Tag: Democracy

Evolution of Democracy – Jefferson’s era and Jackson’s era.

Comparing and Contrasting Nation’s Government from Jefferson’s era Jackson’s era

Jefferson’s era stretched from 1801 to 1809, while the Jackson era stretched from 1829 to 1837. Jefferson believed that the national government is a necessary evil to be instituted for the security, protection, and benefit of the community, nation, and people. He, therefore, paid a lot of attention to the executive government power. Consequently, Jefferson focused on reducing the executive power to create a more powerful Congress. He strengthened the congress for the people’s sake. People in the Jefferson era included the voters who were landowners, who were mostly rich white males. Jefferson’s era was characterized by elites (Pasley, 2006). Jackson also shared the democratic view. They both believed in protecting the interest of the common man.

Read also Evolution From Jeffersonian Democracy To Jacksonian Democracy

Read also Direct Democracy Vs Representative Democracy

However, Jackson believed in a powerful presidency than Congressional power. He worked to strengthen the executive branch for the sake of the common people. Common people, in this case, include voters, who were all white males.  Generally, each made a unique contribution to democracy. Jefferson ensured the enactment of bills of rights, while Jackson increased the number of voters and opened the economy to all (Lynn & Watson, 2019). Jefferson however seemed to be more democratic as he believed in congress participation in making laws meaning more voters representation. The elimination of land ownership increased the number of common people or voters in the country during the Jackson era, however, “the common people” only comprised of white males. There were no voting rights for white women or all women and other minority groups despite the gender. This highly impacted representation in the federal government. The congress and other executives only comprised rich white males who focused on protecting the interest of their kind. The majority were slave owners and hence very little attention was given to the right of slaves, women, and other minority groups. Congress and the executive government were more concerned about male interest in the country.

Read also American Democracy and The Ancient and Classical Political Theorists

Unlike Jefferson, Jackson made a few adjustments to the law to create a laissez-faire economy, especially in fighting bank monopoly that resulted in inflated land prices, favoring landowners while making it hard for the rest of the population to own properties in the country. This makes the Jackson era considerably different from that of Jefferson where other people were oppressed and experienced serious economic hardship in favor of landowners who continued growing in riches.

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

Three ways the federal government changed or expanded from the time of Jefferson to Jackson

The federal government changed from having a strong legislature than executive power during Jefferson’s era to have a strong president who was perceived as the head of the party in Jackson’s era. The president during Jackson’s time was given a mandate by the voters to govern on specific issues and in specific ways. The president was relying on a circle of advisors to assist guide the country’s affairs. Jackson used veto not just as a constitutional weapon as the Jefferson government did, but also for political reasons. This means there was a change in power-sharing among the three branches of government, with the executive body trying to overshadow the legislative body in Jackson’s era.

Read also Ways Federal Government Changed From Time of Jefferson to Jackson

Jackson’s federal government also focused on people more than any other government. People were the center of politics during and after the Jackson era which was different in the Jefferson era. Although Jefferson also focused on the common man, the magnitude was different from that of the Jackson administration. Jefferson did not only protect the rich but tried to build a common economy that was fair to all. Jackson’s government tried to break the monopoly in the economy which favored the rich, to create fair economic terms that give all people a chance to grow (Wulf, 2006). This was different from the Jefferson government that mostly protects the landowners. Jackson also extended the voting rights to all white men, regardless of their social or economic status. This meant that more people engaged in making a political decision through voting. This created a possibility of voting people who would change the law to protect other people that were never represented in congress before. Jefferson’s administration focused more on people’s rights including freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and other bills of rights as a way of caring for the common citizen (Schultz, 2018).

Read also Lives, Attitudes and Presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson

On the contrary, Jackson focused more on developing equality by improving the country’s economy. He also tried to promote people’s participation in politics by offering patronage to his supporters. Having been elected by people and been assisted by supporters to manage his campaign, Jackson felt obligated to reward his supporters to encourage active participation of common people to the political campaigns. The majority of his supporters were appointed in different positions in the government administration

Read also Evolution From Jeffersonian Democracy To Jacksonian Democracy

One way Democracy can be improved or continue to grow today.  How can it be done?

American has gone a long way in promoting democracy. The country has managed to shift from white male landowner voters during the Jefferson period to all white male voters in the Jackson period, the country managed to change the law to permit women and members of minority groups to vote. Today, every American citizen has the right to cast their vote. The country also permits mailbox votes to ensure that every citizen gets a chance to exercise their constitutional rights of voting. The country has grown democratically to permit women and people from minority groups to be members of congress. The country has also managed to pass several laws that focus on protecting the rights of the minorities in the community.

Read also How Democracy can be Improved or Continue to Grow Today

This demonstrates growth in American democracy (Schultz, 2018). However, despite the growth, the country is experiencing a high level of inequality between the minority groups and white. There is also some degree of racism in the country, mostly demonstrated by police officers while exercising their policing duties in different places. There is also a lack of social justice in the country, especially about the minority group. Although the country has made a huge step in promoting democracy, there are some gaps in the system. Laws are passed to protect the minorities, though their implementation is still wanting. The minorities are still experiencing problems they used to experience long before the enactment of some of these laws.

For instance, minorities are still discriminated against in traffic checkpoints, along the streets, and in the estates by the police. There have been several cases of police brutality directed at black Americans, resulting in a fatality. This means, although there are anti-discriminatory rules in the country, they do not apply everywhere. Black people and other minority groups have to take to the street to force the system to treat them right. This means the effect of the advancement of democracy is yet to be felt by all in the country. Laws are made but their implementation is poor (Parvin, 2017).

Also, laws are made but they mostly leave loopholes that subject the minorities to similar challenges they experienced before the enactment of the bill of rights. This needs to be changed. The country needs laws that protect blacks and other minority groups against police brutality. The country also needs better strategies to address the growing level of inequality between the whites and the minority groups. Social injustices need to be addressed to bridge the poverty gap in the country.

