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Lecture 1

POL101Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Presidential System, Representative Democracy, Liberal Democracy


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL101Y1
Professor
Randall Hansen
Lecture
1

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POL101 Terms and Concepts
The End of History
Marx’s teleology: argues the capitalism would purpose too much surplus and would collapse to imbalance
End of History would be the end of communism = highest achievement of human politics
Communism is not the end, but instead democracy from The End of History
Fukuyama (author of The End of History) contradicts Marx who predicted the communism would displace capitalism
the end of history means a liberal democracy is the final form of government for all nations
Definition of Democracy
A system of government in which everyone is represented, able to recognize human rights, and exercises the fair and free
elections.
Preconditions of Democracy
Kaplan’s Prerequisites in Achieving Democracy:
1. Literacy and Education
High literacy rate means people are education, therefore less corruption (manipulation)
However, literacy and education has been used to limit the franchise: limiting voting rights to only those who are
educated (usually, upper and upper middle class)
2. Middle Class
The existence of a middle class also helps with democracy
Middle class citizens don’t look for a revolution or not looking to change the world (they are content)
Ex. Russia did not have a middle class, therefore the Soviet Union resorted to communism
3. Western Enlightenment Tradition
Was a reaction against the church and the monarchs believed that government came from God
Preconditioned for democracy
Advocates tradition, belief and superstition
4. Reliable Bureaucratic Institutions
The ability to access the good you need
If you follow the rules; you will get x, does not rely on payoffs of corruption
5. Political Culture of Tolerance
An agreement that election results should not lead to violence should not have civil wars ad requires a healthy
competition
6. Urbanization
Urbanization leads to industrialization which leads to acquiring unionization
Once a nation become urbanized and unionized, citizens naturally start to demand rights and representation
7. Low-Birth Rates
Young adults are problematic because they have the ability to organize and try to change things = strong stable
democracy
Youths are a direct opposite to the middle class; represents instability
A large middle class with youth population = strong stable democracy
Modernization Theory
Socioeconomic development: industrialization and urbanization = wealth and education
Open class system, large middle class = democratic transition and democratic stability
Democracy rises as a capstone to social economic achievements however democracy has to happen organically
and cannot be imposed to a society

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Middle Class
A middle class is a class of people in the middle of the social hierarchy falls under in between the working class and the
upper class.
Social stability results from the establishment of a middle class not democracies but authoritarian systems,
including monarchies, create middle classes which having achieved a certain size and self-confidence, revolt
against the very dictators who generated their prosperity
Hybrid Regimes
An authoritarian or hybrid regimes, no matter how illiberal, will still be treated as legitimate if they can provide security
for their subjects and spark economic growth
Authoritarian Governments can control labour and make sure that people don’t create unions fabricates potential
uprising from citizens
Ex. Countries like China, Chile have experienced dictatorship and yet they don’t experience violence but instead are
flourishing more than countries under democracy they are more stable
Benefits of Presidentialism/Parliamentarism
Two Things about Presidential Government Stand Out:
1. Strong claim to Democracy
The legislators, especially when they represent cohesive, disciplined parties that offer clear ideological and political
alternatives, can also claim democratic legitimacy
This claim is a high reliever when a majority of the legislature represents a political option opposed to the one the
president represents
2. Fixed term in office
The president’s relatively fixed term in office is also not without drawbacks
The duration of the president’s mandate becomes a crucial factor in the calculations of all political actors, a fact
which is fraught with important consequences
It is a paradox of presidential government that while it leads to the personalization of power, its legal mechanisms
may also lead, in the event of a sudden midterm succession, to the rise of someone whom the ordinary electoral
process would never have made the chief of state
Parliamentary Government also basically grants control of the government to the party that wins the most votes in an
election and provides it with the support necessary to implement the winning platform selected by the people. Because of
parliamentary structure, it is possible for parliamentary governments to fulfill promises made to citizens during elections
without the stalemates that are sometimes encountered in the American system when the parties are unable to come to an
agreement. This is because, in the American system, all parties have the power to act in accordance with their own
agendas when it comes to passing bills into law.
Cost of Presidentialism/Parliamentarism
Problems of Presidential System:
Dead lock of competing legitimacies you have people who are elected with their own mandate, they are not all
in the same body of government
Fixed terms in office no way of getting rid of president except through impeachment
Zero-sum poweryou either win or lose presidential election; no share of power
Personalistic or dictorial power presidents often become dictators; can take more power than office allows them
Cabinet less independent president chooses cabinet at random
Legislative and Executive have the power to veto in a presidential system
Ex. Threatened to shut down government separation of powers
o No dangers in parliament because there is no separation of powers the prime minister controls the
parliament since he has the most seats therefore can make judgments

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Problems of Parliamentary System
No separation of powers opposition is minority
Opposition has little influence they are not allowed to propose legislation or bills, can only respond to debate
and not shake it
More unstable can have governments falling constantly; takes a long time to form governments after an election
Unexpected coalitions happens after the elections
No fixed term
Ex. Italy in 69 years has had 63 governments vs. two impeachments in US history
Zero Sum Power
You either win or lose the presidential election; there is no share of power
Sovereignty
Understood in jurisprudence (study of law) as the full right and power of a governing body to govern itself without any
interference form outside sources or bodies
Legitimates government leaders and legislations
Obliges citizens to abide by government laws and policies everyone’s a part of the democracy therefore it’s only
fair that people also abide by the policies and laws
Direct Democracy
Ex 1. Referendum is a piece of document that everyone is a part of in decision making
Involves everyone in particular issues
Many people tend to ignore referendums makes representative democracies more appreciated
Ex 2. Participatory Budgeting
An innovative institutional format that incorporates citizens into a policy-making process in which citizens
negotiate directly over the distribution of public resources
Democracy involves citizens and is a process
Representation of PR/ 1st Pass the Post System
Single-Member District Riding: how riding boundaries are drawn – represented as only in one member in parliament
Majoritarian System:first past the post” =majority rules
Winner takes all system only one person wins the seats, cannot be divided
Effectiveness of PR/1st Pass the Post System
A “first past the postsystem over-represents the winning party
Creates a discrepancy on the votes the party gets
Concentrated votes (when a province tends to vote for a particular party as a majority) exacerbates the results
Ex. Bloc Quebecois, most Canadians vote for that party only prevails in Quebec doesn’t have any support in any other
provinces
Residential Schools System
A system that was imposed by the government of Canada that essentially conducted a cultural genocide towards the
indigenous people. The government did this by taking the Native Canadian’s children and putting them in a boarding
school life system and assimilated the children to Western tradition.
Mandatory attendance
School Curriculum: sole function was to indoctrinate children with religion and grasp European culture
Teachers were underqualified; usually just punished the children
Children experienced severe trauma, mentally, emotionally and physically
Death rates in the school were very high
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