular culture, as another identifiable dimension of Nye’s concept of soft power. The spread of American values, movies, music, sports and food has marked a new, ‘made in America stage’ in the world of entertainment and consumerism, which followed immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

4.2 Culture as a commodity

First in order to understand how culture has been exported by the United States, it is important to explain how it came to exist as a commodity. Marcuse (2002) famously argued that industrialization has involved individuals in the process of production and consumerism, which creates “false needs” and the artificial projection of these needs in a system of excessive consumerism, enhanced by advertising, media images and industrial relations. His most important contribution however is the idea that consumerism is a form of social control, which makes individuals dependent on the constant consummation of “cultural goods” and the ways their perceptions and morals are shaped depends on the trends, dictated by the system of production. In this sense Marcuse’s idea relates very closely with contemporary consumerism and partly explains the processes of commodification of culture in the case of the United States. It also relates to Hall’s vision of culture as a theatre of popular fantasies (1996). In the context of capitalism, images are created to meet certain demands, and these images are perceived by the audience (McRobbie, 2005; Barkers, 2008). Through mass campaigning and marketing, these images become accepted. Sooner or later, they become a social discourse and thus easily identifiable as a norm. When the norms are created, they need obedience in order to exist as such, and this obedience comes from the consumers, who follow the false needs, to use Marcuse’s term, because they identify themselves with certain cultural products or trends (Marcuse, 2002). A good example comes from the creative industries, the music and film industry in particular, where power lies within those who create particular products (McRobbie, 2005). The messages that celebrities and pop idols send to people become a norm of social behaviour, and are gradually transformed into a social discourse, or to use another term suggested by Marcuse– a form of social control (2002). In this sense it would not be exaggerated to say that popular culture does not really give us what we want, but what we think we want. It is not a form of freedom of expression, but in contemporary societies – a form of social control. Popular culture is supposed to break the cliches and transcend the traditional confinement of society, but in reality, it often fosters stereotypes.

In order to understand the commodification of culture, it is also important to understand the connection between culture and capitalism. There are two important factors, which have largely shaped the contours of modern culture. These two factors, as outlined by Rutherford, are the “utilization of culture and knowledge as economic source”, and the influence of neo-liberal ideas on economic policy, which sought to enforce individual freedom through market deregulation (Rutherford, 2008: 9). This resulted in a general trend of eradication of economic collectivism, and optimization of the conditions for capital accumulation. The latter explains why popular culture is fostered by capitalism – its mechanisms for economic freedom allow mass production, and mass consumption. They also allow the commodification of culture, which becomes commercial, because it is easily transferable from one social group to the other. In other words, capitalism does not only allow the commodification of culture, it does so by removing the constraints of the class. Class divisions have no significance when it comes to popular culture, because the latter is accessible for everyone. The major transformation of world markets has largely impacted the production of culture and its perception by the general public. In a widely industrialized and deregulated market, it was easier for culture to become accessible, and thus – more easily consumed. America has been at the heart of this process of commodification of culture, because of the advent of technology and the economic might, which the country gained in the post-war period. In the last couple of decades the United States has become the symbol of popular culture, and the world’s biggest entertainment exporter. The reasons for this are obvious — America’s economic wealth, enormous and versatile market of consumers, as well as its modes of economic production. These factors have made it the world’s largest exporter of popular culture as a commodity. Another reason why in the age of globalization the American cultural exports have found unlimited markets is the overall trend for increased levels of disposable income and wealth, despite economic turmoil and regional recessions in Asia and Latin America (Washington Post, 1998). This has made America’s products much more affordable, and the rise of the internet and social media has made them accessible worldwide.

The sociology of this mass cultural phenomenon is interesting, because it reveals the fusion between economic power, capitalism, culture, religion and national character – all of them manifested in the rapid spread of images and products, made in America. These images and products send universal messages, which penetrate even geographically remote regions and gradually become the social norm in the sense implied by Marcuse (2002). Another reason for this is the fact that global society has been transformed into a mass society, which has demands for mass entertainment and culture. American television, video, and movies have found more and more channels of distribution in the last several decades, and their utilization is possible only in the context of capitalism and economic freedom – two of the progenies of neo-imperialism, already discussed in the previous chapters.

Having identified the sociological and theoretical foundations of the American commodification of culture, the next section will focus on its practical dimensions.

4.3 The dimensions of exported culture

The dimensions of the export of American culture are easily quantifiable if one looks at the production speed of popular American products, such as the rate with which the MacDonald’s chain is growing or the increased popularity of Blockbuster movies. In 1996, the international sales of software and entertainment products totalled $ 60.2 billion, which was more than any other US industry, according to Commerce Department data (Washington Post, 1998). Since the end of the Cold War, the export of intellectual property from the United States has had a rise of 94 per cent in terms of dollars, the same records indicate. American popular culture and the symbols that it carries have permeated each sphere of public life, and have shaped new trans-cultural perceptions, images and visions of how societies need to communicate. America’s accumulated economic wealth has allowed for the export of culture in a borderless world of free trade and market liberalism, designed as its own socio-economic platform as the previous chapter has shown. In this sense, the United States has used its economic strength and enormous production capacity in the post war period to establish the boundaries of its own growing industry, with culture being at the peak of this massive production. It is also true that many of the countries, which are recipients of American mass culture, are not able to produce for themselves, which makes the entertainment industry exported by the United States a convenient filler of this economic gap.

4.4 Culture and neo-imperialism

Previous sections have theorized on the sources of mass culture and its recipients in global society. In order to understand exactly where the connection between culture and neo-imperialism lies we need to discuss one important feature of mass culture or what Marcuse calls the culture industry (2002). As already mentioned, culture industry can be a form of social control, and a shaper of preferences, choices and popular demands. This does not mean that it is easy to show how culture can exist as a form of social control, despite the fact that its depersonalization in the American context is one of the landmarks of modernity. In order to understand how cultural imperialism works, it is important to get back to the notion of soft power, developed by Nye (1990). The other necessary concept – the commodification of culture, we have already explained in the previous section. Cultural imperialism has been a source of American foreign policy in the last couple of decades, in the sense that it has established its own norms, categories and classifications, which are easy to grasp and absorb by the public. The ideas and images, designed by American culture and its various products from MacDonald’s to “ER” are a reflection of the basics of the American dream and despite its numerous variations they bear the features of liberty, freedom and mass capitalism. To deploy Nye’s concept in the context of culture therefore is not difficult. By penetrating global and domestic markets, the United States has left its strategy of coercion, and has begun to use what Nye calls cooperation and enticement instead. In the last several decades American popular culture has demonstrated the ability of the United States to attract and entice others, which has lead to a gradual and almost subtle universalization of values, cultural norms and beliefs. To say that American values have eradicated cultural differences of course would be naive, especially in the context of a multipolar world, where ideological and sub-state conflict has become the new type of war (Kaldor, 1999). But to ignore the almost imperial dimension of America’s influence in terms of values and norms is just as unreasonable.

4.5 Summary

This chapter has summarized the main aspects of American popular culture and its commodification in the age of capitalism and excessive consumerism. It has explained the connection between the American accumulation of capital, the economic framework of mass production and the export of culture as its content. It has also provided explanation of how culture can become a means of social categorization, and can lead to newly constructed forms of socio-economic normativity. To a large extent, the United States has been the manufacturer of new cultural norms, and this most pervasive aspect of its “soft power” approach has become a landmark of the post-Cold War order, as much as it has been enhanced by it.

Chapter 5

The author of dissertation had a formidable and challenging task – to quantify and to a certain extent to measure a concept which, despite its popularity and polemic attractiveness, is abstract and for many remains obscure. American neo-imperialism is not detectable, because it is not a tactics, or a particular strategy. On the other hand, its tenets have become the main sources of US foreign policy after the end of the Cold War. They were transformed from historical predispositions, resting on national ideology, into economic models of the organization of capital, and later on into democratic models and culture, which is being exported as America’s greatest commodity.

As this dissertation has attempted to show, American neo-imperialism is a mixture of power and ideals. Its deep historical roots relate to the notion of American exceptionalism. These concepts, which became primordial to the American national identity, were later on translated into economic expansionism, the accumulation of wealth and the establishment of core-periphery model, with America at its centre. The growing influence of the United States, enhanced by its strong presence in the world markets, made the export of democracy and democratic political models possible – an outcome, which many have classified as America’s liberal strategy for world peace and cooperation. Finally, the export of culture and mass entertainment became another ostensible element in the American neo-imperialist equation, and also a strong shaper of categories, norms and a whole new set of values. It is interesting to note that while in this dissertation these processes were presented as chronological follow ups, in the post war period they have existed almost simultaneously. This is because these are not historical processes, and their attempted ‘eventalization’ in this dissertation has been for the mere purpose of a clearer presentation of the arguments. In reality, the processes, which have constituted the complexity of the American neo-liberalism, do not exist in a perfect sequence, and their imprint on the world will provoke intense debate, admiration and as well as criticism in the decades to come.


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Free Essays

To what extent is the government’s unhesitant support of faith schools compatible with democracy?


Faith schools present an interesting challenge to society as considerations of law and human rights mandate that these schools be allowed to operate as a manifestation of a religious right. However on the other hand one has unwavering claims of social segregation that develops as a result of these schools. The complaint is that communities are being segregated on sectarian lines which create the potential for the fostering of mistrust and hostilities within communities.[1] Essentially, the continued use of faith schools in society sets a dangerous precedent for inherent discrimination and a rejection of other faiths and associated cultures by educating the youth along sectarian lines. Despite the potential societal problem associated with faith schools, there is also a precarious projection of discriminatory practices in admissions and employment in these schools which directly discriminates on the grounds of religion, as well as indirect discrimination against members of society associated with the ethos that is allegedly contrary to the religious groups’ beliefs. One can therefore see that there are problematic elements associated with faith schools in law and societal norms. Historically, faith schools originated from the support given to schools by churches and resulting from this was a strong association of that school with the particular faith of that church. These schools currently exist as public schools which have a measure of government funding, as well as academies and private institutions.

Constructs of democracy vary, however the common sentiment of these theoretical constructs identify the central tenet of democracy as being an arrangement which allows decision making for the common good by people elected by the majority to do so.[2] This is referred to by Dworkin as the Majoritarian premise, which emphasizes the idea that decisions should be taken by the majority or a plurality of citizens.[3] The extent to which faith schools are compatible with democracy depends on how this common good is constructed. To state this simply, the Majoritarian premise is based on the idea that the majority favours or would favour the decision with all the relevant information available and understood thereby. It stands to reason that in order to determine if these schools are compatible with democracy that these schools are for the common good or are favourable in terms of the needs of the majority.

Legal Context of Faith Schools

The legitimacy of faith schools within society from a legal perspective is important to understand in order to determine the compatibility of these schools with a construct of democracy. The present status of faith schools stems from the Education Act 1944 which afforded faith schools a certain degree of autonomy within the education system, provided that the church authorities contributed financially to their schools.[4] In the years since the promulgation of this Act, the role of the church in society has declined significantly, with a simultaneous introduction of a variety of faiths in society and increasing secularism being broadly embraced. With the introduction of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, a measure of equality was given to religious minorities in the schooling system ensuring that faith schools now operated across a broader range of religious denominations.

Despite the roots of faith schools in the legislative provisions of the U.K, faiths schools also recently enjoy status under international human rights conventions and the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), which ensures religious freedoms.[5] This right contained in the HRA ensures that the individual has the right to manifest his religion and arguably, faith schools form a part of this manifestation. A limitation of this right is allowed where “such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”[6] It stands to reason therefore, by virtue of a simplistic analogy, that the disallowance of faith schools would only occur if it is necessary in a democratic society. This brings relevance to the current discussion which considers the construct of democracy, albeit briefly and superficially in light of the extent of the issues regarding the matter. An example of a restriction on the manifestation of this right is seen in R v Secretary of State[7] where the House of Lords refused an application to allow corporal punishment in a faith school as a manifestation of the Article 9 right as it infringed on the purposes of child protection legislation, as it was found to be contrary to the best interests of the child.

Arguably therefore, faith schools are a manifestation of this right to religion under the HRA, as well as drawing legitimacy from the Education Act. As these schools do not operate under an unlawful purpose and are not contrary to the interests of public safety, public order, health or morals, or any other rights and freedoms, they do not merit abolition in the eyes of the law. It is well-known however, that law, morality and justice are distinct concepts and therefore the compatibility of these schools with the legal system does not necessarily mean that it is compatible with philosophical constructs of democracy.

The Construct of Democracy

The construct of democracy that is being used as a means of analysis is that which identifies the common good or favour of the majority as being central to the process of democracy. Schumpter defines this as “the democratic method is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions which realizes the common good by making the people itself decide issues through the election of individuals who are to assemble in order to carry out its will.”[8] Whilst Dworkin couches the construct similarly, yet in different terms as the majoritarian premise which “is a thesis about the fair outcomes of the political process: it insists that political procedures should be designed so that, at least on important matters, the decision that is reached is the decision that the majority or plurality of citizens favour.”[9] Although these definitions are framed differently in terms, essentially they are based on a similar premise of decisions by the people, for the people. The question however to be determined with regards to this premise, is how the common good is determined. This becomes more problematic with the recent emphasis of the importance of human rights within this political framework as arguably these are diametrically opposed to the idea of democracy, as they ensure the protection of minorities within a country, despite the public opinion or opinion of the majority.[10]

One can argue that Dworkin’s definition of the majoritarian premise takes account of this as the decisions made by the majority are those which would be favoured “if it had adequate information and enough time for reflection,”[11] although Schumpter argues that collective logic will never be unified despite any number of logical argument proposed for the acceptance thereof. Accordingly, Dworkin rejects the idea that the majoritarian premise requires that the community defer to the majorities view on how individual rights are to be respected and enforced. In doing so, it majoritarian premise presupposes that the concept of majority rule is always unfair where the majority are allowed to dictate the collective rights of their community. Schumpter notes this difficulty similarly by stating that there is no uniquely determined common good as invariably people will always want different things.[12] The progression therefore is that perhaps the needs of democracy demands that a majoritarian approach be taken to the construction of the government, however that a constitutional conception of decision making be adopted rather than one of majority rule. This constitutional conception is where collective decisions are made to treat all citizens with equal respect and concern, with this conception declared to be the essence of democracy rather than a cause of moral regret, i.e. that the majority does not dictate the decision making according to the needs of the majority exclusively. Accordingly, both Schumpter and Dworkin recognize the inherent problems within classical conceptions of democracy as being one that recognizes a foundational principle of majority rule and in doing so, democracy introduces an element of political morality. One can argue that the introduction of human rights into mainstream jurisprudence is a codified and measurable statement of these political morals. The compatibility of faith schools with democracy therefore is one which must be consistent with the common good taking into consideration ideals of political morality. Arguably therefore, the consistency of faith schools with democracy is one which must ensure legitimacy of these institutions within the legal framework of the country taking into considerations the fundamental rights and freedoms that it is designed to protect.

Compatibility of Faith Schools with Democracy

Based on these constructs of democracy it is clear that compatibility therewith is not a simple inquiry into the religious opinions of the majority, but whether the continued existence and support of these schools is one which is in the common good taking into consideration individual rights based on ideas of political morality which justifiably limit the exercise of majority rule. This proceeds from the assumption that the majority is opposed to faith schools and the practices associated therewith.

There are a number of arguments made against the continued practice of faith schools, not least of which because they promote discriminatory practices with regards to admissions, employment and certain religious practices. Contrary to Human Rights legislation, as well as the Race Relations Act 1976 discrimination on the basis of religion alone can merit exclusion from the school. Employees and potential employees of these schools are also exempted from protections against discrimination as provided for by relevant legislation.[13] In these cases, employees may be dismissed from or rejected by the faith school if they are not of the same beliefs as the school or that their conduct is incompatible with the ethos of the school. If one considers the highly exclusionary nature inherent in religious institutions this presents obvious indirect discriminatory practices against groups such as racial minorities, religious minorities, homosexuals and divorced adults. With the obvious complaint made that these schools perpetuate discriminatory practices in society, a number of issues of political morality or human rights become evident. The first of these considers the use of these schools as a manifestation of the right to religion contained in Article 9 and considers whether the discriminatory practices inherent in these faith schools and the prevailing social concerns based on segregation are sufficient to allow the limitation of the right, by either abolition of these practices, i.e. to eliminate discriminatory admissions and employment policies within these school, or to abolish these schools themselves. This then raises the next issue, which asks whether exclusive practices of these schools are inherent to the exercise of this right where the abolition of these schools or the discriminatory practices associated therewith will unreasonably or unjustifiably limit the exercise of the Article 9 right. Essentially, these are two sides of the same coin and as a result one can see that there is a need for a balancing act between these rights in order to determine the compatibility with democracy as considering both the individual right and the common good.

Based on development of the egalitarian jurisprudence, the prohibition against discrimination is contained in Article 14 of the HRA. Whilst discrimination on religious grounds is a form of direct discrimination and therefore unlawful in the eyes of the law,[14] the application of the HRA does not extend to faith schools. Arguably, this lacks legitimacy in the law as there is no fundamental basis as to why faith schools are exempted as there has been no proven statement of public good served by these schools. Recently, the court has an opportunity to address the matter of faith schools with regards to discrimination, however carefully neglected to do so.[15] The case of R (Begum) v Governors of Denbigh High School [16] perhaps provides some insight into the rationale of faith schools from a standpoint of political morality where the court ruled that the right to religion was absolute, however the right to manifest that religion was qualified and therefore capable of limitation. In this case, a fundamental element of the ratio revolved around the rights of other female students in the school rather than the manifestation of a single childs beliefs. Therefore, instead of viewing the political morality from the perspective of the persons discriminated against by these schools, one can adopt an approach of protecting the rights of those within the schools themselves. This implies that faith schools are protectionist of Article 9 rights, rather than exclusionary in terms of Article 14. This in itself correlates with the constructs of Schumpter and Dworkin’s conceptions of democracy as being those that concern and enforce individual rights equally and therefore are protectionist of individual and minority rights. Whilst potential students and employees of these schools may be excluded, their ability to join other schools is not infringed and therefore any right that may be infringed is particular to a specific faith school itself. Comparatively, the detrimental effect on students of faith schools who are denied educational instruction according to their religious beliefs is greater and as a manifestation of a religious right, education in religious instruction is considered highly important.


It is clear that the construct of democracy according to the popular understanding thereof as being majority rule is a flawed political doctrine. To this extent, both Schumpter and Dworkin acknowledge the shortcomings thereof. Whilst Schumpter merely acknowledges these difficulties, Dworkin presents these challenges with a form of philosophical alternative thereto in the form of the inclusion of morality in the majoritarian premise. Although essentially this disproves the value of the majoritarian premise itself, the constitutional conception of democracy is one that is foundationally constructed on this premise and which acknowledges the inherent flaws therein. Morality in law is always a problematic construct, however recently with the emphasis on human rights in U.K legislation and common law, it has been argued that these are a unilateral statement of political morality within the country based on internationally accepted conventions on human rights. The compatibility of faith schools with democracy as a result depends largely on the compatibility of these schools with political morality, and therefore with human rights. The overwhelming consideration in determining the answer to this question is to determine whether these schools are necessary in protecting and enforcing the individual’s rights and in light of human rights jurisprudence, whether these are necessary to the extent that they justify discrimination that results from the operation of these schools. By analysis of this context, it is clear that democracy does not demand that the opinion of the majority dictate the existence of these schools, but rather in recognizing that democracy demands that the common good be established. To this extent, the common good recognizes that these schools are a necessary extension of the right to manifest ones religion and the detriment to these individuals or groups of individuals outweighs the potentially infringed rights of other members of society. In light of this analysis therefore, it is clear that despite social objections to faith schools, the existence and support thereof is compatible with the philosophical construct of democracy.


Primary Sources


Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental

Education Act 1944

Education and Inspections Act 2006

Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 Human Rights Act 1998

Race Relations Act 1976

School Standards and Framework Act 1998

Case Law

E (Appellant) v (1) JFS Governing Body [2009] UKSC 15

R (Begum) v Governors of Denbigh High School [2006] UKHL 15

(on the application of Williamson) v Secretary of State for Education and Employment UKHL 15 [2005] 2 A.C. 246

The British Humanist Association & Others v London Borough of Richmond upon Thames & Others [2012] EWHC 3622

Secondary Sources

ATL (2007) Position Statement: Faith Schools [online] Available on: [Accessed 21 December 2012]

Dworkin, R. (1996) Freedom’s Law: the Moral Reading of the American Constitution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press

Nickel, J. (2010) Human Rights. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [online] Available on: [Accessed 21 December 2012]

Lawyers Secular Society (2012) Faith Schools [online] Available on: [Accessed 21 December 2012]

Schumpter, J. (1976) Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. London: Allen and Unwin

Free Essays

How important a contribution does the media make to American democracy?


The contribution of the media to democracy in the United States of America is undoubtedly essential for the proper functioning of the democratic process. Without the media the fundamental principles on which democracy is based, such as accountability and transparency would be sadly ignored as there would be little engagement with opposing schools of belief and contradictory accounts and arguments. This paper seeks to explore the role played by the media in democracy in the U.S in order to highlight the importance thereof in a democratic society. The paper concludes that although there is some measure of accountability needed to ensure responsible journalism, the importance is too great to attempt to quell the voice of the media as a public accountability mechanism.


The role of the media in any democracy is multifaceted with as many advantages as disadvantages. Central to the concept of democracy is the idea of participation by the public in the relations of the state in order to effect change and allow the policy decisions to reflect the will of the majority (Goodhart, 2011). The media plays a role in a number of ways. At an abstract level, the media enforces inherent foundational principles of democracy such as accountability and transparency, which ensure that in a theoretical sense, the model of democracy to which the state subscribes is upheld in the truest form possible particular to the idiosyncrasies of that country. At a ground level, the media provides widespread information to the public so to as engage the general population on the issues of state and doing so whilst exposing the public to a variety of political information rather than the viewpoint of the ruling party or dominant ideology as decided by democratic election. It goes without saying that in times of political election, the media has come to play an increasing role in the decision making process for the lay man who generally will only be exposed to this information through media outlets due to issues of apathy and a general ambivalence towards politics. In the case of the United States, the media arguably plays a larger role than any other similarly sized democratic country with widespread dissemination of information through a variety of media outlets such as traditional print media, to digital media in the form of broadcasting and most recently the widespread phenomenon of social media and internet presence. This paper seeks to explore the importance of the contribution made by the media to democracy in the U.S. In doing so, it will explore the importance of the media as an accountability mechanism both providing reactive information and encouraging a proactive stance on communication by the government. The paper will further go on to explore the particular power of the media in U.S democracy and in doing so analyse the appropriateness of the media in this role. This will conclude with a discussion as to the potential detrimental effects of heavy media presence in light of media bias, inflammatory practices, and the growing trend of unreliability in the media and irresponsible journalism. Through this exploration and analysis, the importance of the contribution to democracy made by the media will be determined in order to reach a conclusion as to the suitability of this kind of public accountability for the purposes of furthering American democracy.

Foundational Principles of American Democracy

Regardless of political ideology, there are a number of foundational principles on which democracy is based and with regards to which the media plays an important role. Amongst these principles are transparency and accountability. In recent years, since the economic recession of 2007/8, these principles are becoming increasingly more important These concerns garner global public concern for the administration of government with regards to policy making and implementation which was brought to a head with this economic collapse and the subsequent unveiling of a plethora of questionable policy decisions for which there was little transparency of process and even less avenues for accountability (Stromberg & Prat, 2011). Transparency and accountability are two concepts that are not exclusive to democracy, nor politics generally. These two principles are inextricably linked in terms of democratic pursuit, as democracy is based on the ideology of having a government elected by the people for a greater representation of public opinion and therefore a government that is more representative of the current state of affairs in the country generally.

With the need for democratic accountability and transparency becoming of unprecedented importance, the former skepticism of the American people at the level of intervention by the government needs to be reformed (McKay, 2009). The role of the media is pivotal for mediating the relationship between the general public and the government in two ways. The first relates to the role of the media as a government ‘watch dog’ (Francke, 1995), which is a common denominator of many democratic countries. In these scenarios, the media disseminates information to ensure widespread coverage of political happenings, generally brought on by the absence of such adequate communication by the state itself (Ibid). The second role of the media is inherent in this as it compels the government to be more consistent with the communication with public, as this allows a certain measure of control. It is no secret that often media sources are biased, inflationary and unreliable (Knight & Chiang, 2008). Greater cooperation with a suitable standard of communication therefore will ensure that the correct information is relayed to the public and will allow the state a certain measure of control over the information which is made available. In doing so, therefore the media plays an important role in upholding democratic principles on which the American democracy is based. The role of the media in American democracy understands the fundamental truth of having freedom of speech and civil rights as base foundational principles of a political system and simply put, this truth is that accountability and transparency are unavoidable in the pursuit of a well-functioning democratic state (Welch & Nunu, 1996).

The Power of the Media

Jean Adriane Voltaire famously said that with great power comes great responsibility and in the case of mass media in the U.S, this statement could hold no greater truth (Payandeh, 2010). The forming of public opinion around that of the media in its various forms is common place in most democracies, however particularly prevalent in American society due to the commonality of following of common forms of pop culture. Therefore accessibility of the state to the public through media is at an all time high. Democracy as a concept does more than foster ideals, it advances public interest (Kono, 2006). The perception therefore that the media creates of the state will have a direct impact in the advancement of the interests of the public. The need for accountability of the media is as a result as important as the accountability that they are projecting onto the state, as reckless journalism can have a potentially devastating effect on public perception of state practices and policies (Penenberg, 2009). The basis for this power stems from the mainstream place of the media. It means that the media has the power to engage the apathetic voter and because there is little motivation for any further engagement, the opinion of the apathetic citizen will be replaced with the consistent supply of information given to this voter by these media outlets. Indeed, it has been opined that this power to engage minority groups and voters that would otherwise not engage in democratic process has the potential to change the landscape for democratic elections in the future for leaders representative of a minority, such as African-American groups and women as seen in the 2008 national elections in the U.S (Wagner, 2010). This power is arguably of greater benefit than disadvantage to the democratic process, as it encourages some kind of political engagement from otherwise apathetic voters (Mattson, 2003). This must however be carefully contrasted to the potential detriment of such engagement, particularly if these opinions are based on false account of fact. Presumably however the deciding factor in such a balancing act would be in the reform of the general attitude towards governmental practice as a generational effect. It can be argued that this engagement with the public by the media is superficial however will foster an attitude of inquisition of the general person towards affairs of the state which may only be of relevance to later generations however can be seen as a long term solution to combating apathy (Gurevitch et al, 2009). The importance of the contribution made by the media therefore, not only has a short term effect on democratic legitimacy, but has equal importance for the survival of responsible and accountable democratic process in the future.

