Characteristics of Democracy

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Some Basic Characteristics of American Democracy
Several unique characteristics of our political system are listed below.

Popular consent is the idea that governments draw their powers from the governed. •Popular sovereignty is the right of the majority to govern themselves. •Majority rule holds that only those policies that collectively garner the consent of a majority of citizens will become law. •Individualism is the value and focus placed on individuals in our democracy and culture. Individualism holds that the primary function of government is to enable the individual to achieve his or her highest level of development. This makes the interests of the individual as important as or more important than those of the state. •Equality is the idea that everyone is equal under the law. •Personal Liberty usually refers to individual freedoms. It initially referred to freedom from government interference; today it includes demands for freedom to engage in a variety of practices free from governmental discrimination. •Federalism refers to a political system in which power is shared among the various levels of government – in the case of the United States, the federal government and the states. Local governments are created by their states. •Separation of Powers refers to the splitting of power between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. This creates an intricate system of checks and balances. •Pluralism is a political model in which political power and resources are scattered so widely in our diverse democracy that no single group or individual can dominate or monopolize any substantial area of policy. Interest groups are a critical component of pluralism. An interest group is a collection of individuals organized to express attitudes or positions held in common in a effort to influence public policy. •Political Culture is a set of values, attitudes and beliefs that people hold about how political and economic life...
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