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CAS PO 111 (17)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Majoritarian or Pluralist Democracy.pdf

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Boston University
Political Science
CAS PO 111
Graham Wilson

Chapter 2: Majoritarian or Pluralist Democracy? Sunday, December 15, 2013 4:56 PM I. The Theory of Democratic Government • Procedural vs. substantive theories ○ Autocracy: 1 person has the power to make all important decisions ○ Oligarchy: the elite has the power rule ○ Democracy: “rule by the people” or mass rule -not actually true A. The meaning and symbolism of Democracy: • Demos: common people • Katos: power • George Washington viewed it as mob rule B. The procedural view of democracy • Describe how gov’t should make decisions ○ Who should participate in decision making? ○ How much should each participants’ votes count? ○ How many votes are needed to reach a decision? → MAJORITY RULE (plurality) • Universal participation: according to the procedural view of democracy, every adult should be able to vote • Political equality: each vote should weigh equally • Universal participation =/= political equality ○ ie. Lincoln and cabinet C. A Complication: Direct vs Indirect Democracy • Direct/participatory democracy: members rather than rep. govern themselves = political equality and majority rule ○ b/c rank and file citizens themselves rule, not selecting a rep ○ BUT, not popular b/c not many participants, only ideal for small gov’t and people want professionals • E-gov’t: online communication channel for easy access to doc, info and file complaints ○ E-gov’t =/= E-democracy • US constitution insisted on REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY ○ Responsiveness: rep. gov’t should do what majority wants REVIEW: 4 principles of procedural democracy 1. Universal participation 2. Political equality 3. Majority rule 4. Gov’t responsiveness to public opinion D. Substantive View of Democracy • Responsiveness is NOT absolute, b/c minority opinions and freedom of religion • Substantive democratic theory: focus on the substance, not the procedure of policies ○ Gov’t should guarantee civil liberties (freedoms) and civil rights  Civil rights → social rights (health care, education, housing) → economic rights (property, employment)  Should the gov’t promote social equality to be a democracy?  Am. divide on the issue of socioeconomic equality, Euro. are more socialist □ Conservatives: narrow view of gov’t □ Liberals: broader view of gov’t E. Procedural Democracy vs. Substantive Democracy • Am. view of democracy: freedoms, rights and liberty • Substantive view: guaranteed employment, equal rights for women, separation of church and state → social benefits • Procedural view: neglects minority rights and substantive principles • Procedural view: neglects minority rights and substantive principles ○ In order to protect minority rights, majority rule must be limited  protection of religious minorities - prayer in school II. Institutional Models of Democracy • Rep. democracy gov’t: publ
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