Provision of a Variety of Political Communication

One can conceptualize a scenario where there was no media intervention in the communication of political affairs to the general public. In this scenario, the ideology of the dominant party or leader would be the only opinion forwarded as official government communication. This however is not consistent with democracy as an ideology of political functioning. Whilst arguably this scenario represents one reductio ad absurdum, it highlights the value of the media as essential for public communication in a responsible democratic process, as it provides a variety of opinions from a range of sources to the general population (Mutz & Martin, 2001). The provision of information in this way has the effect of allowing a holistic view of the political happenings of a country. Although interestingly, the evolution of new media has had somewhat of a counterintuitive effect. The evolution of media currently in the U.S sees loyalty amongst certain outlets to various political leaders and political parties. This is compounded by the fact that social media has allowed citizens to tailor the way that they receive information, so that there is no unauthorized exposure of any kind of information without the explicit approval of the person receiving that information (Ibid). The obvious effect of this evolution means that voters are able to receive information from biased sources without the inclusion of any contradictory opinion, and despite the potential for divergence of opinion from that which is being received, because the voter will not ever see the alternative opinion, there is the potential for formation of generally biased opinions towards or against certain groups, leaders or parties.

Despite the potential detriment that this bias may present, it still maintains an inherent value for accountability of the state. By providing citizens with some basis for political opinion, the media is ensuring that citizens are not only informed, but done so in a way that creates groups of differing opinion which will inherently lead to debate and accountability mechanisms through support or discontent (DESA, 2006). Moreover which, the nature of democratic process and political strategy means that opposing groups of ideology will continuously be campaigning for accountability of their opposition and in doing so will hold those groups to account through transparency and debate (Gurevitch, 2009). The evidence of such strategies in the U.S is clear as there is a large reliance on the media by the dominant parties, Republican and Democrat, as a means to rallying political discourse between the public, the government, the international community and other interested parties. The importance therefore of the contribution made by the media to democracy is exemplary, as even if a scenario where the government had adequate means of communication with the public, the media provides a holistic view of the system without prejudice or concern for public image thereof. In doing so, the media continues to uphold and enforce the fundamental tenets of democracy.


It is clear from the examination of the role played by the media that there are fundamental advantages and disadvantages in the positioning of the media as a mediator between the state and the citizens of a country. This is particularly evident in the case of the U.S due to an overwhelming reliance on the media as a means of public accountability. The importance however of the contribution made by the media to democracy as an ideology on which the state is run is inexplicably valuable. Despite the potential for media bias, reckless journalism and inflammatory practices, there can be no enforcement of principles of accountability and transparency on which democracy is based without the presence of the media in all the traditional and evolved forms. As a means of general education and engagement with the public, the media is the easiest and most effective means of gauging public opinion and rallying voter support in times of election. The antithesis of democracy is apathy and the value of the media in combating this apathy through the reach that it has to younger generations, as well as disengaged minorities and misinformed majorities positions the media as an essential contributor to the furtherance of democracy in the United States. It can therefore be concluded that despite the need for accountability mechanisms for the media to ensure responsible journalism, there is a greater need for the use of these outlets to ensure continued and potentially greater success of democratic process in the United States.


Davies, J. & Trounstine, J. (2009) ‘Urban Politics and the New Institutionalism’ in Susan Clarke, Peter John and Karen Mossberger (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Urban Politics, Oxford University Press pp. 51-70

Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2006) ‘Public Administration and Democratic Governance: Governments Serving Citizens’ United Nations Secretariat ST/ESA/PAD/SER.E/98

Francke, W (1995) ‘The Evolving Watchdog: The Media’s Role in Government Ethics’ The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 537(1), pp. 109-121

Goodhart, M. (2011) ’Democratic Accountability in Global Politics: Norms, not Agents’ The Journal of Politics, 73(1), pp 45 – 60

Gurevitch, M., Coleman, S. & Blumer, J. (2009) ‘Political Communication –Old and New Media Relationships’ The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 625, pp 164 – 181

Knight, B. & Chiang, C.F. (2008) ‘Media Bias and Influence: Evidence from Newspaper Endorsements’ National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge: NCER

Kono, D. Y. (2006) ‘Optimal Obfuscation: Democracy and Trade Policy Transparency’ The American Political Science Review, 100(3), pp. 369-384

Mattson, K. (2003) Engaging Youth: Combating the Apathy of Young Americans Toward Politics. New York: Century Foundation Press

McKay, D. (2009) American Politics and Society 7ed. Chicestor: Blackwell Publishing

Mutz, D. & Martin P. (2001) ‘Facilitating Communication across Lines of Political Difference: The Role of Mass Media’ The American Political Science Review, 95(1), pp. 97-114

Payandeh, M. (2010) ‘With Great Power Comes Great ResponsibilityThe Concept of the Responsibility To Protect Within the Process of International Lawmaking’ The Yale Journal of International Law, 35, pp. 468 – 515

Penenberg, A.L. (2009) ‘Ethics, Law and Good Practice’ in Journalism Handbook for Students, New York: NYU

Stromberg, D. & Prat, A. (2011) ‘The Political Economy of Mass Media’ [online] Available on: [Accessed 25 August 2012]

Wagner, A. (2010) ‘Reviews / Recensions: Hillary Clinton’s Race for the White House: Gender Politics and the Media on the Campaign Trail, Regina G. Lawrence and Melody Rose, Boulder CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010, pp. x, 277’ Canadian Journal of Political Science, 43(3), pp 792 – 793

Welch, G. & Nuru, Z. (2006) Governance for the Future: Democracy and Development in the Least Developed Countries Geneva: United nations

Free Essays

Those who label the EU decision-making processes “undemocratic” fail to appreciate that representative democracy is not the most appropriate model for a supranational entity – especially one that is not intended to be a federal “super-state”.’


The European Union involves the union of 28 members that have come together to form a political-economic union which was formed initially in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. The purpose of this paper is to consider whether or not the EU decision making process is undemocratic and if so whether or not a representative democracy does in fact provide an appropriate model for the EU as it has evolved. In order to consider this the definition of representative democracy will be looked at as well as the concept of a supranational entity as opposed to a federal super state. Having understood the definition of the key terms the next step is to look at the evolution of the EU and to understand the actual purpose of the EU before then going on to look at the way in which democracy operates within the EU and whether or not there is a democratic deficit (Craig and de Burca, 2011). The current position and future direction of the EU will also be considered before finally responding to the initial statement in considering whether or not those who label the EU as undemocratic truly appreciate the essence and purpose of the EU in the first place.
A representative democracy refers to a type of democracy where the principal of elected individuals is dominant. Whilst there may be certain constraints, fundamentally all Western-style democracies of representative in nature i.e. contain elected individuals. The EU with its parliament is seemingly no different. Some of the key benefits associated with a representative democracy is that it gives legitimacy and transparency to the decisions made and yet its questions clear as to whether this type of democracy is in fact prudent the supranational nature of the EU. Supranational is defined as a union which is multinational and has a variety of delegated powers to the individual stats which are negotiated. The EU is often referred to as a supranational union as it arguably operates as a type of political entity in itself and shows a degree of political integration between the states which is considerably greater than would be achieved through a more traditional international treaty. This is a strong argument and was accepted by the six founder states who noted that the EU was creating a new legal order with a power that sits above the nation states. This is distinct from a federal super state scenario as with the supranational union some sovereignty is retained although some is shared with the new supranational entity (Schutze, 2012). These types of unions encourage stability as it is not possible for the country to simply leave the arrangement but it does not take away overall power and sovereignty of the individual member states who could potentially remove themselves from the supranational arrangement. This is one of the stronger argument presented by those suggesting that joining the EU has not destroyed the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty the UK. With a supranational arrangement there remains autonomous institutions with independence in their decision-making (Moravcsik, 2002).
Before looking at the effectiveness of this democratic approach within the EU and the perceived democratic deficit, it is helpful to identify the key components of EU history. The European Coal and Steel Community was set up by 6 founding member states with a view of creating stability across Europe in the wake of the Second World War this was then expanded the years with the Treaty of Maastricht establishing the European Union in 1993. It was the 1993 treaty that was arguably the turning point for the EU and changed the general operation of the union from simply having a variety of policies to creating a political union. Issues that were under the community competence also extended considerably to include culture, health and education with a central monetary policy also emerging (Chalmers et al., 2014).
Unsurprisingly following the Treaty of Maastricht and the political union which emerged, questions of democracy in legitimacy of the supranational state followed. It should not however be overlooked that the underlying purpose of the EU was to create a degree of political stability which requires the democratic position to be seen as legitimate. From here the next element of this analysis is to consider democracy within the EU and crucially the perceived democratic deficit that brings into question the validity of representative democracy (Follesdal and Hix, 2005).
The concept of a democratic deficit is used in 1979 when looking at the European Economic Community which was the entity standing prior to the European Union. It is argued at this early stage that the European Parliament suffered from a democratic deficit due to that is not directly elected by the individual citizens of Europe. Therefore when looking at this democratic deficit it is argued that a failure of the European Union to represent the ordinary citizen and with the underlying lack of accountability and transparency there is not a true representative legitimacy.
There are in fact true potential sources of legitimacy within the European Union, the first being the European Parliament which is constituted of individuals that are directly elected by the European Union as a whole and secondly there is the council which represents each of the individual states although not directly elected by the individuals of Europe. Having two independent sources for the democratic legitimacy arguably creates a democratic deficit surely based on the construction of the European Union. The way in which the European Union has been established means that it is not either an intergovernmental organisation or a federal state and this makes it difficult to achieve complete legitimacy. This is not necessarily perceived to be a weakness with the British Electoral Reform Society in 2014 (10) stating:

“This unique institutional structure makes it difficult to apply the usual democratic standards without significant changes of emphasis. Certainly, the principles of representativeness, accountability and democratic engagement are vital, but the protection of the rights of minorities is perhaps especially important. The EU is a political regime that is, in one sense at least, entirely made up of minorities.”

Although it has been argued that substantial democratic deficit with citizens failing to participate in decision-making process across Europe, in reality it will also be argued for individual citizens have essentially the same influence of the European Union decision-making as they do over their own national decision making. Individuals are able to vote in order to ensure that their own feelings are represented by the appropriate party, this is the same as within the national state. It is also noted that over time the role of the European Parliament has been extended and become an important element of the legislative process. The Treaty of Lisbon ensure that decision are made jointly by the Council and the European Parliament ensuring many individuals were elected representative internal Parliament more suitably represented and increasing the level of perceived democratic legitimacy (Barnard and Peers, 2014).
The Treaty of Lisbon magic by definition for the Democratic foundations upon which the European Union operates. Firstly it states that the union is required to consider the principle of equality amongst its citizens and not each citizen should receive the same attention from the offices and agencies of the EU (Article 9). Secondly it is categorically stated that the functioning of the union shall be based on representative democracy principles. Citizens are directly represented as part of the European Parliament as each citizen is able to participate in the election of these individuals (Article 10). Thirdly, the institutions of the European Union are required to maintain transparency, openness and regular dialogue with the areas represented associations (Article 11). Article 10 is the crucial provision as it openly states that the essence of the European Union is to provide a representative democracy. Article 10(2) shows that citizens are represented directly as part of the European Parliament with the member states then being represented through their own (elected) heads of state.
The perceived democratic deficit can be seen to be argued based on weaknesses in three key areas that would otherwise present democracy. These are failures of representation, transparency and accountability. Those arguing that there is a real democratic deficit within the EU and that it is failing to achieve its representative democracy cite factors such as the weakness of the European Parliament, the lack of a specific European election and the policy drift that emerges between the entities and the member states (Kelemen and Daniel, 2004).
Arguably the democratic democracy can therefore be attributed to two key areas, the institutions and law making itself with weaknesses attached to both of these areas in terms of achieving a true legitimate democracy. Firstly in relation to the institution there is the issue of the way in which the seats are allocated within the European Parliament and the concern that there is a lack of accountability of the operation of the commission. There is also a fundamentally low turnout in the European Parliament elections and in reality no specific and true European elections. Secondly when it comes to the actual law making itself there is also the argument that the European Parliament is weak and has relatively little power in comparison to the other agencies such as the Commission. Overall however the main concern is that there is a lack of transparency in this area (Przeworski et al., 1999).
Although these arguments, in the opinion of the author, have clear and substantiated merit, there are some substantial flaws in them which raise the question as to whether the democratic deficit is a problem at all. Firstly the EU operates on the basis of supra-nationalism and as such the way in which the EU has been established and grown is to provide a co-operative approach that does not in itself lend towards representative democracy. The common goals of long term peace and co-operation cannot be achieved in a unilateral manner and this therefore presents the argument here that aiming for a true representative democracy is not achievable.
Despite this, it is still advisable for the EU to be looking towards means of reducing the democratic deficiency and creating a scenario whereby the democratic process in the EU is at least more legitimate and transparent. Bearing in mind the perceived weakness, the proposed reforms can also be linked to these areas. For example certain institutional changes are recommended such as the making the commission accountable to the European Parliament and ensuring that the council sessions are open to the public. This would automatically improve the transparency. Secondly there are movements towards an ordinary legislative procedure (OLP) which has now been extended to cover a variety of new fields offering the Parliament the same law making power as the Council in certain key areas.
The fundamental aim of the EU is to provide a supranational structure and not to present a federal super state, therefore it is argued, on balance here that true representative democracy is not achievable or indeed desirable. The fundamental aim of the EU is to provide co-operation and unity with peacekeeping in mind. The EU evolved as a result of post-World War II discussions and as such this peacekeeping agenda cannot be ignored. With this in mind it is concluded that the discussion here supports the initial statement that those who are looking to argue that the EU is undemocratic are in error not necessarily in that assertion but in the assumption that representative democracy would ever be the aim of an entity such as the EU. By going back to the fundamentals of the reasoning for the EU in the first place it is concluded that the current approach to democracy although not truly representative is both appropriate and sufficient.


Barnard, C and Peers, S (2014) (eds.), European Union Law, Oxford University Press, 2014. P.67

Chalmers, D., Davies, C., and Monti, G (2014) European Union Law, 3 rd edition, Cambridge University Press. P.28

Craig, P and de Burca, G (2011) EU Law: Text, Cases and Materials, 5th edition, Oxford University Press. Ch11

Electoral Reform (2014) Tackling Europe’s democratic deficit. Available at: [Accessed 06/11/2014]

Follesdal, A and Hix, S. (2005) ‘Why there is a democratic deficit in the EU’ European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) No. C-05-02

Kelemen, Dr. and R. Daniel (2004) ‘The Rules of Federalism: Institutions and Regulatory Politics in the EU and Beyond‘ Harvard University Press

Moravcsik, A. (2002) ‘In defence of the democratic deficit: reassessing legitimacy in
the European Union’ Journal of Common Market Studies. Vol 40, Issue 4.

Przeworski A.,Stokes S & Manin, B. (eds) (1999),Democracy, Accountability and Representation, New-York & Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Schutze, R (2012). European Constitutional Law. Cambridge University Press. pp. 31–32

Free Essays

Analyze the Ways in “Jeffersonian Democracy”

During Jefferson’s Presidency two things changed “Jeffersonian Democracy”, the War of 1812 contributed because until the war hawks and a growing desire to obtain Florida and Canada Jefferson did not want to get involved in war with Europe, and the Louisiana Purchase also changed his views because he was very Constitutional and when the treaty for the Louisiana Purchase was presented it was argued to be Constitutional. Americans in the South wanted to gain Florida and the people in the North wanted Canada. Jefferson didn’t want to just invade and capture these territories.

With the attacks from Natives across the Florida border in the South and the issue of impressment it was hard not to go to war. Jefferson did not want to go to war with Great Britain. A group called the war hawks was born, men who were eager to go to war and get territory. After persuading Jefferson agreed to go to war with Great Britain, and because Spain and Britain were allies they could claim Florida as well. The reason this changed his democracy is he did not want to go to war with European nations, or at all I believe, but he gave in and went to war anyway because of pressure from the war hawks.

Another factor in the changing of Jeffersonian Democracy was the Louisiana Purchase. Robert Livingston and James Monroe were sent to France to discuss a treaty with Napoleon. When they returned they had purchased the Louisiana Territory form Napoleon. Jefferson was both pleased and embarrassed. He was glad to have the territory, but being constitutional as he was, he was not sure it was Constitutional, until his advisors assured him that it fell under his ability to make treaties.

This changed his view because it had changed him to be less strict constitutionally and he was already exploring the territory (and beyond) before the treaty was already made. Jefferson went through a lot of events that changed his view of Democracy and how he ran the nation, but two big ones were the War of 1812, because he went to war even though he personally didn’t want to, and the Louisiana Purchase, because of his belief that the Federal government only had powers expressed in the Constitution.

Free Essays

Is Democracy the Best Form of Political System?

Although there are many virtues to enjoy about democracy and democratic forms of government and political systems, this form of government has still many impending challenges yet to be accomplished. In that sense, I agree with Winston Churchill, on the grounds that “democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried” (Churchill). Looking at democracy through both its weaknesses and strengths in comparison to other forms of government makes it evident that it is the best form of political system we have, democracy has been subject to problems with, tyranny of the minority, and collective action.

Despite all the democratic weaknesses of this form of government, democracy is still highly consistent in terms of Unpredictable outcomes, managing diversity. Lipset, in Political Man, described democracy as “ a political system which supplies regular constitutional opportunities, and a social mechanism which permits the largest possible part of the population to influence major decisions by choosing among contenders for political office”(Glazer). This definition is generally accepted in a democratic heaven in which the heavenly chorus does not sing with a strong upper-class accent (lecture), but this is not always the case.

Despite the democratic institutions based on the principle of equal opportunity, political power is not always distributed equally in a democracy. This is clearly seen in India where the “high cost of campaigning and the opaque system of election finance have titled the electoral odds heavily in favour of the very rich or the easily corrupted” (Ronjoy Sen 90). Although, similar problems can be found in other forms of governments and political system, what differentiates democracy from other regimes is how it manages to deal with those problems.

For instance, in Germany’s authoritarian Fascist regime, “Hitler was very much his own master” (Henry Turner), and his war aims eventually led Germany to a world war conflict. By comparing Fascist Germany to India’s corrupt democracy, it is clearly demonstrated while, “small groups of leader have the final say in all important matters”(Sen), democracy is still a political system which allows the largest part of the population to influence major decisions. This is best illustrated when “India’s unpopular BJP Party lost power nationally in an election” (Nathan Glazer 18).

Not every democracy will succeed in dealing with challenges of tyranny of minority and corruption, but democratic forms of government have institutions which offer capacity to change leaders in response to public discontent without changing the system. Collective action is a classical challenge in democracy and democratic forms of government. According to Blais, one of the main criteria for assessing electoral systems is representativeness. “This guarantees an electoral system in which the vote reflects as precisely as possible citizen’s preferences” (Blais 5).

However, one of the challenges of a democratic electoral system is even if we have the right to express our views; we would not take advantage of it. As Olson in the article A Theory of Groups and Organization, notes, “Individuals in any group attempting collective action will have incentives to free ride if the group is working to provide public goods”(Olson). This is because the information cost of researching different candidates makes voting irrational, since the benefits of voting are not entirely clear.

As a result, this promotes free riding, and a democratic government which vote does not reflect citizen’s preferences. If… then not only it will be difficult by large groups to achieve their interests in common, but situations could occur where small groups can take over the majority’s incentives. However, what differentiates a democratic form of government from a totalitarian communist a regime is how it deals with the collective action problem with the help of institutional features such as courts.

Courts are important political players in democracy. They are expected to moderate, and deal with challenges of democratic politics, not a setting for Stalin’s show trials. As Nathan Glazer put it, “Courts are accepted as ultimate arbiters not to be irresponsibly challenged. They can take unpopular positions that elected representative bodies cannot or do not, and in doing so they sustain the liberal objectives of democracies” (Nathan Glazer 19). Democracy is mainly about unpredictable outcomes.

What makes democracy highly consistent is not knowing what the next election turnout will be, but having confidence that the candidate with a majority of votes would be elected. The essential goal of democracy is to provide a fair degree of uncertainty. What makes this form of government unique in contrast to China’s authoritarian regime is its ability to allow an alternation of power. For instance, in a democratic election, as Andre Blais had noted, “Losers believe that even though they may have lost this time there is a real possibility that they will win another time.

Because, even though they do not like the outcome, they recognize that the procedure is legitimate” (Blais 3). This raises the question under what conditions; losers peacefully accept the outcome of the election? One can argue that it is due to the fact that democracy is centered on the rule of the law as opposed to the rule of man. Democratic forms of government and political systems are structured by institutions and these institutions direct how political parties function.

In example, they determine how legislation passes through parliament or when a citizen is eligible to vote. Therefore, what makes democracy unpredictable in terms of outcome is the perception that each vote counts the same since laws are submitted to all citizens and are protected by the constitution. But in the case of China’s authoritarian regime, as premier Li Peng put it, “to allow the demonstrating students to negotiate with party and government as equal would be to negate the leadership of the CCP and negate the entire socialist party” (Andrew Nathan 39).

This makes it more likely the alteration of power in China, should it come, will occur through a rupture, since an authoritarian “regime is unwilling to relax the ban on autonomous political forces” (Nathan 39). We live in a diverse world and globalization has only made diversity within nations and states more prominent. Democracies and democratic forms of government perform a better job of administrating and managing diversity. This is best exemplify when Nathan Glazer, in the article Democracy and Deep Divides, states, “Not every democracy will succeed in dealing with its deep divides.

But democracy has institutional features which offer the hope that every part of the population will feel part of the whole” (Glazer 19). What differentiates democracy from Hitler’s anti-Semitic regime or China’s repressive government is how it deals with managing diversity. Democratic forms of government “promise to address deep divisions more successfully than any alternative”(Glazer) because there are often times characterized by their moderating power.

Democracies function to maintain moderate accesses and radicalism, by adhering to norms of inclusion; this ensures citizens are included in a political process whether in terms of voting, engaging in a civil society movement , or having the rights to express ideas in terms of freedom of press and assembly. However, in a non-democratic government like China’s authoritarian regime “civil society organization and religious groups have to keep a low profile in order to avoid repression” (Nathan 38).

According to Nathan’s Authoritarian Impermanence, this is because “the regime has not become enmeshed in the logic of institutions created as safety valves to preserve its rule” (Nathan). As Andrew Nathan once remarked, “Democratic regimes, by contrast, often elicit disappointment and frustration, but they confront no rival from that outshines them in prestige. Authoritarian regimes in this sense are not forever. They live under the shadow of the future, vulnerable to existential challenges that mature democratic systems do not face” (Nathan 38).

Democracy and democratic forms of government and political system have been subject to challenges of tyranny of minority, and collection. Despite the democratic weaknesses of this form of government, democracy is still highly consistent in terms of unpredictable outcomes, and managing diversity. Similar problems can be found in other regime types like China’s authoritarian regime, Hitler’s Fascist Germany, and Stalin’s totalitarian communist regime. What differenciates democracy from other forms of government is how it deals with those problems by the help of free political parties, contested elections, and court.

Free Essays

Middle East Democracy

The idea of installing a full scale democratic government in Iran is something that has undoubtedly crossed the mind of many prominent American politicians, but it has yet to come to fruition because of a number of reasons. For the most part, the promotion of democracy in the Middle East has been a well tried, but failed venture. While many nations in other parts of the world have been especially quick to pick up democracy, those people in Iran and other parts of the Middle East have not been so willing to embrace the idea yet.

This has occurred because of the fundamental problems that seem to get lost in translation when western nations try to impose a government on the people in the Middle East. In order for democracy to ever work in Iran or elsewhere in that area of the world, these basic, fundamental differences must be addressed appropriately and ultimately be bridged, so that a common accord can be reached in the best interests of the Iranian people.

The primary obstacles to democratic reform in Iran are many and they are tall obstacles. In short, these are basic problems that the people of Iran have with western governments and they are the sort of problems that will keep democracy from coming to Iran at this point. The main thing standing in the way is a difference in religious theory. Though democracy itself purports to support all religions and in effort to promote religious freedom, it is built upon Christian principles and has been a primarily Christian outfit since its inception.

When the founding fathers designed the documents that started the nation, they opened up their Bibles for consultation. This is not a fact that is lost on the Iranian people, nor is it lost on the Iranian government. According to, the statistics on religion in Iran are staggering. According to that website, 98% of the people in Iran are practicing Muslims ( This in itself is something that creates major issues with democracy and stands as a barrier in the way of every having an active democracy in that country. Of that 98% clip, more than 89% of the Muslims are Shi’a, which creates an added problem. That sect of Islam has been particularly harsh in regards to American policy and democracy.

In addition to the problem surrounding religion, there is a problem that exists over control of the country. The controlling party in Iran worked very hard to gain control of the country and they now have a system in place that rewards those who support them and cracks down on those that oppose them. This is done because the country is set up to allow this theocracy to have full and complete control over just about every aspect of the country, including the economy. Since their control is so widespread, there is lots of vested interest in keeping the controlling party in office. If they were to be booted out of office in favor of some new leaders, lots of angry people would be missing out on the benefits that they were used to receiving.

According to, “The chief of the state is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khomeini. The head of the Iran government is President Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad. The Cabinet consists of Council of Ministers selected by the president with legislative approval” ( This alone shows the near complete control that the leader of the government has over the country. Though the head of the government is an elected official, there is little to suggest that any elections are conducted in a fair manner.