How Democracy can be Improved or Continue to Grow Today

American has gone a long way in promoting democracy. The country has managed to shift from white male landowner voters during the Jefferson period to all white male voters in the Jackson period, the country managed to change the law to permit women and members of minority groups to vote. Today, every American citizen has the right to cast their vote. The country also permits mailbox votes to ensure that every citizen gets a chance to exercise their constitutional rights of voting. The country has grown democratically to permit women and people from minority groups to be members of congress. The country has also managed to pass several laws that focus on protecting the rights of the minorities in the community. This demonstrates growth in American democracy (Schultz, 2018).

Read also Direct Democracy Vs Representative Democracy

Read also Should the United States Change to a Direct Democracy or remain a Representative Democracy?

However, despite the growth, the country is experiencing a high level of inequality between the minority groups and white. There is also some degree of racism in the country, mostly demonstrated by police officers while exercising their policing duties in different places. There is also a lack of social justice in the country, especially about the minority group. Although the country has made a huge step in promoting democracy, there are some gaps in the system. Laws are passed to protect the minorities, though their implementation is still wanting. The minorities are still experiencing problems they used to experience long before the enactment of some of these laws. For instance, minorities are still discriminated against in traffic checkpoints, along the streets, and in the estates by the police. There have been several cases of police brutality directed at black Americans, resulting in a fatality. This means, although there are anti-discriminatory rules in the country, they do not apply everywhere. Black people and other minority groups have to take to the street to force the system to treat them right. This means the effect of the advancement of democracy is yet to be felt by all in the country. Laws are made but their implementation is poor (Parvin, 2017).

Read also American Democracy and The Ancient and Classical Political Theorists

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

Also, laws are made but they mostly leave loopholes that subject the minorities to similar challenges they experienced before the enactment of the bill of rights. This needs to be changed. The country needs laws that protect blacks and other minority groups against police brutality. The country also needs better strategies to address the growing level of inequality between the whites and the minority groups. Social injustices need to be addressed to bridge the poverty gap in the country.

Read also Plato Strongly Criticized Democracy?

Read also Is Supranational Citizenship an Irreplaceable Factor for EU Democracy?

Plato’s Criticism of Democracy

Introduction

Today’s world largely perceives democracy, which refers to the government of the people by the people and for the people, as the best political system. Distinct elements of democracy are equality and freedom. In simpler terms, democracy refers to the rule of the free people who govern themselves in their selfish interests. Notably, Plato did not consider democracy as the best form of government. In the Republic, Plato criticized democracy, describing it as next to tyranny. This essay seeks to evaluate Plato’s criticism of democracy whereby it addresses specific elements of his critique. Subsequently, it discusses my position regarding Plato’s criticism of democracy.

Read also Examining Allegory of the Cave Myth From Plato’s Republic And Application In Our Lives

Plato’s Critique of Democracy

            Plato acknowledged that freedom is a crucial feature of government. However, he raised concern that democracy involves the danger of allowing excessive freedom whereby each individual does as they wish. Plato warned that this leads to anarchy. He argued that in a democracy, people are free due to the presence of liberty and freedom, but eventually, they must abuse the ultimate freedom. According to Plato, this leads to chaos and instability (Somerville & Santoni, 2012). For this reason, Plato refers to democracy as an agreeable anarchic form as “an agreeable anarchic form of society” as it considers all people equal whether they are equal or not (Kraut, 2018). In such a society, there is no protection of people’s individual rights; thus, it facilitates complete chaos. Plato warns that eventually, such a society is characterized by rampant violence and inevitably leads to oppression as it allows for tyranny (Somerville & Santoni, 2012). Thus, Plato opposed democracy because he believed it is next to tyranny.

Read also Plato, Descartes, and The Matrix – Essay

            The second point of Plato’s criticism of democracy is that it advocates for equality, related to the belief that every person has the right as well as equal; capacity to rule. Plato argued that this invites all kinds of power-seeking people, motivated by personal gains, to join politics instead of those standing for the public good. Due to this reason, Plato believed that democracy is highly corruptible as it opens gates to potential dictators and demagogues and, therefore, can lead to tyranny (Somerville & Santoni, 2012). He further argued that a democratic society is an arena for “constitution hunting” whereby there are numerous constitutions based on individuals’ varying interests. Plato asserts, “it is a shop in which one finds plenty of models to show” (Kraut, 2018). However, since there is a leader elected by the lot, his/her constitution must prevail, and, therefore, democracy creates tyrants. Plato argues that a society must have regulations to prevent this from happening (Somerville & Santoni, 2012). Hence, Plato is against democracy as he believes that it is founded on a false belief that everyone is equal.

            Thirdly, Plato argued that democracy lacks leaders with proper morals and skills. He elucidated that without competent leaders, it is not a good form of government. Plato strongly believed that expertise is the essential attribute of a leader. He criticized democracy for seldom producing competent leaders citing that it elects popular spinsters characterized by effectiveness in manipulating popular opinion. Plato explains that while selecting an effective leader, a popular vote is ineffective since people can be easily swayed by attributes that are irrelevant to leadership. Plato advises that a nation should only seek the most knowledgeable candidate to lead as he/she is the one who holds the required expertise. He believed that philosopher-kings should rule as opposed to leaders elected by a majority vote. Notably, Plato defines a philosopher as an individual who is in love with knowledge and is continually searching for true reality (Somerville & Santoni, 2012). Thus, he criticizes democracy as it fails in elected leaders of such quality.

Plato’s Conception of Justice and Nature

It is imperative to review Plato’s conception of justice and nature to properly understand his perspective regarding democracy. Plato conceptualized that an individual is just when each part of their soul (reason, spirit, and appetite) performs its functions without interfering with those of the other elements. According to Plato, “reason” should rule on behalf of the entire soul with forethought and wisdom. “Spirit” subordinates itself to the rule of reason. The two (reason and spirit) are brought into harmony by a combination of physical and mental training. They are, therefore, in control of appetites which form the larger part of a person’s soul. Justice occurs when “reason” and “spirit” are in precise control of appetites as they should not be allowed to enslave the other elements (Anagnostopoulos & Santas, 2018). Plato conceptualized that democracy allowed appetites to enslave “reason” and “spirit” as well as usurp dominion to where they have no right.  He believed that justice is not a sheer strength but rather harmonious strength of the human soul’s three elements.

