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What Is Democracy?

  • Date Submitted: 03/13/2011 03:26 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 41.4 
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What is democracy?

In the dictionary definition, democracy "is 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." According to Lincoln, democracy is a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people." Freedom and democracy are often used interchangeably, but the two are not synonymous. Democracy is indeed a set of ideas and principles about freedom, but it also consists of a set of practices and procedures that have been molded through a long, often tortuous history. In short, democracy is the institutionalization of freedom. The description of democracy could take up more than 10 more pages, but to simplify this, democracy is basically a system which includes: people who have sovereignty, a government based upon consent of the governed, rulership of the majority, however serving to protect the rights of minorities--whether ethnic, religious, or political, or simply the losers in the debate over a piece of controversial legislation, guarantee of basic human rights for all, free and fair elections, equality before law, constitutional limits on the power of government, social, economic, and political pluralism, and values of tolerance, pragmatism, cooperation, and compromise. Although experiencing minor improvements in terms of democracy, progression of liberty for racial minorities, improvement in voting conditions, betterment in the equal distribution of town offices according to financial status of the people, Wethersflield didn´t illustrate major progression from the 1750´s to the 1780´s, with the presence of unequal distribution of land and property, and lack of religious tolerance.

Between the 1750´s and the 1780´s, Wethersfield experienced some minor improvement in terms of democracy. Most notibly, the increase of the free black population. According to `Document A´, in 1756 50% of the black population were slaves, whereas in...

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