Government and Politics - The Original Constitution Did Not Have Many Democratic Traits

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Government and Politics - The Original Constitution Did Not Have Many Democratic Traits

In two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf, Americans fought and died so that democracy would prevail around the world. In the minds of many Americans, America is the bastion of democracy. But how democratic is America? Today’s America was “born” with the signing of the constitution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There, it was determined how democratic America would be. And every American should ask himself how democratic America was made at that constitutional convention in Philadelphia.

Before pondering the extent of democracy one must determine what the term “democracy” means. Democracy is a “means of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to citizens’ preferences.”i[i] The traditional democratic theory further explains the ideas behind democracy. The five aspects of this theory are that one man equals one vote, there is good voter-turnout, citizens can obtain knowledge through free speech and press, the general public controls government agenda, and an extension of all rights to all citizens.ii[ii] From this, one could say a true democracy would submit every bill to the public for a popular vote, like the traditional town meetings of old New England where all eligible voters met to have their say in governmental agenda.iii[iii] One could also say that democracy implies protection of rights and equal rights for all. Or, as Abraham Lincoln said, a democracy is “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”iv[iv] The people make the government, they have a say in the agenda, and the government governs by the people’s consent. This ...

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...rm Caucus in Action,” American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999), 18.

xv[xv] Roche, John P., “The Founding Fathers: A Reform Caucus in Action,” American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999), 10 & 12.

xvi[xvi] Roche, John P., “The Founding Fathers: A Reform Caucus in Action,” American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999), 14.

xvii[xvii] “The Constitution of the United States of America” from American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999) pgs 566-572. Article I, Section 2, Clause 1.

xviii[xviii] Rakove, Jack, “A Tradition Born of Strife,” American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999), 6.

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