ADA Text Version Democracy is a system of government that bases its legitimacy on the participation of the people. While democratic governments come in many varieties, they are uniformly characterized by 1 competitive elections, 2 the principle of political and legal equality, and 3 a high degree of individual freedom, or civil liberties. Due to reliance on elections, democracies have as their default principle the concept of majority rule. However, one of the dominant tensions running through democratic societies is the balance struck between the will of the majority and minority rights.
The power of representatives is usually curtailed by a constitution as in a constitutional democracy or a constitutional monarchy or other measures to balance representative power: The constitution may also provide for some deliberative democracy e.
However, these are not always binding and usually require some legislative action—legal power usually remains firmly with representatives. Theorists such as Edmund Burke believe that part of the duty of a representative was not simply to communicate the wishes of the electorate but also to use their own judgement in the exercise of their powers, even if their views are not reflective of those of a majority of voters: Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention.
It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living.
These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable.
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion. Democratization The Roman Republic was the first known government in the western world to have a representative government, despite taking the form of a direct government in the Roman assemblies.
The Roman model of governance inspired many political thinkers over the centuries,  and today's modern representative democracies imitate more the Roman than the Greek models because it was a state in which supreme power was held by the people and their elected representatives, and which had an elected or nominated leader.
In Britain, Simon de Montfort is remembered as one of the fathers of representative government for holding two famous parliaments. Senators were not directly elected by the people until the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment in Women, men who owned no property, and blacks, and others not originally given voting rights in most states eventually gained the vote through changes in state and federal law in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Until it was repealed by the Fourteenth Amendment following the Civil Warthe Three-Fifths Compromise gave a disproportionate representation of slave states in the House of Representatives relative to the voters in free states.
As noted above, Edmund Burke in his speech to the electors of Bristol classically analysed their operation in Britain and the rights and duties of an elected representative.
House of Representatives, one example of representative democracy Globally, a majority of the world's people live in representative democracies including constitutional monarchies and republics with strong representative branches. Research on representation per se[ edit ] Further information: Representation politics Separate but related, and very large, bodies of research in political philosophy and social science investigate how and how well elected representatives, such as legislators, represent the interests or preferences of one or another constituency.
Criticisms[ edit ] In his book Political Partieswritten inRobert Michels argues that most representative systems deteriorate towards an oligarchy or particracy.
This is known as the iron law of oligarchy. Society has to be built up from bottom to top. As a consequence, society is built up by people, who are free and have the power to defend themselves with weapons.Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy. What in the world? to facilitate the beginning of talks inside the country between representatives of the .
During the opening two-day seminar, notable scholars, legislators, and experts addressed wide-ranging topics on the institutions and practices of representative democracy in the United States. Included are the following videotaped speeches presented.
The United States' formal democratic institutions are considerably different from those of most other democracies. For example, while practically all modern democracies are constitutional democracies, the United States is a federal democracy but most democracies are unitary.
The percentage of households in the United States consisting of a single person is nearly _____ percent. Democracy in the United States is distinguished from many European democracies by the fact that, in the United States, Critics of representative democracy have pointed out all of the following except.
Max Weber's approach to the study of power suggests, if anything, we should be careful not to place too great an emphasis on.
Oct 25, · The United States has a democratic system in which the people elect representatives. Representative democracies usually have legislative bodies that study and debate specific bills. View slideshow of images above.