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Polisci 1020E: Democracy Part I.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

Democracy, Part I 10/1/2013 12:22:00 PM Political Power  power to issue and enforce binding commands  how should it be distributed? (normative) Who Should Rule?  what sort of gov’t is best?  rule by whom?  monarchy vs. tyranny (the one), aristocracy vs. oligarchy (the few), polity vs. democracy (the many) Everyone should rule; political power should be distributed equally. Every citizen should have the right to an equal say. WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?  Rule (kratos) by the many (demos)  collective self-rule  gov’t of, for, and by the people  historically unpopular view Democracy, rule by the many, is a method or procedure for making collective decisions. Origins of Democracy  ancient Athens 508-322 BC  decisions made by majority vote in an assembly of all citizens  council of 500, determined by lottery, set the agenda  open debate and subsidized for participation Features of Athenian Democracy  direct democracy: everyone directly participates in all major public policy decisions  exclusionary: excluded many people— women, slaves, non-resident aliens  intolerant: did not tolerate unconventional beliefs or practices  culturally homogenous How democratic was Athenian democracy?  more democratic than ours o if democracy means everyone should have an equal say at significant stages of decision-making process  less democratic than ours o if democracy means political equality (equal distribution of political power) o if democracy means listening to all points of view Key Features of Modern Representative Democracy 1. Universal rights to vote and run for office 2. Elected representatives make decisions 3. Elections are free, frequent, and fair 4. Freedom of speech; media of communication for people independent of state 5. Freedom of association 6. Independent judges Participation in Representative Democracies  is more participation desirable?  is direct democracy possible in large n
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