American Democracy and The Ancient and Classical Political Theorists

Democracy theory adopts popular involvement in decision making. This necessitates a parliamentary system representative surrounded by devices that will safeguard the election freedom, parliamentary debate freedom, and free discussion before the election. It necessitates the opposition tolerance and machinery that permit free expression of the minority groups and their participation in decision-making formation. The majority imposed decisions that are not impacted the minorities’ contribution cannot be regarded as genuine democratic decisions. Thus basic civil rights that include freedom of association and assembly, press freedom, and speech freedom, need not be interpreted as individuals’ natural rights. Once the universal participation rights to political control are granted, they adhere to necessary corollaries of this right, and they are a necessary section of the democratic system (Lewis, 1940). The paper discusses the element of American democracy concerning classical and ancient political theories, the use of those theories in America formation, and how Christians should treat American democracy.

Read also The Elements Of American Democracy With The Critiques Or Support Of Democracy Presented By Ancient And Classical Political Theorists

The Elements of American Democracy with the Critiques or Support of Democracy Presented by Ancient and Classical Political Theorists

Various theories can be used to analyze the democratic position of a country in classical and ancient times. Classical democratic theory has been utilized by several scholars as a normative standard that can be applied in the contemporary process of governance. According to Herbst (1991), three exceptional classical democracy features are the centrality of the general will or common good, rational debate and discussion about politics, and maximum populace participation in the government. According to Herbst (1991), the debate among political philosophers regarding the definition of the common good and its determination has been essential in political participation discussions for centuries. Several theories concern public opinion for instance Bentham, Rousseau, and Locke believed that common good and public opinion were almost substitutable. They believed that public opinion was just a societal agreement about goals and values. Although the three theorists among others equated common good with public opinion, that specific definition was never established.

According to Herbst (1991), the classical democratic theory core is the value put on participation by members of the public. Both Aristotle and Plato favored a small-sized polity so as citizens could get to know one another and have high opportunity for taking part in political decision making and debate (Ober, 2013).  Later on, Bentham together with a few of his contemporaries contended that maximum participation in leading was in the best interest of individual citizens and the general society.  Although public participation was claimed to enhance processes of political decision-making and develop the basics for a just society, the participation personal benefits were at the center of most classical theories. In Herbst (1991) views, in the democratic theories, individuals can only develop morally via political action. Herbst adds that individuals’ maximum participation in the political process generated a free-flowing, rational discourse regarding the issues facing the common goof and the polity. 

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The Ancient/Classical Political Theory Influence on American Founding when Establishing Our Democratic Republic

American foundation is highly based on its constitution that was drafted by the country’s founders in the late 18th century.  When drafting the constitution, the American founders are said to have been influenced by some of the European political theorists that include Rousseau, Locke, and Montesquieu. American founders were highly influenced by the aspect of equality as discussed by the above theorist. The founders used Locke’s guidance of the legitimate government, especially in the aspect that the ruler acquires authority via the consent of the governed individuals. Locke claimed that the government must protect people’s natural rights that include property, liberty, and life. This played a great role in influencing the development of the U.S. constitution especially on people’s rights and in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson. With these theoretical influences, the U.S. founders were able to establish a nation in which more democratic, and with high regard to human rights (Gummere, 1962).  

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In light of America’s influence by ancient and classical political thinkers, should a Christian support or critique democracy as a political regime

The American foundation was highly influenced by classical political thinkers. It is therefore founded in the philosophy of state of nature and the need to protect people’s rights naturally given to them by nature. The classical political thinkers support equality and discourage any form of government that is unable to protect people’s rights as mandated to them. The classical foundation advocates mostly for what Christians believe in. Classical political thinkers promote the sharing of natural resources and the establishment of law to limit greedy people from taking more than they need. They also advocate for human rights to liberty, property, and life. Basing a country’s formation on these philosophies means that the government is committed to establish laws that respect people’s life and focus on preserving it. The American government is also focused on respecting people’s property and ensures equal distribution of resources to all its members of the populace. It is also committed to protecting people the freedom to various natural courses of life including religion. This means the country’s democracy is strongly founded in values that are shared with Christians. This means Christians have no reason to critique the country’s democracy. However, in a situation where a certain regime overrules it or create laws that override the basic foundation of the country’s democracy, then Christians can stand against this. Violation of a country’s democracy is a violation of the country’s basic laws, this means the criticisms will not only come from Christians but from all members of the society who value democracy and the foundation in which the country’s constitution is based.

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