Read also Plato – Philosopher Biography

Corresponding the above-defined three elements of human nature, there are three classes of people in society. First, the philosopher class or the ruling class, which is a representative of reason. Second, a class of warriors or defenders who are representative of the spirit. Third, the ordinary citizens of a nation who follow their appetite instincts and are the lowest rung in Plato’s social ladder. Plato argued that for a society to function effectively, every social class must specialize in the station they fall under (Anagnostopoulos & Santas, 2018). Therefore, as per Plato, justice exists in both an individual and society. The justice explained in the previous paragraph relates to an individual. For a society to be just, there must be social consciousness that allows it to be harmonious and good. According to Plato, this begins with each social class playing its position. Plato explained that democracy threatens the said justice by allowing the appetite class to rule instead of the reason class (Anagnostopoulos & Santas, 2018). Thus, to Plato, justice is a form of specialization.

Read also Practice of Philosophy is a Practice in Dying and Death , Plato

Review of Plato’s Criticism of Democracy

            It is crucial to establish that when Plato criticized democracy, it is not the contemporary democracy that is embraced almost worldwide. Plato criticized the direct and unchecked democracy of his time precisely because it allowed incompetent individuals to lead a nation. Given that there were no constitutions or the rule of law to provide checks and balances for democracy during Plato’s time, a democratic government posed a significant risk to justice. It had all the necessary elements to create tyranny. Unchecked democracy can easily facilitate anarchy, especially when the people in power are not competent or are these for self-centered interests as opposed to the good of a nation.

Read also Movement of the Person in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

Plato understood that the biggest challenges facing democracy were not addressed. Athens did not have a clearly defined way of identifying the best individuals to govern. Secondly, it did not establish how to keep the elected leaders from getting corrupt as there were no systems designed to address the issue. Although his solutions were radical, his criticism was well-informed by logic. Therefore, I agree with Plato’s criticism of the Republic’s democracy. In fact, today’s democratic nations have party systems to identify competent leaders as well as checks and balances, including the constitution, independent courts, respect for the rule of law, among others, to ensure precise balance and avoid corruption and misuse of power.

Read also Theme of Justice in Plato’s Republic

Conclusion

Therefore, Plato was against direct and unchecked democracy due to the threats it posed to justice and society in general. The democracy that Plato criticized did not have a well-defined framework for identifying and electing competent leaders. Thus, any person, including those of questionable character, could become elected to lead the nation. Moreover, the democracy did not have checks and balances to ensure that those elected to power did not become corrupt or misuse their powers. Hence, Plato’s criticism of the said democracy is well-informed by logic and makes a rational argument regarding why it is a recipe for tyranny and anarchy.

Is Supranational Citizenship an Irreplaceable Factor for EU Democracy?

An analysis on Sociological Inquiry

            Carly Elizabeth Schall has argued in her sociological inquiry that there is a lack of development of social citizenship in EU that challenges the potential for EU to be a democratic polity. By comparison, Schall stresses on how U.S successfully forms a national citizenship identity in its federal system to achieve democracy. The difference of whether there is “successful transference of citizenship identity from a lower to a higher level” (Schall, 1) is considered distinction between social citizenship in EU and U.S, and the deficiency of having a supranational citizenship hinders EU to be a truly democratic institution. While there may exist a consensus of categorizing the EU as a supranational polity engaging in post-national democracy, numerous differences exist concerning the interpretation of the latter. For historical and contemporary structural reasons, Europe seems to be moving away from the nation-state toward a larger supranational organization. The collectivity of members in distinctiveness and a singularity within the supranational EU along with the central institutional instrument of the EU is now a party to the interstate strategic interaction, where community institutions combine instead of exercise exclusion. However, the comprehension of how they combine and the true nature of supranational citizenship are still subject to debate.

Read also Lack Of Supranational Citizenship Indicate Deficiency Of Democracy In EU?

            The word citizenship is simply defined as “the position or status of being a citizen of a particular country”. Being a citizenship of a country portends that the person’s rights and safety are protected by the country. Moreover, citizenship is usually guaranteed with social rights and responsibilities in democratic unions just as Schall says in her article that “Democracy, thus, can be a mechanism for ensuring equal citizenship, but equal citizenship is also necessary for democracy to exist (schall, 127). Author Robert Dahl also indicates in his article On Democracy that “Democracy guarantees its citizens a number of fundamental rights that nondemocratic systems do not, and cannot grant (Dahl, 48) and “Democracy helps people to protect their own fundamental interests” (Dahl, 53). One of the fundamental rights that Dahl mentions is the direct and indirect universal suffrage (Coutant 12).

Read also American Democracy and The Ancient and Classical Political Theorists

            In EU, citizens have the power to exercise their suffrage rights and vote on social policies. However, the decision making process is fairly complicated in this multi-governance political institution. The voting usually happens in the council, which is made up of representatives from member-states. Figure 1.1 illustrates the voting system within EU (Council of the EU). The votes are based on the representatives from each member-states, and based on different issues, the legislations are passed under different conditions: simple majority, qualified majority or unanimity. The process of voting by representatives seems similar to the Democratic Representative of United States. However, the deficit of EU is that the votes for member-states are based on population size, but are not representative of the population. This contradicts with William’s idea of democracy that “equalities was astate among the people” and people should all deserve equal respect in a democratic regime (97).  EU voting system only protects the equality of the member-states but not the equality of citizens under the central institution. Moreover, although the European Parliament is elected by the citizens, the commission is designated by Governments of the Member States and the heads of the States. Council of minister of the Union is also only a meeting of the Minister of the States (Coutant, 2). The system retains the sovereignty of the federal institution and allows states to work closer in a confederation. This concept weakens public’s consciousness of supranational identity, and does not consider European citizen as one entity under the democratic regime.

