Book Notes for Test #1 - Two Kinds of Equality: Direct...

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Two Kinds of Equality: Direct Democracy : The Citizens themselves are principal participants in making government decisions. Ex: Athens was rules by the assembly, a town-meting type of gathering that included all male citizens. The assembly met ten times a year to make major policy decisions and to select the member of the council, a committee of 500 people that had the day to day responsibilities of running the government. An example of it today is in New England town meeting, where all citizens in the community are eligible to participate in making local government policy decisions. It is evident today in initiatives and referendums, elections where citizens vote on policy decisions. About half of the states have initiatives, which are becoming more popular. Overall, systems that rely on direct democratic processes are rare. Successful direct democratic systems are even scarcer bc they have a number of inherent problems that lead to instability and poor policy decisions. Part of the difficulty is due to the unwieldy decision-making processes that often accompany direct democracy (ex: everyone in one town trying to decide how much tuition you should pay for the local college). The net result is a direct democracy prone to producing bad policy decisions. Even with well-informed and fully engaged citizens, direct democracies are vulnerable to tyranny of the majority or mob rule. It separates the majority from the minority. The history of direct democracies is often one of instability and failure. False Consensus : the tendency of people to believe their views are “normal” or “common sense” and therefore shared by most people. This false consensus creates a challenge and even a danger to democratic decision making. If most people believe their views present the majority position, and the government fails to adopt that position, people are likely to believe that the political system is not working. In reality, the false consensus rests on an unrealistic and uninformed view of politics. Many see disagreements as evidence that something has gone wrong. In reality the noisy clash of interests is just the natural outcome of democracy as diverse, dynamic, and ideologically mixed as the United States. Shay’s Rebellion : two events in the fall of 1786 enabled the federalists to act on their desires for a stronger national government. One of the events was the outbreak of an armed revolt by farmers in western Massachusetts who were resisting state efforts to seize their property for failure to pay taxes and debts. It was named for its leader, Daniel shays, it was put down, but some Americans regarded it as a threat to the very existence of the US. Among them was George Washington, the most popular American of all. Appalled by the news that a former officer in his army had brought the state of Massachusetts to the brink of civil war, Washington lent his great prestige to the movement for a convention.
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Connecticut Compromise : 1787
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Book Notes for Test #1 - Two Kinds of Equality: Direct...

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