Democracy - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Democracy What is a democracy? Aristotle s definition: rule of the many Majority rule (government by the people) Two types of democracies: 1. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Democracy

What is a democracy?
  • Aristotles definition rule of the many
  • Majority rule (government by the people)
  • Two types of democracies
  • 1. Direct (participatory democracy) pure
  • 2. Indirect (representative democracy)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Autocracy rule by one
  • Oligarchy rule by few
  • All are authoritarian in nature

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

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

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

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