            The structural nature of the EU resembles a multi-level governance system; one that bears a territorial organization around many centers of authority. Although the distribution of powers and resources is debatable, each can promote their interests and perspectives through the mobilization of veto positions. Nevertheless, by moving toward a supranational or some form of vertical federalization, the EU does not embrace fully the configuration and judgment that was formed in the EU. Indeed, the vertical federalization has intermixed with a horizontal separation of powers between the members states that contributed to the nature of EU as analytically different from the one adopted in a pure federal system. Since there is no other political system that resembles one that is built around the multiple separation of powers, apart from Switzerland, many scholars and analysts, including Schall, have remarked it as a truly extraordinary system. However, its uniqueness only fully stands when compared against individual European states. The EU is, in actual fact, not exceptionally different from other continental federal experiences such as the United States (US). An analysis of the US system reveals that it is based on both horizontal and vertical separation of powers. Furthermore, the US has experienced the first endeavor to develop a democratic form of governance out of a contradictory and double source of legitimacy, that is, individual states and territorial and states. The endeavor signified the expression of a definite constitutional choice to establish a democracy.  In spite of this, the American case is rarely compared with that of the EU, perhaps because Eurocentrism engulfs EU discussions.

            The functional logic and institutional nature of the EU has raised debates of its uniqueness. Specifically, the huge difference between the EU as an institution and the member states has been cited as a major point of inquiry. As Wallace (9) says, “it has become a commonplace for commentators on the EU to stress its distinctive features, and indeed often to argue that they result in a unique kind of politics.” Such exclusivity is defensible on the following base; that the EU not a system of government but rather a scheme of governance. This implies that it signifies the end of the distinction between state and society which had earlier been an instrumental sign of European political modernity. Seemingly, governance is quite different from government because the latter represents a pattern of decision-making processes that develop within a formal institution as well as involving publicly renowned representatives who work in a vertical structure of influence and relations. The EU does not embody this system but rather embraces the post-statist situation of contemporary politics.

            If not to create a new ‘form of state,’ the EU characterizes an effort to build a public authority that has supernatural features and is more of an economic arrangement than a political one. Many policies that would be traditionally be categorized as domestic are influenced, structured and defined at the EU level. During structuring, the EU was founded on three pillars. The first one pertained to the coordination of foreign and domestic policies; the second concerned the increasing number of policies related to the functioning of the common market; and the third involved collaboration in areas of home affairs and execution of justice. These three foundations were accumulated in one draft constitutional treaty particularized by the constitutional convention. Even so, this accumulation does not affect the double method of decision-making the EU has so long adopted; including the federal and intergovernmental methods. It might be safe to say that supranationalism is the amalgam of the two methods. As a supranational organization, the EU has undergone a phase of institutionalization through a complex structure of intermingling governmental bodies. Yet, this complexity does not negatively affect the effectiveness with which the organization supports integration and promotes the consent of member states. The organization rests on the central institutions of council of ministers, the European council, and intergovernmental bodies that represent the executives of individual EU member states. These institutions are responsible for demarcating the objectives of the EU as well as for defining rules and laws. On the other hand, the constitution vindicates and strengthens these institutions though it does not interfere with their structure.

            Even so, these institutions continue to be assessed by community-oriented institutions such as the European commission. The president of the commission is appointed by the European council and the endorsed by the European parliament, which has been popularly elected since 1979. The influence of the European parliament has particularly risen since the signing of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997. This augmented effect influence is fully revealed in the constitutional treaty. It is important to note that though the parliament is endowed with limited legislative powers than those of national parliaments, the constitution recognizes its capabilities in co-decision with the Council of Ministers on many policy issues. Concurrently, the constitutional treaty recognizes the principle of subsidiarity which has come to play a huge part in the territorial relations of the EU. In spite of this conceptual ambiguity, the embodiment of this principle in the constitution may formalize a quasi-federal trait of the EU. By examining it from a territorial perspective, the EU is more complex than any other form of federal system. Generally, federal systems are constitutionally organized around a bi-level government structure. The first is the federal center while the other constitutes individual federal units or states. The EU is more multifaceted given that it is structured around a supranational, national, regional, and local levels of governance. In summary, the EU has a diffused power system in which authorities overlap. This multiple separation of powers is then moderated through the use of pragmatic devices and balances and checks. Thus, it can be seen that EU does not fit in the category of bodies established to uphold cooperation among member states. Rather, since its formation in the 1950s, it has reduced its initial intergovernmental to realize the structure of a supranational organization.

            On exploring the case of federalist system, the EU was established as a multilevel system or treaty federalism and could be contrasted against a democratic federal system. All federal systems retain elements of confederal type in their structures. Federal Germany is perhaps the most used model of federal system when comparing federal systems to the EU. Essentially Federal Germany consists a Bundesrat which is very much similar to the council of ministers they represent the executive. The espousal of confederal elements is also common in Canada with the provincial prime ministers as well as in the growth of American federalism through the indirect election of senators by the state legislatures prior to 1913. It seems more reasonable to compare the EU with developed systems of federalism whether or not all embrace federal or confederal elements. Nevertheless, the federal point of view only accounts for a small part of the EU reality since, as opposed to the EU, developed federal systems characterize vertical separation of powers but not horizontal ones. This harmonizes with the case of quasi-federal democracies such as post-2001 Italy or Spain but with exceptions of Germany, Canada, the US, Belgium, Australia, and Switzerland. Although Switzerland, in particular, is structurally similar to the EU, its limited geographic and demographic size makes an unfit comparative reference for the EU.

            By examining the case for compound democracy, it can be concluded that the diversity of institutional separation is intended to guarantee an anti-hierarchical and anti-hegemonic character of the republic. Lacey (100) describes compound democracy as a polity characterized by concurrent and overlapping units of government or a form of governance with multiple centers of power that reflect rival interests. In 1787, the political theory of a compound republic in Philadelphia was expounded so as to solve a contradiction or to “form a more perfect union,” as mentioned in a preamble of the American constitution of 1787, without the creation of institutional conditions for the ascendancy or formation of a political majority. According to Dahl (16), the main formulator of that hypothesis, James Madison, cited two possible ways of regulating the effects of a majority fraction. The first is the prevention of the same passion while the second maintains that the members of a majority fraction should be rendered incapable of working together effectively. The US experience evidently foreshadows some problems that are common to the EU along with its member states. Currently, discussions on the EU focus greatly on the democratic deficit that emanates from the predominance of state ministers and bureaucrats in the decision-making structure. Even so, this essay finds that even if individual EU member states decide to give more power to the European parliament and significantly less to the EU ministers and bureaucrats, various accountability issues are bound to arise due to the complexities of shared powers.

