Democracy, Part I 10/1/2013 12:22:00 PM
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)
gov’t of, for, and by the people
historically unpopular view
Democracy, rule by the many, is a method or procedure for making
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
exclusionary: excluded many people— women, slaves, non-resident
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
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
5. Freedom of association
6. Independent judges
Participation in Representative Democracies
is more participation desirable?
is direct democracy possible in large n