The ideal democracy in a government

He compares it with other forms of government that depend on autocracy and the leadership of the few rather than the many.

The ideal democracy in a government

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The legitimacy of government

From these and other premises Locke draws the conclusion that political society—i. For Locke they are inextricably connected: But such a consent is next to impossible ever to be had. Writing in England in the s, a generation after the Commonwealth ended with the restoration of the monarchyLocke was more circumspect than this.

Nevertheless, a careful reading of the relevant passages of the Second Treatise shows that Locke remains true to his fundamental principle, that the only legitimate form of government is that based on the consent of the governed. Locke differentiates the various forms of government on the basis of where the people choose to place the power to make laws.

His categories are the traditional ones: Or else into the hands of one Man, and then it is a Monarchy. For whatever the form of government, the ultimate source of sovereign power is the people, and all legitimate government must rest on their consent.

And who is to judge whether the government has abused its trust? Again, Locke is unequivocal: Although he does not use the term, Locke thus unambiguously affirms the right of revolution against a despotic government.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Regarding question 1—What is the appropriate association within which a democratic government should be established? Here again, Locke was at the forefront of the development of democratic ideas.

Answers to fundamental questions

Unlike the men of Athens or the small male aristocracy of Veniceobviously the men of England could not govern directly in an assembly. In this case, then, the answer to question 3—What political institutions are necessary for governing? This is perhaps because he, like his contemporary readers, assumed that democracy and majority rule would be best implemented in England through parliamentary elections based on an adult-male franchise.

The ideal democracy in a government

Montesquieu The French political theorist Montesquieuthrough his masterpiece The Spirit of the Lawsstrongly influenced his younger contemporary Rousseau see below Rousseau and many of the American Founding Fathersincluding John AdamsJefferson, and Madison.

Although public virtue may not be necessary in a monarchy and is certainly absent in despotic regimes, it must be present to some degree in aristocratic republics and to a large degree in democratic republics.

For it was from Hume that Madison seems to have acquired a view about factions that turned the issue of the desirability of larger political associations—i. For the purpose of diminishing the destructive potential of factionalism, so Hume and Madison argued, bigger is in fact better, because in bigger associations each representative must look after a greater diversity of interests.

Indeed, in his most influential work of political philosophy, The Social ContractRousseau asserts that democracy is incompatible with representative institutions, a position that renders it all but irrelevant to nation-states see state. The sovereignty of the people, he argues, can be neither alienated nor represented.

Furthermore, according to Rousseau, if a political association that is small enough to practice direct democracy, such as a city-state, were to come into existence, it would inevitably be subjugated by larger nation-states and thereby cease to be democratic. For these and other reasons, Rousseau was pessimistic about the prospects of democracy.

So perfect a government is not for men. Some years later, in a discussion of how the people of Poland might govern themselves, he allowed that there is simply no alternative to government by representation.

However, he left the problem of the proper size or scale of democratic political associations largely unsolved.

The ideal democracy in a government

In a celebrated formulation of this principle, Mill wrote that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection.

His own good, either physical or moralis not a sufficient warrant. In the area of what he called the liberty of thought and discussion, another freedom crucial to democracy, Mill argued, also on utilitarian grounds, that legal restrictions on the expression of opinion are never justified.

In another work, Considerations on Representative GovernmentMill set forth in a lucid and penetrating manner many of the essential features of the new type of government, which had not yet emerged in continental Europe and was still incomplete in important respects in the United States.

In this work he also advanced a powerful argument on behalf of woman suffrage —a position that virtually all previous political philosophers all of them male, of course had ignored or rejected. Moreover, the political institutions of any democracy, according to Dewey, should not be viewed as the perfect and unchangeable creations of visionary statesmen of the past; rather, they should be constantly subject to criticism and improvement as historical circumstances and the public interest change.

Participation in a democracy as Dewey conceived it requires critical and inquisitive habits of mind, an inclination toward cooperation with others, and a feeling of public spiritedness and a desire to achieve the common good.

Dewey offered little in the way of concrete proposals regarding the form that democratic institutions should take. Nevertheless, in The Public and Its Problems and other works, he contended that individuals cannot develop to their fullest potential except in a social democracyor a democratic welfare-state.

Accordingly, he held that democracies should possess strong regulatory powers.For essentially the same reasons, the notion of an “ideal democracy” also can be useful for identifying and understanding the democratic characteristics of actually existing governments, be they of city-states, nation-states, or larger associations.


It is important to note that the term ideal is ambiguous. To understand the ideal democracy, I would go back to Aristotle, who prescribed politeia or constitutional government. Aristotle defines the constitution (politeia) as a way of organizing the offices of the city-state, particularly the sovereign government.

Democracy has often been called the ideal form of government. Of all forms of government that have been utilized by human societies throughout history to organize and protect our kind, democracy is the only one that operates on consensus to create solutions to the problems society faces.

American Democracy From a distance, American Democracy seems to be the ideal style of government. In fact, most Americans would probably tell you they are lucky to live in America because of the style of government.

democracy is better than any form of gov that y we considered is as ideal form of we all living in a democratic country where people r supreme power Without our support no government formation takes place. Democracy is one of the most valuable ideas mankind has invented.

To understand the ideal democracy, I would go back to Aristotle, who prescribed politeia or constitutional government. Aristotle defines the constitution (politeia) as a way of organizing the offices of the .

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