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In conclusion, the EU structural system of governance reveals the multi-dimensional nature of EU citizenship. At the EU level, the both political and civil elements seem to be the most established while the rest seem to be existing in a shadow reality. Firstly, the importance of citizenship and social rights cannot be ignored because it is possible to examine how the EU and welfare states have developed. Secondly, social policy represents one of the most instrumental realms of the EU integration as well as one in which the union is expected to reign relatively supreme, although with some limitations on state sovereignty and autonomy. Additionally, since welfare state policies bear moral and ethical dimensions, cultural citizenship also plays a role in social policy. In sum, the EU Social citizenship suffers from solidarity and cultural deficits and embodies supranationalism, multi-level governance, and inter-governmentalism.

Lack Of Supranational Citizenship Indicate Deficiency Of Democracy In EU?

Why Does The Lack Of Supranational Citizenship Indicate Deficiency Of Democracy In EU?

Carly Elizabeth Schall has argued in her sociological inquiry that there is a lack of development of social citizenship in EU that challenges the potential for EU to be a democratic polity. By comparison, Schall stresses on how U.S successfully forms a national citizenship identity in its federal system to achieve democracy. The difference of whether there is “successful transference of citizenship identity from a lower to a higher level” (Schall, 1) is considered distinction between social citizenship in EU and U.S, and the deficiency of having a supranational citizenship hinders EU to be a truly democratic institution. While there may exist a consensus of categorizing the EU as a supranational polity engaging in post-national democracy, numerous differences exist concerning the interpretation of the latter. For historical and contemporary structural reasons, Europe Union has been established as a larger supranational organization. The collectivity of members in distinctiveness and a singularity within the supranational EU along with the central institutional instrument of the EU is now a party to the interstate strategic interaction, where community institutions combine instead of exercise exclusion. However, the combination of the community results in the deficiency of democracy of the Union since EU members fail to admit their supranational citizenship. The failure of recognition indicates that EU is unable to guarantee some opportunities which a Democratic Union should have to its citizens.

Read also Direct Democracy Vs Representative Democracy

The word citizenship is simply defined as “the position or status of being a citizen of a particular country”. Being a citizenship of a country portends that the person’s rights and safety are protected by the country. Moreover, citizenship is usually guaranteed with social rights and responsibilities in democratic unions just as Schall says in her article that “Democracy, thus, can be a mechanism for ensuring equal citizenship, but equal citizenship is also necessary for democracy to exist (schall, 127).  Citizenship and democracy are inseparably interconnected because only with citizenship can people exercise their basic rights in a democratic union. In regard to social rights of citizens, author Robert Dahl also indicates in his book On Democracy that “Democracy guarantees its citizens a number of fundamental rights that nondemocratic systems do not, and cannot grant (Dahl, 48) and “Democracy helps people to protect their own fundamental interests” (Dahl, 53). What Dahl mentions, rights of citizens and a government with basis of people, are the basic principles of democracy.  

Read also Is Supranational Citizenship an Irreplaceable Factor for EU Democracy?

Among the social rights that are necessarily given to the citizens by the government, one of the most important is the direct and indirect universal suffrage (Coutant 12). In EU, citizens have the power to exercise their suffrage rights and vote on social policies. However, the decision making process is fairly complicated in this multi-governance political institution. The voting usually happens in the council, which is made up of representatives from member-states. Figure 1.1 illustrates the voting system within EU (Council of the EU). The votes are based on the representatives from each member-states, and based on different issues, the legislations are passed under different conditions: simple majority, qualified majority or unanimity. The process of voting by representatives seems similar to the Democratic Representative of United States. However, the deficit of EU is that the votes for member-states are based on population size, but are not representative of the population. This contradicts with William’s idea of democracy that “equalities was astate among the people” and people should all deserve equal respect in a democratic regime (Williams, 97).  EU voting system only protects the equality of the member-states but not the equality of citizens under the central institution. Moreover, although the European Parliament is elected by the citizens, the commission is designated by Governments of the Member States and the heads of the States. Council of minister of the Union is also only a meeting of the Minister of the States (Coutant, 2). The system retains the sovereignty of the federal institution and allows states to work closer in a confederation. This concept weakens public’s consciousness of supranational identity, and does not consider European citizen as one entity under the democratic regime.

Apart from the deficient voting system, the main actors in EU institutions are neither directly nor indirectly voted into their positions, which undermines democracy. In particular, the council of ministers and the European council are not chosen for the roles they play in the EU (Levenex 122). They chiefly represent the “national” instructs of individual states rather than the “partisan interests” of the people and the electoral constituencies as is the case in domestic politics. The European integration has thus largely remained driven by trustees and political leaders via “spillover” or engregage, leading to a form of multilevel system where the council, parliament, and Commission are engrossed in decision-making and negotiation on regulatory rules and directives for dealing with externalities at the top-most hierarchy levels of the union. In fact, one major reason why an EU citizenship is deficient is that it has gone against the common principle of governance “by the people.” The way EU manages its power is rather “for the people”, and democracy has been mainly driven by the union’s trustee via “integration by stealth” instead of the input of the people it represents. In fact, the power structure of the EU greatly contradicts William’s (93) philosophy of democracy – that a democratic form of governance should give all the power to its people. It is important to note that in classical parliamentary systems, the input of the citizens is directly regarded by the members of parliament whom they have elected into office (Kramnick, 127). This implies that members of parliament are responsible against the citizens, which is contrary to the case of the EU where people do no bear such power. The European Commission remains non-elected in nature and structure, and thus enjoys more power than that enjoyed by directly-elected members of parliament at the national level. Additionally, the EU commission does not obtain its legitimacy from the people, yet it plays a significant role in decision making processes.

