topic 1 part 2

topic 1 part 2 - TOPIC 1: PART 2 THE PROMISE OF DEMOCRACY...

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TOPIC 1: PART 2 THE PROMISE OF DEMOCRACY II. CONFLICTING VIEWS ON AMERICAN DEMOCRACY A. Populism 1. The populist model is probably the simplest. Direct democracy is a pure form of direct democracy. a. For example, the franchise (who has the right to vote), at the beginning of the republic only adult, white males who owned property, and were members of the right church had the right to vote. After the civil war we added amendments that outlawed slavery, extended citizenship, and allowed the right to vote to African Americans. Then it was extended it to women, and in the 1980s was extended to 18 year olds. b. In 1913, provided for direct elected of senators. This is a populist type of reform. Direct representation in both the house and senate. 2. Some states have the initiative- a certain percent of registered voters have to sign a petition for a proposed law, and if enough sign, then it is put on the ballot for all voters to vote upon. Referendum- ends up with a proposed law put on a ballot, and ordinary citizens vote on it. The legislature refers the proposal to the voters. 3. Criticisms a. The first criticism: Lack of participation. The populist model assumes that every citizen is informed, has a preference, and participates. In the real world, this is not the case. In the United States, the decision that gets the largest turn out is electing the President. Barely over half of
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eligible voters will vote in the election. If not everyone is participating it is not majority rule. b. The second criticism: majority rule sometimes ignores intensity. A majority is lukewarm about their choice, but the minority is very intense about their choice. A historical example is the civil war. No one received a majority in the presidential election. Lincoln got a plurality (the most votes but not majority), and became president. There was a very concentrated minority in the south, and when
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topic 1 part 2 - TOPIC 1: PART 2 THE PROMISE OF DEMOCRACY...

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