Though the government in Iran is technically considered a democracy because of the fact that they hold elections, one would be hard pressed to find anyone that would consider their system a clear representation of the people’s rights. A former American government official has even said in the last month that the democracy effort in Iran is one that will be tough to come by given the current state in the country and America’s current relationship with the leaders of that country. In a New York Sun article by Eli Lake, a former presidential assistant is quoted as saying, “There is not the expertise, there is not the energy for it. The Iran office is worried about the bilateral policy. I think they are not committed to this anymore” (Lake). If that quote is any indication, then the democracy effort in Iran has a tough future ahead of it.

Overcoming the barriers to democracy will not be easy in Iran, but they are doable with the right policy. One thing to consider is that the religious preferences of the Iranian people are longstanding and they are not likely to change any time in the near future. As such, Western nations must understand that they are going to be dealing with an Islamic nation and they must make allowances for that. Though pure democracy in an American sense will never come off as being an Islamic idea, the proponents of such an Iranian democracy movement must make sure to bridge the gap that exists within perception between the two nations.

They must paint democracy in its most positive light to the people of Iran, to make them understand that it is not something to be feared, but rather something to be embraced. If the basic differences in religious preference are going to be conquered, then democracy must appear to them as something that can be incorporated with their Islamic values. Having them adopt Judeo-Christian values is not an option, so if democracy is going to head to Iran, then it must be taken closer to their preferences.

As far as power is concerned, this looks like a problem that might not have a solution. Given the fact that the controlling party is not likely to give up any of their stake in the nation regardless of what the American government has to say, a new democratic creation must take this into account. Though there is no way to truly overcome this obstacle, some progress can be made by insuring that the people in control right now understand that they will not be thrown to the dogs in a new democracy program. They will still have the chance to be in power if they are elected fairly by the people of their country. This will not likely be enough to pacify those in power, but that might not be possible in the long run.

The primary supporters of democratic reform in Iran are mostly from Western nations and their interest is two fold. For American leaders, the establishment of democracy in Iran helps promote that sort of movement all over the world, and it helps to protect American interests abroad as much as possible. The hope of such a government would ultimately be to get rid of the tyrannical leader that runs that government. When tyrants are eliminated from office, the entire world is better off for it, according to American policy. According to a 2005 New York Times article, the American government is taking great measures to help this happen.

They are being helped by leaders in other democratic governments. In an article by Steven R. Weisman, it is stated, “The Bush administration is expanding efforts to influence Iran’s internal politics with aid for opposition and pro-democracy groups abroad and longer broadcasts criticizing the Iranian government, administration officials say” (Weisman). This widespread support from the American government has been continued, although it has been reformed since to meet its goals more effectively.

The main opponents of democratic reform in Iran are fairly predictable, given the current set of circumstances in that country. The controlling party that runs the government has no interest in changing their ways, as it was the old system that allowed them to gain power and influence. They are the most powerful and influential group standing in the way.

Almost as important in this stance against democracy are the religious leaders in Iran. They have a huge measure of control over the population since it is their job to give clarity on religious matters. Under the current theocracy, which is run with a great deal of religious emphasis, they have lots of control and economic swing in the country. This group is probably more important to influence, since it is their interpretation of the Islamic gospel that helps create the prevailing thought of the Iranian people. Given the fact that the deep rooted Christian values in democracy are no secret, it is highly unlikely that the Islamic leaders of Iran are going to relent on their position.

In order to influence these political leaders in Iran, there is only one real solution that the American government can use. Since economic sanctions and threats of war do not seem to be working, the U.S. government has to take the initiative to establish some rewards for the leaders if they were to go along with democracy. Economic rewards are very powerful bargaining tools, because the Iranian leaders can get rich if they play their cards right. If the Western governments made it clear that they would provide clear support to any democratic reform, it may influence the Iranian leaders to make some changes to their current working system.

Though the basic premise of democracy would indicate that any group should be allowed to jockey for position atop the government, Iran has to be handled somewhat differently. Given the previously mentioned statistics on religion in the country, it would be extremely unwise to allow any anti-Islamic groups to push for control of the nation. It would be unwise for a couple of different reasons. On one hand, they would have no chance of gaining control of the country and would therefore just be stirring the pot. This leads to the second conclusion, which indicates that such pot stirring would only have a negative impact on the reception of democracy. Since democracy has to be brought to Iran in conjunction with Islam, this is a recipe for disaster.

One thing that must be considered when a person thinks about American influence in Iran is what kind of broad impact it will have on a number of different people. If America and other western nations were to make a push for democracy in Iran, it might endanger those people in the country that are there in order to do other good in the country. According to an article in the Washington Post by Karl Vick and Daniel Finkel, “Prominent activists inside Iran say President Bush’s plan to spend tens of millions of dollars to promote democracy here is the kind of help they don’t need, warning that mere announcement of the U.S. program endangers human rights advocates by tainting them as American agents” (Vick, Finkel).

This means that the mere announcement of any such effort would immediately put people in danger within Iran. This is not important on the basis that it would endanger a few human rights workers. It is important on the basis that if such widespread distaste for America exists among the people, then there is virtually no chance of American-led policy to stick in the country.

Other factors must be considered, though. If America wants to keep Iran from becoming the next big Middle Eastern super power, then something must be a done. While the foreign policy of the United States should not include the right and prompting to go to war on a whim, it should help protect American interests. The United States has spent countless dollars and thousands of lives in establishing a semblance of normalcy in Iraq. According to some people, any action in Iran would destroy the work already done in its neighboring country.

A United Press International article by Claude Salhani reads, “However, any attack on Iran would reverse any gains made in Iraq. This point was repeated to the U.S. secretary of defense by various Gulf officials” (Salhani). The government of the United States has to be very careful in this case, as they are playing with fire, to an extent.

The only way that the American government should put dollars and effort forward in an attempt to reform Iran is if they have a clear idea of how to get things done. Any plan that is devoid of such a clear objective would fail miserably. The objectives must be to help end tyranny in Iran and to protect American interests on a security level. They must be handled diplomatically, as a military conflict in Iran at this time would be a recipe for disaster, given the nuclear implications that exist.

A Steven Erlanger article in the New York Times indicates the thinking of Israel on the matter of nuclear weapons in Iran. In his article, Erlanger writes, “Israel thinks that an American National Intelligence Estimate about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, published in an unclassified version last week, is unduly optimistic and focuses too narrowly on the last stage of weapons development – the fashioning of a bomb out of highly enriched uranium” (Erlanger). This means that some uncertainty exists over whether or not the country has any real, threatening weapons. If they were to possess advanced nuclear capability, then America and other nations must make sure to tread very lightly in enemy territory.

Works Cited

Erlanger, Steven. New York Times. Israelis Brief top U.S. Commander on Iran’s Nuclear Activities. 11 December 2007.

Lake, Eli. The New York Sun. ‘This Pretty Much Kills the Iran Democracy Program’. 8 November 2007. <>

Maps of the World. Iran Government.

Nation Master. Iran: Religion. <>

Salhani, Claude. United Press International. Analysis: Iran is Still a Threat for U.S. 10 December 2007. <>

Vick, Karl, & Finkel, David. Washington Post. U.S. Push for Democracy Could Backfire in Iran. 14 March 2006. <>

Weisman, Steven. The New York Times. U.S. Expands Aid to Iran’s Democracy Advocates Abroad. 29 May 2005. <>


Free Essays

Practicing the Democracy in the Philippines

How does People Power became a bad habit? How does Edsa 3 fail? Where does President Marcos fall short when there are many people tell that he was a good leader in terms of economic development? Was he corrupt? Why Benigno Aquino focuses on “assassination” on his interviews? Why was Benigno Aquino be the first to get off to the airplane? Why there was no bodyguard to take care of him? Did Ninoy know that he will soon die? Was it sacrifice? Why does he need to do that so? When people don’t like the operation of the government, they just go out to the office and shout.

Rebellion against the government is what will happen. This is what we call People Power. When thousands and even millions of people grouped together to commit one common goal – a big changes can happen, Changes in the government, administration, community and also “position”. All can change but not the attitude of every Filipino. Honestly, For me, We Filipino are lazy, We only think is ourselves. We don’t know how to cooperate with the leaders. We don’t give our trust. Instead, We are “Juan Tamad” waiting for the guava fell from the hand of our leader. We don’t know how to work for ourselves.

We always want help from the government and that is what the government is offering to us but we don’t give any help in return. Why do we always put our anger to the president? The president could not monitor each one of us that is why we have a respected leader in our respected place. We can be a leader in ourselves. All we need is discipline and the word of God to govern us. While I was walking in gastambide Street last night, I saw some student throwing garbage in the street. I felt madness. Our leader will not go there to pick it up and put it to the garbage can for them.

Laziness. I heard the one said, “sus! May magwawalis naman jan. ” I got angry, but I can’t speak. Don’t they have discipline? Don’t they have an ethics class? Do they know about ethics? Yes, they have freedom to throw it there but they must not forget that there is a rule. Democracy was granted to us with the help of the Aquinos but we must not forget our responsibility. A “lack of help” turns to anger, making people march out to Edsa. Laziness. Let us differentiate Filipino from Chinese. The answer is already there. Poor become more poorer and richer become more richer.

We Filipino give so much dependence to the government where in fact, we can do it alone and share it with others. All because of laziness. This attitude makes People Power a bad habit. It’s like saying, “Ang gusto ko ibigay mo, kung hindi paalisin ka namin dyan sa pwesto mo. ” It is saddening to note that it is a wrong practice of democracy. People Power is not Rebellion and not even rally. Nowadays, It is used to commit power and it is so sad. While doing this report, a news in a television got my attention. It was about the killing of the journalists. They were asking, where is democracy?

I look for the meaning in my dictionary, it says,”Democracy is a form of government by the people through elected representatives. ” A certain site from the Internet says “Democracy is a political government either carried out by the people (direct democracy), or the power to govern is granted to elected representatives”. Simply for me, it means freedom, the power is for people. Now, I understand. Former President Ferdinand Marcos took his responsibility carefully. He was an intelligent man. He knows how to speak to the different kinds of people in the society from elite to the poor.

He had many plan to put this country to the top. But this plan turned him to a greedy one. But what was the problem? FM forgot about democracy. He forgot to appreciate the capabilities of others to lead and instead he depended on his own knowledge and skills. He forgot the rights of the people and instead he became a dictator. That was a big problem for a country that practices democracy. Even the right to vote – the simplest form to practice democracy in this country was taken. Because of that, A brave man named “Ninoy Aquino” decided to make change.

This man sacrifices his self to open the eyes of every Filipino to fight for their rights. He said that “Filipino is worth dying for”. A dramatic quote which make me feel proud of being a Filipino. Why wonder I typed “I am proud of being a Filipino” in my friendster, facebook and multiply account. Every Filipino knows what “L” signs mean, Yellow Ribbon, Ninoy eyeglasses, yellow shirt. I hope that these are not only a trend to Filipino Fashion but rather I hope that every Filipino will use it to hold and to preserve the good things that Ninoy and Cory did.

I am not forcing everyone to vote for Noynoy but I am hoping that if Noynoy wins, Nonoy will do the same to promote democracy for I believe Like father, like son. He grew up to the family who fights for democracy and I am hoping he will do the same. Looking back to the Edsa People Power days, I was really amazed to see millions of people fight for freedom. I am wishing that millions of people will work also for the benefit of our country and I hope our leaders will cooperate. It is so dramatic to watch the part where people and the soldier joined together. I Thanked God for having Cory and Ninoy for our country.

If only I was born back then, I will also march up to Edsa to fight for democracy. There is a feeling of patriotism in me while watching that documentary. I really appreciate what Ninoy, Cory and the rest did. God granted democracy to us with the help of these people. We have to use it wisely. We must practice it rightly and we must not forget our duty and responsibility. We must not forget the people behind this movement. From Rizal to Ninoy to Cory and to the future hero. Let us not forget what democracy means hoping to preserve these people and Edsa not only to a page in history books but also within our hearts and warriors will lead that.

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Democracy vs Dictatorship

I choose democracy as a more efficient type of government over dictatorship for these three simple reasons right her equal rights for all people, political freedom, and freedom of choice. I know you as a reader notice how every reason has the word freedom in it. This is because with a dictatorship there is no freedom, which show the ovbious reason why democracy is suprior.

Democracy is a system of government in which political authority is held by the people. Democracies typically feature constitutional governments with majority rules. This is to keep they peace among the people “they equally voted for whoever or whatever”.

Freedom of expression in a dictatorship doesn’t exist. With a dictator if you disargee with him/she you know that your better off not saying anything, because with a militarylistic type of ruler most likely your either imprsioned or killed. Freedom of expression is important mainly because if you only have one view of something how could it not be one sided, without oppions you’ll never come up with a plan that suits everybody that can be effected.

Political freedom is way be on important. Not being able to choose who runs the place where you live is like paying rent for someone esle’s apartment. You have no say in what goes on wither it be about war, taxes, and even sometimes rules.

Can you even picture life without your freedom of choice? This means you dont get to choice where you live, jobs, what you want to be, and etc. “Shoot” if your dictator doesn’t want you to speak english anymore and you don’t know any other language then you just dont talk. Can you imagine living like that?

So I conclude that freedom of choice, political freedom, and freedom of expression are some major reasons for the supriority of an democracy over an dictatorship. If you don’t believe that it’s better then go to Cuba and live with Castro and see how you like it. Then write me and tell me how you feel about, because your under his rule now if he doesnt want you to leave then you can even come back and tell how you feel.

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Asses the View That Pressure Groups Benefit Democracy

Pressure groups have many features about them that determine whether they are democratic or undemocratic. If we have to determine whether Pressure Groups benefit democracy or not, we have to know what part they play in our society. As we know, pluralists have a very positive view on pressure group politics; believing that they promote healthy debate and discussion. This is true in some aspects of society and our democracy, but pressure groups also have many undemocratic features about them. Firstly, the most important democratic feature of pressure groups is their way of representing the people in our society.

Their main function is to represent our interests and those who are of minority, making sure that their voice gets heard, whether we take an active part or not. To demonstrate how representative they really are, in virtually all our activities, there is probably a group which is seeking to secure favourable legislation or decisions and to avoid unfavourable ones. However, some pressure group leaders may not truly represent their members. Trade union leaders were charged with this and it remains a danger.

Furthermore, party politicians are made accountable for their actions through the electoral process and through representative institutions; which is seen as vey democratic. Pressure Group leaders are not accountable, which means that if they don’t fulfil their representative aims we can’t do anything about it which conveys that pressure groups are undemocratic. However, pressure groups are seen as very democratic when it comes to participation, and how they are making many more people partake in politics, and make politics more aware to people.

A passive citizenship is often seen as an extreme danger to democracy; many people do not involve themselves in political activity; producing the strong probability that the government will become dictatorial, safe in that they know that they’re power will probably not get challenged. Pressure groups are therefore important because firstly they prevent excessive accumulations of power and to ensure that government remains accountable to the people. It is known that especially young people enjoy taking part in demonstrations which is evidence for pressure groups trying to get people more politically aware as active.

However, pressure groups are queried as undemocratic; due to their disproportionate influence. Some pressure groups do not conform to democratic principles around the nature of influence. If all groups enjoyed the amount of influence which their size and importance warranted, the outcome might be considered democratic however, some groups wield more power that their relative importance. For example, the farming community accounts for a tiny proportion of the total population but farms are responsible for much of our food supply.

Finally, pressure groups most important democratic feature is the fact that they make sure all of us, in small or large groups, are taken account of, awarded an equal status, and protected. If this does not work, we will simply be ruled by the majority, which ultimately means that nothing would change. Majority rule also, is not a true democracy. Seeking majority support, political parties will inevitably have to ignore the interests of many minorities. Pressure groups therefore play a very vital part in ensuring that party rule is not converted into tyranny and minority groups are heard.

Another undemocratic factor however that can balance how democratic pressure groups really is their size and finance. It is clear that some pressure groups are considerably more wealthy than others, having an unfair advantage. Everyone from sectional interests inevitably gain funds whereas charities have to get their funds from the public. It is seen as undemocratic, because with particular wealthy groups, they have adopted the practice of donating money to political parties in order to seek a sympathetic government. An example of this is the event “cash for peerages” where it was alleged that money was being donated in return for peerages.

Furthermore pressure groups size is seen as a very undemocratic factor because even though some pressure groups have a sheer amount of numbers to go on to protest, it does not always reflect the public opinion. For example, The ban on hunting with dogs for example, 300,000 took to the streets and put the government into panic. However, the majority of those people wanted a full ban on fox hunting. In conclusion, weighing up the democratic and undemocratic features, overall, pressure groups do benefit democracy. Firstly they promote healthy debate and discussion.

Pressure groups have made many more people politically aware and have increased the amount of political participation through demonstrations, protest, marches and even petitions. They may even be the reason for the increase of election turnout in 2010 elections due to them making people more politically aware. Another way that pressure groups benefit democracy is their role of representation towards minorities as well as everyone in our society. Even though pressure groups do have some aspects to them that are seen as very undemocratic, pressure group politics is a very healthy way of strengthening our government.

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We the People

We, the people, are responsible for this malady. How? you may ask! In the democratic India, we are only left with one right – that is – Voting Right! We do not even know how to exercise our Voting Right! We have premier Management Institutions (IIMs) and B-Schools. Let them use their expertise to train our people as to how to exercise their franchise.

We are in total anarchy! We have allowed and turned a handful of otherwise, low caliber people, into giants in the eyes of public. Inequity, Injustice, Corruption in all corners, weakened judiciary, every one wants to wield power and misuse them. In reality, four hundred and odd people rule 115 cr. population at ease! Sardar Patel toiled to unite the Princely States. The Rajas and Maharajas descending from various dynasties had faith in their Prajas and Almighty! Taking their kingdom, making them too small under the garb of democracy, we have created and are creating dynasty of politicians! Who is at fault?

The so called four pillars of democracy (Executive, Legislature, Judiciary and the Media) are shaky. We have one Sridharan to mend the pillars, if found cracky, in the Metro Network, however, we have failed to produce as many Sridharans as possible to attend these cracked pillars.

Let there be unity and the like-minded people join hands to disseminate and educate the people of this country to bring about a just leadership for building a very Strong Nation, called, India! If we don’t do it, we would be answerable to our next generation!

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Separation of Powers in the American Democracy

Separation of powers provides our government with a system of checks and balances, a way to prevent one branch from becoming too powerful. This concept was important in the creation of our government because it prevented one central government. Our Framers wanted to avoid a government that was run by one person, or one super powerful group. In order to effectively put their theory to work, they actually separated the powers between each branch of government.

The three branches of our government consist of the Legislative Branch, The Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch. While each branch does hold some authority over the other two, they are still politically independent of one another. Let me explain further how the separation of powers works.

The Legislative Branch’s powers include passing all federal laws, the ability to override a president’s veto, declaring war, enacting taxes, and it can even impeach the president. The Executive Branch’s responsibilities include veto power over all bills, making treaties, pardon power, and it ensures all laws are carried out. Lastly, the Judicial Branch has the power to try federal cases and it can also rule that laws or executive acts are unconstitutional.

As stated earlier, each branch has authorities, or checks over the other two. We know that the Executive Branch has the power to carry out laws. The Legislative and Judicial branches check over the Executive Branch in this manner because even though they are enforcing the laws, the Legislative Branch is the one with the ability to fund the laws and other executive actions, while the Judicial Branch interprets them. And, though the Legislative Branch has the power to impeach the president, a Chief Justice (a member of the Judicial Branch) sits as President of the Senate during this time. Each branch works together to ensure the other is doing what it’s supposed to be doing.

I believe the Framers thought separation of powers was so important because their goal from the beginning was to establish a government that was unlike any other. Our Framers wanted to make sure that the government they were creating would be able to withstand itself over time. The Framers wanted to show they had faith (not much, but a little) in their fellow citizens by giving them the power to vote and make decisions. Giving the power to the people was the aim of our new government. By leaving behind countries where dictators ruled the people, and where Kings and Queens passed down authority from generation to generation, our Framers did everything they could to make sure our new government would not become what they disliked so much.

Separation of powers preserves the ideas and wants of our Framers, and that is why I believe a system of checks and balances to be so important.


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Democracy in Pakistan-a Dilemma

Against the backdrop of recent surge in political temperature, speakers at a roundtable discussion forum stress the need for continuation of democratic process despite of all the current challenges faced by it. In a roundtable discussion forum “Political Expediency and the Future of Democracy in Pakistan” organized by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), at its office premises in Islamabad, issues and challenges related to current democratic governance and prospects of a democratic Pakistan were discussed in detail. Mr.

Ahmed Bilal Mahoob, executive director, Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency(PILDAT) opened the discussion with an overly optimistic note and observed: “Democracy in Pakistan has never been as good as it is today. ” He noted that it is the first time in history of Pakistan that three state pillars, those are Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature are carving out their respective ways out of this challenging political environment and it is a good omen for young democracy. In the past, judiciary was under the influence of executives, but now it is independent and assertive.

Related essay: Pillars of Democracy in Tanzania

Parliament in a democracy is always considered a vital state pillar, but again it tried to overpower the other state organs. Against this backdrop, during the era of current democratic government, the growth of all state organs is continuous and stable. Likewise, during current democratic rule, for the first time, Senate was chaired by an opposition representative. Then if we look towards media, we have a robust and independent media, which explicitly does not seem under the influence of government. Coming to the democratic governance, Mr.

Mahboob asserted the notion that there is widespread political discontentment and disillusionment among the masses. And ironically, the people have directed all their criticism and scathing towards federal government and spared the provincial governments altogether, whereas under the 18th amendment, most of the ministries have been devolved to the provinces. Therefore when we disparage the federal government, we should also vent some anger on provincial governments as well. Discussing the recent upsurge in political temperature, Mr.

Mahboob stated “As we are nearing to the close up of this government, therefore, all political parties want to gear up the political momentum in order to gain mileage out of it in coming elections. He further continued by saying that “Almost all opinion surveys and polls in recent months suggest that the people are fed up by the present government— and want a change, so this upsurge is not abnormal and nothing is worrisome in it”. He narrated that when we talk about the freedom of expression, we generally take a pride after looking at the countries, which enjoyed sustained periods of democracy.

And this is something that we should cherish, despite of all short comings. He termed the “Imran Khan phenomenon” as a harbinger of positive change in the political arena of Pakistan. PPP leader and former federal minister, Syeda Abida Hussain said that since inception Pakistanis wished for democratic rule in the country, and it is because, “Pakistan born out of vote”. But, she lamented that we have been scathing under long dictatorial rules for better part of our political history and there are reasons for it.

She observed that though we as a nation may have developed liking for democratic rule, but ironically we lack political temperament. Mrs. Hussain said that the voices for change are getting louder and louder with the passage of time. She acknowledged that there is rampant corruption in the country and no state department is free of it. “State institutions should be established on the basis of equality, charter of democracy should be written by all the parties struggling for rule of law in the country”, she suggested. Every one of us talks about poor governance but nobody did anything” she lamented. She reiterated that we have to make the system more responsive through sustained efforts for efficient democratic governance. Meanwhile, if we resorted for premature political solutions at this stage, then the future of democracy in Pakistan will be dark once again. She warned that the covert apparatus is once again out with its ulterior motives and the political parties will have understand its maneuvering for the benefit of democratic et up in the country. Former lawmaker from Swat, Mr. Adnan Aurangzeb said that in Pakistan “—the gap between political representatives and the represented is widening relentlessly” and this is not healthy sign for the future of democracy in the country. He underlined that there are structural problems, which are not letting the democratic culture take hold in Pakistan. He said that unfortunately, the legislators in Pakistan are not well connected with their constituencies, and therefore the people feel marginalized.

According to him, there lies huge social, cultural, economic and political void between the rulers and the ruled. And this pertinent factor will continue to haunt the dream of a peaceful and prosperous democratic Pakistan. Participants in the roundtable discussion forum were of the view that there is need for a responsive democratic governance structure and without accountability the dividends of democracy will not trickle down the masses. And in consequence, the ubiquitous discontent will eventually lead towards the folding of the political system.

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Indian Democracy at Crossroad

Avinash Shankar MAD12015 Politics Essay: 2 Topic Can post-colonial India’s political experience be characterized as moving towards becoming more democratic Democracy, the form of government where supreme power is directly or indirectly vested in people, has become a global discourse that can be gauged from the fact that many post-colonial countries have adopted it with remarkable success.

The dramatic global expansion of democracy in the last few decades in post-colonial countries speak volume of this most popular form of representative government. The ever fluctuating political dynamics coupled with changing socio-economic patterns since Independence has given new meanings to Indian democracy at each stage of its progression. India inherited a colonial state and kept much of its functioning architecture intact. Much of state practice, despite its massive quantitative expansion, is heavily governed by legislation passed somewhere between 1860 and 1947.

During the 65-years of long journey, India as a nation has witnessed moments wherein democracy looked to find its true meaning, while moments like national emergency during Indira Gandhi’s regime qualify as the abysmal low that India touched as democratic nation. Adoption of socialist pattern, the middle path between capitalism and communism, at the early stage of our independence and a series of economic reforms that began in 1980s were primarily targeted at delivering the true essence of democracy in social, economic, and political spheres.

This paper is an attempt to answer how Abraham Lincoln’s notion of democracy as a government of the people, by the people and for the people has been put to test in India on different social, political, and economic parameters at different stages of its progression since independence and whether ever changing political, social and economic dynamics have brought India closer to true democratic model. India retained a deep commitment to principles of parliamentary government during the three decades after independence. Indian leaders described their approach planning nder a democratic pattern of socialism as a new model for Asian and African development. India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who set the direction of India’s development during the first fifteen years of freedom, pointed to his country as an area of agreement between opposing ideologies of capitalism on the hand and the communism on the other. Under his leadership, the commitment to democratic social transformation was an integral part of India’s development strategy. Nehru also tried to incorporate Gandhian ideals of social reforms in his development programs.

Nehru spoke of this mode of development as a third way which takes best from all existing systems—the Russian, the American, and sought to create something suited to one’s own history and philosophy. In the nascent stage of Independence, the Nehruvian socialist model of development seemed to have worked well within the social and economic framework of India. But Nehru too had to face many challenges in the implementation of his development model. Nehru’s attempt to bring serious bourgeois land reforms was thwarted through a combination of feudal resistance, judicial conservatism, and connivance of state Congress leaderships.

