Throughout known history the system of democracy seems to be the most just, the most logical and the fairest of all ruling systems. Its ability to adjust to changing times is only one reason for its perseverance. In John Steinbeck's The Moon is Down, this durability is displayed through the townspeople led by Mayor Orden, under the oppressive heels of their conquerors.
One of the most obvious examples of democracy's endurance is the resistance displayed by the townspeople against their invaders. The oppression and invasion of the conquerors arouse, instead of crush, the desire in the defeated for freedom. These people, who have lived with the idea of a free rule of democracy, refuse to be chained down under the oppressive rule of the conquerors. It is for this reason that they strike back at their invaders. As said by Mayor Orden to Colonel Lanser of the aggressors, " The people don't like to be conquered, sir, and so they will not be. Free men cannot start a war, but once it is started, they can fight on in defeat. Herd men, followers of a leader, cannot do that, and so it is always the herd men who win battles and the free men who win wars.' " [pp. 185-186] Thus, it is because of their freedom that people believing in the free rule of democracy do not let down and die when conquered, do not accept their being robbed of their rights, and fight against what is unjustly done to them.
The townspeople fight on again, perhaps with even more resolve, after the execution of Alex Morden, instead of their spirits being crushed, as was the intent. The entire purpose of Alex Morden's public execution was to dissuade potential upstarts, but the result was the exact opposite of what was desired. The public display only empowered the townspeople's resolve to fight back. To put it in Mayor Orden's words, " Our people are invaded, but I don't think they're conquered.' " [p 139] Consequently, these people refuse to be put down, and, when faced with situations...
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