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Democracy As Political Ideology Essay

2100 words - 9 pages

What is Ideology?

The term ideology has a long, complex and extraordinary rich history.

According to Wikipedia free online Encyclopedia define it, "An ideology is a collection of ideas". The word ideology was coined by Count Destutt de Tracy in the late 18th century to define a "science of ideas." An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things (compare Weltanschauung), as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies (see Political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society. It also originated in the work of Karl Marx and its analysis remains a sign that such analysis is ...view middle of the document...

In recent decades 'democracy' was used as a synonym for (western) liberal-democratic systems in nation-states, but the existence of "illiberal democracies" is now recognised. The qualifier 'liberal' in this context refers strictly speaking to constitutional liberalism and individual rights, but 'liberal democracy' is widely used to describe other aspects, (see below and the main article Liberal democracy). Definitions of democracy have in any case broadened to include aspects of society and political culture in democratic societies, which are not specifically a 'form of government'. Most liberal-democracies are parliamentary representative democracies, but there are many varieties of democracy, some still hypothetical. The term 'democratic' is also used in a looser sense, to describe participatory decision-making in groups or organizations.

Democracy in its ideal sense is the notion that "the people" should have control of the government ruling over them. This ideal is pursued by implementing a system of voting such that the majority of people rule, either directly or indirectly through elected representatives. Democracies may be "liberal," where fundamental rights of individuals in the minority are protected by law, or they may be "illiberal" where they are not.

History of democracy

The term democracy - or more precisely, the original (ancient Greek) version of the word - was coined in ancient Athens in the 5th century BC. Athenian democracy is generally seen as the earliest example of a system corresponding to some of the modern notions of democratic rule. Only a sixth or a quarter of the whole (adult male) population of Athens could vote; but this was a bar of nationality, like the present German franchise, not of economic status: however poor they were, all Athenian citizens were free to vote and speak in the Assembly. Ancient Athenian citizens made decisions directly, rather than voting for representatives, as in a republic.

Another early example of some form of democracy was in the regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan in what was then Ancient India during the 4th century BC. At the time of Alexander the Great, the Greeks came in contact with the Sabarcae and Sambastai states whose "form of government was democratic and not regal" according to Greek scholars at the time. Earlier democratic notions in India were expressed by the Buddha (623-543 BC) which were used by Buddhist monks. [1]

Over time, the meaning of 'democracy' has changed, and the modern definition has largely evolved since the 18th century, alongside the successive introduction of "democratic" systems in many nations.

Freedom House argues that there was not a single liberal democracy with universal suffrage in the world in 1900 (which is inaccurate as New Zealand achieved universal suffrage well before this date), but that today 120 (62%) of the world's 192 nations are such democracies. They count 25 (19%) nations with 'restricted democratic...

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