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Chapter 4

DVM2350 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Tyrant


Department
International Development and Globalization
Course Code
DVM2350
Professor
Tamara Kotar
Chapter
4

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THE EVOLUTION OF DEMOCRATIC THEORY
PREVIEW:
modern democracy took root during the Age of Enlightenment
some contemporaries think of democracy in procedural terms whereas some say it also
includes important philosophical content
most basic idea is that in democracy, people are essentially equal and that each person has a
right to have a say in who governs and how they do so
principle philosophers believed that people originally had no government - they were obliged
to follow the nature law - the process of organizing society and creating gov’t was called the
social contract
!
MEANING OF DEMOCRACY:
PROCESS DEMOCRATS
claim there’s no real philosophy or theory, of democracy
believe that democracy is nothing more than an agreement among citizens that the
majority vote will carry the issue or that one branch of government will not reach too
far into the functions of another branch
PRINCIPLE DEMOCRATS
argue that democracy has a very important theoretical base - although the procedure
of it is important, they believe it’s secondary to the basic intent and objectives of
democracy as expressed in democratic theory
insist that a democratic gov’t be dedicated to improving the conditions of life for all
its people
some mechanism exist by which the people in society can exercise a degree of control
over their leaders and express their wishes and needs
LIBERAL DEMOCRACY
the ideas that the individual is of major importance to society
all people are equal to all others and have rights such as life and liberty
its goal is to make people as free as possible - assuming freedom = happiness
large lists of freedoms - including freedom of press, speech, religion and assembly
DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST CRITICS
says LD ignores the economic needs of citizens to the point where any effort at real
democracy is doomed to fail
they believe in economic freedoms - right to work, free medicine and education,
reasonable standard of living etc.
!
EARLY HISTORY OF DEMOCRACY:
Greeks used to practice direct democracy where all male adult citizens voted on gov’t policy
the system then formed into more authoritarian and democracy lost public acceptance
Plato said that if all citizens could rule, only the low quality citizens would dominate the
state - said that democracies were usually short lived and that the mob would soon
surrender its power to a tyrant, thus destroying popular government
Aristotle said that under certain conditions the will of the many could be equal to or even
wiser than the judgment of a few
when the many governed for the good of all, Aristotle accepted democracy as a good form of
gov’t
!
THE SOCIAL CONTRACT:
all people were equal - no one had a greater right to rule than another - monarchy lost its
relevance
society needed governors to maintain order - leaders were chosen by the community as a
whole
legit political power came from people who had the source of ultimate legal and political
authority
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