Started on: 01/17/2014
C LASS N OTES FOR : P OLI S CI 3Y03
McMaster University, Fall 2013
F RIDAY , JANUARY 17, Y
Explaining in a few sentences why we chose this particular topic and present an organization of how we
will proceed with the research question
• Followed by secondary questions
• Need to rely on materials outside of the courseware
• Preliminary bibliography
• For better feedback - explain what materials you are reading!
Human Rights and Democratization
- Democratization is a reference to the transition that many countries in many parts of the world
have begun to undertake since the 1970s, away from non-democratic regimes.
o To establish democratic political regimes
o “Western Liberal Democracy”
o “Representative democracy”
- What is democracy and human rights?
- Where do they come from?
- What do they mean?
- Eventually we will move the processes of democratization that are underway in former communist
worlds, Asia,Africa and LatinAmerica
1. An overview of Democracy and Human Rights
a. D as an old concept and practice (2600 BC)
A. So old when we know this word and practice originated
B. Emerged in 2,600 BC
C. In Athens, Greece
D. As a concept and as a practice came into being
b. HR as modern concept (18 c.)
A. 1762 when French Philosopher Rousseau
* Voltaire: 1763. Treatise on Tolerance
* Rousseau: 1762: The Social Contract: Les droites de l’homme: Rights of Man
B. Having said that it’s an old concept and an old practice
C. It is not the most commonly known political kind of regime
2. Democracy as the least common of political regimes
o Practiced for some 400 years (200 years in Greece; 200 years in Western Europe)
It was practiced by the Greeks and other states before the Christian Era
Angie © McMaster University 1
Fall 2013 Started on: 01/17/2014
How did democracy, which the Greeks invented and practices came to an
end? Fall ofAthens, and the emergence of other kind of political regimes!
o Monarchy - Non democratic political kind of regimes common in other parts of
o Dictatorship - Well known kind of political regime
o Despotic Political Regimes - China and India, for example.
o Greek Democracy ended whenAristotle’s disciple proclaimed himself ruler by
divine right, who wouldAristotle’s disciple be?Alexander the Great!
WhenAlexander the Great came, democracy ended inAncient Greece
o It re-emerged in the last 200 years.
British Isles (United States)
Long Established Democracies - 2,000 countries in NW Europe and USA
3. New democracies recent acquaintance with democratic rules
a. Alarge majority of humanity has had no familiarity and acquaintance to
democracy; 4/5 of humanity has not had experience in Democratic Political
Regimes. When we use democratization, we refer to ALL OF THE EMERGING /
TRANSITIONAL DEMOCRACIES from former communist worlds.
4. The concept of Democracy as a contested definition
a. There is no complete unanimous agreement about what democracy is supposed to
be all about
b. Many conceptualizations of democracy!
c. There is no agreement
d. This is different from; while the concept of democracy might be contested, the
aspiration for “democracy” is pretty much 100% universal.
e. People who have no clue what democracy is would like it, even if they do not
know what it is
f. Actual definition and actual historical manifestation of democracy
g. What does democracy mean?
h. It means many things depending on who is writing down the definition!
5. Athens: D as “government of the people”
a. Government of the people means that people inAthens and other cities in Greece
would converge on to the market and discuss openly the affairs of the city
b. Engage in politics
c. While theAmerican declaration of independence makes some references to God’s
involvement in Endowing men with certain inalienable rights, among which are
the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, even then the drafters made
it clear that DEMOCRACY had to do with the PEOPLE and not with GOD.
i. Even if “creator” is used, it has nothing to do with GOD
ii. It has to do with PEOPLE
• US Declaration of Independence: government power resides on the
“We the People”: Thomas Jefferson: “Governments are instituted among
Men…to secure these rights…and they derive their power from the
Consent of the Governed”
2 Started on: 01/17/2014
Government exists to ensure that these rights are protected, but derive their
power from the People and not from God!
• French Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen (popular
sovereignty doctrine): (1789): “The purpose of all political association is
the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of Man and...the
principle of sovereignty rests essentially in the nation”.
• All men are born and remain equal in freedom and dignity!
• All make reference to God, but it is not God that is governing them,
but people who are governing themselves!
What is democracy and what do we mean by democracy?
- If people who have practiced democracy have taught us anything
- When we use the word democracy the foundations of the power of the
state and government reside on the consent of all of the citizens.
- Government by consensus on the part of all of the people!
6. A first definition de Democracy: “a type of political regime in which the foundations
of the powers of the state reside on the freely express consent of all the citizens”.
a. Once you adopt this definition Embark to ascertain what each word in the