The major disadvantage of the establishment of the EU supranational block via engerage as regards citizenship is that institutions and people in power have given precedence to “output” legality than to “input” legality and approved processes that provide backing for the “permissive consensus” of the public (Erik at al.  107) The decline of consensus post-Maastricht is an evidential case of this claim and highlights the manner in which the Eurozone crisis coupled with failed reforms have influenced a “constraining dissesus.” Essentially, the EU is nothing more than a multilevel polity wherein democracy is built on a weak citizen-oriented basis. According to Gutmann & Thompson (3), true democracy should be deliberative. The two authors argue that “leaders should give reasons for their decisions, and respond to the reasons that the citizens give in return.” However, the EU does not embody this characteristic (Bromley 165-166) but rather operates under a “permissive consensus.” The union’s “democratic” structure, indeed, acts as a stumbling block for transparency, accountability and responsiveness of other institutions existing in the European territory. It can be concluded that such deficit is a consequence of disregarding Europeans in the policymaking process and the failure of integrating networks of trust between institutions and the people they represent.

 The EU parliament also contributes immensely to the decay of EU supranational citizenship. Although it is the sole elected body in the union, the imbalance between the power it holds and the level of representation is a major drawback as far as democracy is concerned. Hypothetically, power and representation should be relational where one is specially structured to represent the citizens, and the other is not (Gutmann and Thompson 3). While the union’s parliamentary roles and power have been on the increase in a bid to enhance credibility and representation, the parliament itself has been largely undermined by the processes involving the development of institutions with a goal of delivering substantive outcomes without the involvement of the citizens. According to Franchino (243), the EU parliament bears comparatively lesser power in policymaking compared to the EU commission. As a result, the citizen’s rights and entitlements are not adequately protected as the institutional design is seemingly complex and separate from the people it represents.  

As opposed to national parliaments, EU parliament’s lack of responsiveness is complicated by the lack of policies where cooperation of collaborating parties undermines the representation of the people and their vote preferences. In actual fact, members of the EU parliament disproportionately represent the union’s supranational citizens as they can justify their decisions regardless of voter turnout (Rose 107). With regard to the element of decision-making, the new role of the EU parliament as a co-legislator implies that it relies heavily on informational tripartite meetings which are attended by the representatives of the parliament, the union’s council, and the Commission (The EU Parliament). The major downside of such meetings is that the majority representatives of the parliament can negotiate on a direct basis with the council at the expense of the communities and minorities they represent. Additionally, attendees of such meetings can often agree on certain decisions before their deliberation. In reality, this is one area where the EU parliament has significantly suffered from the lack accountability and transparency in decision-making. The decisions that the parliament makes without the involvement of the public undermine democratic representation and contribute to the systematic exclusion of the union’s citizens.

The gap in the transparency and accountability in the EU is mainly fueled by non-inclusive processes used by the union administration which consists of the Council of ministers and the European council (Scholten 44). These institutions have benefits more than the parliament itself because of the “permissive consensus” granted by the institution’s structure. While some decisions made by the two institutions may have been responsive to the needs of European citizens, the exclusionary measures used in the process of decision-making have largely undermined democracy at the supranational level. Notably, the council represents a body in wherein national executives are exposed to an indirect system of accountability that includes national electorates. Even so, these executives are not the main actors in policymaking but rather the council’s working groups which comprise the Coreper and the secretariat (Ginsberg 160). In addition to this reinforcement of unaccountability and non-transparency, the European commission is not censured for its policies. This results in public dissent against the union and apathy toward its institutions, decision-making processes, and elections. Equally, because the commissions’ headquarters are located in Brussels, the public perceives the commission as remote and democratically inexplicable and a mechanism through which select governments govern the EU community like a cartel.

Additionally, decisions made in the non-elected EU are more likely reached by third parties as an attribute to complex subject matters whereas citizens of Europe receive conclusions with regard to these decisions through press releases. This approach, in turn, disregards the disclosure of knowledge on how these decisions are made and infringes the foundation of deliberative democracy. Gutmann & Thompson (7) assert that a true democracy is one “in which free and equal citizens, along with their representatives, justify decisions in a process in which they give one another reasons that are mutually acceptable and generally accessible…” Notably, the practice of excluding European institutions is not a recent matter but was rather created over time through exclusive methods of interventions as well as the involvement of internal practices that have existed since the Single European Act alongside other EU treaties were passed.

Read also American Democracy and The Ancient and Classical Political Theorists

The role of special interest groups in a multilevel polity like the EU also suggests a deficiency in democracy. Four decades ago, the EU tried adopting to the inclusion of more people in the decision making the process by engaging expanded interest groups because of the limitations of democratic representation in the EU. Such interventions are common in the EU because many single-issue groups cannot act alone but rather need the support of EU fractions like parliament and the commission to access information, finances and support from the publics to fulfil their objectives. Per se, it is beneficial for both sides when citizens support single-interests groups because it eases their ability to influence the EU’s responsive efforts and also influence decision-making. Consequently, these mechanisms of intervening are highly dependent on output legitimacy instead of the delivery of input legitimacy, which mean they defy the very principles that underlie the promotion of democracy (Dahl 45). More so, these institutions consistently refute the inclusion of citizens in EU policy making. Although the viability of claims that tie EU business lobbying processes to increased involvement of business interest groups are questionable, it is evident that the success of lobbying shows a trend that ties interest groups with greater power and finances as compared to those with better relationships with the EU. The latter is consequential of the EUs disregard for public trust networks in deliberations and policy-making processes. As a result, citizens are eroded because lack of a balanced inclusion in the political process is a limitation of the democracy in the EU. Eventually, the issue of an imbalanced representation is a threat to the effectiveness as well as the efficiency of the decision-making framework in the EU.

