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Democratic Theory - Essay Example

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This paper aims to discuss the overview of democratic theory from Athenian times to present time including the theories of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Stuart Mill and John Rawls. It discusses how democracy has developed throughout ages.
The term "Democracy" started in Ancient Athens in the 5th century BC, they were considered to be the "Cradle of Democracy"…
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Democratic Theory
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Download file to see previous pages Such a philosophy places a high value on the equality of individuals and would free people as far as possible from restraints not self-imposed. It insists that necessary restraints be imposed only by the consent of the majority and that they are conventional to the principle of equality.
In Athens, the citizens participated directly in making their laws. The Greek system of government was perhaps closer to a true democracy or rule by the people than any other history. Their civilization was broken down to into small city-states, and all the men voted on all issues of government. It was almost a total democracy except for the fact that women and slaves were not considered citizens and were not allowed to vote.
The Greek system of democracy was ruled by a body of nine elected officials whom they called archons. These men who were aristocrats lead the government and had supreme control over all of the decree and criminal accusations in Athens. Problems took place when aristocrats became jealous of one another and rivalries developed under the early stages of Athenian democracy.
The democracy of Athens was used in many ways other than it was designed for. It was abused by many rulers of that time. They were concerned with their own personal growth and because of their greed and selfishness they made laws and codes that would benefit their own personal gain.
Perhaps they didn't get everything quite right for their time and place but they got enough right and there was enough contract to change with changing circumstances so that their civilization with all its arts and sciences succeed for 200 years until events, in the form of Alexander the Great, overcame them.
Democracy in Middle Ages
Though democracy was not directly instituted in the Middle Ages, many democratic ideas were ubiquitous throughout the period. Because Christianity, which taught that men were created equal in the eyes of God, was deeply entrenched into the society of the middle ages, the democratic idea of equality was understood by many people. However, the middle ages utilized another form of government, which was developed during this period called feudalism. Feudalism stressed that all people have certain rights and developed a system of courts to defend these rights. From these courts came the modern day judicial branch of the American government along with many of the ideas such as king councils, assemblies and eventually parliamentary systems.
Thomas Hobbes Theory
One of Hobbes theory is the State of Nature. To establish these conclusions, Hobbes invites us to consider what life would be like in a state of nature, that is, a condition without government. Perhaps we would imagine that people might fare best in such a state, where each decides for himself how to act, and is judge, jury and executioner in his own case whenever disputes arise-- and that at any rate, this state is the appropriate baseline against which to judge the justifiability of political arrangements. Hobbes terms this situation "the condition of mere nature", a state of perfectly private judgment, in which there is no agency with recognized authority to arbitrate disputes and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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