Although Congress was content to accept the continuance of semi-feudal rural power, it adopted massive plans for capitalist movement. Consistent with this general objective, the ruling elite adopted a plan for heavy industrialization and institutional control of capital goods industries through the state sector, a largely untried experiment at the time in the underdeveloped countries. Indira Gandhi who became Prime Minister after Nehru’s demise gave a new populist dimension to Indian politics.

The shift of the Congress to populist politics quickly set up a new structure of political communication in which Indira could directly appeal to electorates. While populist endeavors like Garibi Hatao (remove poverty) and nationalization of banks brought her good name, she has often been criticized for changing the Congress into a highly centralized and undemocratic party organization, from the earlier federal, democratic, and ideological formation that Nehru had led. Indira’s regime, in my opinion, was the beginning of the stage when India started to show its meaningful presence internationally.

Creation of Bangladesh was the beginning of the India’s assertiveness at international level. Nuclear test conducted in 1974 was the extension of this assertiveness. Ironically Indira’s regime will also go down in history for bringing disrepute to democracy by imposing emergency in the most undemocratic manner. Perhaps it was the first blow to the essence of democratic model that India followed since independence. The manner in which rights and liberties, the two important tenets of democracy, were suspended during emergency reminds us how an authoritarian regime can play havoc in people’s minds.

The emergency perhaps was the turning point in the Indian democratic history because it paved the way for major political and social shift. It was perhaps the trigger that led to the end of absolute majority era and ignited the undercurrent of regional politics played largely around caste and religious lines. Easwaran Sridharan and M. V. Rajeev Gowda however believe that the end of Congress’s dominance and fragmentation of the party system have stopped short of undermining the basic power-sharing characteristics of the system and have indeed contributed to democratic consolidation.

While the seeds for the decline of one-power dominance were sown during Indira’s regime it became more apparent during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as the Prime Minister of India. Some scholars however believe that the decline of one-party dominance and the emergence of a large number of smaller or regional parties which ensure that state-level elections are vigorously contested have had positive effects on competition. These developments represent political empowerment of historically marginalized groups and reflect favorably on the vibrancy of political entrepreneurship.

I feel that mushrooming of small regional parties can also be attributed to effect of anti-defection law enacted during Rajiv’s regime. Emergence of regional parties has also led to political instability due to opportunist attitude shown by these parties time and again. Rajiv attempted to bring party reforms and rebuild Congress as an organized party. He also played a vital role in tackling Punjab problem that assumed alarming proportion during Indira’s regime. Rajiv can also be credited for bringing constitutional status to Panchayati Raj, one of most important tenets of Indian democracy.

During Rajiv’s regime too the essence of democracy looked dismantled characterized by high-scale violence against the Sikh community in the aftermath of Indira’s assassination. Coalition politics gained momentum after Rajiv’s assassination in 1991. Caste and religion became the driver and determinants of Indian politics thereafter. Anti-reservation protest in the aftermath of the implementation of Mandal Commission is the stark reminder of the despair that results when the advocates for meritocracy lose their battle against the saviors of petty caste politics.

Hindu nationalist forces too jumped the bandwagon soon and tried to establish their presence in the Indian political arena through much talked about Ram Janmabhumi agenda. We are also witnessing a paradigm shift in the redistributive politics wherein leftist forces are happy with a kind of statism that protects the state sector even if it means stifling the rest of economy. On the other hand the proponents of Mandal fear that rolling back the state on economic reform issues at the moment when Backward Castes (BCs) are getting access to its resources would be exercise in bad faith.

Of late, globalization and economic reforms have given a new dimension to Indian politics, and for that matter to Indian democracy. Development has become the main political agenda pushing caste and religion gimmicks on the backburner. Political results in two successive elections in Bihar mark the paradigm shift in people’s voting pattern. It shows how voters are trumping the populist agenda in favor of developmental agenda. It augurs well for Indian democracy. The ensuing paragraphs discuss at length achievements, challenges and issues that India faces as democratic nation.

Despite the considerable success of the Indian state in holding free and fair elections, sustaining a free press, and dramatically expanding the franschise, the abuse of coercive state power remains one of the major problems. Frequently such power is used arbitrarily against the poor, minorities, and those who dare to challenge the state’s writ. Furthermore, police abuses are more pronounced in poorer states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where standards of accountability are sorely lacking. The evidence from such states of rampant deaths in police custody underscores the gravity of this ill.

India as a democratic nation has underachieved when it comes to protecting human rights. Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1990 was aimed at containing ethno-religious insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir. It allows armed forces to conduct counter-insurgency operations. Under the garb of this act, security forces often resort to extrajudicial killings. The 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Activities Act (POTA), that came into existence in the aftermath of a series of terror acts, was sometimes used against political opponents and also infringed upon the individual rights and civil liberties of Indian citizen.

The secular structure of Indian democracy also looked threatened on many occasions. The project of secularism has increasingly been under threat as communal ideology and political forces have come to enjoy greater purchase in society and the polity. The demolition of Babri Masjid engineered by Hindu nationalist forces like Bajrang Dal, RSS, and VHP, doesn’t augur well for the secular structure of the country.

The Hindu nationalists’ hostility to secularism became evident in a number of different arenas, ranging from a systematic attempt to alter history and socio-science science textbooks to party leaders’ willingness to countenance widespread state-sanctioned violence against Muslims, especially during bloody disturbances that rocked the western state of Gujrat. On the positive side, the growth of a plethora of nongovernmental organizations (NGO) focused on development, along with the growing participation of hitherto quiescent groups, are gradually resulting in a political system that is more accountable to the citizenry.

The roles NGOs are playing have the potential to reshape the much needed developmental path. In times to come, NGOs will play much meaningful role by representing face of common people largely ignored by political entities. However politicization and financial irregularities rampant at these rapidly multiplying NGOs could act as a deterrent to the primary objectives that these nonprofits stand for. At Independence, the imperative for welfare mechanism was obvious due to widespread poverty and lack of food security, specially in the rural areas.

Even after sixty five years of Independence, a large percentage of Indian population officially are still subsisting below poverty line and incidents of acute food insecurity continue to occur. Since 1985 Kalahandi has been more or less uninterruptedly suffering from food crisis of alarming dimensions and proportions, officially and disarmingly described as drought, but unofficially, by critics, as famine. The politics of nomenclature apart, Kalahandi has become a metaphor for hunger in several other districts in the more backward hill areas of south-western Orissa.

The most ugly part of the Kalahandi starvation issue was highlighted by the Baidyanath Mishra Commission Report that attributed starvation deaths in the region to a set of issues including corruption, fraud, misuse, wastefulness, and mismanagement of development. Enhancing food security at the household level is an issue of great importance for developing country like India where millions of poor suffer from lack of purchasing power and malnutrition. Right to food is a part of an overall goal of achieving the right to development.

Attainment of self-sufficiency of foodgrains at the national level is one of the big achievements in post-independence period. After remaining a food deficit country for about two decades after independence, India has not only become self-sufficient in foodgrains but now has a surplus of foodgrains. Despite many poverty alleviation programs initiated since the time of Indira Gandhi, poverty still remains one of the concerns and state and central governments need to look into it. Employment guarantee schemes like NREGA bring some hope even though effective implementation remains largely unaddressed.

India has made significant progress in fostering high levels of economic and industrial development. But when it comes to ethnic conflict in India, four sets of causal conditions have usually combined in different ways in different areas to produce conflict and violence. First is the fear of assimilation or cultural dilution and unfulfilled national aspiration. Second is the process of modernization by inducing large-scale migrations and by raising standards of literacy and aspirations.

This process of modernization has not only forced ethnic groups to live closely together and to compete for rewards and resources, but has also sharpened their sociopolitical awareness and increased their capacity to mobilize for collective action. The third reason is unequal development, poverty, exploitation, lack of opportunity, and threats to existing group privileges. Finally, political factors such as endemic bad governance, the growth of anti-secular forces, institutional decay, and vote-bank politics have also contributed to large scale ethnic conflicts.

The role of mass media has become more important in today’s context. Mass media has played a positive role in highlighting issues of public concern such as corruption, electoral malpractices, and economic instability. Anti-corruption movement launched by social crusader Anna Hazare could become successful due to large scale involvement of mass media. On the flipside politicization and commercialization of mediums of mass media don’t paint rosy picture for the fourth pillar of Indian democracy. Another area where we need to work is the social security for unorganized workers.

The social security problems for unorganized workers in India can be divided into two sets of problems. The first is the capability deprivation in terms of inadequate employment, low earnings, poor health, and educational status which are related to general deprivation of poorer sections of the population. The second is the adversity in the sense of absence of adequate fall back mechanisms to meet contingencies such as ill health, accident, death, and old age. Central and state governments also need to focus on social sector by ensuring larger allocation for such expenditure.

On human development index India is not comfortably placed either. Infant mortality rate remains one of the major issues. The incidence of child labor is among the highest in the world. Women have significantly higher morbidity and mortality rates than men. Though we have made significant inroads in achieving greater literacy, the numbers don’t sound adequate. Human development conditions are particularly egregious in four northern states, Bihar, Rajasthan, UP, and Madhya Pradesh. It becomes apparent that our democratic aspirations are only partly realized.

Large scale corruption, communalism, electoral malpractices, perverted forms of Muslim and Hindu radicalism, sponsored terrorism, regional separatist insurgencies, corporate-political nexus, apart from many other things, have been obstructing the India’s journey along the path of democracy. Through a series of economic reforms India has made its presence at international stage, but marginalized sections of Indian society are yet to reap substantial benefits from it. Strong political will is needed to put us in the forefront of successful democratic nations.

We also need to get rid of the corrupt hierarchy of bureaucratic structure because it acts as a deterrent to the implementation of welfare programs. As the citizen of a democratic nation what hurts me most is the deep rooted corruption, not only because it has become an exercise of power and impunity for many, but also because it has made its locus in the minds of people where it has become standardized. We spent enough time passing the bucks as to which apparatus/ apparatuses of our social, economic and political systems has/have failed us as the democratic nation.

It is not the time to retrospect what we achieved as a democratic nation in the long journey so far, rather it is introspection time for each actor of democracy including politicians, bureaucrats, and off course the most powerful people. This introspection will surely bring the urgency among actors to realize the accountability they owe to the democratic edifice of India that is standing tall after having weathered challenging times since independence. Spread of education and emergence of political, social, and economic consciousness among citizens give me hope that India will slowly inch closer to aligning herself ith the essence of true democratic values and ideals. I will choose to finish this manuscript on a positive note by going back to the famous quote of Harry Emerson Fosdick … “Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people. ” Bibliography 1. Mehta, P. B. , The Burden of Democracy . Penguin Books, New Delhi, 2003 2. Frankrel, F. R. , India’s political economy, 1947-2004: The Gradual Revolution. London: Oxford University Press, 2005 3. ibid 4. Karanjia, R. K. , Mind of Mr. Nehru,London: Allen & Unwin, 1961 5.

Kaviraj, Sudipta, “A critique of the Passive Revolution,” Economics and Political Weekly 23 (Nov 1988): 2433 6. Chandra, Bipin, Mukherjee, Aditya, Mukherjee, Mridula. India after Independence, Penguin Books, New Delhi, 1999 7. Ganguly, Sumit, Diamond, Larry and Plattner, Marc F. , The State of India’s Democracy , Oxford University Press, 2009 8. Yadav, Yogendra, “Electoral Politics in the Time of Change: India’s Third Electoral System, 1998-99,” Economics and Political Weekly, August 21-28, 1999 9. Mehta, P. B. , The Burden of Democracy , Penguin Books, New Delhi, 2003 10.

Genteman, Amelia, Killings in Delhi Slum Expose: Unequal Justice for India’s Poor,” International Herald Tribune, January 6, 2007 11. See the National Human Rights Commission Report for 2004-2005, available at www. nhrc. nic. in 12. Jayal, NirajaGopal, ed. , Democracy in India Oxford University Press, New Delhi 13 Ganguly, Sumit “The Crisis of Indian Secularism,” Journal of Democracy 14, October 2003 14. see Ganguly, Diamond, Plattner 15. see Jayal 16. see Jayal 17. see Jayal 18. Dev, S. Mahendra, Inclusive Growth in India: Agriculture, Poverty, and Developoment Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2011 19. ee Ganguly, Diamond, Plattner 20. See Dev 21. Atul Kohli, ed. , “The Success of India’s Democracy,” Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2011 ——————————————– [ 1 ]. P. B. Mehta, The Burden of Democracy (Penguin Books, New Delhi, 2003), 106-107 [ 2 ]. F. R. Frankel, India’s political economy, 1947-2004: The Gradual Revolution (London: Oxford University Press, 2005), 4 [ 3 ]. F. R. Frankel, India’s political economy, 1947-2004: The Gradual Revolution (London: Oxford University Press, 2005), 25 [ 4 ]. R. K. Karanjia, Mind of Mr. Nehru (London: Allen & Unwin, 1961), 100-101 [ 5 ]. Sudipta kaviraj. A critique of the Passive Revolution,” Economics and Political Weekly 23 (Nov 1988): 2433 [ 6 ]. Bipan Chandra, Aditya Mukherjee, Mridula Mukherjee. India after Independence (Penguin Books, New Delhi, 1999), Chapters 11, 13 [ 7 ]. Sumit Ganguly, Larry Diamond, and Marc F. Plattner, The State of India’s Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009), xviii-xix [ 8 ]. Yogendra yadav, “Electoral Politics in the Time of Change: India’s Third Electoral System, 1998-99,” Economics and Political Weekly (August 21-28, 1999): 2393-99 [ 9 ]. P. B. Mehta, The Burden of Democracy (Penguin Books, New Delhi, 2003), 168-169 [ 10 ].

Amelia Genteman, Killings in Delhi Slum Expose: Unequal Justice for India’s Poor,” International Herald Tribune (January 6, 2007) [ 11 ]. See the National Human Rights Commission Report for 2004-2005, available at www. nhrc. nic. in [ 12 ]. NirajaGopal Jayal, ed. , Democracy in India (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 170 [ 13 ]. Sumit Ganguly, “The Crisis of Indian Secularism,” Journal of Democracy 14 (October 2003): 11-25 [ 14 ]. Sumit Ganguly, Larry Diamond, and Marc F. Plattner, The State of India’s Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009), xxi-xxii [ 15 ]. Jayal, 198 [ 16 ]. Jayal, 199 [ 17 ].

NirajaGopal Jayal, ed. , Democracy in India (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 200 [ 18 ]. S. Mahendra Dev, Inclusive Growth in India: Agriculture, Poverty, and Developoment (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 201), 101-103 [ 19 ]. Sumit Ganguly, Larry Diamond, and Marc F. Plattner, The State of India’s Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009), 49 [ 20 ]. S. Mahendra Dev, Inclusive Growth in India: Agriculture, Poverty, and Developoment (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2011), 201-202 [ 21 ]. Atul Kohli, ed. , “The Success of India’s Democracy (Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2011), 211

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Jacksonian Democracy Dbq

Kathy Dai M. Galvin AP USH Period 1 Jacksonian Democracy DBQ The Jacksonian democracy of the 1820s-1830s is often associated with an expansion of the political influence, economic opportunities, and social equality available to “the common man,” a concept of the masses which President Andrew Jackson and his newly founded Democratic party came to represent. The new administration certainly saw gains for the majority; namely, public participation in government increased to unprecedented levels, and several economic decisions were made to favor the people over monopolies.

Beginning with their exaggerated portrayal of the “corrupt” 1824 election however, the Jacksonian democrats also left a legacy of substantial miscalculations in policies and acts of hypocrisy that conflicted with their claimed intents to promote and protect popular democracy. In particular, the dangerous implications of various political and economic policies, along with the deliberate disregard of social inequality, are aspects of the Jacksonian age that most clearly demonstrate discrepancies between Jacksonian ideals and realities.

The political field saw the first advances accredited to the Jacksonian democracy in the forms of extended suffrage and increased government participation, but it also involved many questionable federal acts that conflicted with the vision of political democracy. With Andrew Jackson’s election in 1828 introducing the first president from West of the Appalachians, the common men that Jackson championed naturally arose to the political stage as well.

States all across the country adopted universal suffrage for white males on their own in the 1820s, but Jackson indeed bolstered the democratic trend through influence in newspapers, popular campaigning, and even a huge inauguration party at the White House open to the masses. In terms of campaigning however, the election of 1828 was the first in which the political parties directly attacked each other’s candidates through the press.

The increase in voter participation led to a negative pattern of smear campaigning that aimed more to sway the masses than convey the truth that a healthy democracy needs. Furthermore, Jackson’s presidency was characterized by use of the spoils system and the systematic rotation of officeholders. These stipulated that federal jobs were strictly given to loyal Democrats and that federal offices could be held for only one term. While these practices were meant to emphasize equal political opportunities and build party loyalty, they inherently promoted government corruption.

In fact, the power that Jackson wielded by trading federal positions for party loyalty both overextended his executive power and practiced the same corrupt bargaining of office that the Democrats accused John Quincy Adams of in the election of 1824. Thus, the Jacksonian democrats dealt clear detriments and hypocrisies to the system of popular democracy that they so strongly advocated, despite their encouragement of universal white male suffrage and participation in office.

Similarly, the Jacksonian age affected the economy both in accordance with the Jacksonian ideal of equal economic opportunity and against it; an executive branch act and a judicial branch decision were made with the intent of favoring the people, but substantial opposition highlighted the negative side effects that undermined the Jacksonian goal. President Jackson represented the executive branch with his bold move of vetoing a bill which proposed a rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States.

As conveyed by Jackson’s dramatic veto message on July 10, 1832 the democrats maintained that the national bank’s monopoly on trade catered too frequently to foreign and wealthy stockowners, thus posing a threat to the ideal of equal economic opportunity that they claimed to protect (B). The Jacksonians stuck with their vision of themselves in this sense, but opposing reactions to the veto pointed out that the attack on the bank was unnecessary and dangerous.

Daniel Webster’s reply to the veto correctly asserted that by raising the alarm about an encroachment of economic freedoms, the Democrats were really harming the stability of the economy needlessly (C). Webster’s analysis was proven accurate by the Panic of 1837, during which a bubble of inflation caused by the end of the national bank was abruptly burst, and several years of depression followed. The recession and unemployment caused indirectly by Jackson’s cancelation of the national bank did more harm to public economic opportunities than good, despite the Jacksonians’ passionate belief in the threat that the Bank posed.

Also in 1837 however, Chief Justice Roger Taney’s Supreme Court decision of Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge was a decisive victory for the Jacksonian ideal of equal economic opportunity. Taney interpreted a 1785 charter for a bridge on the Charles River loosely so that a new bridge could be erected across the same river, thus dispelling a monopoly and financially benefitting the people (H).

The Jacksonians evidently believed in their roles as the protectors of economic equality, but the results of the changes their administration made were again varied in agreement with their ideals. Finally, the Jacksonians most clearly drifted from their claimed ideals in the social sphere, as they actively neglected to guard the individual liberties of minority groups and women. The Jacksonian’s rosy call for extended suffrage only applied to white males, and the issue of slavery was deliberately avoided to prevent unwanted conflicts between the states.

In fact, the Jacksonian administration even put in place a “gag rule” in 1836 that allowed Congressmen to file away abolition petitions without discussion because the Acts and Resolutions of South Carolina threatened independent state action if SC did not receive national and sectional support in controlling its slaves (F). The slaves quickly lost any support from the proclaimed Jacksonian ideal of individual liberty when pitted against the preservation of the Union.

Likewise, the administration did not hesitate to pass the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which revealed that grandiose Jacksonian ideals yielded to the American desire for new land as well. The Act forced thousands of Native Americans to resettle in the West, with no regard for their personal liberties either. Even President Jackson outright denied to protect the ideal when he refused to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision on Worcester v. Georgia in 1832; John Marshall had ruled that the Cherokee had a right to their land, but Jackson would not stop the army from pushing the Cherokee out of Georgia regardless.

The only evidence of any agreement with the Jacksonians’ vision of guarding liberties is a romanticized painting of the Cherokee migration. The painted Cherokees appear comfortable, unified, and still dignified, implying that the painter must have either imagined this as the reality of the situation or painted an ideal version of the scene (G). The painting actually contrasts sharply with the chaos and tragedy of the Cherokees’ “trail of tears,” but it is important that the Jacksonian intent is present. Although the mixtures of realized and neglected Jacksonian ideals in the political and economic ields were more even, the Jacksonians’ goal to preserve individual liberty was not entirely lost in the social issues of the age. In conclusion, the Jacksonian democrats certainly believed in their roles as guardians of political democracy, equality of economic opportunity, and individual liberty, but their intentions were often misguided or secondary in the face of greater challenges. The few clear strides made by the Jacksonian age were interspersed with instances of failure in realizing its democratic ideals, particularly in the social sphere.

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Democracy Is the Best Form of Government

Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy allows eligible citizens to participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

The term originates from the Greek ?????????? (demokratia) “rule of the people”,[1] which was coined from ????? (demos) “people” and ?????? (kratos) “power” in the 5th century BCE to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Athens; the term is an antonym to ???????????? “rule of an elite. ” The English word dates to the 16th century, from the older Middle French and Middle Latin equivalents.

A democratic government contrasts to forms of government where power is either held by one, as in a monarchy, or where power is held by a small number of individuals, as in an oligarchy. Nevertheless, these oppositions, inherited from Greek philosophy,[2] are now ambiguous because contemporary governments have mixed democratic, oligarchic, and monarchic elements. Karl Popper defined democracy in contrast to dictatorship or tyranny, thus focusing on opportunities for the people to control their leaders and to oust them without the need for a revolution. 3] Several variants of democracy exist, but there are two basic forms, both of which concern how the whole body of eligible citizens executes its will. One form of democracy is direct democracy, in which eligible citizens have direct and active participation in the decision making of the government. In most modern democracies, the whole body of eligible citizens remain the sovereign power but political power is exercised indirectly through elected representatives; this is called representative democracy.

The concept of representative democracy arose largely from ideas and institutions that developed during the European Middle Ages, the Age of Enlightenment, and the American and French Revolutions Definition While there is no universally accepted definition of “democracy,”[5] equality and freedom have both been identified as important characteristics of democracy since ancient times. [6] These principles are reflected in all eligible citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to legislative processes.

For example, in a representative democracy, every vote has equal weight, no unreasonable restrictions can apply to anyone seeking to become a representative, and the freedom of its eligible citizens is secured by legitimized rights and liberties which are generally protected by a constitution. [7][8] One theory holds that democracy requires three fundamental principles: 1) upward control, i. e. sovereignty residing at the lowest levels of authority, 2) political equality, and 3) social norms by which individuals and institutions only consider acceptable acts that reflect the first two principles of upward control and political equality. 9] The term “democracy” is sometimes used as shorthand for liberal democracy, which is a variant of representative democracy that may include elements such as political pluralism; equality before the law; the right to petition elected officials for redress of grievances; due process; civil liberties; human rights; and elements of civil society outside the government. [citation needed] In the United States, separation of powers is often cited as a central attribute, but in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the dominant principle is that of parliamentary sovereignty (while maintaining judicial independence). citation needed] In other cases, “democracy” is used to mean direct democracy. Though the term “democracy” is typically used in the context of a political state, the principles also are applicable to private organizations. Majority rule is often listed as a characteristic of democracy. [by whom? ] Hence, democracy allows for political minorities to be oppressed by the “tyranny of the majority” in the absence of legal protections of individual or group rights. An essential part of an “ideal” representative democracy is competitive elections that are fair both substantively[10] and procedurally. 11] Furthermore, freedom of political expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press are considered to be essential rights that allow citizens to be adequately informed and able to vote according to their own interests. [12][13] It has also been suggested that a basic feature of democracy is the capacity of eligible voters to participate freely and fully in the life of their society. [14] With its emphasis on notions of social contract and the collective will of the eligible voters, democracy can also be characterized as a form of political collectivism because it is defined s a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. [15] While democracy is often equated with the republican form of government, the term “republic” classically has encompassed both democracies and aristocracies. Democracy is the best form of government. Yes because… Freedom Democratic states nearly always have freer people than autocratic states. They obviously have the right to vote for their government so by extension deciding the policy of their nation and what their nation should be like.

They have more freedom of speech and expression than in autocracies. In particular they are free to criticise their own government. Represents the people The biggest virtue of Democracy is that it is government by the people for the people. The government represents the views of the people who elect them and can throw them out if the government does things that the people do not like. Unlike other forms of government democracy is about the little man, everyone rather than the elite that are often disconnected from how everyone else lives their lives.

Better governance due to transparency Democracy is as much about having checks and balances to the executive and having transparency of decision-making as it is about elections and the populace throwing governments out of power. In a democracy the parliament, the media and sometimes the judiciary all keep an eye on the executive and what is being done with the people’s money. They are therefore able to see if the executive is doing things that are detrimental to the country, are immoral, or even illegal. This can then be brought to a halt.

Even where such actions are not visible on the surface there are separate institutions that have the power to investigate the executive and watch any ‘secret’ deals or actions that are going on away from public view. Respect of Human Rights Democracy as much it is understood, is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. If democracy is put at it appropriate performance, then, all facet of human rights is respected. The citizens would have the rights to exercise freedom of speech concerning the well-being of the populace in areas of the economy, education, health, infrastructural development, etc.

Promotes Human Rights As much as Democracy is understood, it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The ability of the people to have a voice in the running of the State, in the economy, health, education, infrastructural development, etc creates a bit-balanced environment for governance to thrive; this can only be achieved in a democratic governance. This is not the case. The most developed and richest countries are all democracies.

While they may well have been developing their democracies during their initial industrialisation democracy and the freedom it brings is increasingly necessary for economic growth once the country has moved to being mostly dependent upon services rather than manufacturing or natural resource exploitation for economic growth. Once this occurs then creativity becomes important and the freedoms associated with democracy are needed to foster this creativity that is needed for industries such as information technology, creative arts, research and development etc.

Democracy is the best form of government. No because… Freedom Except for the freedom to choose the government there is no reason why people cannot be as free under an autocracy as in a democracy. Represents the people Democracy does not do very well at representing the people. In first past the post systems a government may not even have the support of a majority of those who voted not even including that many will not have votes and many more will not have the vote. This means that it is often a small minority of the population who determines which party gets in to government.

