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Forms of Government

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

1 June 4, 2008 Forms of Government • Classifying government is an ancient idea and practice Ancient Greek Classification (based on who rules, and how) How is Rule Conducted? Who Rules Lawful (Common Good) Lawless (Private Interest) One Monarchy Tyranny Few Aristocracy Oligarchy Many Polity Democracy **NOTE** • Ancient Greeks such as Plato and Aristotle had a low opinion of “democracy” (people rule) o Democracy was seen as mob rule  There was little respect for the law and private interest prevailed over public concerns o In this way, democracy usually made a city-state weak and decadent o Therefore vulnerable to attack from other city-states Liberal Democracy • “Democracy” (Greek = people rule) • Not very precise o Most modern states claim or claimed to be “democratic”  Ex: German Democratic Republic • Main Idea o Majority rule  What the majority of the people want shall be done • In the West, “democracy” is intimately connected with “liberalism” to produce “liberal democracy” (constitutional democracy) • There is a tension between “democracy” (majority rule) and “liberalism” (individual rights and freedoms) o Majorities can easily vote to nullify the freedom of individuals or minority groups  “Tyranny of the majority” that the Ancient Greeks also feared • Remember that Socrates was condemned to death because he was unpopular in the democratic Athens o Therefore, “liberal democracies” temper majoritarianism with safeguards for individual rights 2 Liberal Democracy - Main Ideas • Equality of Political Rights, with the exception that women are inferior to men o Constitutional safeguards for rights  Ex: Bill of Rights • Majority Rule o Can include:  Unanimity (100%)  Pure majoritarianism (51%)  Qualified majoritarianism (67%)  Concurrent majorities • Mutual territorial or social group vetoes  Bicameralism • Two legislatures must give consent • Politic
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