POLSCI 1G06 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: The Federalist Papers, Direct Democracy, Charlottetown Accord

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POLI SCI 1G06 – Lecture Notes
Saturday, September 19, 15
Lecture # 2A: Democracy - Dr. Alway
DR. ALWAY OVERHEADS LECTURE NOTES
-In the modern context, Democracy is almost
universally advocated as the ideal model for
organizing political life
-But what exactly is democracy?
-What does democracy look like in both theory
and in practice?
At times, the context of democracy can go as far as
two groups declaring war on each other for not
practicing democracy.
What is democracy?
-Democracy comes from the Greek Demos
(people) and Kratos (rule)
-But - what this “rule of the people” means and
how it has been translated into actual political
practice is historically and culturally variable
-In this lecture we will focus on two forms:
Direct democracy and Indirect Democracy
examine their justifications and explore their
particular institutional structures
In the context of political science, when we start to
look at how democracy in practice, it varies. It
depends on where in the world you are looking at,
and when in the world you are looking at it.
- Direct Democracy
-A participatory form of democracy
-A political system where there are no
specialized distinctions between governors and
governed
-Citizens are directly involved in governing
themselves – directly involved in debating and
determining public laws, rules, regulations
(rather than electing someone else to make
these decisions)
-Historical example: Ancient Athens
-All male adult citizens were able to participate
– participation to a far greater extent than
today
-Comprised the Assembly
-Debated and decided on all major issues
-In those cases where political offices were
deemed necessary, office holders were
oElected
oChosen by lot
-Of course this political order (at least as it
existed in Athens – but not necessarily for
direct democracy as such) depended upon
exclusion and violence:
oWomen, foreigners, slaves
-The free Greek citizen must be seen in the
context of the slave labour upon which he
rested
Best summarized by being participatory.
Rule makers and rule takers are the same people.
Everyone governed by the rules has a say in what
the rules are.
We in our system do not make the rules, we elect
people and those people make rules for us.
Example: Ancient Athens
oAll citizens had a direct say in what the
rules happen to be.
oAll citizens attend this assembly, ~ 6000
people coming together and agreeing.
oOR Council of 500 people randomly
selected from the 6000 people.
This way you aren’t deciding based on
wealth, status, or popularity.
Our government/form of democracy doesn’t have
a model that allows for the active participatory
role the ancient Athenian citizens had. WE do
have some elements of direct democracy.
oREFERENDUMS
VERY FEW AND FAR BETWEEN
THERE HAVE ONLY BEEN 3
FERDERAL REFERENDA IN THE
HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY
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-There are elements of direct democracy in our
system of democracy
-But these are the exception rather than the rule
oReferendum
oVoter Initiative
oRecall
1) 1898 – Prohibition
2) 1942 – Soldiers for WW2.
3) 1992 – Charlottetown Accord
Our participation is not direct. Instead someone makes the
decisions for us.
oVOTER INITIATIVE (PETITIONS)
BY THE PEOPLE ~ SAYING THESE
ARE THE ISSUES WE ARE
CONCERNED ABOUT, AND DEMAND
THE GOVERNMENT TO DO
SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
oRECALL
PROVISION WHEREBY PEOPLE CAN
RECALL ELECTED POLITICIANS
PRIOR TO THEIR END OF TERM IN
OFFICE.
With 5 years fixed term, there is a
possibility of not liking what the person is
doing
We don’t have a mechanism like this at the
federal level.
British Columbia has this.
Point is, Our democracy is a lot more passive
compared to the democracy in ancient Athens.
Athens was a city with 300,000-400,000 people.
Of that number, ONLY 30,000-40,000 people
were citizens. There were more non-citizens than
citizens
oWomen could not have political citizenship;
they had different types of rights. I
oImmigrants (People who could not trace
their lineage back to Athens, even if they
lived there for generations).
oSlaves. More slaves in Athens than citizens
Very few people able to participate in the
democratic process.
Question is, whether those limitations in history
are telling us something about the democratic
model
oThere are those that suggest, that the only
reason that direct democracy could work in
ancient Athens was because you had
women, immigrants, and slaves doing all
the work which freed up the time for the
men to attend the assemblies and make
these decisions.
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