The Evolution of Democracy
“I think democracy is the best form of government,” says Alan. In reply Beth says, “You must be crazy to believe that the so-called democratic government in this country is the best we can have! Why I don’t even think it’s much of a democracy!” While Alan is speaking about the ideal of a democracy, Beth speaks of democracy as a form of government (pg 26). The ideals of democracy and the actuality of democracy as a form of government are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The ideal of democracy is devoted to the thought that people have enough intelligence and moral standards to create a set of rules and follow them while voting accordingly and controlling and/or governing themselves instead of living under a dictatorship. While democracy as a government does not always follow this same path, it does share some of the same characteristics and ideals, but in a normal situation in present day society there are too many different factors and complications that disallow a democratic government from working in the perfect manner that ideal democracy would function under. “Democracy was more of a subject for philosophers to theorize about than an actual political system for people to adopt and practice” (pg 3). Democracy, like everything in life, has endured change and evolved over the past centuries. Although the exact origin and creation of Democracy cannot be traced back to one exact person, century, or country, there are multiple groups that have their own ideals or version of a democracy. Democracy has always seemed like the best ideal or governmental choice for most people, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t had its own battles with other anti-democratic groups such as communists, fascists, and Nazis (pg 1).
In all actuality, Democracy has been discussed for over twenty-five hundred years and has only made its plunge onto U.S. soil within the past two-hundred years. Although it is hard to pinpoint the exact origin of democracy, it is believed to have come from Ancient Rome or Greece (pg 7). Historians believe that democracy might have been invented or “thought up” in Ancient Greece and then branched out from there, spreading from every continent until it finally reached its current position in everyday society. Although, this accusation has generally been claimed false about Democracy’s place of origin for at least two reasons. First, because anyone with a general education of World History should know that after its early centuries in Greece and Rome that popular government greatly declined after it had its brief rise which ended up leading to its disappearance (pg 7). Instead of following an instant airplane path of “Up! Up! And away!” democracy’s path would instead look more like that of a cross country runner crossing a flat and almost endless plain with a few hills before finally reaching a long climb up a mountain to its present heights. The second mistake is that people assume that democracy was created just once and for all and did not originate in more than one place and at more than one point in time (pg 9). Democracy could have been invented anywhere as long as favorable conditions existed. Some of the expansion of democracy could be said to come from the diffusion of political parties and ideas. Although, this cannot account for all of the explanations about where and how democracy has developed. “Like fire, painting, or writing, democracy seems to have been invented more than once and in more than one place” (pg 9). In his writing’s Dahl states, “I assume that democracy can be independently invented and reinvented whenever the appropriate conditions exist and the appropriate conditions have existed, I believe, at different times and in different places. Just as a supply of tillable land and adequate rain fall have generally encouraged the development of agriculture, so certain favorable conditions have always supported a tendency toward the development of a democratic...
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