In summary, supranational citizenship of EU suffers momentously from underrepresentation. The main consequences of the union’s informal institutions and embedded processes are the lack of representation in policymaking over and above the failure to integrate public interest groups in administrative and policymaking roles. Even though low voter turnouts may imply a significant voter indifference toward the union or their support for basic harmony in the organization’s decision-making, it may also symbolize a consistent citizen de-legitimation of the union’s democratic process that fails to include its key stakeholders in the vital process of policymaking. Perhaps, it is this underrepresentation that has significantly contributed to the loss of interest in EU politics. Notably, there is lack of a connection between the logic of national politics, which is perceived as generally democratic, and that of EU politics which is viewed as largely technocratic. The main cause for worry is the possibility that the union’s current weak attempts to sustain and democratize citizen interest in its politics may further reduce the inability of its leaders to develop viable solutions to deal with underrepresentation and democratic deficiencies.

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. 

Read also Direct Democracy Vs Representative Democracy

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).  

Read also Evolution From Jeffersonian Democracy To Jacksonian Democracy

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.

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

Compare and contrast the elements of American democracy with the critiques or support of democracy presented by ancient and classical political theorists.  How was the American Founding influenced by ancient/classical political theory when establishing our democratic republic?
In light of America’s influence by ancient and classical political thinkers, should a Christian support or critique democracy as a political regime, and why?  

 American democracy comprises governmental and political players, all dedicated to ensuring that the constitution is upheld at all times. The elements of American democracy allow holders of public office to connect with citizens while reassuring them of their commitment to dispensing their duties appropriately. Liberty is one of the most popular elements of American democracy. It is a provision that allows citizens to exercise a level of control over their entire life and is now ranked top among tenets of political philosophy. Enlightenment thinkers such as John Stuart Mill regarded liberty as an essential element for the ultimate benefit of democracy. It allowed individuals to live freely in their country and, in turn, enjoy the stability introduced by pieces of legislation. Individualism is also an element of American democracy. It is a philosophy concerned with safeguarding autonomy while avoiding oppression by social institutions. 

Read also Evolution From Jeffersonian Democracy To Jacksonian Democracy

On the other hand, liberty has its philosophical foundations in the social contract where individuals are accorded with a level of autonomy and natural rights. Enlightenment thinkers asserted that laws were created to rule man in his mortal affairs and heavenly issues. Liberty in the American context was tied to political self-definition for many of the country’s inhabitants. Equality is also an integral element of democracy where citizens all bear the same status and respect. Every individual within the United States is granted equal rights under the law and access to social amenities. Democracy assures citizens of equal participation in government activities and maintaining self-determination. To gain legitimacy, a government has to be elected and endorsed by its people after giving their consent.

Read also Compare and contrast the Articles of Confederation with the new Constitution of 1787.

 The American Founding Fathers were influenced by ancient and classical political theory that went a long way in the democracy that it is today. Western Civilization, as we know it today, is the product of democracy and other similar concepts developed in classical antiquity. In particular, the ideological origins of democracy can be traced back to ancient Rome and Athens. Since the rise of the Greek and the Athenian Civilization beginning in the 5th Century BCE, political thought was developed and served as a considerable part of their culture. Democracy, for instance, was meant to introduce discipline among the people while ensuring that they strove in the right direction.  The development of democracy in ancient Athens gave birth to a political ideology that would influence the Founding Fathers greatly when establishing their new territory after the end of the American Revolutionary War. The revolution witnessed in North America is also similar to one that swept through Roman regions in ancient days. After the Revolutionary War, democracy was viewed as the only viable option that would ensure the survival of a young United States. The United States was formerly a British colony in North America. Rome was also under the direct rule of the Etruscan monarchy, but incepted a revolution and rejected direct arbitrary leadership.  Romans developed their written constitution, which outlined customary law. The American Revolution was mainly a neo-Roman upheaval. It is critical to acknowledge that the bone of contention was neo-Roman conceptions which the Founding Fathers wanted to preserve.  

Read also Should the United States Change to a Direct Democracy or remain a Representative Democracy?

It is the religious duty of every Christian to support democracy as a political regime. Christianity and democracy are compatible systems that can help each other while working side by side. However, ancient political philosopher’s ideas mean that coexistence is a complicated endeavor. Ideas in Christianity and democracy do not contradict each other. Contrary to popular belief, democracy is not a type of Christian government. However, it is critical that democracy is typically in congruence with the Christian worldview. Democracy has, time and again, been regarded as an ideal type of government from a Christian standpoint. Even so, the interests of these two groups may overlap, creating operational difficulties for all those involved in this intricate relationship. Christianity is based on a set of ethical principles, while politics is preoccupied with controlling individuals and the amount of power that they can bear1 .It is no wonder that the Founding Fathers also suggested the inclusion of a clause on the separation of church and state since perspectives may differ significantly. This way, the two institutions are kept separate from each other and cannot exert undue influence on each other. The common type of government cited in Romans13; 1-6 is perhaps the only instance where God specifies the form of government-approved by God.  Christians are also reminded that God’s word takes precedence over human laws. It is a concept stated in Acts 5; 29 where Christians should always obey their spiritual laws if they happen to conflict with the human government. Thus, Christianity and democracy can partner together in a contemporary environment where compromises can be reached to ensure no one misses out on unique activities.  The logical relationship between a stance on democracy and Christianity is, therefore, non-existent since the two are compatible but entirely dissimilar.

Direct Democracy Vs Representative Democracy

There are various differences between direct democracy and representative democracy. Direct democracy originated from Athens and it engages very person in making important legislative decisions. The laws in direct democracy are passed via people’s votes. Thus the government power originates from the people such that citizenry responsibilities are considerably higher in this kind of democracy. Representative democracy originated from Rome and it engages the individuals elected to represent the public. In this democracy, people have less power, and thus authority is less equal. Laws in representative democracy are enacted by government branches and power is separated through three executive branches. The main similarity between the two is that the foundation of the two forms of democracy is the constitution. Another similarity is that people rule in both, though with different magnitudes and they both require voting (Difference Between, 2018).

Read also Should the United States Change to a Direct Democracy or remain a Representative Democracy?

Direct or Indirect Democracy – A Personal View Essay

Democracy is described as rule of the people, by the people and for the people. This definition emphasizes the fact that democracy has the potential to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the people of a country and their voice is given importance in deciding policy issues pertaining to matters that are of importance for them. There are two types of democracies namely Direct and Indirect democracy.

