In sixteenth and seventeenth century France, the bourgeoisie was formed as a social class that imposed limits on the government’s power. Originating from the French word Bourgeois, this middle class was known as the “freeman of the city”. As the bourgeoisie grew in size, it became further involved in commerce and industry. Their goal was to change existing institutions (ex. parliaments), into devices of political participation, in order to gain control of the government. In order to change parliaments, the bourgeoisie used its superior size and burgeoning economic advantage to defeat their aristocratic enemies. The bourgeoisie also placed restraints on the government’s power in order to protect their own interests.
The bourgeoisie also had several beliefs in common with eighteenth century political theorists. Both groups believed in preserving liberty, independence, and freedom among all men. However, the bourgeoisie did not favor democracy; in other words, they believed in electoral institutions. Their goal was to limit the participation of the upper and middle class by using representative associations. In conclusion, government should be limited when the political system begins to infringe on political rights, and people feel the need to protect their interests.
10. Has access to the government expanded participation?
Government participation has greatly expanded (in two paths) after the bourgeoisie helped grant people access to the government. In some nations, popular participation was increased by the aristocracy (ex. King). This version of expanded participation recognized the common people as an ally to the bourgeoisie. In several nations, emperors tried ...
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...le and minority rights. The principle of majority rule states that the greater number should exercise the greater power; anyone who is not part of the majority is protected by certain individual rights. For example, the House of Representatives was chosen by the people, and now their main goal is to ensure majority rule. However, the Founding Fathers feared the possibility of a majority takeover. If one group was larger than another, they had the power to turn the government into a “tyranny of the majority”, which could possibly violate individual liberties. As a result, the Bill of Rights created checks on the majority, to ensure an equal distribution of power. Democracy is effective and helpful, because it puts power into the hands of the people, and lets Americans participate in governmental decisions; however, democracy can be dangerous if left unsupervised.
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