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American Government Assg2 - Essay Example

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In order to preserve that legacy, the United States must continue both to advocate for human rights and practice democracy. American representative democracy is a mixture of republican institutions and…
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American Government Assg2
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American Government Assg2

Download file to see previous pages... It has extended the right of suffrage to women and minorities and survived without a major disruption in government for nearly all of its history (with the one exception being the Civil War). Nowadays, with the growth of democratic institutions, it is important to protect people from the “tyranny of the majority.” American democracy is just as much threatened by having its government become unaccountable as it is by a ruthless voting majority suppressing or ignoring minorities and their rights. “How minority group interests are treated in democratic systems is a central concern of citizens, government officials, and scholars” (Haider-Markel 2007, 304). There is a danger that in the future the government will not so much be the voice of the people, as it will be the distributor of wealth and goods to them. A democracy that seeks to protect minority voices and promote division often finds itself using handouts and all manner of financial incentives to gain electoral majorities. “Opinion surveys from many advanced democracies repeatedly find widespread popular support for the institutions of direct democracy” (Bowler 2007, 35). This shows that there is a potential for a “tyranny of the majority,” especially if the rights of individuals are not protected. A fundamental part of representative democracy is not just the principle of popular rule but also the need to protect inalienable rights. In order to remain effective, the American political system must be careful not to give too much say to majorities and polls.
A fundamental feature of the modern nation-state since the 1848 Treaty of Westphalia has been the tendency to centralize power, usually in a physical place called the capital, over the recognized territories of the same. The Articles of Confederation, though well-intended, ultimately failed to provide for this basic centralizing authority so necessary to have a functioning state. “The Articles provided for a loose ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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