- Government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system
- A form of government in which the whole people or some numerous portion of them exercise governmental power through deputies periodically elected by them – J.S.Mills
- Government of the people, by the people, for the people – Abraham Lincoln.
- Democracy & Freedom are not the same, but democracy can be seen as the “Institutionalization of Freedom”
Democracy IS NOT
Monarchy – government led by a person usually selected by hereditary succession. Ex. King, queen, emperor.
Dictatorship – government by people who have seized power by force. Totalitarian. Usually military dictatorship.
Aristocracy – government by a class of persons holding exceptional rank and privileges. Hereditary noblemen.
Oligarchy – government by a ‘few’, despotic power is vested in a small number of people – usually the wealthy, the royalty.
Theocracy- government by religious authorities. Usually, repressive and intolerant of values that conflict with the dominant theology.
JUSTIFICATION OF DEMOCRACY
Why Democracy? Why not other forms of government?
Everyone has liberty & equality right to life, freedom of speech, expression, religion, profession.
Government is based on public opinion.
Follows diktat of general consent of people.
Policies & programmes therefore cannot be against the public.
Sovereignty of people
Principle of public sovereignty requires that decision-making power is vested in members of community and not with ruling class/individual.
There is minimal abuse of power
Fosters good competition
Since it’s by/for/of the people, elected by people through direct/indirect election, if government doesn’t run in the interest of the people,they can censure it through their representatives or remove it in the next elections.
Political responsibility of citizens
Role of people in the way the government is run is important; it encourages people to take responsibility for their political lives.
Moral superiority over all other forms of governmentbecause it considers the will of the people who constitute the state, not the will or whims and fancies of an individual ruler or the ruling elite.
Will of the majority:- Majority of votes gets government elected- Majority direct/indirect support gets law implemented
Accommodates minority view.
– Right to dissent is respected.
– Opposition views are respected and included
Rule of law is superior
Rule of Law means that all citizens are subject to the law, including the law maker. Rule of Law ensures that these principles are upheld:
– The government and its officials as well as individuals are accountable under the law.
– The laws are clear and just; they made made public and applied evenly; laws protect fundamental rights.
– The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient.
Protection of constitution
– Rules & laws, working of government, elections, institutions are all protected by our written, supreme and rigid constitution.
Everyone is entitled to justice in social, economic & political sphere.Citizens are given fundamental rights that are inviolable.
Political Equality (link)
Equal opportunities for participation of all citizens in political processes. Ex: Right to vote, right to contest elections, right to form political parties or join them.
In a politically equal society, even citizens who are socially or financially unequal possess identical voting rights and have the right to expect equal treatment under the law.
People sometimes say, ‘I wish we had a king!’ If we were to have a king, it would be on the assumption that the king would be all wise and all good. It would be all about what the king thought of as ‘good for the people’. What about the wishes of the people?And what about his heir? Would he/she be just as good?
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