As g&p module 1 unit 1.1 week 1 democracy & political participation (anonymous for posting)
AS Government and Politics Module 1 : People & Politics Unit 1.1 Democracy & Political Participation
Week 1. Nature of democracy — a knowledge and understanding of the idea of democracy, of the forms that democratic governance has taken
DEMOCRACY “ The people have spoken… the bastards.” Mark Twain
What is democracy? Democracy is a frequently used word but its meaning is rarely fully understood. A democratic political system is one in which the ultimate political authority is vested in the people. The word democracy comes from the Greek words "demos" which means the people and "kratos" which means authority. "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion." - Thomas Jefferson
Types of Democracy Democracy may be direct , or indirect and representative . In the modern pluralistic democratic state, power typically is exercised in groups or institutions in a complex system of interactions that involves compromises and bargaining in the decision process. The democratic creed includes the following four concepts : Individualism , which holds that the primary task of government is to enable each individual to achieve the highest potential of development. Liberty , which allows each individual the greatest amount of freedom consistent with order. Equality , which maintains that all persons are created equal and have equal rights and opportunities. Fraternity , which postulates that individuals will not misuse their freedom but will co-operate in creating a wholesome society.
Definitions The central events of the Athenian democracy were the meetings of the assembly (ἐκκλεσία ekklesia ). Unlike a parliament , the assembly's 'members' were not elected, but attended by right when and if they chose. Greek democracy created at Athens was a direct not a representative democracy : any adult male citizen over the age of 20 could take part, and it was a duty to do so. The officials of the democracy were in part chosen by the Assembly and in large part elected by lot. Direct democracy involves the direct and continuous participation of citizens in government.
Definitions Representative democracy involves indirect government by the people through representatives elected by the people.
Democracy – some definitions and observations ‘ Our constitution is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the whole people.’ (Pericles ofAthens, 431 B.C., as reported in Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (Penguin edn,:145)
Democracy – some definitions and observations ‘ Government of the people, by the people, for the people.’ (President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg address, 1863)
Democracy – some definitions and observations ‘ Were there a people of gods, their government would be democratic. So perfect a government is not for men.’ (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract , 1762)
Democracy – some definitions and observations ‘ Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.’ (George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman , 1903)
Democracy – some definitions and observations ‘ Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’ (Winston Churchill, speech in House of Commons, 11 November 1947)
Democracy – some definitions and observations ‘ So two cheers for democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism.Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three.’ (E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy , 1951)
Democracy defined ‘ Government of the people, by the people, for the people.’ (President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg address, 1863) <ul><li>..by the people… </li></ul><ul><li> ( direct) </li></ul>2. ….for the people…. (impartial arbiter….representative) 3….with the people…… (participatory democracy)
What democracy offers the citizen? 1. Since the 18 th C , and now the dominant paradigm ( Fukuyama ?) 2. Establishes and protects freedom 3. Protects minorities? 4. Acts as a control on executive (Government) power ( Lord Acton ) 5. Encourages political participation (active citizenship)
Political participation In what ways has political participation changed in the UK over the last few decades?
What is Citizenship? <ul><li>Citizen : one who enjoys rights and privileges associated with a sovereign state </li></ul><ul><li>Citizen : not a subject of a Monarch , but an individual enjoying formal equality </li></ul><ul><li>Citizen : individual entered into a Social Contract with a State </li></ul>
Conditions for representative democracy A secret ballot – helps ensure voting without intimidation or bribery. Regular elections – governments and parliaments must not be able to postpone elections. Full adult franchise – that is, all adults have the right to vote. Fair elections – each vote should count equally. An effective choice of candidates and parties for voters. A level playing field between rival parties and candidates contesting elections . A free and diverse media enabling a wide expression of views.
You’ve got the power Bonus programme: Danny Wallace