Read also Evolution From Jeffersonian Democracy To Jacksonian Democracy

Direct democracy is when the people’s voice is heard directly and counted for example in the form of a referendum just like it did happen in Carlifornia when people voted on laws pertaining to gay marriages. Indeed the best examples of direct democracy are referendums that are held in many countries on important public mattersto help legislators come up with laws or enforce changes in an existing law. Citizens vote to determine who enters public office and recal officials who do not do their jobs.

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

Indirect democracyon the other hand uses a small group of officials to make decisions of importance on behalf of their constituents. An example of indirect democracy is when in the United States of America where a small number of people are elected to the congress to represent the people. In both direct and indirect democracies, the input of the people is the cornerstone of the government but the government is run in different ways as seen in the brief definitions given.

The advantages of direct democracy is that the system makes sure that there is no corruption from politicians since it is the people who directly affect the vote. The disavantage is that this type of democracy might entail the tyranny of the majority.

Read also American Democracy and The Ancient and Classical Political Theorists

Indirect democracy on the other hand assures fairness in representationof the entire country. The major disadvantage is that at times the majority of the people are not represented just like the case of Al- gore Vs Bush. Gore won the popular vote but Bush won the election.

My very honest opinion is that states should try and use both systems but depending on the issue at hand for example many states in the West could use indirect democracy because there seems to be so many issues at the ballot and they are generally placed on the ballot by organizations with enough money to pay for signatures to be gathered to get the measures on the ballot. People vote for these complicated measures without having enough knowledge to fully understand the impact of the measures. Simple issues like gay marriages are okay but complicated ones are best left to people who have some expertise on the issues.

Should the United States Change to a Direct Democracy or remain a Representative Democracy?

The United States has for a long time been using representative democracy. This is a form of governance where citizens elect representatives who will be involved in the formation of the laws of the country on behalf of the citizens. In this case, citizens continue being the sovereign power though political power is directly exercised via elected representatives. This is quite different from direct democracy where citizens have active and direct participation in the government decision making. After studying the two forms of democracy, I strongly believe that the United States should continue exercising representative democracy. One of the main reasons is that the U.S. is a consolidation of 52 states each with a huge population such that the state’s own affairs are equivalent to a country in non-state consolidated environment. The U.S. population is around 325.7 million based on 2017 estimate. This means the country will need to use a huge amount of money every time there is a law to be passed to facilitate citizens’ full participation if the country was to adopt direct democracy. This could be unmanageable in terms of cost. Direct democracy is normally viable in small countries with manageable population. In addition in a country such as the U.S. the size of the population also suggest increase in social issues initiating needs for more laws. The number of laws that may need to be made might be considerably many for frequent population involvement. The management of the process and data analysis would be quite hectic for U.S. Thus, direct democracy cannot be appropriate in the country.

Evolution From Jeffersonian Democracy To Jacksonian Democracy

Jeffersonian democracy was a major political outlook in the United States at the turn of the 17th century. It was a term used to refer to the opposition Democratic-Republican Party founded by President Thomas Jefferson to oppose the Federalist Party culminating in election of Jefferson as the third president in 1801(Dunlap, 2009).  A party devoted to liberty for the ‘plain folks’, Jeffersonian democracy’s tenets formed the basis for the Democratic Party, with some of its values still evident in the party today.

Read also Difference Between the Draft and the Original Product of Thomas Jefferson on Declaration of Independence – Annotated Bibliography

Jeffersonian democracy was opposed to autocratic government and corruption, whilst promoting virtue. It campaigned for universal white male suffrage, with half of the states adapting this by the end of the era as opposed to two before the advent of the democracy. It also started campaigning for popular votes to decide presidential elections. Subsequently, Jefferson’s party took control of state legislature, city hall and the presidency(Bowers, 1954).

Jeffersonian democracy was replaced by Jacksonian democracy at the time of the Second Party System characterized by increasing awareness and interest of voters. This latter greater democratic outlook lasted from the election of President Andrew Jackson as the seventh president in 1828 to the time of abolitionism and subsequent American Civil War from the 1850s when the Third Party System came into being(Bowers, 1954). Jacksonian democracy arose out of factionalism among Jeffersonians. The anti-Jacksonian brigade formed the Whigsas inheritors of Jeffersonian democracy.

Read also Lives, Attitudes and Presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson

While promoting the common white man’s involvement in government, Jacksonian democracy empowered the presidency and the executive. It empowered the states, rewriting many state laws. The Jacksonians campaigned for election of judges, rather than their appointment. (Hofstadter, 1989). However, both Jacksonians and Whigs avoided the slavery issue and did not extend democracy to Native Americans, which subsequently led to emergence of the Third Party System.

So while Jeffersonian democracy was against autocratic government and campaigned for white male suffrage, Jacksonian democracy was against monopolization of power by a few privileged. The former was against inherited elitism and for education while the latter was for the common white man, whilst concentrating powers on the presidency and the federal government. President Andrew Jackson famously faced down South Carolina over federal-versus-state legislation during the Nullification Crisis(Wilentz, 2005).

Read also Comparison Paper – Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Thomas Jefferson’s Letter

Jeffersonian democracy led to distribution of power via empowerment of the states at the expense of nationalism: though it was during this time that the nation expanded to double its size through acquiring the Louisiana Territory(Dunlap, 2009). Jeffersonian state empowerment is still evident today with state governments having a lot of powers and big budgets.

Both Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracies contributed to expansion of freedoms in America. Political, social and economic developments during the two eras laid the foundation for freedom for all that America enjoys today by shunning autocratic government and ushering in universal white male suffrage and concomitant abolitionism and recognition of the right to vote for all adults.

Read also The Fundamental Political Ideology of John Locke

Jeffersonians and Jacksonians were the forefathers of today’s Democratic Party. Their basic democratic tenets of populism and egalitarianism, mixed with racism, are still evident in America today(Wilentz, 2005). An understanding of these early democracies offers a way to untangle the society from the problems besetting it today.

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