Part 1: Characteristics of a True Democracy (4)
1) Individual liberty: the individual should be as free as possible to develop his or her talents with few governmental limits on expression
-liberty means free from government control but no liberty is absolute you have a lot of liberties but no liberty is absolute, freedom of speech but you can't cause harm, can't yell fire in a theater
-The government works to foster equal opportunity and equality before the law regardless of race, religion, gender, creed or national origin
-this is our ideal
-The importance of the individual's productive and intellectual growth is of primary importance
-mention what individual liberty in a true democratic democracy is all about
2) Majority Rules with Minority Rights
-Elected legislatures should reflect the will of the majority of the people but there is a cover for the possible tyranny of the majority
-tyranny: oppressive harsh rule, slavery is an example, founding fathers did not agree with tyranny
-Minority rights must be protected by law through Constituents, Bill of Right Common law and Statutes/Legislation
-all the freedoms in the 1st amendment protects the freedom on the minority
3) Free Elections
-Every person's vote weighs the same no matter their status
-One person, one vote. The individual is free to support candidates of their choice. In this way it ensures that government officials pay attention to the voters views for their jobs
-there is a minimum requirement for running office and voting—this is called Universal Suffrage
-before in 1790, you had to be male, white, 21, aristocratic, religious qualification, owning property, but these were all taken out
-Elections should be held frequently at polling places near where you live
-every 2 years, don't have to drive so far away to go vote causing people to feel more inclined to vote
4) Competing Political Parties
-This makes elections meaningful and gives voters a choice of public policy direction
-The part that is "out" of power acts as a "watchdog" to the party that is "in" power.
-The necessity of compromise is very important in a democracy
-because we have grid lock we must compromise, the constiution is a bundle of compromise
Part 2: Conditions that provide good soil for a democracy to grow and flourish.
1)Active Citizens Participation:
-Often called a participatory democracy, citizens are encourages to be proactive int he ruling of the nation
-Voting, serving on juries, working on campaigns, running for office, serving on citizen review boards, carrying a picket sign, writing your congressperson, writing letters to the local newspaper editor and just giving your political opinions to anybody who will listen are some examples of active participation. And follow the news
2) Citizen Organizations
-Citizen groups should be free from government control. Many of these groups may try influencing government policy by various forms of lobbying. The Sierra Club, NRA, religious organizations, Red Cross, etc. are but a few examples. They may be partisan (for), bipartisan (for both sides), or non-partisan (neutral).
-partisan: an advocate for one party
-bipartisan: an advocate for both sides
-non-partisan: an advocate for neither, neutral
3) A Favorable Economy
-There should be no extreme gaps between the rich and the poor of a country.
-because of rebellion, because of an elite few and a major poor there will be an uprising to overthrow government
-A country with a large middle class is desirable.
-In Russia1917, the poor worked in terrible condition while the elite had luxury. the poor people were mad and asked for more money and the elite said no. this is dangerous. the bolsheviks arranged a group and destroyed the elite
-Ideal: you will have your rich and you will have your poor but you need a large middle class to act as a buffer
-A healthy economy that encourages free enterprise(start a business) helps allow people to make economic choices that aid their political choices.
-you make economic decisions to make only you are going to make when starting a business, Mio China: couldn't make economic decisions, now in China there are billionaire Chinese
4) A Favorable Economy
-A well educated citizenry is very important to democracy—Jefferson
-China has a larger GPA because more time in school
-Educated people make better decisions while ignorant people can be easily mislead by demagogues.
-A demagogue- is a person that uses people's hates and fears to gain power
5) Widespread Social Consensus
-Consensus:A general agreement on basic principals
-Societies with widespread disagreements about basic values have difficulties supporting a democracy.
-free education, bill of rights,....things everyone can agree on no matter what part you are a part of
set of arrangements, including check and balances, federalism, separation of powers, rule of law, due process, and a bill of rights, that requires our leaders to listen, think, bargain, and explain before they act or make laws. We then hold them politically and legally accountable for how they exercise their powers.