Republicanism vs. The Democratic Ideals
To understand the similarities and differences between ‘republicanism’ and the democratic ideal, you must first understand some basic vocabulary. Republicanism was defined by John Adams as, “ A government, in which all men, rich and poor magistrates and subjects officers and people, masters and servants, the first citizen and the last, are equally subject to the laws.” Meaning that republicanism is not about the people having power, but about the power that people are under. Democracy is a form of government that says each person in the society gets an equal contribution and say in the decisions that are made that affect their lives and wellbeing. There are two forms of democracy. One is direct democracy which means that citizens get to directly participate in decision making (this works much better in small societies such as town meetings). The other form is representative democracy, which gives the people the right to vote on who they want to represent them and their ideas in the decision making processes (this works for large societies where it is unreasonable that every single person would get their individual voice heard). Two major parts of the democratic ideal are equality and freedom. It means that each person is treated equally in the eyes of the law and each person has an equal say in the legislative process. We read in one of our readings in the text book that democracy has many parts, and most of them can be concluded by explaining popular sovereignty. Popular sovereignty means that the government policies reflect the wishes of the people, government officials are elected in elections that are free and fair, people participate in the political process, there is lots of information available to the people and the majority rules. Another part of democracy is political equality, meaning that in decision making and process, each persons vote and voice is treated equally. Republicanism in the 18th...
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