Political Theory

Download Democracy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short by Bernard Crick PDF

By Bernard Crick

No political inspiration is extra used, and misused, than that of democracy. approximately each regime at the present time claims to be democratic, yet now not all "democracies" permit loose politics, and unfastened politics existed lengthy prior to democratic franchises.

This publication is a brief account of the historical past of the doctrine and perform of democracy, from historical Greece and Rome in the course of the American, French, and Russian revolutions, and of the usages and practices linked to it within the sleek international. It argues that democracy is an important yet no longer a adequate for sturdy govt, and that principles of the guideline of legislation, and of human rights, should still in a few occasions restrict democratic claims.

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Additional resources for Democracy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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He must not be blamed for their actions but they saw in him a statement of a new and universal principle (albeit one that could not be applied until after the revolution). 'The people' were no longer only those fit to be citizens by virtue of property and education; the people could now be everyone for two impelling reasons. 'Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains,' said Rousseau in The Social Contract. Of course this is obviously untrue. We are born helpless and dependent on our mothers.

While the English parliamentarians revered the English constitution, which under the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty was what they said it was, Adams said that 'sovereignty is very tyranny'. When the Americans called themselves in their state papers a republic, this did not just mean 'no king': it meant government by elected representatives of'the people'. But again we must pause to construe that resonant word: much as for the Levellers, it meant all adults except those without taxable property and, of course, women, Indians, and slaves.

But to preserve a state through time, power should be spread; a republic is far superior. The greatest single heroes of antiquity, he says, were men who created republics out of unlikely material but then left them to govern themselves. ' At that point Machiavelli brings the political ideas of the Roman republic into the early modern world. His 'important undertakings' were mainly military training for the defence of the city, or for pre-emptive strikes. But what if a traditional state with a peasant economy in our later modern world 35 seeks to industrialize?

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