Once they are there they are rarely representative of the people as they have several years to do what they like. Yes they need to think about re-election but that simply means they need to do more that the people like than the people dislike (or else have a good advertising campaign). Better governance due to transparency While this is mostly found in democracy it is not something that has to be exclusive to democracies. Autocracies can potentially be transparent and have checks and balances they however often do not simply because an autocracy often has the time, and the willingness to use force to prevent these from occurring.

Economic growth Autocracies are better at big projects, they can get things done and as such they are likely to be better at creating economic growth if they have the will. In an autocracy there are not the avenues for dissent that can block building projects, the police or troops can be used to clear protests that in the west would slow down large infrastructure projects. As a consequence of this all the infrastructure that is needed to create a modern economy can be produced quicker and cheaper than would be the case in a democracy.

Also the resource base of the country can be accessed faster (no pesky environmentalists preventing drilling and mining! ) and used more efficiently. Increasingly about money In some countries democracy seems to be increasingly about money. The U. S. is the obvious example where millions are spent on elections with big events and glitzy advertising campaigns. This is not what democracy should be about and it discourages other countries from moving along the path to democracy. Indeed it undermines the very idea of democracy. Democracy when money is involved to the extent that it is in the U. S. A. ecomes elitist and corporatist because only the elite and rich businessmen can afford to fund the campaigns for congress let alone for the presidency. The 2008 campaign for the White House cost $1. 6 billion and the whole 2008 election including senate and house of representatives races cost $5. 3 billion. Autocracies obviously avoid this immense expense by avoiding elections. Is democracy the best form of government? Disagree : By Richard What if someone was in power who cared about the people, stood for the people, was in touch with the people and was not corrupted by the power that Dictatorship brought him.

Yes, it seems unlikely but what if? We could have the ability to do more, faster with less red tape, paperwork, and continual discussion (as with a dictatorship) coupled with the freedoms of democracy. The problem is the people always believe the mob (majority) to be right. The truth is people are easily manipulated when in a crowd or together as a majority on an issue. It takes but one person to convince 10 000 that his conviction is the right one. Nevermind what the minority of free thinkers, academics, intellectuals, or revolutionaries have to say or have warned against. Political Ideology is not the problem.

Humans are. We are self-righteous, greedy, self-serving, destructive, and worst of all manipulative. People always point me to the selfless acts of others they have witnessed in order to prove me wrong on my previous statement. But the fact is these selfless people are in the tiny minority, or as with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, already have 10 houses, 4 cars, 2 security guards and a 10 mil bank account. “Giving” to the poor doesn’t detract from their riches as they resupply their wealth with shares bought and sold or actually working. Thus, they aren’t losing wealth. They simply aren’t gaining more.

We need the minority just as much as we need the majority. That minority of free thinkers, academics, intellectuals, and revolutionaries are the ones that changed the world. They brought us medicine, computers, a better understanding of science and space, but most important of all a curiosity for knowledge. Democracy should protect the rights of the minority more often than it does. We rely too much on what the mob thinks, when in actual fact they don’t think. They just regurgitate the drivel fed to them by some sob who knows how to manipulate the mob for his own profit. And that is the biggest problem facing democracy.

How do you overcome the this human condition where if we are in large groups, emotion replaces logical thought? Disagree : By Prashanth I think there are better forms of government other than democracy. Dictatorship is not completely bad neither is democracy completely good. Consider this form of government– Instead of having bulky political parties why not have leaders of parties etc stand as candidates for the post of President/Prime Minister. The people can directly vote for them. Better still we could invite applications for this post from the citizens. Based on screening them for leadership track record,no criminal cases etc. e could select the top 5 or 10 most eligible candidates. People can select the candidate who is most popular/likable for 5 years. He could then select experts from different sectors as ministers. He could hand pick distinguished people from different sectors as expert advisory group who could debate/discuss proposed laws. He can hand pick worthy local people for mayor position in cities/villages who should interact directly with people and pass immediate orders to solve their problems. He should have a citizens forum where people directly give ideas to the Prime Minister/President.

The judiciary to oversee the constitutional validity of laws passed,Election Commission,Constitution and an ombudsman to check corruption etc all of them will be there. This form of government will cut flab,be efficient and agile. It will eliminate unworthy but popular people from getting elected. Also the people debating will be experts in their field. There is greater likelihood of better decisions. As it is today the party leaders only call the shots. Then why not have worthy leaders directly elected by the people. These leaders will keep a balance between expert opinion,constitutional provisions and public opinion.

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History Indian Democracy and British Raj

India’s struggle for independence by Bipan Citandra Indian National Congress Founded * Founded in December 1885 by 72 political workers. * First organised expression of Indian nationalism on an all-India scale A powerful and long lasting myth ‘the safety valve’ had arisen around this question. The myth is that The Indian National Congress: * Started by A. O. Hume and other under the official direction, guidance and advice of no less a person that Lord Dufferin, the Viceroy * Was to provide a safe, mild, peaceful, and constitutional outlet or safety Valve * For the rising dissatisfaction among the people

That was leading towards a popular and violent resolution * Core was that violent revolution was on the cards at the time Was avoided by the foundation of the Congress * Liberals accept it * Writers accept it * Radicals use it to prove that Congress has always been comprising imperialism. * Extreme right use it to show that the Congress has been anti-national from the beginning All agree that the manner of its birth affected the basic character and future work of the Congress in a crucial manner Young India by Extremist leader Lala Lajpat Raj Used ‘safety valve’ theory to attack the Moderates in the Congress * Suggested Congress ‘was a product of Lord Dufferin’s brain’ * Argued that ‘the Congress was started more with the object of saving the British Empire from danger than with that of winning political liberty for India. The interests of the British Empire were primary and those of India only secondary’. * Added ‘no one can say that the Congress has not been true to that ideal’ India Today by R. Palme Dutt * Myth of the safety valve = an important element in the liberal and adical section of the political system * Wrote that Congress as bought into existence through direct Governmental initiative and guidance and through ‘a plan secretly pre-arranged with the Viceroy’ * Wrote that Congress was used by Government ‘as an intended weapon for safeguarding British rule against the rising forces of popular unrest and anti-impending revolution’ * Said it was ‘an attempt to defeat, or rather forestall, an impending revolution * Said congress had two strands 1. Strand of cooperation with imperialism against the ‘menace’ of the mass movement 2.

Strand of leadership of the masses in the national struggle Congress in time became a nationalist body and the vehicle of mass movements. It became the organiser of the anti-imperialist movement. It fought and collaborated with imperialism, and led to the mass movements and when the masses moved towards the revolutionary path, it betrayed the movement to imperialism. Became an organ of opposition to real revolution, a violent revolution. We by M. S. Golwalkar(RSS Chief) Found safety valve theory handy in attaching the Congress for its secularism and anti-nationalism. Said that Hindu national consciousness had been destroyed by those claiming to be nationalists who had pushed the ‘notions of democracy’ and the perverse notion that the Muslims had something in common with the Hindus * Suggested the fight in India was not just between Indians and British it was a ‘triangular fight’ Hindus were at war with Muslims and on the other hand with the British * Said what led Hindus to ‘denationalisation’ was the aims and policy laid down by Hume, Cotton and Wedderburn in 1885 The Rise and Growth of the Congress in India by liberal C.

F. Andrews and Girija Mukerji * They fully accepted the safety valve theory * It had helped avoid ‘useless bloodshed’ before as well as after 1947 Tens of scholars and hundreds of popular writers have repeated some version of these points of view. Rise and Growth Despite the fact that Hume was a lover of liberty and wanted political liberty for India under the aegis of the British Crown be was above all an English Patriot , once he saw British rule was threatened with an impending calamity he decided to create a safety valve for the discontent.

Hume wrote: ‘I was shown several large volumes containing a vast number of entries… all arranged according to district’ he mentions that he had volumes in his possession only for a week, ‘all going to show that these poor men were pervaded with a sense of the hopelessness of the existing state of affairs; that they were convinced that they would starve and die, and that they wanted to do something, and stand by each other, and that something meant violence’ Very soon the seven volumes started undergoing a transformation * In 1933 (in Gurmukh Hihal Singh’s hands) they became ‘government reports’ * Andrews and Mukerji transformed them into ‘several volumes of secret reports from the CID’ * Came into Hume’s possession in this official capacity Dutt wrote, ‘Hume in his official capacity had received possession of the voluminous secret police reports’

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Prospects for the Future of Liberal Democracy in Libya

Following the death of the infamous former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi former Libyan leader, a lot of debates and concerns have been raised worldwide about the future of the nation. A range of issues from social, economic, religious and political are being raised and the big question seems to be, what next? After years of authoritarian rule and with the ‘enemy’ finally out of the picture, the Libyan government faces different prospects for its development and in this essay I will be looking at different possibilities for the nation in relation to the promotion of liberal democracy.

Currently under a transitional government, Libya stands the chance to embrace change and adopt what may be considered by some as positive western ideals. According to a Freedom house report “another country that endured decades of brutal misrule, Libya, now has the potential for significant gains thanks to the overthrow of al-Qadhafi. ” (Puddington, 2012) Democracy has at no other time in history been knocking at the doors of many political regimes and with voices calling not only from foreigners but also from indigenous citizens it would be very hard to ignore the relevance that democracy plays in our modern day society.

Over the past year especially, the world has witnessed many political resistance campaigns; what is now popularly referred to as the Arab Spring has flooded the news very often and one common outcry from these people is the need for change. One might wonder what fuelled this uprising from the people to demand new leadership, in my educate d opinion, decades of authoritarian rule, human rights abuses, oppression on opposition and the inability of people to speak freely amongst others have all led to this desire for change. Before delving into the prospects for democracy in Libya, I feel it will be essential to underline what democracy entails.

Robert Dahl in his book ‘On democracy’ lists various desirable features of a democratic society as follows: •Control of military and police by elected officials. •Democratic beliefs and political culture •No strong foreign control hostile to democracy •A modern market economy and society •Weak subcultural pluralism (Dahl, 2005) Based on this it is fair to say that liberal democracy demands the inclusion of people, it believes in equality and fairness and encourages the notion of two (or many) heads being better than one.

However it is also true that democracy is not the only route for stability, in reality “the highest risk of political crisis lies in the middle ground between authoritarianism and democracy” (Goldstone, 2005) I believe a democratic and representative government can be attainable in Libya despite being broken into various sects for close to fifty years. Both pro and anti Qaddafi forces can push Libya forward but as to whether this will mature fully into a liberal democracy is tricky. The prospects for Libya would look bleak especially when considered from the perspective of historical precedents.

In the Libyan case, several factors cement this view. To begin with, Libya is a society filled with many different tribes. From what might be considered extreme Islamists, to the more moderate ones, to the presence of Christians and then other religious and secular divisions the presence of diversity in terms of culture or beliefs could either hinder or promote liberal democracy. In other parts of the continent, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, this situation has been witnessed before but “among the most important lessons to emerge is the importance of avoiding factionalism. (Goldstone, 2005) Take Rwanda for example, where Hutu’s and Tutsi rebels have shed blood over conflicting tribalistic views. In places where there is a vast difference in opinions, quite often people tend to disagree rather than agree and in order for democracy to prevail it is mandatory that people learn to compromise and agree for the better of the people. In the eastern part of the nation, we can find the current ruling rebels and in the West where Sirte is located there is a stronger presence of pro Qaddafi forces or loyalists. In order for democracy to take place it will take a combined effort from the North to South and East to West.

A scholar who has engaged in different studies of transitional governments, Professor Michael Greig made several observations on the Libyan scenario, he bases his conclusions from his studies on transitions over the last 170 years of history and notes that the more diverse a society is, the less stable new regimes tend to be. (Coleman, 2011)With the murder of the former leader, the fear for this transition to be peaceful of fairly smooth is that loyalists might try to hold reprisal attacks, there could be various terror attacks even on innocent victims and militants, leaders, or officials under the former regime might strongly esist cooperating with the new government and this will undermine attempts to achieve a sound and stable democratic environment. Should this occur, it could lead to an indefinite civil war and the country which already seems to be broken down into various fragments could end up losing more lives, it could also deter foreign investment and trade and regardless of the large oil reserve the country has, it could still have serious economic implications such as higher inflation rates.

On the political front also, as to how confident citizens are in the government and how effect institutions being put in place will benefit the nation, only time will tell. Indeed Libyans have been shown a glimmer of hope since the death of their former leader however can they be guaranteed that another Qaddafi will not surface? “And while Libya has benefited greatly from the demise of the Qadhafi dictatorship, the country confronts an array of daunting political and security challenges, and has yet to hold its first elections”. Puddington, 2012)The Libyan people understandably seem to have trust issues in their new government and with this lack of trust, the people might not be too welcoming to the new rules or laws that might be put in place. Should they not have faith in the new government for too long they could be a coup d’Etat or some other form of uprising. Unrest could take place and this could just mean that democracy will fail yet again. Furthermore, there are serious doubts about how women, former members of the Qaddafi government and minorities will fare in the new order.

The role of women is essential in achieving a liberal democracy. Women can be instrumental in broadening the parameters of democratic participation. They can challenge and sensitize others about the preconceived notions of what Islam can entail in a liberal democracy. For example, in Turkey, women activists achieved this to within the Islamist Refah (Welfare) Party. Libya has no democratic role models in the Arab world from whom to seek mentorship.

One main factor that the people of Libya have going in their favour is the fact that when they finally decided to come out and rebel against their long term leader they were not influenced by the western nations or the international community as a whole. The effort was undoubtedly from within the very borders of the country and throughout the country there were many cries which eventually fell unto the ears of the international community. The freedom house report confirms this by stating “America’s firmness in assisting NATO’s Libyan campaign was an important step.

After initial hesitation, the administration has also cautiously supported the process of building democratic systems in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. ” (Puddington 2012) The Libyans did indeed capture and kill Muammar Qaddafi with the help of NATO forces however they initially started the movement and asked for help to take power away from Qaddafi. The significance of this is that there are dependency theorists for example who believe that the western world continues to infiltrate third world nations and prevents them from standing on their own but in this particular case that can be debunked.

The issue of neocolonialism at least at the time that the uprising in Libya took place was arguably not present or wasn’t the main driving force and this means that the people of Libya do indeed have a voice of their own and will not be coerced into making policies or vital decisions presented to them by countries like the United Kingdom and United States of America. Liberal democracy therefore can eventually be introduced and maintained in a society like this where the people have a voice and do what they believe and agree together is best rather than allowing external forces to impose laws on them.

Another positive factor about Libya which should well favour the nation is that due to its large oil reserves and the fact that they are a major exporter of oil to different parts of the world, they have a more attractive economy as compared to others in the Arab spring. It is common for nations to establish and develop their political and democratic institutions before any significant change is seen in the economy, however the presence of an already good and healthy economy makes it fairly easier for the presence of democracy.

The important thing here would be to have competent people in government to take key and important decisions and also to manage the resources of the nation well. When this is done and the citizens see an even better improvement in the economy it will build their confidence in the government and promote more civilian participation (a very important feature for liberal democracy). With higher literacy rates than other African nations (Puddington, 2012) and with the introduction of new laws for the land Libya in the future can definitely be a success story.

To reiterate what has been mentioned above in this essay there is a fair possibility of the existence of a liberal democracy in Libya. It is important to note that “remarkably, after several years of assembling and sifting data , the panel found that economic , ethnic , and regional effect shave only a modest impact on a country’s risk of political instability. Rather, stability is overwhelmingly determined by a country’s patterns of political competition and political authority. (Goldstone, 2005). Although Libya is a country that is divided along tribal lines, it also has a good educated population and a decent economic growth. Research has shown that economic, regional and ethnic effects only have a modest effect on a country’s risk of political instability and “clearly, what “works” in establishing a stable democracy is moving toward a political system with completely open and fully competitive parties that maintains strong checks on executive authority. (Goldstone, 2005) Stability is hugely determined by the prevailing patterns of political authority and competition. The key to maintaining stability lies in the following 1. making democratic institutions that promote open and fair competition 2. Avoiding political polarization and factionalism 3. Imposing substantial measures against abuse of executive power Furthermore, wealth and few or no communal tensions help, but a country does not need wealth or a homogenous population to achieve stability.

The fact of Libya having a well educated population also aids in its capability for liberal democracy. Educated people tend to hold liberal views and be more tolerant of divergent views. In the case of Libya, there exist factors that are in its favour in terms of achieving a liberal democracy. In addition, its oil reserves and a wealthy treasury are assets that can be used to build democratic institutions and improve capacity building in its current institutions. The enactment of laws that curb excesses by the executive will be huge boost in this direction.

Thus, the prospects of democracy in Libya are not so bleak when considering its wealthy treasury and its small and talented population which have proven that they possess a voice to speak out for the promotion of a good agenda in Libya. Unlike poorer countries who may have to seek external funding to support their democratic initiatives, it need not do so. It has the necessary capital to start a wide range of socio-economic programs aimed towards a liberal democracy.

For now, the rebel leaders seem to be receiving acceptable levels of support from the populace and this among other factors serve as crucial pointers that the prospects of a liberal democratic Libya are real. To conclude, we deduce from the above highlighted points that democratic development in Libya is faced with numerous challenges, political and economic, internal and external of long year’s authoritarian regimes, coupled with bad governance, fear of mismanagement of accumulated capital and mass participation, non-conducive investor atmosphere and a shield from the West.

At a minimum, the core elements of developing political democracy are: A strong, pluralistic civil society independent of state control and able to hold government accountable; Regular and effective mechanisms to choose and to change representatives, governments, and policies by non-violent means; wide dispersion of economic resources and state commitment to broadly distributed human development; The rule of law incorporating the principles of the supremacy of the law, equality before the law, and the impartial and fair administration of the law; Strong institutions and an international environment which supports, or at least not harmful to, the above element. This is what Africa and other emerging liberal democracies need in achieving political and economic development of this ‘new world order’ regime.

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Jeffersonian vs. Jacksonian Democracy

Jeffersonian vs. Jacksonian Democracy Both Jefferson and Jackson were fighting for the interests of farmers against the commercial and mercantile interests of the country. Jefferson was portrayed as a man of the people, but he remained a wealthy planter who tended to associate only with other elites. His mannerisms were much more upper-class. Jefferson talked about limited government yet his actual practices as President differed. He maintained the bank of the US, authorized the Louisiana Purchase and pushed for stronger party cohesion, all things that many Democrats opposed.

Jackson was also a wealthy farmer, but he had come from a poorer region and did not have “wealthy parents. ” He was much more comfortable mixing with people of lower social and economic classes. He was also much more focused on attacking the mercantile classes, particularly his refusal to renew the charter for the Bank of the US. Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson were two influential political figures in two very different eras. Each formed their own democracy that helped shape the way people think about American government.

They had their differences and yet they also had their similarities. Viewpoints between the two democracies will be analyzed in political, economic, social, and religious aspects. The Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracies were alike and different to each other in the area of politics and economics. The conditions which a citizen was considered eligible for office holding was similar. In the Jeffersonian Democracy, an eligible citizen was one that was average rather than rich and well born.

Jackson declared all ordinary and intelligent white citizens equally qualified to serve. He eventually started what is known as the “spoils system” in which long-term officeholders were removed for rotation. Then how they chose candidates to be President was done differently. In Jefferson’s time the two highest voted candidates became the President and the Vice-President of the United States. In Jackson’s time a candidate was chosen by a nominating convention and the President and Vice-President ran for their offices separately.

Both men’s attitude toward the Bank of the United States was similar. Jefferson encouraged State banks and was originally opposed to the national bank. Jackson and his followers strongly opposed the Second Bank of America. He won the “Bank War” by having federal income deposited in state banks, while he continued to draw money out of the national bank. The political and economic conditions of the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracies were equally related and different. However, the social and religious aspects were quite clear.

Each man’s attitude toward minorities (including slaves, women, and Native Americans) were closely related. For example, Jefferson doubted that white civilization and Indian “savagery” could coexist and although he said that men were born to freedom not to slavery he still held many slaves. He felt strongly that women had a single purpose in life: marriage and subordination to a husband. Jefferson saw no reason to let them vote since women were never called upon to discuss politics or anything really for that matter.

In the same manner, Jackson turned away from extending egalitarian policies to slaves and women received little betterment, although many reforms were taking place in the time of the Jacksonian Democracy. Jackson, who also led an expedition against in Spanish Florida in 1818, forced thousands of Native Americans to march from Georgia to Oklahoma on the infamous “Trail of Tears. ” Each man viewed education in opposite opinions. One of the many bills Jefferson proposed was the Bill for General Education, which “allowed everyone, without regard to birth or wealth, to have as much free education as each person was fitted for. On the other hand, Jackson and his followers opposed programs such as educational reform and the establishment of public education. He believed that schools restricted individual liberty by interfering with parental responsibility and undermined freedom of religion by replacing church schools. How the separation of church and state was accomplished was different. Jefferson proposed the Statute for Religious Freedom, separating church and state and removing the private right of religious belief from control by public law.

Jackson believed that a strong federal government restricted individual freedom and he was against religious reform. The social and religious viewpoints of Jefferson and Jackson had their similarities and their differences. It is clear to see how distinct the similarities and differences were between the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracies. They are shown in the areas of politics, economics, social life, and religion. Their viewpoints, opinions, and or ideas all helped establish the strong democracy that America has today.

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Path of Democracy Throughout the French Revolution

“The French Revolution was a decisive period in the shaping of the modern west. It implemented the thought of the philosophies, destroyed the hierarchical and corporate society of the Old Regime, which was a legacy of the Middle Ages, promoted the interests of the bourgeoisie, and quickened the growth of the modern state” ( Perry. Chase. Jacob. Jacob. Von Laue, p. 462). The aristocracy of France was also weakened by the Revolution. The nobles no longer had their ancient rights and privileges making them ordinary people. In the nineteenth century, the ruling class was no longer decided upon by noble birth but by property.

This trait was shown before the Revolution. Also the French government was now ran by the aristocrats and the bourgeois. With the bourgeois being given high positions because of their wealth, talent, ambition, and opportunities, they would have an important role in the political life of France. The French Revolution changed the Old Regime, based on a dynastic state, into the modern state it is today. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen concluded that the state was no longer a separation of provinces or estates; it was also no longer a possession of the monarch’s that he believed belonged only to him.

The idea of the Declaration showed that the state now belonged to the people as a whole and its power must come from the people to succeed. The people now had the characteristic of individuality of no longer being separated into nobles and commoners. Many surrounding lands took the ideas and reforms of the French Revolution as inspiration to create their own revolution over their land. “During the nineteenth century, the French Revolution served as a frame of reference for the various political constellations: liberalism, socialism, and conservatism” ( Perry. Chase.

Jacob. Jacob. Von Laue, p. 462). Before the Revolution, the state was still closely linked to its religion. Each state had a state church that was the ruling power. “By disavowing any divine justification for the monarch’s power, by depriving the church of its special position, and by no longer limiting citizenship to members of a state church, the Revolution accelerated the secularization of European political life” (Perry. Chase. Jacob. Jacob. Von Laue, p. 463). The Revolution did away with administrative ways of the Old Regime, and imposed rational ways to the state.

Highest ranks of land and position were given to men by their talent and no longer by their birth line. The Revolution also did away with peasantry working obligations, and based taxes on the people’s income. By showing that an ancient order could be overpowered by a new one, The French Revolution inspired other generations to revolt against their abusive model societies. This created three forces with the modern state: total war, nationalism, and a fanatic utopian mentality. These ideas went against the ideas of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and could be destructive to what the French Revolution was creating. The French Revolution also gave birth to the modern nationalism” ( Perry. Chase. Jacob. Jacob. Von Laue, p. 463). During the Revolution, the entire nation was directed loyalty. This view was seen as dangerous by many philosophers because it was feared that it would setback the progress of the Revolution. The Revolution looked to reconstruct society on the basis of Enlightenment ideals. These ideas were soon crushed by the terrors and fears of the dangerous forces that had begun to rise in the later years of the Revolution. These forces almost succeeded in ruining what the French reformers had created.

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Internet Freedom and Democracy

Internet Freedom and Democracy Recently people more aware about real democracy because technological developments and internet help people who access the internet simultaneously. Especially internet has a great contribition. Internet’s most important two features which are pure information and easy accessibility are gift from network developers to general public. Some believes that this intervention is very helpful for humanity and some others argues that internet will be a tool for mean and malevolent people such as terrorists,racist or pedophiles.

Democracy’s most well known feature is being free as can as possible. Person who lives in democratic country can do what s/he wants to do without abusing the other people’s rights,feelings and freedoms. Accordingly on this definition , people can access to internet when they want. They can communicate with each other or surf on the internet and no one can stop users. Internet is a new way of promoting democracy. It is a new area that capable for keeping in touch with billions of people. It does not need to rest or it never dies. However this event depend on governments and authorities’ attitude towards the internet.

As you imagine that, internet’s simplicity creates powerful interaction. This interaction ability leads billions of people’s attention. This interaction power and lots of people’s attention may cause a handicap for Authorities. Becouse of this great power States and Authorities want to control it. Thanks to the democracy, there is a obstacle for that. Our rights are saved by laws and governments can not inhibit our internet freedom. Let assume that all of the developing and developed countries are beindg governing with complete democracy.

In this circumstance,a large amount of people can reach various imformation easily. Only one click on the mouse opens a door to the rest of the world. Jamie Metzl describes the internet as a quick and cheap way of exchanging the information. It is a great invention that people may gain information very fast and very easy. People can announce their voice and express their ideas. People may also express themselves without the internet but internet makes this process faster. Sharing ideas has become easier with internet. Because internet provides flow of informatin without any corruption or changes.

For example (from Peter Brophy and Edward Helpin’s article), human rights organizations were challenging with authoritarian governments early 80’s but later internet usage has started to grow and they have gained adventage from internet. They published their articles and annunced their activities freely. In Peter Brophy and Edward Helpin’s article, Amnesty International which is an organization that protects human rights all over the world. In their Indonesia campaign , they used the online communication becouse government could not making intervention to that area.

Day by day Indonesian people have become more aware about their rights and resisted to government’s human rights abuses. Briefly , internet provides democratic rights for people. With internet’s contribitions people can understand the democracy in fast and easy way. Internet is such a great invention that it is easiest way to foster freedom. There is no militaristic pressure, police stick, or torture for readings, songs and idea expressions. It means that there is no this kind of scary affects for being free. People know that they can read, listen or say what they want with internet.

This is the main reason for internet’s popularity. Completely democratic countries have been allowing flow of information for many years. Except democratic and liberal countries’ citizens, people couldn’t express themselves freely before the invention of the internet. For example; in Turkey, in early 80’s lots of author was imprisoned by military because of their ideologies and books. Also military was burning ideological books. Even today Turkish citizens aren’t recognizing the complete freedom. However, it changed recently. Lately 90’s internet has become popular and there was no limitation for it.

That interval was the pure freedom for internet users. It is a fact that, only way for spread of an idea is communication. Frequency, power and speed of communication are directly proportional with dissemination of idea or information. A user’s idea could be effective on the other user. Different thoughts could become an ideology at the internet. For example; a couple months ago Turkish government has started to applying safe-internet which is software for limiting the internet. Popular bloggers wrote articles about it and they raise awareness about this law.

Firstly bloggers and a lot of users protest this issue on web but it didn’t be effective. After that bloggers planned a real protest at streets. They invited both internet users and civil public to strike this issue. Thousands of people responded this call and they protest that law because, government tried to abuse their internet freedom. However, some people argue that internet isn’t kind of a tool that helpful for democratic developments. In dictatorships and non-democratic countries internet doesn’t work properly while process of promoting the democracy.

Censorship issue and authoritarian pressures prevent flow of information. Not only civil people use the internet. Governments have their own websites or blogs. Public’s internet is being limited with same technology by governments. Civilian programmers call that the Censor ware. There are lots of ways for blocking or limiting access to websites. Most well-known are Web filters which programmed by states’ programmers. Another one is blocking the website. Jonathan Strickland mentioned this issue in his article. For Strickland, Governments block access to the web pages they identify as undesirable.

Undesirable means that the websites which criticizes the state’s ideology or contrary with government’s activities. As a result, these actions cause a counter belief for internet’s democracy foster power. In conclusion, many people believe that internet is accelerating the freedom and democracy in most of the countries. A few people disagreeing with that but generally thought of internet’s contributions to democracy is positive. Two main features of this technology are helping people which are fast and easy and fast accessibility and not corrupted information.

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Future of Democracy in Pakistan

Future of democracy in Pakistan Outline 1)What is democracy 2) Democracy and Pakistan – Present, Past and Future 3) Importance of democracy 4)Threats to democracy 1. Weak political institutions 2. Influence of Military 3. Economic difficulties 4. Social Norms 5. Illiteracy – lack of political of awareness 6. Unemployment and poverty 7. Image of political leadership 8. Power politics 9. Foreign interference 10. Unbridled media 11. Feudalism and racism 12. Grievances of small provinces 13. Relation with India 14. Terrorism and extremism 5) Suggestions to meet the challenges 1. Strengthing of political parties and political culture . Sovereignty of parliament and other statuary 3. Independence of judiciary 4. Eradication of illiteracy 5. Political awareness 6. Democratic norms 7. Economic uplift 8. Emergence of new leadership 9. Participation of youth in political process 10. Mature and tolerant politics 11. Independence of media 12. Accountability 6)Our strengths 1. Presence of pro-democracy leadership 2. Active Civil Society 3. Independent Media 4. Determined and dedicated nation 5. Pakistani Youth 7) Conclusion Essay For years now we have been hearing the word democracy being used endlessly in our media, homes and offices.

But do we really know what democracy is? What does it stand for? What are its principles? And most importantly what is the role of different state institutions and their respective jobs and duties as prescribed in the constitution. The word democracy is derived from two Greek words, Demos and Kratos meaning rule of the people. In simple words academics like to define it as, “Rule of the people by the people for the people”. Democracy stands for people’s rights and representation. It is a very well balanced system which has slowly evolved into the fair and reasonable system we all know.

It favours a progressive society. It encourages arts and science. All the technological, social and political progress that man has made was in a democratic society e-g Muslim Spain, British Empire, USA. Our country Pakistan was the result of a political and democratic struggle but democracy could not flourish during 62 years of its existence. The founder of Pakistan was a great democratic statesman who envisioned a democratic and progressive Pakistan. Unfortunately his illness couldn’t let him to contribute much for democracy. His death was a fine blow to the political stability of Pakistan.

Liaquat Ali Khan, a devoted prime-minister elected from Eastern Pakistan was unacceptable to the ruling elite of West Pakistan and was subsequently eliminated from the political scene in 1951. These initial problems of Pakistan gave him little time to focus his attention on democratic and constitutional development of newly born state. His sudden death proved a serious blow to the nation. His successors dedicated their efforts to perpetuate their rule showing little concern to democratic development. The early years were marked with conspiracies, unethical and undemocratic tactics in power corridors of the country.

This situation provided opportunity to military to intervene in politics and Ayub Khan imposed first Marshal Law in 1958. After this, army became a stakeholder in power game and ruled the country four times through coups. The recent government has assumed power through an electoral process. It is for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a democratic government is going to complete its duration. The current democracy is facing multifaceted challenges on economic, social, political and international fronts. This needs a sagacious approach to ensure continuance of democratic rule in Pakistan.

Today the respect of a nation in the international community is directly linked to prevalence of democracy. Pakistan has to strengthen democracy in order to earn a respectable place in the world and head towards the road of progress and prosperity. The clouds of uncertainty are hovering over the democratic set-up in Pakistan. The major threat is absence of sound political infrastructure. Frequent Military interventions prevented growth of political culture. Political parties could not be established on modern and democratic lines. Political parities are nursuries of democracy.

In Pakistan these parties are plagued with outside influence, short term goals, one man show and family politics. Political culture cannot flourish until political parties start functioning in democratic manner. FOR RULERS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES LIKE PAKISTAN, DEMOCRACY IS A CHEWING GUM FOR THE PEOPLE, TO GO ON CHEWING……A SWEET YET USELESS TASTE Economic difficulties are the barriers to Govt performance causing public discontent. Pakistan government is facing financial difficulties. Its economy is under developed characterized by huge trade deficit, heavy debt burden and deteriorating currency.

Government lacks the requisite economic resources for public uplift. Consequently common men remain indifferent to national politics and democracy that induce undemocratic forces to intervene. The democratic system derives its strength from people. Whereas half of the Pakistani population is illiterate and stands unaware to democratic concepts, even the major chunk of educated people remains also indifferent to political developments in the country. This allures undemocratic forces to assume the power and to their pleasure they are accorded warm welcome by the nation when they assumed the charge.

Political unawareness amongst the masses poses serious threat to democracy. Democracy can flourish only if public at large get involved in the political process. The image of political leadership has been rotten over the time. Common men tend to dislike the political personalities. They are held responsible for all the afflictions Pakistan facing today. There are deficiencies in politicians, but these are projected to the public with exaggeration of some facts along with certain myths. This mistrust of public prevents them to concern about the political process.

Political instability along with economic difficulties pushed the country towards foreign dependence. Resultantly, the international powers, in pursuance of their own goals, care little to the democratic stability of the country. All the military rulers enjoyed foreign support. 75% of financial aid by USA was received during the military regime. Purportedly, these foreign players intrigue to destabilize the political set up, when their interest require doing so. Media independence is vital to democratic stability but it must be subjected to some ethics, rules and regulations. Unfortunately, media scarcely follows he ethical and legal limits. Commercialism some time allures it to pursue yellow journalism putting aside the national interest. In order to catch public opinion, media manipulate the facts and mis-represent it to the public where constructive criticism play a positive role, undue castigation arouse public wrath for the sitting government. Consequently people start desiring change whether democratic or undemocratic. Feudalism is negation of equality and freedom. Democracy is not just happening of electoral exercise, it is set of principles based on the concept of freedom, liberty, equality and tolerance.

Elections are just one of the manifestations of democracy. While feudalism does not hinder the electoral process, it put curbs on the people’s right of freedom. Masses are restrained to freely participate in the democratic process. Feudalism is still prevailing in Pakistan and people falling under its jurisdiction are treated like subjects. They can never become the active participants of political process. Small provinces have lost their confidence on federation. Military rulers suppressed their demands. They were denied the genuine legal and constitutional rights.

Though the present democratic government sought apology from Balouchs, no substantial efforts has been evinced yet to redress their woes, their anti-centre feelings, if not addressed aptly would aggravate in the days ahead. Pakistan unfriendly relations with India overpower its domestic and international policies. Both the countries remained at logger heads since their inception. Pakistan, in order to counter the menace of Indian adventures, had to allocate major chunk of her resources for military development at the cost of negating other socio-economic sectors of the country.

She has to maintain a large army in spite of having limited economic resources. Pakistan annually allocates 33% of her budget to defense on average. If relations with India are normalized, these resources may be better spent on public uplift, social welfare, education and health. If it happens it would bring prosperity that strengthens the democratic foundations of the country. Terrorism is one of the biggest threats to survival of entire humanity. The entire world is intimidated of this menace and making efforts to counter it.

Its afflictions are pervasive and engulfing the peace and prosperity of the nation. The multiple challenges lingering on democracy thus requires a multipronged struggle to counter them. Political parties are the primary institutions of democracy in order to provide a solid foundation to edifice of democracy. Political parties have to re-organize and function on democratic lines. These have to establish their roots at gross root level and develop them like institutions open to public. Only political parties can ensure public participation in political process and inculcate the democratic values.

A dedicated involvement of people at large would provide a solid base to democracy in Pakistan. Parliament is representative institution of public. Executives must be accountable before the parliament. If all decisions are made through the parliament, it would strengthen democracy. Judiciary is a foremost pillar of state. An independent and efficient Judiciary ensure prevalence of social justice in the society. It provides a plat-form to aggrieved citizens to seek redressal of their griveneces. If people get legal way to their redressal, it reduces the likelihood of illegal adventures.

So independence of judiciary is key to strong democracy. Educational uplift of the society makes its members well conversant to the concepts of freedom, liberty and democracy. People learn the blessings of public rule. It enhances their commitment to democracy and they can stand against the efforts to derail the political process. Ironically, a considerable majority of educated people lack awareness to democracy. This issue must be addressed through transformation of syllabus on modern lines. Democracy, its need and its blessings must be incorporated as part of the syllabus at all levels of education.

Besides this, government must join hands with media, civil society and other pressure groups to inculcate the values of freedom, liberty, human rights and democracy amongst the masses. Political players must set good norms to strengthen democracy. Power thrust, intolerance and corruption have plagued the politics of Pakistan. Time has come to stop the old practices and follow the democratic values prevailed in developed societies. Political parties need revision regarding their structure as they lack democracy. Economic growth brings prosperity in the life of common.

A prosper society is more likely to adopt democracy and actively engage in political process. Leadership provides new direction to society and led them to the destination. Pakistan desperately needs trustworthy leadership that people follow dedicatedly. Our youth constitute 30% of the society they are representative of new generation. Their participation may ensure structural improvements in national paradigm. It has been witnessed that during Pakisan movement youth played vital role in opinion formation and mass awareness and so is the time now.

There is a need to guide our youth to take the responsibility of our tomorrow. Its the high time when youth is active and willing to welcome the dawn of democracy and it should be utilized to its fullest. An impartial system of accountability enhances public trust on the political system. It provides enormous strength to democratic process. Moreover, it compels thousand who are charged with governance, to transparently discharge their official responsibilities. It ensures good governance and strengthens the political set up.

Inspite of facing innumerable challenges and showing unsatisfactory performance, Pakistanis has the capability to emerge as a democratic and progressive nation. Pakistan can road to democracy with dedication, determination, commitment, courage and patriotism of its political leaders. If they are aptly inculcated with the true spirit of democracy, they are potent enough to change the destiny. There is no second opinion that democracy is pre-requisite for Pakistan to earn a respectable place in the international community. Its track record uring 62 years of existence portrays a gloomy picture. The current challenges and threats further aggravate the scene. But this does no imply there is no room for improvement. A glance at the history reveals that difficulties always appear in the life of surviving nations. But these adversities are proved blessing in disguise when these are faced gallantly. This moment becomes starting point in their journey towards success. It has all the potential to overcome the mountainous challenges; the required is unity, faith, discipline and guidance.

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Cultural Democracy

Cultural democracy – Summary This is the summary of the conference or debate between the two speakers Mr. Jerry Sambuaga and Mr. Lee Nathanael Santoso, discussing the topic of Cultural Democracy. The first topic that is discussed was on the ideal form of democracy. Mr. Jerry said that the ideal form of democracy is the one that prioritize freedom, to have liberalism implemented, which will eventually lead to individualism. In his opinion liberalism should be implemented in all aspects, such as in politics and economy.

The examples of liberalism in politics are presidential election or parties, whereas the example of liberalism in economy is human rights. The freedom of speech, freedom to express opinions, since 1998, is the key to liberalism (direct democracy). On the other hand, when discussing the topic on the ideal form of democracy, Mr. Nathanael raises up the question “Whether democracy is universal or locally? ” as his comeback. People now have human rights, the right to choose what they think democracy is. He said that in Singapore the government plays a larger role compared than the role of freedom of speech (representative democracy).

Mr. jerry said that democracy is invented in the west, and the democracy in Indonesia is still very fragile, there are aspects that have not yet been touched such as civil society, law enforcement, etc. There is a statement that Mr. Jerry gave that Mr. Nathanael also agrees on, and that is “Democracy is not a destination but a goal”. Mr. Nathanael added that democracy indeed is a mean or a goal, and the goal is not democracy but to make sure that every people have basic necessities (security, etc). Mr.

Nathanael asked a rhetorical question, ” which political system that can guarantee their country to be flexible enough to attain political grid lock? ” From his point of view, Singapore is the closest one that has been able to achieve this. The second topic that the moderator discussed was, “Should a country this big (Indonesia) use a federal system or a unitary system? ” Mr. Nathanael said that our country should adopt a mix of the two systems. From Mr. jerry’s point of view, Indonesia should use a federal system, because Indonesia is very diverse, if we force something it can cause damages. Mr. Nathanael debated Mr.

Jerry’s statement by saying that Singapore also has diversity, but they know how to harmonized the different point of views, opinions, etc. He said, “Minorities and other ethnicity receive the right to take part, to give a voice. ” Mr. Jerry debated Mr. Nathanael’s statement by saying that Singapore has an oppressive or an authoritarian system, instead of having a freedom of speech. “Singapore has a good system but can it last with that system? Indonesia may not yet be successful now, but with the existence of liberty, and opportunity given for people to be able to govern, may lead Indonesia to become a developed country. Mr. Nathanael debated Mr. Jerry’s statement saying, “The authoritarian system in Singapore is different compared to China, in Singapore the law is clear, you can have a say on criticizing the government, but you must have facts to support it. Mr. Jerry’s opinion is that our country is best suited with having a little number parties, because a large number of parties slows down decision making, and does nut suit the presidential system. While Mr. Nathanael said that democracy is not about political parties, part of government, it is about achieving national interests.

He said that, “only the parties with money that can win (in indo), but in Singapore if you have a good vision you will be heard”. “Should democracy control freedom? ” Mr. Jerry said that one’s freedom of expression could violate another’s freedom of expression. Freedom should be controlled but not limited. Democracy may not be the best system, but it is still better to educate the people to participate. He added, “Freedom of rights of Singapore must be developed. ” Mr. Nathanael commented, “Singapore are convinced that this is the system for them, the issue is Singapore’s system should be more relevant. Singapore’s human rights can’t be compared with Indonesia’s priority of economic prosperity. Cultural Democracy Critical Analysis Cultural Democracy is the term for a philosophy or policy emphasizing pluralism, participation, and equity within and between cultures. Which consists of a set of related commitments such as, protecting and promoting cultural diversity, and the right to culture for everyone in our society and around the world;? encouraging active participation in community cultural life;? enabling people to participate in policy decisions that affect the quality of our cultural lives; and ? ssuring fair and equitable access to cultural resources and support. There are three basic types of democracy: Direct democracy is a political system where the citizens participate in the decision-making personally, Representative democracy involves the selection of government officials by the people being represented, and Parliamentary democracy is a representative democracy where government is appointed by representatives as opposed to a ‘presidential rule’ wherein the President is both head of state and the head of government and is elected by the voters.

In my opinion, I think the ideal form of democracy should be the one where liberalism is highly considered, but where there is also a balance in government involvement. Because, as the people, we know what our country needs most, but with the diversity that our country possess, and with the different opinions that people have, there should be a representative democracy that can represent the people and chooses the best decisions for the people and the country. Should democracy control freedom?

I think that freedom is both a positive and a negative think, if not controlled properly. People have different opinions, and if all of them have the freedom of speech, then there will be a moment where their freedom of expression will clash with others’ freedom of expression. That is why that freedom should also be controlled to a point of degree where people would still have the freedom of speech. The main reason why Indonesia has not been able to reach its full potential is because we have weak institutions, hence weak democracy.

Indonesia should learn the complexity that is democracy, the many aspects that is consists of such as legal certainty, transparency, freedom, etc. The one thing that Indonesia should be able to do to improve as a country is by knowing how to prioritize. Of course, in democracy alone there are many aspects that it consists of, and to manage this by knowing which to prioritize first, to the extent where all the aspects will be covered one by one. Indonesia should be consistent in following or running a liberal system.

Of course, there are processes that need to be done; we need to fight for the freedom of the economy. The best solution is to have a modification based on the aspiration of the people. We should be able to learn, and adopt all the good elements that each country possesses, mix them up and implement them as our democratic system. By: Pamela Lemmuela (04320120057) FISIP/HI/2012 RESEARCH : ? Democracy? From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A woman casts her vote in the second round of the French presidential election of 2007 Part of the Politics series|

Democracy| History · Outline| Basic forms| * Direct * Representative| Variants| * Anticipatory * Consensus * Deliberative * Demarchy * Economic * Electronic * Grassroots * Illiberal * Inclusive * Liberal * Non-partisan * Ochlocracy * Participatory * Radical * Religious * Representative direct * Sociocracy * Soviet * Totalitarian * Other| Politics portal| * v t e| Part of the Politics series| Basic forms ofgovernment| Power structure| * Confederal * Federal * Hegemony * Imperial * Unitary| Power source| Democracy * Direct * Representative * Other * Monarchy * Absolute * Constitutional * Oligarchy * Aristocracy * Meritocracy * Military junta * Plutocracy * Stratocracy * Technocracy * Timocracy * Other * Anarchy * Authoritarianism * Autocracy * Anocracy * Despotism * Dictatorship * Kritarchy * Republic * Theocracy * Totalitarianism| List of forms of government| Politics portal| * v t e|

Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy allows people to participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination. The term originates from the Greek ?????????? (demokratia) “rule of the people”,[1] which was coined from ????? demos) “people” and ?????? (kratos) “power” in the 5th century BCE to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Athens; the term is an antonym to ???????????? “rule of an elite”. The English word dates to the 16th century, from the older Middle French and Middle Latin equivalents. A democratic government contrasts to forms of government where power is either held by one, as in a monarchy, or where power is held by a small number of individuals, as in an oligarchy or aristocracy.

Nevertheless, these oppositions, inherited from Greek philosophy, are now ambiguous because contemporary governments have mixed democratic, oligarchic, and monarchic elements. Karl Popper defined democracy in contrast to dictatorship or tyranny, thus focusing on opportunities for the people to control their leaders and to oust them without the need for a revolution. [2] Several variants of democracy exist, but there are two basic forms, both of which concern how the whole body of citizens executes its will. One form of emocracy is direct democracy, in which citizens have direct and active participation in the decision making of the government. In most modern democracies, the whole body of citizens remain the sovereign power but political power is exercised indirectly through elected representatives; this is called representative democracy. The concept of representative democracy arose largely from ideas and institutions that developed during the European Middle Ages, the Age of Enlightenment, and the American and French Revolutions. [3] Contents  [hide]  * 1 Definition * 2 History * 2. Ancient origins * 2. 2 Middle Ages * 2. 3 Modern era * 3 Countries * 4 Types * 4. 1 Basic forms * 4. 2 Variants * 4. 3 Non-governmental * 5 Theory * 5. 1 Aristotle * 5. 2 Rationale * 5. 3 Ideal forms * 5. 4 Practice * 5. 5 Criticism * 6 Development * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links| [edit] Definition While there is no universally accepted definition of “democracy,”[4] equality and freedom have both been identified as important characteristics of democracy since ancient times. 5] These principles are reflected in all citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to legislative processes. For example, in a representative democracy, every vote has equal weight, no unreasonable restrictions can apply to anyone seeking to become a representative, and the freedom of its citizens is secured by legitimized rights and liberties which are generally protected by a constitution. [6][7] One theory holds that democracy requires three fundamental principles: 1) upward control, i. e. overeignty residing at the lowest levels of authority, 2) political equality, and 3) social norms by which individuals and institutions only consider acceptable acts that reflect the first two principles of upward control and political equality. [8] The term “democracy” is sometimes used as shorthand for liberal democracy, which is a variant of representative democracy that may include elements such as political pluralism; equality before the law; the right to petition elected officials for redress of grievances; due process; civil liberties; human rights; and lements of civil society outside the government. [citation needed] In the United States, separation of powers is often cited as a central attribute, but in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the dominant principle is that of parliamentary sovereignty (while maintaining judicial independence). [citation needed] In other cases, “democracy” is used to mean direct democracy. Though the term “democracy” is typically used in the context of a political state, the principles also are applicable to private organizations. Majority rule is often listed as a characteristic of democracy. by whom? ] Hence, democracy allows for political minorities to be oppressed by the “tyranny of the majority” in the absence of legal protections of individual or group rights. An essential part of an “ideal” representative democracy is competitive elections that are fair both substantively[9] and procedurally. [10] Furthermore, freedom of political expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press are considered to be essential rights that allow citizens to be adequately informed and able to vote according to their own interests. 11][12] It has also been suggested that a basic feature of democracy is the capacity of individuals to participate freely and fully in the life of their society. [13] With its emphasis on notions of social contract and the collective will of the people, democracy can also be characterized as a form of political collectivism because it is defined as a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. [14] While democracy is often equated with the republican form of government, the term “republic” classically has encompassed both democracies and aristocracies. 15][16] [edit] History Main article: History of democracy [edit] Ancient origins See also: Athenian democracy Cleisthenes, “father of Athenian democracy”, modern bust. The term “democracy” first appeared in ancient Greek political and philosophical thought in the city-state of Athens. [17][18] Led by Cleisthenes, Athenians established what is generally held as the first democracy in 508-507 BCE. Cleisthenes is referred to as “the father of Athenian democracy. [19] Athenian democracy took the form of a direct democracy, and it had two distinguishing features: the random selection of ordinary citizens to fill the few existing government administrative and judicial offices,[20] and a legislative assembly consisting of all Athenian citizens. [21] All citizens were eligible to speak and vote in the assembly, which set the laws of the city state. However, Athenian citizenship excluded women, slaves, foreigners (???????? metoikoi), and males under 20 years old. [citation needed] Of the estimated 200,000 to 400,000 inhabitants of Athens, there were between 30,000 and 60,000 citizens. citation needed] The exclusion of large parts of the population from the citizen body is closely related to the ancient understanding of citizenship. In most of antiquity the benefit of citizenship was tied to the obligation to fight war campaigns. [citation needed] Athenian democracy was not only direct in the sense that decisions were made by the assembled people, but also directest in the sense that the people through the assembly, boule and courts of law controlled the entire political process and a large proportion of citizens were involved constantly in the public business. 22] Even though the rights of the individual were not secured by the Athenian constitution in the modern sense (the ancient Greeks had no word for “rights”[23]), the Athenians enjoyed their liberties not in opposition to the government but by living in a city that was not subject to another power and by not being subjects themselves to the rule of another person. [24] Even though the Roman Republic contributed significantly to certain aspects of democracy, only a minority of Romans were citizens with votes in elections for representatives.

The votes of the powerful were given more weight through a system of gerrymandering, so most high officials, including members of the Senate, came from a few wealthy and noble families. [25] However, many notable exceptions did occur. [citation needed] [edit] Middle Ages During the Middle Ages, there were various systems involving elections or assemblies, although often only involving a small amount of the population, the election of Gopala in Bengal region of Indian Subcontinent (within a aste system), the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (10% of population), the Althing in Iceland, the Logting in the Faeroe Islands, certain medieval Italian city-states such as Venice, the tuatha system in early medieval Ireland, the Veche in Novgorod and Pskov Republics of medieval Russia, Scandinavian Things, The States in Tirol and Switzerland and the autonomous merchant city of Sakai in the 16th century in Japan. However, participation was often restricted to a minority, and so may be better classified as oligarchy.

Most regions in medieval Europe were ruled by clergy or feudal lords. The Kouroukan Fouga divided the Mali Empire into ruling clans (lineages) that were represented at a great assembly called the Gbara. However, the charter made Mali more similar to a constitutional monarchy than a democratic republic. A little closer to modern democracy were the Cossack republics of Ukraine in the 16th–17th centuries: Cossack Hetmanate and Zaporizhian Sich. The highest post – the Hetman – was elected by the representatives from the country’s districts.

Magna Carta, 1215, England The Parliament of England had its roots in the restrictions on the power of kings written into Magna Carta, which explicitly protected certain rights of the King’s subjects, whether free or fettered – and implicitly supported what became English writ of habeas corpus, safeguarding individual freedom against unlawful imprisonment with right to appeal. The first elected parliament was De Montfort’s Parliament in England in 1265.

However only a small minority actually had a voice; Parliament was elected by only a few percent of the population, (less than 3% as late as 1780[26]), and the power to call parliament was at the pleasure of the monarch (usually when he or she needed funds). The power of Parliament increased in stages over the succeeding centuries. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the English Bill of Rights of 1689 was enacted, which codified certain rights and increased the influence of Parliament. 26] The franchise was slowly increased and Parliament gradually gained more power until the monarch became largely a figurehead. [27] As the franchise was increased, it also was made more uniform, as many so-called rotten boroughs, with a handful of voters electing a Member of Parliament, were eliminated in the Reform Act of 1832. In North America, the English Puritans who migrated from 1620 established colonies in New England whose governance was democratic and which contributed to the democratic development of the United States. 28] [edit] Modern era [edit] 18th and 19th centuries The first nation in modern history to adopt a democratic constitution was the short-lived Corsican Republic in 1755. This Corsican Constitution was the first based on Enlightenment principles and even allowed for female suffrage, something that was granted in other democracies only by the 20th century. In 1789, Revolutionary France adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and, although short-lived, the National Convention was elected by all males in 1792. [29]

The establishment of universal male suffrage in France in 1848 was an important milestone in the history of democracy. Universal male suffrage was definitely established in France in March 1848 in the wake of the French Revolution of 1848. [30] In 1848, several revolutions broke out in Europe as rulers were confronted with popular demands for liberal constitutions and more democratic government. [31] Although not described as a democracy by the founding fathers, the United States founders also shared a determination to root the American experiment in the principle of natural freedom and equality. 32] The United States Constitution, adopted in 1788, provided for an elected government and protected civil rights and liberties for some. In the colonial period before 1776, and for some time after, often only adult white male property owners could vote; enslaved Africans, most free black people and most women were not extended the franchise. On the American frontier, democracy became a way of life, with widespread social, economic and political equality. 33] However, slavery was a social and economic institution, particularly in eleven states in the American South, such that a variety of organizations were established advocating the movement of black people from the United States to locations where they would enjoy greater freedom and equality. In the 1860 United States Census the slave population in the United States had grown to four million,[34] and in Reconstruction after the Civil War (late 1860s) the newly freed slaves became citizens with (in the case of men) a nominal right to vote.

Full enfranchisement of citizens was not secured until after the African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968) gained passage by the United States Congress of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. [35][36] [edit] 20th and 21st centuries The number of nations 1800–2003 scoring 8 or higher on Polity IV scale, another widely used measure of democracy. 20th century transitions to liberal democracy have come in successive “waves of democracy,” variously resulting from wars, revolutions, decolonization, religious and economic circumstances.

World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires resulted in the creation of new nation-states from Europe, most of them at least nominally democratic. In the 1920s democracy flourished, but the Great Depression brought disenchantment, and most of the countries of Europe, Latin America, and Asia turned to strong-man rule or dictatorships. Fascism and dictatorships flourished in Nazi Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal, as well as nondemocratic regimes in the Baltics, the Balkans, Brazil, Cuba, China, and Japan, among others. 37] World War II brought a definitive reversal of this trend in western Europe. The democratization of the American, British, and French sectors of occupied Germany (disputed[38]), Austria, Italy, and the occupied Japan served as a model for the later theory of regime change. However, most of Eastern Europe, including the Soviet sector of Germany fell into the non-democratic Soviet bloc. The war was followed by decolonization, and again most of the new independent states had nominally democratic constitutions. India emerged as the world’s largest democracy and continues to be so. 39] By 1960, the vast majority of country-states were nominally democracies, although most of the world’s populations lived in nations that experienced sham elections, and other forms of subterfuge (particularly in Communist nations and the former colonies. ) A subsequent wave of democratization brought substantial gains toward true liberal democracy for many nations. Spain, Portugal (1974), and several of the military dictatorships in South America returned to civilian rule in the late 1970s and early 1980s (Argentina in 1983, Bolivia, Uruguay in 1984, Brazil in 1985, and Chile in the early 1990s).

This was followed by nations in East and South Asia by the mid-to-late 1980s. Economic malaise in the 1980s, along with resentment of Soviet oppression, contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the associated end of the Cold War, and the democratization and liberalization of the former Eastern bloc countries. The most successful of the new democracies were those geographically and culturally closest to western Europe, and they are now members or candidate members of the European Union. Some researchers consider that contemporary Russia is not a true democracy and instead resembles a form of dictatorship. 40] The Economist’s Democracy Index as published in December 2011, with greener colours representing more democratic countries and clearly authoritarian countries in dark red. The liberal trend spread to some nations in Africa in the 1990s, most prominently in South Africa. Some recent examples of attempts of liberalization include the Indonesian Revolution of 1998, the Bulldozer Revolution in Yugoslavia, the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, and the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia.

According to Freedom House, in 2007 there were 123 electoral democracies (up from 40 in 1972). [41] According to World Forum on Democracy, electoral democracies now represent 120 of the 192 existing countries and constitute 58. 2 percent of the world’s population. At the same time liberal democracies i. e. countries Freedom House regards as free and respectful of basic human rights and the rule of law are 85 in number and represent 38 percent of the global population. [42] In 2010 the United Nations declared September 15 the International Day of Democracy. 43] [edit] Countries The following countries are categorized by the Democracy Index 2011 as Full democracy:[44] 1. Norway? 2. Iceland? 3. Denmark? 4. Sweden? 5. New Zealand      | 6. Australia? 7. Switzerland? 8. Canada? 9. Finland? 10. Netherlands      | 11. Luxembourg      ? 12. Ireland? 13. Austria? 14. Germany? 15. Malta| 16. Czech Republic      ? 17. Uruguay? 18. United Kingdom? 19. United States? 20. Costa Rica| 21. Japan? 22. South Korea? 23. Belgium? 24. Mauritius? 25.

Spain| The Index assigns 53 countries to the next category, Flawed democracy: Argentina, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mali, India, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Zambia[44] [edit]

Types See also: List of types of democracy Democracy has taken a number of forms, both in theory and practice. Some varieties of democracy provide better representation and more freedom for their citizens than others. [45][46] However, if any democracy is not structured so as to prohibit the government from excluding the people from the legislative process, or any branch of government from altering the separation of powers in its own favor, then a branch of the system can accumulate too much power and destroy the democracy. 47][48][49] World’s states colored by form of government as of 20111 Presidential republics2|      Semi-presidential republics2|      Parliamentary republics2|      Single-party republics|      Parliamentary constitutional monarchies|      Absolute monarchies|      Military dictatorships|      Parliamentary constitutional monarchies in which the monarch personally exercises power|      Republics with an executive president dependent on a parliament|      Countries which do not fit any of the above systems| | This map was complied according to the Wikipedia list of countries by system of government. See there for sources. 2Several states constitutionally deemed to be multiparty republics are broadly described by outsiders as authoritarian states. This map presents only the de jure form of government, and not the de facto degree of democracy. The following kinds of democracy are not exclusive of one another: many specify details of aspects that are independent of one another and can co-exist in a single system. [edit] Basic forms [edit] Direct

Main article: Direct democracy Direct democracy is a political system where the citizens participate in the decision-making personally, contrary to relying on intermediaries or representatives. The supporters of direct democracy argue that democracy is more than merely a procedural issue. A direct democracy gives the voting population the power to: Landsgemeinde of the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, example for direct democracy in Switzerland 1. Change constitutional laws, 2. Put forth initiatives, referendums and suggestions for laws, 3.

Give binding orders to elective officials, such as revoking them before the end of their elected term, or initiating a lawsuit for breaking a campaign promise. Of the three measures mentioned, most operate in developed democracies today. This is part of a gradual shift towards direct democracies. Elements of direct democracy exist on a local level in many countries, though these systems often coexist with representative assemblies. Usually, this includes equal (and more or less direct) participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law. [14] [edit]

Representative Main article: Representative democracy Representative democracy involves the selection of government officials by the people being represented. If the head of state is also democratically elected then it is called a democratic republic. [50] The most common mechanisms involve election of the candidate with a majority or a plurality of the votes. Representatives may be elected or become diplomatic representatives by a particular district (or constituency), or represent the entire electorate through proportional systems, with some using a combination of the two.

Some representative democracies also incorporate elements of direct democracy, such as referendums. A characteristic of representative democracy is that while the representatives are elected by the people to act in the people’s interest, they retain the freedom to exercise their own judgment as how best to do so. [edit] Parliamentary Main article: Parliamentary system Parliamentary democracy is a representative democracy where government is appointed by representatives as opposed to a ‘presidential rule’ wherein the President is both head of state and the head of government and is elected by the voters.

Under a parliamentary democracy, government is exercised by delegation to an executive ministry and subject to ongoing review, checks and balances by the legislative parliament elected by the people. [51][52][53][54][55] Parliamentary systems have the right to dismiss a Prime Minister at any point in time that they feel he or she is not doing their job to the expectations of the legislature. This is done through a Vote of No Confidence where the legislature decides whether or not to remove the Prime Minister from office by a majority support for his or her dismissal. 56] In some countries, the Prime Minister can also call an election whenever he or she so chooses, and typically the Prime Minister will hold an election when he or she knows that they are in good favor with the public as to get re-elected. In other parliamentary democracies extra elections are virtually never held, a minority government being preferred until the next ordinary elections. [edit] Presidential Main article: Presidential system Presidential Democracy is a system where the public elects the president through free and fair elections.

The president serves as both the head of state and head of government controlling most of the executive powers. The president serves for a specific term and cannot exceed that amount of time. Elections typically have a fixed date and aren’t easily changed. The president has direct control over the cabinet, the members of which are specifically appointed by the president himself. [56] The president cannot be easily removed from office by the legislature, but he or she cannot remove members of the legislative branch any more easily.

This provides some measure of separation of powers. In consequence however, the president and the legislature may end up in the control of separate parties, allowing one to block the other and thereby interfere with the orderly operation of the state. This may be the reason why presidential democracy is not very common outside the Americas. [56] A semi-presidential system is a system of democracy in which the government includes both a prime minister and a president. The particular powers held by the prime minister and president vary by country. 56] [edit] Constitutional Main article: Constitutional democracy A constitutional democracy is a representative democracy in which the ability of the elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the rule of law, and usually moderated by a constitution that emphasizes the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals, and which places constraints on the leaders and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised against the rights of minorities (see civil liberties).

In a constitutional democracy, it is possible for some large-scale decisions to emerge from the many individual decisions that citizens are free to make. In other words, citizens can “vote with their feet” or “vote with their dollars”, resulting in significant informal government-by-the-masses that exercises many “powers” associated with formal government elsewhere. [edit] Hybrid Some modern democracies that are predominately representative in nature also heavily rely upon forms of political action that are directly democratic.

These democracies, which combine elements of representative democracy and direct democracy, are termed hybrid democracies[57] or semi-direct democracies. Examples include Switzerland and some U. S. states, where frequent use is made of referendums and initiatives. Although managed by a representative legislative body, Switzerland allows for initiatives and referendums at both the local and federal levels. In the past 120 years less than 250 initiatives have been put to referendum.

The populace has been conservative, approving only about 10% of the initiatives put before them; in addition, they have often opted for a version of the initiative rewritten by government. [citation needed] In the United States, no mechanisms of direct democracy exists at the federal level, but over half of the states and many localities provide for citizen-sponsored ballot initiatives (also called “ballot measures”, “ballot questions” or “propositions”), and the vast majority of states allow for referendums.

Examples include the extensive use of referendums in the US state of California, which is a state that has more than 20 million voters. [58] In New England Town meetings are often used, especially in rural areas, to manage local government. This creates a hybrid form of government, with a local direct democracy and a state government which is representative. For example, most Vermont towns hold annual town meetings in March in which town officers are elected, budgets for the town and schools are voted on, and citizens have an opportunity to speak and by heard on political matters. 59] [edit] Variants [edit] Republic Main article: Republicanism In contemporary usage, the term democracy refers to a government chosen by the people, whether it is direct or representative. [60] The term republic has many different meanings, but today often refers to a representative democracy with an elected head of state, such as a president, serving for a limited term, in contrast to states with a hereditary monarch as a head of state, even if these states also are representative democracies with an elected or appointed head of government such as a prime minister. 61] The Founding Fathers of the United States rarely praised and often criticized democracy, which in their time tended to specifically mean direct democracy, often without the protection of a Constitution enshrining basic rights; James Madison argued, especially in The Federalist No. 10, that what distinguished a democracy from a republic was that the former became weaker as it got larger and suffered more violently from the effects of faction, whereas a republic could get stronger as it got larger and combats faction by its very structure.

What was critical to American values, John Adams insisted,[62] was that the government be “bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend. ” As Benjamin Franklin was exiting after writing the U. S. constitution, a woman asked him “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a republic or a monarchy? “. He replied “A republic—if you can keep it. “[63] Queen Elizabeth II, a constitutional monarch. [edit] Constitutional monarchy Main article: constitutional monarchy

Initially after the American and French revolutions, the question was open whether a democracy, in order to restrain unchecked majority rule, should have an elite upper chamber, the members perhaps appointed meritorious experts or having lifetime tenures, or should have a constitutional monarch with limited but real powers. Some countries (as Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavian countries, Thailand, Japan and Bhutan) turned powerful monarchs into constitutional monarchs with limited or, often gradually, merely symbolic roles.

Often the monarchy was abolished along with the aristocratic system (as in France, China, Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece and Egypt). Many nations had elite upper houses of legislatures which often had lifetime tenure, but eventually these lost power (as in Britain) or else became elective and remained powerful (as in the United States). [edit] Socialist Socialist thought has several different views on democracy. Social democracy, democratic socialism, and the dictatorship of the proletariat (usually exercised through Soviet democracy) are some examples.

Many democratic socialists and social democrats believe in a form of participatory democracy and workplace democracy combined with a representative democracy. Within Marxist orthodoxy there is a hostility to what is commonly called “liberal democracy”, which they simply refer to as parliamentary democracy because of its often centralized nature. Because of their desire to eliminate the political elitism they see in capitalism, Marxists, Leninists and Trotskyists believe in direct democracy implemented through a system of communes (which are sometimes called soviets).

This system ultimately manifests itself as council democracy and begins with workplace democracy. (See Democracy in Marxism) Democracy cannot consist solely of elections that are nearly always fictitious and managed by rich landowners and professional politicians. —Che Guevara, Speech, Uruguay, 1961[64] [edit] Anarchist Anarchists are split in this domain, depending on whether they believe that a majority-rule is tyrannic or not. The only form of democracy considered acceptable to many anarchists is direct democracy.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon argued that the only acceptable form of direct democracy is one in which it is recognized that majority decisions are not binding on the minority, even when unanimous. [65] However, anarcho-communist Murray Bookchin criticized individualist anarchists for opposing democracy,[66] and says “majority rule” is consistent with anarchism. [67] Some anarcho-communists oppose the majoritarian nature of direct democracy, feeling that it can impede individual liberty and opt in favour of a non-majoritarian form of consensus democracy, similar to Proudhon’s position on direct democracy. 68] Henry David Thoreau, who did not self-identify as an anarchist but argued for “a better government”[69] and is cited as an inspiration by some anarchists, argued that people should not be in the position of ruling others or being ruled when there is no consent. [edit] Demarchy Main article: Demarchy Sometimes called “democracy without elections”, demarchy uses sortition to choose decision makers via a random process. The intention is that those chosen will be representative of the opinions and interests of the people at large, and be more fair and impartial than an elected official.

The technique was in widespread use in Athenian Democracy and is still used in modern jury selection. [edit] Consensus Main article: Consensus democracy Consensus democracy requires varying degrees of consensus rather than just a mere democratic majority. It typically attempts to protect minority rights from domination by majority rule. [edit] Supranational Qualified majority voting is designed by the Treaty of Rome to be the principal method of reaching decisions in the European Council of Ministers. This system allocates votes to member states in part according to their population, but heavily weighted in favour of the smaller states.

This might be seen as a form of representative democracy, but representatives to the Council might be appointed rather than directly elected. Some might consider the “individuals” being democratically represented to be states rather than people, as with many others. European Parliament members are democratically directly elected on the basis of universal suffrage, may be seen as an example of a supranational democratic institution. [edit] Non-governmental Aside from the public sphere, similar democratic principles and mechanisms of voting and representation have been used to govern other kinds of communities and organizations.

Many non-governmental organizations decide policy and leadership by voting. Most trade unions and cooperatives are governed by democratic elections. Corporations are controlled by shareholders on the principle of one share, one vote. [edit] Theory A marble statue of Aristotle. [edit] Aristotle Aristotle contrasted rule by the many (democracy/polity), with rule by the few (oligarchy/aristocracy), and with rule by a single person (tyranny or today autocracy/monarchy). He also thought that there was a good and a bad variant of each system (he considered democracy to be the degenerate counterpart to polity). 70][71] For Aristotle the underlying principle of democracy is freedom, since only in a democracy the citizens can have a share in freedom. In essence, he argues that this is what every democracy should make its aim. There are two main aspects of freedom: being ruled and ruling in turn, since everyone is equal according to number, not merit, and to be able to live as one pleases. But one factor of liberty is to govern and be governed in turn; for the popular principle of justice is to have equality according to number, not worth, ….

And one is for a man to live as he likes; for they say that this is the function of liberty, inasmuch as to live not as one likes is the life of a man that is a slave. —Aristotle, Politics 1317b (Book 6, Part II) [edit] Rationale Among modern political theorists, there are three contending conceptions of the fundamental rationale for democracy: aggregative democracy, deliberative democracy, and radical democracy. [72] [edit] Aggregative The theory of aggregative democracy claims that the aim of the democratic processes is to solicit citizens’ preferences and aggregate them together to determine what social policies society should adopt.

Therefore, proponents of this view hold that democratic participation should primarily focus on voting, where the policy with the most votes gets implemented. Different variants of aggregative democracy exist. Under minimalism, democracy is a system of government in which citizens give teams of political leaders the right to rule in periodic elections. According to this minimalist conception, citizens cannot and should not “rule” because, for example, on most issues, most of the time, they have no clear views or their views are not well-founded.

Joseph Schumpeter articulated this view most famously in his book Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. [73] Contemporary proponents of minimalism include William H. Riker, Adam Przeworski, Richard Posner. According to the theory of direct democracy, on the other hand, citizens should vote directly, not through their representatives, on legislative proposals. Proponents of direct democracy offer varied reasons to support this view. Political activity can be valuable in itself, it socializes and educates citizens, and popular participation can check powerful elites.

Most importantly, citizens do not really rule themselves unless they directly decide laws and policies. Governments will tend to produce laws and policies that are close to the views of the median voter– with half to his left and the other half to his right. This is not actually a desirable outcome as it represents the action of self-interested and somewhat unaccountable political elites competing for votes. Anthony Downs suggests that ideological political parties are necessary to act as a mediating broker between individual and governments.

Downs laid out this view in his 1957 book An Economic Theory of Democracy. [74] Robert A. Dahl argues that the fundamental democratic principle is that, when it comes to binding collective decisions, each person in a political community is entitled to have his/her interests be given equal consideration (not necessarily that all people are equally satisfied by the collective decision). He uses the term polyarchy to refer to societies in which there exists a certain set of institutions and procedures which are perceived as leading to such democracy.

First and foremost among these institutions is the regular occurrence of free and open elections which are used to select representatives who then manage all or most of the public policy of the society. However, these polyarchic procedures may not create a full democracy if, for example, poverty prevents political participation. [75] Some[who? ] see a problem with the wealthy having more influence and therefore argue for reforms like campaign finance reform. Some[who? ] may see it as a problem that only voters decide policy, as opposed to a majority rule of the entire population.

This can be used as an argument for making political participation mandatory, like compulsory voting or for making it more patient (non-compulsory) by simply refusing power to the government until the full majority feels inclined to speak their minds. [edit] Deliberative Deliberative democracy is based on the notion that democracy is government by deliberation. Unlike aggregative democracy, deliberative democracy holds that, for a democratic decision to be legitimate, it must be preceded by authentic deliberation, not merely the aggregration of preferences that occurs in voting.

Authentic deliberation is deliberation among decision-makers that is free from distortions of unequal political power, such as power a decision-maker obtained through economic wealth or the support of interest groups. [76][77][78] If the decision-makers cannot reach consensus after authentically deliberating on a proposal, then they vote on the proposal using a form of majority rule. [edit] Radical Radical democracy is based on the idea that there are hierarchical and oppressive power relations that exist in society.

Democracy’s role is to make visible and challenge those relations by allowing for difference, dissent and antagonisms in decision making processes. [edit] Ideal forms [edit] Inclusive Main article: Inclusive Democracy Inclusive democracy is a political theory and political project that aims for direct democracy in all fields of social life: political democracy in the form of face-to-face assemblies which are confederated, economic democracy in a stateless, moneyless and marketless economy, democracy in the social realm, i. . self-management in places of work and education, and ecological democracy which aims to reintegrate society and nature. The theoretical project of inclusive democracy emerged from the work of political philosopher Takis Fotopoulos in “Towards An Inclusive Democracy” and was further developed in the journal Democracy & Nature and its successor The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy. The basic unit of decision making in an inclusive democracy is the demotic assembly, i. e. he assembly of demos, the citizen body in a given geographical area which may encompass a town and the surrounding villages, or even neighbourhoods of large cities. An inclusive democracy today can only take the form of a confederal democracy that is based on a network of administrative councils whose members or delegates are elected from popular face-to-face democratic assemblies in the various demoi. Thus, their role is purely administrative and practical, not one of policy-making like that of representatives in representative democracy.

The citizen body is advised by experts but it is the citizen body which functions as the ultimate decision-taker . Authority can be delegated to a segment of the citizen body to carry out specific duties, for example to serve as members of popular courts, or of regional and confederal councils. Such delegation is made, in principle, by lot, on a rotation basis, and is always recallable by the citizen body. Delegates to regional and confederal bodies should have specific mandates. [edit]

Free Essays

To What Extent Are Democracy and Dictatorship Different?

To what extent are democracy and dictatorship different? In order to answer this question we must first examine the generic basis of both democracy and dictatorship separately. The term democracy originates from the Greeks, and is defined as “rule of the people” coming from the words “demos” (people) and “kratos” (power). It was coined around 400 BCE, to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Athens. Commonly, two forms of democracy are recognised, these being direct democracy and representative democracy.

Direct democracy was used in Athenian democracy, and is a system in which people vote on policy initiatives directly. Many US states and Switzerland still use this system often. Representative democracy refers to the system which is in place in Britain today. It is a variation of democracy founded on the principle of elected people representing a group of people. The term dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is rules by an individual. For some scholars, a dictatorship is a form of government that has power to govern without consent of those being governed.

As is the case with democracy, there are different kinds of dictatorship. An authoritarian dictatorship is one kind whereby the power the govern is held by a small group of elite politicians. A military dictatorship is a form of government wherein the political power resides with the military. We can start to answer this question by looking at the way in which governments are formed in democracy and in dictatorship. We, in Britain live in a democracy whereby every five years we hold in general election in which everyone over 18 years of age can vote for who they would like to be their local MP.

Whichever party wins more than 50% of the MPs in the House of Commons can then go on to form a government. We, therefore as citizens of this country, have handed over our sovereignty and elected the people who will go on to govern us for the next five years until we retake out sovereignty to hold another election. We have therefore given the government the right to govern via consent. In a dictatorship however, in many cases the people haven’t given those in power, the right to be there. Figures such s Lenin, who believed in a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ in Marxist terms, seized power of their government rather than being elected by the people. In the case of Lenin this was after a revolution and due to the failings of the Provisional Government the Bolsheviks were able to take advantage of their weaknesses and, through violent means, take control the the country. However, we must not make the assumption that all dictators have come to power via the means of force and violence. An example of a notorious dictator’s rise to power without the use of an overthrow of the then government, is Hitler.

He was democratically elected to become Chancellor of Germany, and then used his power in that role to change the laws surrounding the limits on his power, thus securing him as a dictator. From this we can see that the means in which a governments in democracy and dictatorships are formed are different, and can in some situations be the complete opposite of each other. The means in which a government maintains authority in a democracy and in a dictatorship, show one of the many differences between these two forms of governing. Traditionally, in a democracy, a government would use rational and proportional means of policing and punishment.

For example, in Britain as a democracy we do not have situations where people are persecuted for expressing their religious views and beliefs. However, across the world, particularly in the Middle East, there are dictatorships where you may be persecuted for your beliefs, whether they be religious, political or cultural. These places have regimes often known as “police states”, whereby people are constantly under the surveillance of the authorities, and the government controls the police and whole ‘justice’ system, making these countries less democratic.

Although we can clearly identify stark differences between democracy and dictatorship, there are certain groups of thinkers who believe that the two are actually not as different as it would appear on paper. There are those who follow Karl Marx’s thoughts and beliefs that actually democracy, in particular capitalist democracies are simply bourgeois dictatorships, whereby the middle classes are exploiting the working lasses, who he refers to as the proletariat. There is also the question of the ‘tyranny of the majority’, an issue raised by many philosophers, from Aristotle in Ancient Greece, to Alexis de Tocqueville and Friedrich Nietzsche. This issue envisions a scenario in which decisions made by a majority place its interests so far above those of an individual or minority group as to constitute active oppression, comparable to that of tyrants and despots.

In many cases a disliked ethnic, religious or racial group is deliberately penalized by the majority element acting through the democratic process. Thus, from this theory, it can be suggested that there are elements of democracy which actually allow dictatorships amongst groups of people, to be formed. It would most certainly be unwise to compare previous Birtish Primeministers like Margeret Thatcher to notorious dictators such as Chairman Mao or Adolf Hitler, but we must also consider the theory of an elective dictatoship.

It would most certainly be unwise to compare previous British prime ministers like Margaret Thatcher to notorious dictators such as Chairman Mao or Adolf Hitler, but we must also consider the theory of an elective dictatorship This term coined by Lord Hailsham refers to the way in which some governments can be dominated, or dictated by the executive body within them, thus making them less democratic as less views of the people are being put forward for law making, instead, a small body of elite politicians are running effectively running the government.

This along with a large majority in the House of Commons, such as the 1983 Conservative majority of ___? , means that the MPs in the Commons can no longer fulfil their role of representing their constituents effectively as a dictatorship of the governing party may mean that any law proposed by the executive is very likely to be passed due to the huge majority.

On paper, and in theory, democracy and dictatorship may seem worlds apart in their basis of power, how authority is maintained and how government is created, but in actual fact, when taking into account the thoughts of leading philosophers and academics, we can clearly draw some parallels between these two forms of governing.

Elements of one can often be found in the other, although fundamentally the main aims of democracy are often not met in dictatorship. The freedoms and liberties of the individual are often not emphasised in a dictatorship. However, after studying the different elements of democracies around the world, I don’t think it would be accurate to say that these freedoms and liberties of the people are even being fulfilled in democracies.

Free Essays

Andrew Jackson Democracy

Andrew Jackson and his supporters have been criticized for upholding the principles of majority rule and the supremacy of the federal government inconsistently and unfairly. The validity of this statement varies in the cases of the re-charter of the Bank, the nullification controversy, and the removal of the Native Americans. In the case of the re-charter of the bank, the statement is not valid. He did uphold the principles of the majority rule and not of the supremacy of the government.

The bank and its branches received federal funding and they were to be used for public purpose by serving as a cushion for the ups and downs of the economy. Biddle, head of the bank, managed it effectively. But his arrogance led many, including Jackson, to believe that Biddle was abusing his power and was serving the interests of the wealthy. As a result, Jackson declared the bank to be unconstitutional even though it was previously said to be constitutional.

In the election of 1832, Clay wanted to challenge Jackson on the issue by trying to persuade Congress to pass a bank re-charter-bill. Jackson vetoed it, saying that it was a private monopoly and that it favored the wealthy, and in turn led to the backfire of Clay’s plan. The majority of the voters agreed on his attack on the “hydra of corruption. ” And as a result of this issue, Jackson got the majority of the votes and won the election. In his second term Jackson killed the national bank by vetoing its re-charter and by removing all of its money.

In his veto message Jackson said “But when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustices of their government”. He then took the money and put it into so called “pet banks” that were located throughout various state banks. He did this because he did not uphold to the ideas of the federal supremacy.

Jackson is usually for state’s rights, but not if it leads towards disunion. That is exactly what happened in the issue of nullification. Around 1828 the legislation of South Carolina declared that the Tariff of Abominations, which was and increased tariff, was unconstitutional. According to Calhoun, Jackson’s vice-president, and his nullification theory, each state had the right to decide whether or not to obey it or to declare it void. Daniel Webster, of Mass. , debated against Hayne and attacked the idea that any state could leave the Union.

Jackson believed that the Union should be preserved. South Carolina held a convention to nullify both the tariff of 1828 and the newly formed tariff of 1832. The convention determined that the collection of tariffs within a state is against the constitution. Jackson didn’t like this, so he forced military action by persuading the Congress the pass a so-called Force bill to give him authority to use military action in South Carolina. But the troops did not go. Jackson decided to open up for compromise and to lower the tariff.

Jackson did not uphold to the principle of majority to rule in this case because it only dealt with one state, but he did for the supremacy of the federal government. In the case of the removal of the Native Americans, the statement is valid. Jackson’s view on democracy did not extend to the Native Americans. Like the majority he did sympathize with the land-hungry citizens who desperately wanted to take over lands held by the Indians. Jackson thought that the reasonable answer was to require the Native Americans to leave their homeland and head towards west of the Mississippi.

He signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which forced a resettlement of many thousand Native Americans. In 1831 the Cherokees challenged Georgia in the courts, but the Supreme Court ruled in this case (Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia) that the Cherokee’s where not a foreign nation and couldn’t sue in a federal court. In a second case, Worcester vs. Georgia (1832), the Supreme Court ruled that the laws of Georgia had no force within the boundaries of the Cherokee territory. In a dispute between state’s rights and federal courts, Jackson sided with the states.

He said, “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it. ” In a statement by Edward Everett, he said, “The Indians, as was natural, looked to the United States for protection. They came first to the President, deeming, and rightly, that it was his duty to afford them this protection. They knew he had but one constitutional duty to perform toward the treaties and laws – the duty of executing them. He informed them that he had no power, in his view of the rights of the States; prevent their extending their laws over the Indians. This shows that he upheld the principle of the federal supremacy because he abided. Many presidents that have served in the U. S. have had criticisms against them because of the actions they have performed, Jackson being one of them. The validity of the criticism against Jackson varies with the issues regarding the re-charter of the bank, the nullification crisis and the removal of the Native Americans. His presidency changed the way that we look at presidents today.

Free Essays

To What Extent Does Democracy in the Uk Suffer?

Politics Essay To what extent does democracy in the UK suffer from a participation crisis? (25 marks) There are a lot of ways in which citizens can participate in politics in the UK without necessarily having to vote for example: joining a political party, boycotting, and even signing petitions and fund raising. However, there is an argument that there has been a participation crisis over the past years in the UK. A participation crisis is when less and less citizens take part in political activities; this can be shown in the decrease of voter turnout and the level of participation.

On the other hand, there is an argument that there is in fact not a participation crisis because the turnout of voting is increasing and specific forms of participation are also on the rise. In this essay, I will be arguing whether or not the UK is suffering from a participation crisis and if we are suffering to what extent. The main concern about democracy in the UK comes from evidence of rising political apathy. Some people have seen this as nothing more than a ‘participation crisis’.

Can democracy be classed as healthy when more and more voters every year seem to be unconcerned or reluctant to engage in political life? Deteriorating rates of voter turnout and falling levels of party membership despite there being opportunities for participation show evidence. There are three main reasons to show why there is a participation crisis in the UK. The first reason is the public. Due to people’s interest in materialism, individualism and lack of community, citizens fail to pull together and look out for each other, which decreases the interest and connection they have in politics.

Decreasing rates in party membership and electoral turnouts is part of a process that’s seen less interest in political affairs as citizens seem to care more about themselves and family rather than their neighbours and society as a whole. The voting turnout over the past years has been inconsistent. During 1945 to 1992, the average turnout rate in the UK general elections was above 75 per cent. However in the 2001 general election, the turnout rate was 59 per cent, the lowest the turnout rate has ever been since 1918. This shows the interest citizens had in political affairs decreased drastically.

The turnout rate did increase however, by the 2010 UK general election the turnout rate was at 65 per cent due to the first ever UK TV debate with the three party leaders: David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg even though it was still below the average turnout rate during 1945 to 1992. Similarly, party membership in the UK has also decreased over the years. For example the number of people that were registered to Labour party has fallen from over one million members in the mid 1950’s to around 166,000 members in 2009. Conservatives party membership has also fallen.

The number of people that were registered to Conservative party has fallen from approx. 2. 8 million members in the 1950’s to around 250,000 members in 2009. By 2007, less than 1 per cent of people across the UK belonged to political parties, from 7 per cent 50 years ago. This shows a decline in party membership which is caused by a decline in the voters’ loyalty towards political parties. Another reason why there is a participation crisis in the UK is the media. The media has a big impact and influence on citizens and the way they vote and support political parties.

The media focuses on the political scandals, allegations, incompetence and policy failure of the parties which means that the good things about the leading politicians are forgotten about and the negative tend to be more popular. For example, the Sun newspaper has seemed to influence citizens about which party should be in power as each party the Sun has supported over the years has won in the general elections. This shows that the media has had an impact on citizens and their preferred party which could be another reason why there is a participation crisis.

The final explanation why there is a participation crisis in the UK is the politicians themselves. Politicians have been known to lack vision, and only really care about being elected in modern politicians and political parties as it is seen as just another professional career. Politicians have also been known to be over -concerned with the media and how they are portrayed rather than being concerned on how things are at the moment and what they can do to make things better.

This creates an impression to citizens that politicians are less trustworthy and are all about presentation which causes turnout rates and party membership to decline. The growing idea for politicians to target key voters and citizens they feel might change parties is also a contribution to declining voter turnout rates as other citizens may feel like they aren’t as important or cared about and so decide to not vote or vote for a different party because the political parties are ignoring the voters in the majority of seats.

The decline in participation rates may also be because of politicians and political parties being too similar to each other, which doesn’t give citizens much choice if both parties are appealing to the same targets and have the same policies. In previous years there were clear divides in the different parties and policies, which made it easier for citizens to choose which party they wanted in power. However for example, the Labour and Conservative parties have distanced themselves away from their traditional policies and targets and are now both focusing on Middle English citizens.

In my opinion, there is much evidence for a participation crisis, although single issue politics is growing and pressure groups add to the democratic process as they give a voice to those who are ignored by the majority system. Party memberships have declined however pressure group memberships are growing. Voter turnout is declining, fewer people feel naturally inclined to a particular party and even less take an active interest in politics due to rising income levels blurring class lines. Because pressure group membership, e petitions and direct action have increased I think this contradicts the idea of a participation crisis.

To conclude, the British people have always been reluctant to get involved in democracy. Although forms of participation are constantly evolving; with the small minority who take a strong interest in politics turning more to action groups at the cost of parties, nothing has occurred since 1918 to change the fact that the majority give more priority to work, home, recreation and their private lives instead of public concerns. Many changes can be made to improve democracy however it may not work because Britons do not have an active involvement in politics.

There are three main factors that could explain declining turnouts at election time, the electorate- society has become more materialistic, the media- they have caused enormous problems for the public to trust and put their faith in politics, and lastly politicians- they have done nothing to restore faith back into politics. The cause of participation crisis lies within the physical act of voting being out of touch with the public. Many of us are tied with jobs social life family life to find time to vote. Therefore voting becomes a burden.

Free Essays

Pillars of Democracy in Tanzania

Democracy is a political form of government in which governing power is derived from the people, by consensus (consensus democracy), by direct referendum (direct democracy), or by means of elected representatives of the people (representative democracy). The term comes from the Greek word (demokratia) “rule of the people”, which was coined from (demos) “people” and (Kratos) “power”. There is no universal definition of the term democracy, people like the late USA president ABRAHAM LINCOLN define democracy as “The government of the people, for the people and by the people” which means : ?

Of the people means the government derives all its powers from the people ? For the people means the government is there to serve the interest of the people ? By the people means the people elect those who are to govern on their behalf According to Nnoli(20033) he defined democracy as the system of government usually involving freedom of the individual in various aspects of life, equality among citizens, justice in the relations between the people and the government and the participation of the people in choosing those in government.

Democracy is devided into direct democracy where by all adult citizen of a community participate fully in a decision making on matter brought for discussion. Decision are by the popular vote YES or NO. The Anthens are the first people to practices direct democracy. It is mostly conducted in the small populated areas like classrooms in the election of the Class representative.

The other type of democracy is indirect democracy where by different groups in community elect reoresentative and give them mandate to make public decision on their behalf. The representative may be one person or small group of people. Indirect democracy originated in Europe during the emergence of capitalism. In this kind of democracy periodic elected leaders are placed into power and are removed from the power through periodic election, it mostly done in highly populated areas.

Also these representative is divided into three categories which are parliamentary democracy Which is kind of representative democracy where by the executive is a part of the legislature here king or queen is the head of the state and prime minister is the head of government example Britain,Spain,Holland,Beigium and so on, the other category is Presidential democracy where by the executive and the legislature are independent of each other. The president is the head of both state and government and holds ffice for a fixed period example USA In order for the democracy to stand in any society the following are some of the essential pillars of the architecture of democracy; First, free and fair elections lend legitimacy to democracy by preventing one person or a small group in society from imposing certain vested interests on the general population. No one person or group should exercise a monopoly of power over the election process. In a democracy, political parties can be formed and can campaign without intimidation.

Some countries require political parties to have a minimum level of popular support before they can participate in elections. All political parties must also have access to a free media and other means to broadcast their election manifestos. The electoral process is supervised, monitored and carried out by a neutral body, often an election commission. In Tanzania free and fair election is conducted though in other hand it is not practiced since some political parties are given more chances to broadcast their election manifestos than others.

For example CCM(Chama cha Mapinduzi) is given priority to broadcast its election manifesto than other political parties like TLP(Tanzania labour Party), CHADEMA (Chama cha demokrasia na Maendeleo), CUF(Civic United Front) and others. Also there is no neutral electoral commission as the commissioner of National Electoral Commission (NEC) is appointed by the President and it works under the President office which might violate its neutrality. The second pillar is political tolerance. Free and fair elections do not give a mandate to oppress or sideline those who have voted against the government.

It also does not mean that the majority have the right to rob the minority of its civil liberties, rights, property or life. Tolerance is required for democracy to be sustained. If minority groups do not benefit equitably from the election process, there can be no peace. That absence of peace would make a mockery of efforts to be democratic. In many countries, there are examples of rewards being given only for those voters who supported the ruling party, with neglect or punishment for those who voted for the opposition. The distribution of food, water supplies and development resources has been used as a weapon of control to win elections.

In Tanzania to some extents the majority rule is applying while minority rights are respected but the political tolerance is yet to stand as we saw in our last general election where Chama cha demokrasia na Maendeleo(CHADEMA) didn’t accept the win of the President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and in the opening assembly of the second phase of his term their Members of Parliament went out and didn’t recognize his position of President. That was being intolerant. The third pillar is the rule of law. There has been much debate on the meaning of this.

What is clear, though, there is close connection between the rule of law and democracy. When the political process is subject to laws and the government officials exercising their power and authority within the constitution and laws of the country, it enables citizens to judge the lawfulness of the government. Democracy becomes dysfunctional when the bureaucracy, the judiciary, the legislature, the private sector, the police and the military all use their power to enrich themselves and advance their own interests at the expense of civil society. Laws notwithstanding, corruption undermines the rule of law.

To ensure the functioning of the rule of law, it is vital that the integrity and independence of the judiciary and the entire justice system are not subject to undue influence and illegal intervention. In Tanzania the practice of rule of law is very minimal the governors undermine its practice where some of the leaders who break the laws are not taken care of as the laws claims, also the problem of corruption in the judiciary branch is persisting never the less the judiciary has done its part in solving elections cases of Igunga, Ubungo, and Arusha constituents as well as private candidacy in general election by standing on the laws

The fourth pillar is freedom of expression. What people in civil society are allowed to say, print, distribute and discuss is indicative of the democratic nature of a political system. A free press is a measure of the freedom of expression in a society. Few governments have a genuinely easy relationship with a free press. Yet, despite all its shortcomings, a free press, supported by open Internet access, is indispensable to keeping the public informed as part of a functioning democracy. Even in an established democracy, government may seek to manipulate a free press into serving its own ends.

Governments often conduct spin campaigns, to advance their agenda and dilute the power of independent media. New technology is unleashing powerful new forces through expansion of information dissemination and space for public discourse. These new forces have made it much harder for governments to control the flow of information. The fact remains that even democratically-elected governments will go to great lengths to manipulate public opinion whether on TV, in the print media or the Internet.

Taking the case of Tanzania where newspapers like Mwanahalisi was banned by the government just because it provided information that affect the welfare of some of government leaders. Also the Editor of Tanzania daima newspaper Absalom Kibanda is also facing the court charges for allowing publishing of news that affect the current government interests so the freedom of press is denied and government create fear indirectly for the public opinions to be expressed The fifth pillar is accountability and transparency.

This means that institutions of government and individuals in those institutions must be held accountable for their actions. A government must be accountable to the people who elected it. Furthermore, it must be accountable to an independent judiciary or other impartial institutions established to check government action. Decisions must not advance the agendas of vested interest groups over the public interest. As Mmuya and Chaligha(1994: pg 189) claimed “Democracy become meaningful only when political parties are accountable to the people.

Moreover the government has not only to be transparent but also be accountable to the people through their representatives. ” Also political parties have to be accountable and perform their duties as they are supposed to be. To some extent the Tanzania government is accountable the public can question the government actions and expenditures, officials who misuse their power are removed from their positions. Example Dr. William Mhando the former managing director of TANESCO together with his subordinates were removed from office due to misuse of public office for their own interest.

To some extent the Tanzania government is transparent from time to time it inform the public about its decisions and action example now days all members of parliament and high officials are asked to disclose their wealth before start to work and after fixed period before moves out from their positions. The sixth pillar rests on local political empowerment. The closer the government is to the people governed, the more responsive the government is likely to be. At the same time, for decentralised democracy to work, here must also be a decentralisation of funding, material and human resources and institutional capability. Decentralisation of the political process is another way to curb the concentration of power and influence exercised by political forces. Citizens become more aware, interested and willing to participate in democracy when they see their officials as neighbours and what is at stake as something close to home. Only the national government can print currency, conduct foreign policy, provide for the nation’s defence.

However local matters such as community services are best managed by local or state, regional or country or provincial government. The other pillar of democracy is the Separtion of power. Is the system where by Government powers are separated and divided between the three branches namely Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. Each of these branches performs its functions independently without interference from other branches. Executive is the body of government which comprises the President, the Cabinet and civil servants. Is the rulling body which conduct all administrative works in the government.

Legislature is the law enacting body which comprise of the President and national assembly and the Judiciary body comprises of court judges, magistrates and headed by Chief justice and their duty is to enforce laws. In Tanzania these three branches are ideologically there but their practice is not efficient. The President who is the head of executive branch is also part of the parliament or legislature so he might have the influence to members of parliament when they will be required to pass the bills. In that sense the legislature branch is not fully independent from the executive branch.

Also the President have the mandate to appoint court judges of high court as well as court of appeal together with the Chief Justice so they will ideologically being separate as judiciary branch but their work might have the influence of the one who apoointed them hence the separation of power is yet not being achieved. The other pillar is human rights which are the needs which all people deserve simply because of their humanity. For example right to live, right to vote and to be voted. Ther are individual rights, moral rights and others.

In Tanzania human rights are included in the national constitution and are also maintained, like right to vote, right to have basic needs, right to live though there are actions which deny some of these rights like killing of elders in Shinyanga and the Lake Victoria zone, also albino killing which both deny the right to live. All in all the pillars of democracy outlined above are necessary but insufficient without leaders to build and maintain them. The qualities of leadership for sustainable democracy are to be found in those who act in an honest, transparent and accountable manner.

They are consensus builders, open-minded and fair. They are committed to justice and to advancing the public interest. And they are tolerant of opposing positions. In admitting our father’s limitations, let us strive to avoid the mistakes of the past and look forward to a new generation of leaders who can build on the lessons of the struggles of ordinary citizens for democracy. References: ?Mmuya and Chaligha(1994) Political parties and Democracy in Tanzania, Dar-es-salaam University Press Tanzania ? Nnoli(2003) Introduction to politics, Enugu Nigeria ?www. nationmultimedia. com

Free Essays

Democracy in America

The Formation of American Identity Morgan Hersha IAH 201 Professor Emily Conroy-Krutz February 21, 2013 Americans pride themselves on their nation and its achievements, but most of all, their freedom. “Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom. ” It is a blessing to live under such a great constitution and we as citizens should be knowledgeable about where, when, and how it all it began. People are who they are because of the experiences that they have been through throughout their life.

This is the same case for America. The United States has formed its identity through experiences, both good and bad. After a long history of both conflict and peace, the United States formed as a union influenced both by European cultures and Native American culture. It all started when Christopher Columbus set sail and him along with the Europeans colonized to America. The Europeans brought their culture and ideas with them. We Americans just like any culture like to pass on our traditions to the generations to come.

The things that I have learned in this class have tied into things today, or at least their origin. The shared history and culture that was developed is still evolving today. During the colonial and revolutionary periods of American history, Native Americans, wars, and European culture all impacted what it meant to be American, and its identity. Native Americans contributed to American identity tremendously. Early American settlers developed many skills that they learned from the Native Americans such as agriculture, language, and even governmental structure.

Without the Native Americans it would have been difficult for colonists to be successful and survive. The colonists played a role like a tourist, and the Native Americans acted as guides. Native Americans depended on trade, and they shared this strategy with the colonists. Europeans would send things such as fur in return for things such as guns and salt. The French trading company was set up. It was thought the Native Americans receive civilization and Christianity, while the Europeans receive labor and land.

This was obviously extremely unfair and the colonists were highly upset over this. The colonists were practically raised by the Native Americans, but once they were able to stand on their own two feet, they took a stand to the Native Americans due to their frustration. During the colonial times of America, multiple wars took place in order to get rid, or displace the Native Americans. During this time the Native Americans were treated horribly. It was their homeland and it was being taken from them, and some were even taken in as slaves.

The colonists started to build on the Connecticut River Valley, but the only thing stopping them was the Pequots. At this time is when the colonists and Native Americans decide to unite against the Pequots, starting the Pequot War in 1637. The English set fire to a fort, which burned down the whole thing leaving about 5 survivors. The English believe that their easy victory meant that God was on their side. The English wanted to adopt the women and children and bring them into their own tribes and convert them into Christianity. The Wampanoag Indians did not want to live by the moral code of the Puritans.

Massasoit was chief of the Wampanoag, he then died and Wamsuette took over which is when things began to fall apart. The sudden death of Wamsuetta was believed to be the cause the King Phillips war in 1975-1976, said to be the bloodiest war in history. During this war 5,000 Native people did, and Phillip retreated home. Many people argue over the justification of taking the land of the Native America. “It was a solemn sight to see so many Christians lying in their blood, some here and some there, like a company of sheep torn by wolves. Some say that the colonists came there to express their religion and gain wealth, while others see the colonists as cruel and unfair people. Today Native Americans, or Indians, have been given reservations, or land in order to repay them for what had been taken from them. There is much controversy on what else the Indians receive, but the United States is putting in some effort to justify what they had done. What is warfare? According to Webster’s Dictionary, warfare is the process of military struggle between two nations or groups of nations. Warfare is a part of just about every nation’s history.

What influenced the American Revolution? There were a series of events that impacted the way Americans thought and gave them courage to rebel. The Haitian Revolution put thoughts in the Americans head to become free when the slaves rebelled and took Haiti from the French. By 1770’s about 1/5 of the British Empire was made up of Americans. The Sugar Act and Stamp Act were both two occurrences that made the colonists extremely angry, and after mass rioting the act was repealed. Britain came up with the Townshend Act, which placed import on glass, paint, paper, lead and tea.

To enforce the act the British would use blank search warrants and search any building for any reason. The colonists became very upset and scared. As a result of this there were many outbreaks, which led up to the Boston Massacre. With many civilians being killed during the Boston Massacre, this is when the people start to realize that Americans need to be independent. The Americans start to make homespun clothes and homemade food and tea, which starts to bring patriotism, which makes it easy to put together a military.

The French come to aid of the Americans by providing cash to help defeat the British. The American Revolution had major impacts. Examples of these impacts include things such as independent states with a centralized government, decentralized colonies to independent states with a central government, formation of a constitution, and separation of church and state, and the restriction of slavery. This American Revolution plays a very crucial role in who we are as Americans today. The last major impact on American identity is the influence that the British had on the Americans.

The United States continues to be dependent on the British for culture and other things showing that America as a nation still followed Britain. Manufacturing has not yet been developed so the Americans are still depending on England to get their goods. America starts to take off when Jedidah Mose, a minister from Connecticut, creates an American geography for classroom use. The Europeans eventually do not have local knowledge about America and start asking for information. Goods start being carried on American ships, which is a symbolic change as a new point in history of the US. America is a land of wonders, in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement. ” The point when Americans are seen as free and equal is when the Empress of China, the first US ship to go to China, sets sail. On that same day a ship leaves from New York to go to London, to pronounce peace terms. These actions are not being done by the government, but by merchants, although the people see it as a national action. Americans can now enjoy buying things on their own terms. Americans continue to judge themselves as British, and the English do not respect them.

Americans are very eager to always read British reports that are talking about America, and they are very sensitive to this. Americans need to cut ties with British if they want to have their own identity. Between the dates 1810-1830 America shifts between being dependent on the British, and being independent. Native Americans, warfare, and European culture have all been major factors that formed the American identity, and who we are today. Some of our values and trends may have changed throughout the years, but we still hold onto the roots of our culture.

It is a blessing to live with freedom, and sometimes people take that for granted. Today, we are just born into the US and we are granted these freedoms, but in the colonial times, they had to fight for it. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Tocqueville, Alexis D. Democracy in America. N. p. : Penguin Group, 2003. Print. [ 2 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “American Empires, Colonies. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 10, 2013. [ 3 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “American Empires, Colonies. ” Lecture. Michigan State University.

January 10, 2013. [ 4 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Indian Wars and Captivity. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 5 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Indian Wars and Captivity. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 6 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Indian Wars and Captivity. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 7 ]. Rowlandson, Mary. The Sovereignty and Goodness of God. N. p. : n. p. , 1682. Print. [ 8 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “French Revolution. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 9 ]. Krutz, E.

Conroy. “French Revolution. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 10 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Tourism, Commerce, and American Identity. ”Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 11 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Tourism, Commerce, and American Identity. ”Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 12 ]. Tocqueville, Alexis D. Democracy in America. N. p. : Penguin Group, 2003. Print. [ 13 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Tourism, Commerce, and American Identity. ”Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013.

Free Essays

Representative Democracy

A Representative democracy is define as The form of government that rests on the principle of the people being represented by individuals they elect;it is government that holds the belief that elected officials represent the people. Countries that have representative democracies include the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. A Representative Democracy is the only type of governance that provides the order of having a hierarchy with the satisfaction of the people having control.

Representative democracy is the most successful form of government because the people have the power, The human rights are highly respected and protected, and The welfare of the society would not be put aside for the needs of the individual. Giving people the power to vote for their leaders in government is a way to have the majority of the peoples ideas be brought up. Having specifically designated elected officials in government can help simplify the needs and problems of societies with everyone agreeing on the decisions made.

Governments that represent the views of the people tend to have higher success rates and less rebellion. In a representative democracy form of government the human rights are held to the highest standards. The right to life and liberty acknowledges that all human beings should be free. Freedom of speech also primarily guarantees that the government itself would not prohibit the people from voicing their opinions. Equality and fair treatment for everyone is also giving to the people by the government to show that everyone has the same opportunities.

The welfare of the society would not be sidelined for the needs of the individual. Decisions would be made based on the common good of the people. Everyone is also encouraged to go voice their opinions and vote for what the believe is right. and everyone is entitled to free and public education and giving the ability to seek knowledge to better themselves and there society and take part in government decisions if the choose to.

These are some of the many reasons why a representative democracy is the most successful form of government. Direct democracy may work very well among a small group of people, but the larger the group the more difficult it is to run effectively. Representative democracy eliminates this difficulty by operating on a much smaller scale the majority of the time Most people do not really want to vote all the time on political issues.

Voting for a representative who agrees with you takes less effort, doesn’t require you to do anything about issues that don’t concern you and does not require you to learn about complex issues. Sources: (William P. Meyers (2002)The Original America: Republic or Democracy? ] [Held, D. (1996) Models of democracy] [Ankersmit, Frank R. (1996). Aesthetic Politics: Political Philosophy Beyond Fact and Value. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ] [Nadia Urbinati (2006) Representative Democracy: Principles and Genealogy. )